[photopress:china_southern_airlines_1.jpg,full,alignright]China Southern Airlines expects to open 7-8 new international routes this year, expanding on a plan that saw it open 10 new foreign destinations in 2007. Chairman Liu Shaoyang said this year’s routes will originate mostly in Guangzhou and serve neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, in addition to a London flight scheduled to start in the fourth quarter.
It aims to increase the percentage of its revenue derived from international operations from the current 19% to 25%-30% in the next five years while expanding its fleet from 332 aircraft at Dec. 31, 2007, to 400 by 2010.
However, Chairman Liu Shaoyang said, domestic consolidation likely is necessary to maximize international competitiveness. He said Beijing is considering a reorganization of the domestic airline industry but a decision will not be made this year as carriers concentrate on August’s Olympic Games.
Last month he proposed a China Air Holding Co. that would hold stakes in China Southern, Air China and China Eastern Airlines and also would ‘be able to make investments in foreign carriers as well as conduct internal integration.’