China Southern Airlines has opened an air route from South China's Guangzhou city to London, with its maiden flight arriving in London on Wednesday.
The Guangzhou-London direct flight targets the potential market of transfer passengers between Europe and Australia and New Zealand, said China Southern Airlines, China's largest airline company by fleet size, based in Guangzhou. The flight would also benefit Chinese sports fans flying to London for this summer's Olympic Games.
Currently, China Southern Airlines has several air routes to cities in Australia and New Zealand, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland, available for European passengers after traveling to China for transfer flights.
The company said its flights to Australian cities are expected to reach 110 a week by the end of 2015, from the current 42.
China Southern carried about 600,000 passengers to Australia in 2011, of which 343,000 were transfer passengers from Guangzhou city to Australia and New Zealand, surging 132 percent year on year.
China Southern Airlines now provides three flights between Guangzhou and London a week, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.