First domestic A380 flights: China Southern Guangzhou-Beijing

By John Walton, July 19 2011
First domestic A380 flights: China Southern Guangzhou-Beijing

China Southern will become the first carrier to use the Airbus A380 superjumbo on a domestic route, between Guangzhou and Beijing, later this year.

The airline, the largest in China and the fourth largest in Asia, plans to start receiving its A380s in September this year, and will base them at its hub in Guangzhou.

The Guangzhou-Beijing flights -- taking just over three hours each way -- aren't the shortest for the superjumbo, however.

Emirates flies A380s on a slightly shorter route between its Dubai hub and Jeddah, which is the main gateway airport for Muslim Hajj pilgrims and so has the high passenger demand needed for an A380 to be economical.

Air France has also used the A380 on quick return flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle to London Heathrow in order to familiarise pilots and crew with the plane.

China Southern, meanwhile, could well be using these flights as a similar opportunity for training -- and to attract business travellers to its services.

With eight first class seats in a 1-2-1 layout, plus 70 business class seats in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, the airline's A380 mean domestic flight with international-standard comfort and the chance to work, dine or relax.

With Qantas only serving Shanghai, and Jetstar's planned Melbourne-Beijing flights via Singapore involving an 11-hour stop on the way back to Melbourne, business travellers looking for comfort might consider China Southern's connecting flights from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

China Southern will start flights between Perth and Guangzhou in October, adding potential international transfer passengers from the lucrative Western Australia market into the mix.

Beijing-based competitor Air China hopes that its new fully-flat business class beds will attract more business travellers to its own routes.


John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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