By Paul Chung
Image credit: @bcavpics.
Forget that hop in Hong Kong, Singapore, or Dubai. One stop in Guangzhou is now the cheapest ‘Kangaroo Route’ between Australia and Europe (primarily London).
Freshly armed with five A380s and eighteen new Australian cabin crewmembers, Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines, the largest airline in China and third largest in the world, is waging an aggressive price war in an effort to lure Kangaroo Route passengers from high profile carriers like Qantas, Singapore Airlines, and Cathay Pacific, even if it means sacrificing profits in the short-run.
“At the beginning of the operation we might lose some money. The most important thing for us is experience,” notes Henry He, a China Southern managing director.
Sydney-based Qantas, the legacy operator of the route, will reroute the Kangaroo Route from Singapore to Dubai beginning April 1 as part of its new partnership with Dubai-based Emirates. On that same day, China Southern will increase weekly frequencies out of Australia.
A sample flight quote comparison for May 4th between China Southern and Qantas is quite telling. Sydney-Guangzhou-London was quoted as $1,442 (8,960 yuan) while Sydney-Dubai-London was quoted as $2180 (13,546 yuan). China Southern is undercutting the Australian flag carrier by more than $765, or 51%. What’s the catch? The special fare is available only for a limited time.
For now, Qantas is refusing to budge.
“We’ve been flying Australians to London for more than 50 years and we’ve always evolved our services to match what customers have told us they want,” said a Qantas spokesman.
“A comfortable seat, friendly and familiar service, plenty of in-flight entertainment options, good food and wine – these are important things that make a big difference when you’re on an aircraft for 20 hours,” he added, implying that China Southern essentially offered none of the above.