China Southern Air Holding Company celebrated (11-Oct-2012) its 10th anniversary on 11-Oct-2012. Over the past decade, the group’s China Southern Airlines subsidiary increased its fleet from 180 to 450, annual passenger numbers increased from 26.0 million to 80.0 million, employees increased from 30,000 to 80,000 and total assets increased from CNY50.0 billion (USD7.8 billion) to CNY200.0 billion (USD31.2 billion) at present. [more - original PR - Chinese]
China Southern Air Holding Company notes achievements over past decade
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Even the most sceptical investors would be forgiving for contemplating airline ownership during the travel rush. The question, and lurking problem, is what happens the rest of the year.
China's concentrated and en masse travel periods present a challenge for sustainability. Airlines local and foreign are often reduced to hoping that routes will be annually profitable based on a few weeks of travel during Chinese New Year, the brief summer peak, and the autumn holidays. With load factors consistently high, yields are weakened, either on point-to-point traffic or as Chinese airlines aggressively discount connecting/transfer traffic.
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Spring Airlines seeks to redefine itself in a more crowded Chinese LCC market
The company folklore of the Chinese low cost carrier Spring Airlines has become entrenched in aviation history, with photos of Spring staff on duty trips sharing hotel rooms while eating instant noodles.
For the Chinese market this thriftiness, and regular candid interviews with billionaire founder Wang Zhenghua, became synonymous with the growing number of budget flights on Spring Airlines. The public became educated about China's only notable LCC, which was markedly different from the cookie cutter format of full service domestic airlines.
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Mr Wang addressed CAPA's Americas Aviation Summit in Orlando in Apr-2017. There are new LCCs and airlines transitioning to LCCs with different service levels, making Spring wonder if it should be an "ULCC". The reality of a government orchestrated market means Spring needs to consider widebody operations for domestic trunk routes, and possible long haul flying. Spring also needs to diversify its presence: its home hub of Shanghai is high yielding but this has invited envy, and an aviation hub overhaul could mean that LCCs are moved to a new and remote third airport in Shanghai.