China Southern is getting ready to operate between Beijing’s new Daxing airport and London this September.

This development has been on the cards for months, but a report from China’s Xinhuanet would suggest the new route’s launch is now definite.

This is a significant route for China Southern because:

  • China Southern is headquartered in Guangzhou and this route signifies its expansion from Beijing.
  • China Southern could code-share with British Airways on this route. If so it would provide BA with representation at the new airport.
  • It would also enable the Chinese carrier to offer many convenient connections assuming it will operate into London Heathrow.

However some questions need to be answered.

The start date for the new route remains unclear, although it will be sometime in September (assuming Daxing opens on schedule).

This will be a prestigious route and one would imagine China Southern would prefer to use London Heathrow, which is the arrival point for its current services from Guangzhou.

As we all know, Heathrow slots are difficult to obtain. We understand that China Southern is negotiating with one or more airlines to secure something suitable.

What is clear is that the airlines of mainland China dominate the Beijing-London route.

Air China, the existing mainland China carrier, operates three daily services as against the single flight by BA.  Will we see Virgin Atlantic applying for traffic rights in the future?

The terminal at Beijing Daxing, judging by the promotional video, looks as though it will be second in Asia only to Singapore Changi.