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- Xuedian Town, Xinzheng, Henan Province, 541161, China
- Airlines currently operating to this airport with scheduled services
- Air China
Beijing Capital Airlines
China Eastern Airlines
China Southern Airlines
China West Air
Yangtze River Express
- Airlines currently operating to this airport via codeshare
- Air France
Delta Air Lines
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport serves the city of Zhengzhou, in Henan Province, China. The airport opened for services in 1997, replacing the inner-city Dongjiao Airport, which previously served Zhengzhou. China Southern has a major presence at Zhengzhou.
Location of Zhengzhou Airport, China
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The central Chinese city of Zhengzhou may seem obscure, but it is estimated to produce half of the world's iPhones. It is part of the story of Chinese manufacturing shifting from traditional coastal areas to central and western China, where wages are lower. That in turn is contributing to new air services and is directly impacting freight, with demand moving to what Cathay Pacific terms the "Three Cs": Chengdu, Chongqing and CGO (the airport code for Zhengzhou). This trio of cities has collectively overtaken Shanghai as Cathay's largest Chinese freight market.
Volumes at Zhengzhou, the smallest of the three, grew over 40% in 2012 while Chengdu saw steady growth and Chongqing double-digit growth. Shanghai saw single-digit percent decreases.
More resources are being put into establishing Chengdu and Chongqing as western capitals for China, and passenger services have flowed, with British Airways and Qatar Airways the latest to announce service to Chengdu. Finnair and Qatar already serve Chongqing. Zhengzhou maintains a less diversified economy and so sees a heavy presence of dedicated freighters and no intercontinental services.
The more cynical of China watchers write off the country's future domestic network, believing high-speed rail (HSR) will obliterate the need for air travel. While HSR does pose a threat on short sectors, these comprise the minority in China. The larger competitive worry, rather than annihilation, is regional flying. Carriers have shied away from regional operations, but China Eastern's part-owned subsidiary Joy Air has signed an agreement with the Hefei Municipal Government to establish Hefei Airlines by the end of 2013, based in its namesake city in central China.
Hefei will be at the convergence of HSR lines, but there will be opportunities to connect the city with nearby cities that do not overlap with HSR. Indeed, the preliminary plan calls for the carrier to operate 50-70 routes with 30 aircraft by 2020.
While perhaps achievable, its success will be tied with the region's, which has some of China's poorest but also fastest-growing provinces, as manufacturing moves inland away from the expensive coastal region. Hefei has attracted Unilever while Zhengzhou, 450km away, is home to a Foxconn plant that reportedly produces 70% of the world's iPhones.
To borrow from Mark Twain, reports of Chinese domestic airlines' death by high-speed rail have been greatly exaggerated. With the opening of new high-speed railway lines – and China will have some 16,000km of HSR track by 2020 – come inevitable reports asking if HSR will cannibalise and decimate domestic Chinese air routes, or telling of how flights are empty or being cut by airlines. It is true HSR has resulted in notable traffic declines on a handful of routes and caused one route to be suspended.
But there were approximately 1,600 domestic city-pairs operated by Chinese carriers in 2012 and the routes notably affected by HSR number in the single digits; these were never big to begin to with. Services between Zhengzhou and Xian were suspended after HSR's introduction, but previously the sole daily service was on a regional jet; multiple carriers ply the Beijing-Shanghai route with A330s, while the HSR operates below.
Zhengzhou-Xian services resumed after public confidence in HSR declined following a crash and maximum speeds decreased, highlighting that many unknown developments may improve what is already a moderate worst-case scenario. HSR can be a friend to airlines by having the two partner, as well as a galvanising force for Chinese air transport to become more efficient and competitive, if the right levels of government can be persuaded. Overcoming inertia in that area is one of the biggest challenges.
Congested Beijing is building fresh airport capacity that will see it become the world's largest aviation hub, leaving London - currently the world's busiest system of airports - and even ambitious Dubai in its wake. Beijing's new airport at Daxing south of the city could have up to nine runways and ultimate capacity to handle around 370,000 passengers per day, or a staggering 135 million passengers p/a. This would increase capacity at Beijing area airports to around 220 million p/a - almost a quarter of a billion passengers.
The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway commenced operations on 30-Jun-2011 and the impact on economy airfares and hence yields on the route have been immediate and significant, with a slump in economy fares of 52% coinciding with the rail launch. However, fares in the higher-yielding and less price sensitive business and first-class markets appear to have remained relatively unaffected.
China’s fragmented airline industry is undergoing a shakeup. Merger and acquisition activity is intense – probably more so than any other aviation market in the world. In the space of a few short years, the majority of China’s second tier airlines have, at least partially, become owned or controlled by one of the "Big Three" carriers and/or HNA Group, as consolidation accelerates in China. In this report, CAPA reviews what’s fuelling the feeding frenzy and who the targets are.
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