China Southern -- Asia's largest airline -- will launch direct Auckland-Guangzhou when services start on 8 April. The airline had previously planned to fly via Melbourne, so business travellers will be especially pleased to save six hours and an extra stop in Australia.
The thrice-weekly flights will use Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 264 seats in a two-class configuration. Business class passengers can expect a 1.9m slope bed in a 2-2-2 cabin arrangement, while the back of the plane is in the usual Airbus 2-4-2 economy class arrangement.
With favourable arrival and departure times for the Auckland flights, business travellers from New Zealand to internal Chinese destinations will benefit from a one-stop journey.
China Southern flight CZ306 leaves Auckland at 2200 and takes 12 hours, arriving at Guangzhou at 0600 the next day. Flights will leave Auckland Airport on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The return flight, CZ305, leaves Guangzhou at 2350, and arrives in Auckland at 1520 the following day. Flights depart Guangzhou Baiyun Airport on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Guangzhou Baiyun (airport code CAN) is the 2nd busiest airport in China and the 22nd busiest in the world, with more than 40 million passengers in 2010. That's nearly ten times the population of New Zealand.
New Zealanders who speak te reo M?ori will find the airport's name symbolic: Baiyun means "white cloud", whereas the M?ori name for New Zealand (Aotearoa) means "land of the long white cloud".
For frequent flyers looking to increase their miles or points account, China Southern is a member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance, but that doesn't include any Australian or NZ airlines.
Frequent flyers can collect miles on China Southern's Sky Pearl Club, or on SkyTeam partners Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, Czech Airlines, Delta, KLM, Korean Air, Air Europa, Kenya Airways, Vietnam Airlines and Tarom.
China Southern has dozens of connections in Guangzhou to cities in China. Check this list to see whether China Southern flies to your business travel destination in China: Baoshan, Beihai, Beijing, Changchun, Changde, Changsha, Changzhi, Changzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dali, Dalian, Da Nang, Dandong, Daqing, Datong, Enshi, Fuzhou, Ganzhou, Guilin, Guiyang, Haikou, Handan, Hangzhou, Harbin, Hefei, Huangshan, Jiamusi, Jinan, Jining, Kashgar, Korla, Kunming, Kuqa, Lanzhou, Lhasa, Lianyungang, Lijiang, Liuzhou, Luoyang, Meixian, Mianyang, Mudanjiang, Nanchang, Nanchong, Nanjing, Nanning, Nantong, Nanyang, Ningbo, Qiemo, Qingdao, Qiqihar, Quanzhou, Sanya, Shanghai-Hongqiao, Shanghai-Pudong, Shantou, Shenyang, Shijiazhuang, Taipei-Taoyuan, Taiyuan, Tianjin, Tongren, Urümqi, Weihai, Wenzhou, Wuhan, Wuxi, Wuyishan, Wuzhou, Xiamen, Xi'an, Xiangfan, Xining, Xuzhou, Yancheng, Yanji, Yichang, Yinchuan, Yining, Yiwu, Yongzhou, Zhangjiajie, Zhanjiang and Zhengzhou.