China Southern Airlines said it is planning to enter the African and South American markets in the next five years.
Senior Vice President (Marketing) Wu Guoxiang said in an interview with South China Morning Post that the airline is looking at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo for its next African destination with the Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta to follow.
China Southern Airlines said it currently serves from Guangzhou 2x weekly using A330-200 metal.
As for South America, Wu Guoxiang said China Southern Airlines will look at developing services to points in Brazil and Argentina, he added without mentioning specifics.
China Southern’s international operations currently focus on East Asia, Oceania, Europe, and North America (the United States and Canada only). Direct flights between China and Africa and between China and South America are currently dominated by non-Chinese carriers although flag carrier Air China (CA, Beijing Capital) has attempted to gain a foothold through the launch of its own services from Beijing Capital to each of Johannesburg O.R. Tambo and São Paulo Guarulhos (via Madrid Barajas).
The move by China Southern Airlines to enter the African market is a move to capture the trend of Chinese investors and local investors who are increasingly interlinked to China.
In Nigeria, where the worst recession in the last 20 years is receding, the government is looking at floating a national carrier in conjunction with Deutsche Lufthansa AG and other partners. The choice of Kenya and South Africa is also instructive to give their well-structured aviation industry.