Step One. In April 2000, China Southern (www.cw-air.com.en) began operating freighters on U.S.-China and Europe-China routes using wet-lease airplanes. Its objective was to learn the business, so preparing for the next stage of its development. The airline created a separate cargo division on November 20, 2001. The initial efforts ended in June 2002 as the airline’s Step Two, operation of independent freighters, came into play. As Zhang Weixi, the airline’s deputy general manger, explains, China Southern’s cargo goal is to break even or earn a profit during this period.
The airline has added to its cargo fleet, with two new Boeing 747-400s freighters purchased in 2002. In August 2003, China Southern launched its web-based TANG cargo and sales marketing system.
Step Three begins with the opening in June of this year of the cargo terminal at the New Guangzhou Baiyn International Airport. This is all part of the airline’s increasing and strengthening cargo bases. China Southern will continue to use Guangzhou and Beijing as its international hubs with regional hubs at Shenyang, Urumqi and Wuhan. The company is also beefing up its trucking group, which will mean a ground to air network that connects the Pearl River Delta, and central and southern regions. Last year, for the third year in a row, the airline was China’s leader in total cargo and mail volume, handling a total of 464,000 tons.