China Southern Airlines, the fourth largest in the world by passengers carried (126 million in 2017) and the biggest in Asia, is looking to expand its reach into the UK and Europe.
So keen is the state-owned airline to attract visitors to central Chinese city Wuhan that it's selling its premium economy seats - on which travellers enjoy five inches more leg room - as standard, for the same price as economy.
It is no secret that the rise of Chinese travellers is fuelling a boom in air travel in and around Asia - the number of overseas trips made by Chinese residents grew 1,380 per cent from 2000 to 2017 - but Newman says China Southern is also seeing an increase in the number of western and British holidaymakers flying to China.
Nick Newman, commercial manager at China Southern in the UK, said China Southern was in an “introductory phase” concerned with introducing travelers to China. “It’s about getting people into the market,” he said. This translates to thousands of seats sold at relatively low lead-in rates.
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