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Southern Airlines

Southern Airlines

China Southern Airlines is one of the largest airlines in China. It was established back in July 1, 1988, making it quite the veteran in China aviation. It was formed mainly to split the operations of the Civil Aviation Administration of China into separate airlines following a restructuring that occurred in 1984. Since its establishment, the airline has acquired several domestic airlines and has also merged with a number of others. This made the airline big enough to be included in what is called the Big Three airlines of China. The two other airlines included are China Eastern Airlines and Air China.

Some of the airlines absorbed or merged into China Southern Airlines include Zhongyuan Airlines, China Northern Airlines, and China Xinyiang Airlines. It is also a major shareholder in two different airlines, namely Xiamen Airlines and Chongqing Airlines. It also has an investment in Sichuan Airlines.

China Southern is represented by a logo featuring a red kapok with a blue vertical tail fin.

Fast Facts

• English name: China Southern Airlines
• Chinese name: 中国南方航空公司
• Main hubs: Beijing Capital International Airport, Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Urumqi Diwopu International Airport
• Focus cities: Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Changchun Longjia International Airport, Changsha Huanghua International Airport, Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport, Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, Jieyang Choashan Airport, Shenyang Taoxian International Airport, Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport
• Alliance member: SkyTeam
• IATA code: CZ
• ICAO code: CSN
• Headquarters: Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
• Frequent flyer program: Sky Pearl Club
• Official website: www.csair.com
• Parent company: China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd.



China Southern Airlines is considered as the sixth largest airline in the world in terms of the number of passengers carried. It is also the largest airline in Asia in terms of fleet size and number of passengers carried. In addition, it is known as the fourth largest airline in the world measured by domestic passenger traffic and the sixth largest when it comes to scheduled domestic passenger kilometres flown.

Branches in China

China Southern Airlines has 15 branches in China in regional cities such as Xinyiang, Northern, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hainan, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Dalian, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Guangxi, Zhuhai Helicopter, Xi’an, and Taiwan. It also has 22 sales offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and other major cities.

Offices around the world

The airline has 56 sales offices in other countries, including those located in Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Dubai, Sydney, Vancouver, London, and Seoul. Most of these worldwide offices also have their own websites. These help make booking tickets for Southern Airlines very easy and convenient even for passengers from abroad.

Main flights

Dep. - Arr.

From - To


10:10 - 11:20

Aksu - Urumqi


14:05 - 15:15

Aksu - Urumqi


18:55 - 19:55

Aksu - Urumqi


10:20 - 11:20

Aletai - Urumqi


23:45 - 01:00

Aletai - Urumqi


12:10 - 14:00

Anqing - Guangzhou


06:45 - 09:00

Beijing - Wuhan


06:50 - 08:10

Beijing - Changzhi


06:50 - 09:35

Beijing - Fuzhou


06:55 - 09:45

Beijing - Xiamen


07:00 - 09:35

Beijing - Fuzhou


07:20 - 09:20

Beijing - Nanjing


07:20 - 10:40

Beijing - Zhuhai


07:25 - 11:20

Beijing - Haikou


07:25 - 08:50

Beijing - Zhengzhou


Other highlights

Based on 2010 records, China Southern Airlines was able to carry a total of 76.5 million domestic and international passengers. This was a major improvement for the airline since 1991, when its total number of passengers carried was only at 6 million. Its average load factor is 79.2%. The airline, in total, brought in a net profit of CNY5.8 billion.

Southern Airlines also played a huge role in connecting the two Chinas, mainland China and Taiwan, after a six decade long period of limited air travel between them.

Premium Economy Class

Aside from the usual classes, namely First, Business, and Economy, China Southern Airlines operates a Premium Economy class. This cabin was first offered in March 2010, when the airline became the first to offer this particular upgraded economy class, which is well-known for its value. With 40% more seat space than the standard economy class but only a 10% increase in price, this class is unsurprisingly highly demanded.  


China Southern Airlines is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. It signed its initial agreement with the alliance back in 2004, but eventually became an official member in 2007. At that time, it became the 11th member of the alliance and the first airline from mainland China to join the said team. Its membership helped SkyTeam improve its presence in the mainland.

Other SkyTeam alliance members, with which Southern Airlines passengers can also gain added benefits, include:

Aeroflot, Air France, China Eastern Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Korean Air, Aeromexico, Alitalia, Kenya Airways, TAROM, Air Europa, China Airlines, Czech Airlines, KLM

Also, to further increase its traffic especially in international aviation, it went into a codeshare agreement with several airlines including the following:



Frequent-Flyer Club

Asiana Airlines

Star Alliance (2003)

Asiana Club

Cathay Pacific    

Oneworld (1999)

Asia Miles/ The Marco Polo Club


Oneworld (1999)

(Same as above)

Garuda Indonesia

SkyTeam (future/2012)

Garuda Frequent Flyer

Japan Airlines

Oneworld (2007)

JAL Global Club/JAL Mileage Bank

Malaysia Airlines

Oneworld (future)

Enrich/ Grads

Pakistan Int’l Airlines


PIA Awards Plus+

Fleet and Destination

China Southern has a total fleet size of 360, plus another 157 pending orders. The entire fleet travels to 200 destinations. This is a far cry from the 38 Boeing jet airliners China Southern Airlines had in 1991, when it served only 90 domestic cities and 17 international cities. In 1995, the airline started expanding its fleet and brought in six Boeing 777 airplanes, making them the first carrier in Asia to operate that specific type of aircraft. This enabled the airline to begin its first long-haul route from Guangzhou to Amsterdam with a stopover in Beijing. This service was launched in 1996. In 1996, the airline once again hit a first when it started offering non-stop services from Guangzhou to Los Angeles, crossing the Pacific Ocean; the service used the airline’s Boeing 777s as well. In 1999, the airline once again expanded its routes, using the Boeing 777s to fly directly to Sydney and to Melbourne.

Plans to further increase the fleet of the airline are underway. The airline has continuously acquired a lot of airplanes over the past several years. The fleet now includes both Boeing and Airbus planes. In 2005, the airline ordered 10 Airbus A330 wide-body airliners, 8 A330-300s, and 2 A330-300s. In 2006, it ordered 50 A320 narrow-body airliners. The orders were scheduled for delivery back in the 2007-2008 period. In 2010, orders for 9 Boeing airliners were also delivered.  These acquisitions highly improved the operations of the airlines.

From 2010 to 2011, China Southern continues to place orders and sign lease agreements for various airliners, including Airbus A330s and A320s and the Embraer E-190. It has also acquired an Airbus A380, which made its debut flight on October 17, 2011.

As of the moment, the airline has a pending order for 10 Airbus A330-300s, which are slated for delivery in late 2012. The deal is said to be priced at $1.677 US. The order was reportedly prompted by falling costs of fuel and increasing passenger demand. To help fund the orders, the airline issued new shares and also sourced funds from its subsidiary Xiamen Airlines.

As of the moment, China Southern has 485 flights per day flying from Guangzhou and 221 flights per day departing from Beijing. It is currently considering expanding into the African and South American markets.

Luggage Allowance

Carry-on luggage

Passengers are allowed to bring carry-on luggage on their flights as long as they conform to the weight and dimensions specified. Generally, the luggage has to be able to fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of the passenger. The carry-on luggage also has to be less than 5 kgs. First class passengers are allowed to distribute this weight into two pieces of luggage.

There is, however, no standard size for carry-on luggage, so the permitted size may vary from one continent to another. So when traveling internationally, you can never be sure about the size restrictions of your baggage. To be on the safe side, use luggage that are within this size:

Height: 55cm, Weight: 35cm, Depth: 20cm

Luggage that does not fall within these limits have to be checked and will not be allowed on the plane.

Checked luggage

For allowance and restrictions on checked luggage, refer to:


First Class

Business Class

Premium Economy  Class

Economy Class

Domestic Routes

Total 40kgs*

Total 30kgs

Total 20kgs

Total 20kgs

European Routes

3 pieces/23kgs per piece

3 pieces/23kgs per piece

2 pieces/23kgs per piece

1 piece/23kgs per piece

American Routes

3 pieces/32kgs per piece

2 pieces/32kgs per piece

2 pieces/23kgs per piece

2 pieces/23kgs per piece

Australia/ New Zealand/ Africa/ Middle East (excl. Iran)/ Russia/ African Routes

Total 45kgs

Total 40kgs

Total 35kgs

Total 30kgs

Central & Western Asian Routes**

Total 45kgs

Total 40kgs

Total 35kgs

Total 30kgs

Other Asian Routes

Total 40kgs

Total 35kgs

Total 30kgs

Total 20kgs

Dubai/ Jeddah Routes

Total 50kgs

Total 50kgs

Total 45kgs>

Total 40kgs

Checked baggage that exceeds the allowance set will be subject to additional charges. To avoid paying unnecessary fees, make sure to check your baggage allocation prior to your flight.

In-Flight Food

First and Business class passengers are served with Western and Chinese food and 8 kinds of beverages. Premium-economy and economy class passengers are offered standard, internationalized Western-Chinese mixed fare and 5 kinds of beverages. These are, however, served only on long-haul flights. Short-haul flight passengers are provided with snacks and beverages only.

Some flights offer meal reservation services 24 hours before departure to accommodate passengers with special dietary requirements, such as kosher standards, HALAL standards, vegetarian meals, diabetic meals, low fat meals, and so on. Infant meals are also available upon request.

Special Services

Wheelchair service

assengers are allowed to bring their own wheelchair but must check it along with the baggage. They will then be provided with a wheelchair service from check-in to check-out. However, passengers have to make a reservation for this as early as possible.

Pregnant service

Pregnant passengers are allowed to board any China Southern flight as regular passengers provided that their pregnancy is still under 32 weeks. Between 32 and 35 weeks, passengers have to provide a health certificate that a licensed professional issued within 72 hours before departure. As per international practice, however, China Southern flights do not allow women beyond 36 weeks of pregnancy into any of its flights.

Frequent Flyer Program

China Southern Airlines’ frequent flyer program is the Sky Pearl Club. The program allows members to earn mileages not only by flying with China Southern but also by availing of flights from other SkyTeam member airlines. They can also earn and use mileage on Sichuan Airlines and China Airlines, both of which are program partners.

Members can collect a specific amount of mileages to be counted into the higher levels of the program including the Elite Qualifying Mileages and Elite Qualifying Segment.

Membership also has two tiers: Silver card and Gold card. Each tier offers unique benefits. Please refer to the table below for more details:


• Bonus mileage of 30% of statute mileage
• Confirmed full fare economy reservation available until 48 hours prior to departure
• First Class counter for check-in
• First class Lounge access with one companion
• Extra baggage allowance of 15kg or 1 piece
• Priority standby and upgrade
• First class service in case of flight delays
• Exclusive gifts and information


• Bonus mileage of 15% of Statute Mileage
• Confirmed full fare economy reservation available until 72 hours prior to departure
• Business Class counter check-in
• Business class lounge access for passenger only
• Extra baggage allowance of 10kg or 1 piece
• Priority standby and upgrade
• Business Class service in case of flight delays
• Exclusive gifts and information


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