China Southern boosts net strategy

China Southern Airlines is planning an even more aggressive Internet strategy to sell its passenger services through new channels. At the recent Travel Distribution Summit Asia 2006 in Singapore, Mr. Jerry Hu, General Manager, E-commerce, China Southern Airlines, said that the focus of the airline is to plan, develop and operate a multi-channel platform exclusively for China Southern Airlines to maintain and strengthen its leading position in the Chinese aviation industry.
“A sales network with 5,600 agencies has been formed and we have Sky Pearl Club service counters at 90 airports around the country,” said Mr. Hu.
He said that China Southern “is focused on the domestic (Chinese) market. China Southern is also very strong on running its domestic network, which feeds into and supports our international routes as well.”
Mr. Hu added that China Southern plans to “improve its in-house E-ticketing system and cooperate with more online travel agencies and meta-search companies. I do believe the deep search engine is a good chance for us to bypass agency to serve our consumer directly.”
When reflecting on the challenges in 2006, Mr. Hu said, “IATA has requested that its member airlines be 100% Internet ticketing by the end of 2007, and in 2005 we reached 15 percent—so we still have a big challenge for us.”