China Southern Airlines (NYSE: ZNH) (HKSE: 1055), the largest airline in The People’s Republic of China, has outlined a bold marketing program as it now rotates into a post-SARS airline recovery period.
The program was unveiled today at a news conference at the airline’s worldwide headquarters here at Baiyun International Airport.
“Last Friday, the World Health Organization lifted the travel advisory for Guangdong Province and Hong Kong, marking a phased victory in the on-going struggle to contain SARS and we are thrilled with this good news,” said a jubilant Li Kun, Vice President, China Southern Airlines.
Mr. Li made extensive note of “the personal sacrifice of numerous physicians, nurses and scientists who have been working literally around the clock to fight this disease.”
He added that, “China Southern Airlines has been in the thick of the fight against SARS during the past several months and there is no question that SARS has been an unexpected and unplanned disaster. SARS has not only threatened people’s health but also has brought a major body blow to the economic and social stability of China. The Chinese aviation industry now stands in the breach.”
“Faced with unparallel challenges, China Southern Airlines has taken major steps to ensure the safe flight operations of our airline while actively working to fight SARS to fully guarantee the safe health of all our passengers and our airline staff and workers,” added Mr. Li
Mr. Li explained that, “in total, China Southern Airlines, in its battle against SARS, has made appropriate and timely management and marketing steps. Rather than micromanage the specific details we have taken - here are some facts to consider:
As of today - no passenger traveling on China Southern Airlines has contracted SARS. Not one.”
He explained that due to the comprehensive efforts of China Southern Airlines’ new System Operations Control Center and Aviation Health Center, that China Southern Airlines established a special Task Force dedicated to fight SARS with 24-hour a day on duty and a Zero Tolerance System.
In addition, all China Southern Airlines’ flight crews have been mandated to measure their temperature several times a day and undergo complete regular physical examinations. “Even as we conduct internal business meetings at our headquarters here in Guangzhou, all staff and management are required to have their temperature checked prior to entering conference rooms and large gathering sites. All our aircraft completely disinfected after each and every flight and all of our modern Airbus and Boeing aircraft are fully equipped with the industry’s state-of-the-art cabin filtering system,” said Mr. Li.
He outlined several additional prudent measures undertaken by China Southern Airlines:
- China Southern Airlines distributed more than 200,000 mini-brochures of SARS Information Manual composed by the Guangdong Disease Prevention & Control Center at all domestic and International ticketing offices and check-in counters;
- Published 100,000 SARS Information Manual mini-brochures (created by China Southern Airlines) to all International and domestic passengers and our company staff and workers, to further enhance self protection awareness efforts.
- China Southern Airlines purchased 152 portable infrared temperature test equipment and “double checks” the temperatures of all passengers at all airport departure areas throughout China and around the world by its flight attendants prior to passengers entering the airplane cabin.
- Since March 25th, 80 passengers who showed higher than normal temperatures have been denied boarding;
- China Southern Airlines also supplied more than 20,000 face masks and 1,000 sets of exposure suits for its employees. And in keeping with governmental requests, China Southern spent more than RMB 200,000 to set up temporary SARS isolation areas.
Mr. Li then outlined additional on-going and new marketing measures being undertaken by China’s largest airline:
- Early in May, China Southern Airlines created a Market Recovery & Promotional Task Force to frame the company’s “Sunshine Action” plan as it rotates into the “all-important recovery period” which began the same day after the WHO lifted the travel advisory on Guangdong; - China Southern Airlines has been totally and completely transparent to domestic and International business and leisure communities and has constantly announced its anti-SARS measures to the global news media through its aggressive International public relations program;
- Effective immediately, all passengers flying on China Southern Airlines will automatically receive the airline’s “SARS Liability Insurance” at no charge.
- Any scientist who discovers a vaccine for SARS will be given the honorary title of “China Southern Airlines Most Respected Passenger” and will be able to fly anywhere-anytime on China’s largest airline - system wide - at no charge for his/her lifetime;
- Starting 1 June through 31 December 2003, China Southern Airlines will offer deeply discounted tickets on all domestic flights for those medical staff who were the vanguard in the SARS fight in China and will award additional 2,003 FFP miles to those medical personnel who join its frequent flyer Sky Pearl Club;
- Effective immediately through 30 June, all Sky Pearl Club members flying China Southern Airlines will receive bonus mileage vouchers and/or free upgrade certificates;
- From 20 June through 15 September 2003, China Southern will offer discounted airline tickets on all domestic flights to teachers and their spouses and students;
- Passengers can make their reservations for major Chinese hotels throughout the nation at discounted rates while they purchase their airline tickets. China Southern Airlines will offer these discounted packages as well as its exclusive “Ticket Plus Hotel” service via China Southern’s e-business platform as well as offering business travelers with free consumer directory listings in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou for car rentals, meals and entertainment;
- All China Southern flights catered at its base at Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou have been using single-use dishware; replacing all cold hors d’oeuvre and salad with snacks in all classes of service; all meals prepared by the Nanland Catering Center, have been separately and individually hand packed; offering in-flight face masks, cold tea and disinfecting facial tissue; additional in-flight announcements are being made to remind passengers to complete entry health declaration forms, and special requirements for cabin attendants to test the temperature of all passengers and the complete disinfection of all public areas within the flight cabin;
- China Southern Airlines will make efforts to increase the marketing and sales of its on-line reservations and e-ticketing.
Quoting Mr. Li, “Since the WHO lifted the travel advisory on Guangdong on 23 May, China Southern Airlines’ worldwide headquarters in Guangzhou has seen a gradual improvement in its inbound and outbound passenger traffic. We can see the local tourist market beginning to move into this recovery phase.” The largest airline in The People’s Republic of China for the past 23 years, China Southern Airlines www.cs-air.com/en connects more than 80 cities around the globe. Major business and vacation destinations served in China include: Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hong Kong, Kunming, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan and as well as international service, including: Amsterdam, Bangkok, Fukuoka, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Moscow, Osaka, Penang, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.