GUANGZHOU, China, April 8, 2013 - A strategic cooperation agreement between China Southern Airlines and New Zealand was signed today, reaffirming the airline’s flight operations and marketing in the New Zealand marketplace.
Participants at the signing ceremony included:
• John Key, the right honored Prime Minister of New Zealand
• Chen Yunxian, Vice-Governor of People’s Government of Guangdong Province
• Xu Jianguo, Chinese ambassador to New Zealand
• Si Xianmin, President of China Southern Air Holding Company &Chairman of China Southern Airlines
• Tan Wan’geng, President and CEO of China Southern Airlines
• Lv Yesheng, Director of Baiyun International Airport Group and
• Additional leaders from economy, trade, tourism and education departments from both countries as well as leaders from New Zealand airport and Chinese civil aviation.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key was in attendance in Guangzhou following the 12th Boao Asia Forum held in Hainan, China.
Prime Minister Key traveled to Guangzhou with a traveling party of 70 government officials, airport and tourism leaders.
The date of this strategic cooperation agreement coincided with the anniversary of China Southern Airlines’ Guangzhou-Auckland route. On April 8, 2012, China Southern Airlines launched direct service between Baiyun International Airport Guangzhou to Auckland, becoming the only Chinese carrier to fly to New Zealand.
Initially, three fights were launched per week and increased to daily service by the close of 2012
In 2012, China Southern Airlines carried 122,000 passengers and in the combined months of January and February, the carrier carried 22,000 passengers for a per flight load factor of 87%.
Prime Minister John Key arrived at Guangzhou on Monday, April 8 and during his stay visited with Chen Yunxian, Vice-Governor of People’s Government of Guangdong Province as well as Mr. Si Xianmin and Mr. Tan Wangeng of China Southern Airlines.
All activities were held at China Southern Airlines (Guangzhou) Pearl Hotel.
During these two years of initial cooperation with their counterparts in New Zealand, China Southern Airlines has strengthened its cooperation with New Zealand government and airport in many areas.
In 2010, before starting direct service, China Southern Airlines signed its first marketing agreement with New Zealand Tourism and Auckland Airport, implementing a comprehensive cooperation in brand promotion, road show, tourist agency cooperation, media trips and market research information sharing.
In 2011, China Southern sponsored the New Zealand “100% Green New Zealand semi-self-help tourism product promotion” held by New Zealand Tourism in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
A further cooperation agreement between both parties was to foreshadow today’s agreement.
China Southern has made significant efforts in this route in airline operation, product design, service and marketing and has dedicated an Airbus A330-200 to the New Zealand route, providing exceptional convenience for passengers.
In terms of product design, considering the preferences of passengers from different locations in New Zealand, China and EU, China Southern actively developed products with Chinese and Southern China Lingnan characteristics. Even in-cabin cuisine reflects true Cantonese cuisine even down to the authentic noodles served on board.
China Southern has complied with all SKYTRAX standards and is in keeping with its global four-star ranking. The airline also added an exclusive security checking process for international passengers travelling in China providing a fast and secure traffic for the passengers of Guangzhou-Auckland airline as well as passengers flying from Australia and New Zealand.
With the cooperation of New Zealand Immigration Bureau, China Southern Airlines’ frequent flyer program – The Sky Pearl Club – in which FFP members can acquire their visa by using their Sky Pearl Club Membership card or Silver card certification, thus avoiding necessaries documents such as financial and work certifications.
China Southern is also researching into new services in New Zealand, specifically to Christchurch or Wellington.
Today’s signing also highlights the business and leisure “air bridge” between the Chinese and New Zealand people. The daily air service greatly promotes the economic and cultural ties between China and New Zealand as well as Guangzhou and New Zealand specifically.
China is the second largest trade partner, import and export market and tourism country to New Zealand, while New Zealand is the largest powder milk provider to China and the preferred destination for Chinese students for studying abroad. There are approximately 5,000 Chinese students seeking their studies in New Zealand annually and New Zealand exports of milk power, dairy products, wool, wood, fruits and wine to China continues to grow.
As part of its “Canton Route” family of travel routes, China Southern has developed important business opportunities and great development potential in Europe and Australia markets linking them via Baiyun International Airport, Guangzhou and currently has more than six major destinations including Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth linked with its hub in Guangzhou to direct onward service to varied European destinations including Paris, Amsterdam and London, which began in June 2012.
In 2012, passengers using Baiyun International Airport Guangzhou as their hub to onward destinations reached more than two million, with an increase of more than 800,000 compared with 2011, among which international passengers covered 48.3% reaching more than one million.
Sixth traffic right transiting passengers increased by nearly 1.5 times from 147,900 of 2011 to 346,000, with an increase of more than 20 times compared with year 2009.
Australia and New Zealand passengers reached more than 760,000 among which transit passengers reached 449,000, a 30% increase compared with year 2012.
Since the signing of the major economy and trade agreement signed in 2008 between both national governments, China and New Zealand have witnessed a rapid economic and cultural expansion.
Coupled with the opening and facilitating policies on visas, overseas study and immigration that will promote the tourist industry and aviation between both countries, the Sino-New Zealand tourism reached 308,000 in year 2012, increasing 22.2% compared with year 2011. Chinese students studying in New Zealand is increasing 20% every year with some 25,000 Chinese students registered in New Zealand schools and universities.
Since 2009, CSN have increased its freight capability in Australasia by more than 50% annually.
A proud member of SkyTeam, China Southern plans to increase its freight services to Australia and New Zealand to offer nearly 110 mutual flights per weekly by the end of year 2015. These improvements will include airline design, transit direction and service, transit rest area construction, information desk service, transit accommodations, associate security checking and free goods procurement.
China Southern Airlines is also working to adopt a 72-hour visa-free policy at conjunction airports and customs.