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An investor’s guide to China Southern Airlines


Nov. 20 2020, Updated 1:53 p.m. ET

Company overview

China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd., headquartered in Guangzhou, is one of the China’s leading airlines and provides passenger and cargo transportation services. In 2013, it had the largest fleet size, flight route network, and passenger traffic and capacity in China. You can read more about the domestic market share of airlines in the Chinese aviation industry in Part 2 of this series.

Guangzhou and Beijing are China Southern Airlines’ major hubs. As part of the airline alliance SkyTeam, along with its partners, China Southern Airlines’ network connects 1,024 destinations in 187 countries, including all major cities in Asia, Europe, the United States, Australia, and Africa.

As shown in the chart below, the company has 14 branches and operates many subsidiaries and joint ventures. The six major subsidiaries of the company are Xiamen Airlines, Shantou Airlines, Zhuhai Airlines, Guizhou Airlines, Chongqing Airlines, and Henan Airlines.

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Passenger carriage

China Southern Airlines carried 91 million passengers in 2013, ranking as the world’s third largest airline among the 240 airlines covered under the IATA (or International Air Transport Association). According to IATA, the top five airlines by scheduled passengers carried in 2013 include Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL), which carried the highest number of scheduled passengers of ~120 million. Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) followed with ~115 million, China Southern Co. Ltd. (ZNH) with ~91 million passengers, United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) carried ~90 million passengers, and American Airlines (AAL) carried ~87 million passengers.


China Southern Airlines was also recognized as one of the top 50 most admired companies by Fortune China magazine in 2012 and 2013. It was also named as the best airline in China by several international media organizations. In 2011, the airline earned a 4-star status from Skytrax, the world’s most prestigious airline performance evaluation organization.

ETFs holding China Southern Airlines’ shares include the Guggenheim China Small Cap ETF (HAO), the KraneShares CSI China Five-Year Plan ETF (KFYP), and the Guggenheim BRIC ETF (EEB).


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