Guangzhou to have a low-cost terminal?

Airport competition in the Pearl River Delta region is set to become even more intense, according to the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation. As a consequence of the imminent surge of LCC traffic into the Chinese market, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (GBIA) confirmed this week it has launched a study to evaluate the possibility of constructing an LCC terminal.

This would be China’s first dedicated LCC facility.

LCCs have been targeting other airports in the Pearl River Delta region. Hong Kong and Macau airports are currently home to long-haul LCCs Oasis Hong Kong and Viva Macau, respectively, while AirAsia Group’s AirAsia and Thai AirAsia, which currently serve Macau, are scheduled to launch services to Shenzhen this month. Tiger Airways is the only LCC currently serving GBIA, representing only 0.3% of total departing seats from GBIA per week.

Despite its low base, International LCC traffic to China has been growing at a rapid pace. OAG data reveals that in Mar-07, capacity on international LCC services to China compared to Mar-06, doubled to 29,268 seats.

GBIA is currently undergoing a USD2.2 billion Phase II expansion project, which includes construction of a new international passenger terminal, a third runway to accommodate A380 equipment, and the FedEx freight/logistics complex (scheduled to be operational in 2008).


A subway link to downtown Guangzhou will also open by 2009. When Phase II is completed, GBIA will increase its capacity by 50% to 40 million passengers p/a by 2010.

The development of a dedicated LCC terminal would raise GBIA’s competitiveness against other Pearl River Delta airports, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Macau and Zhuhai, to gain a slice of the rapidly growing LCC market in the region.

CAAC has already expressed its support towards the development of the terminal that would allow the airport to selectively lower its charges.