Sydney to London on a Boeing 787? Yes, says China Southern

By David Flynn, August 10 2012
Sydney to London on a Boeing 787? Yes, says China Southern

China Southern will introduce the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on flights between Sydney and London, in a move which could see the airline trump Qantas for the Dreamliner's commercial debut in Australian skies.

Making this popular but long-haul journey on Boeing's next-jen jetliner would be an appealing drawcard for China Southern as it seeks to grow its 'Canton Route', which involves a stopover at the airline's Guangzhou hub, as a compelling alternative to the Qantas-backed Kangaroo Route via Singapore.

The service currently uses Airbus A330s on three flights per week but as of late October will tick up to the daily frequency prized by business travellers.

China Southern president and CEO Mr Tan Wangeng confirmed his intentions for the Boeing 787 on the Sydney-London route during a visit to Sydney to open the airline's new regional office, but would not be drawn on the timetable.

The airline has 10 Boeing 787s on order, with the first due later this year.

This puts China Southern well ahead of Qantas, which will take delivery of its first Dreamliners in mid-2013, flying them under Jetstar's flag with Singapore as the hub, with the Red Roo's own 787s due to follow in 2015-2016.

According to China Southern's website, each of CZ's Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners will sport four fully-flat lie-flat 'Deluxe First Class' seats with a 78 inch pitch; 24 lie-flat business class seats with a 74 inch pitch (and the same 26 inch seat width as first class); and 200 economy seats, with pitch ranging from 31 to 33 inches and a 17.2 inch width.

Update: China Southern has confirmed the business class seats on its Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be lie-flat beds.

The long trip between Sydney and London will however showcase the 787's passenger-friendly features such as a higher cabin pressure, higher humidity and fresher air, which combine to reduce fatigue and increase comfort during the flight.

For more details, read Why business travellers will love the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Get the latest business traveller and frequent flyer news – follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter at @AusBT.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 193

I don't think it's that appealing with recliners in Business Class. Especially when you guys make such a big deal about lie-flat vs flat-bed Business Class seats.

And aren't the 787's "passenger-friendly features" already available on A380's?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2549

If these are in fact recliners and not lie-flats in business they will definitely be a deal-breaker for some travellers, especially on the overnight legs.

The 787's passenger-friendly features we cited aren't available on the A380, primarly because the maor ones (cabin pressure & humidity) rely on a composite body rather than metal.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 526

Strange that they are not looking to introduce flat beds in J... No way I would choose to fly on them when other airlines offer flat even if it is a 787. 

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24 Aug 2011

Total posts 784

CZ will most likely be cheaper than other carriers with lie-flat in business, so wait and see what the fares will be. Or their first may be priced around what you may pay for business elsewhere. Interesting times ahead. 


15 Apr 2011

Total posts 580

Recliners with 74" pitch? That sounds rather dubious to me (Qantas' fully flat seat has about 80" pitch, the older ones have only 60" pitch. Even Malyasia's new A380 seat is only 74-76" and they are full flat). Are you sure this isn't just something that has been lost in translation (lie flat rather than fully flat for First also seems very strange). Surely it makes more sense for the seats to be exactly the same as what is in their A380's (ie the staggered layout in Business).

How does this fit in with the A380's from the story the other day?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2549

It's very weird, isn't it? We got this straight from CZ (, however - and when we meet with them next week on a trip to Guangzhou you can be sure we'll be pressing for more details.

How this fits into the A380 story from the other day: CZ has now confirmed the 787 will cover both legs of their Canton Route, all the way from Sydney to London; and a CZ spokesman says that while CZ's CEO highlighted the A380 onto this route, that decision has not actually been made.

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