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China Southern Airlines

Written by Apple Updated Jan. 17, 2021

China Southern Airlines is the largest airlines in China measured in terms of fleet size as well as the number of passengers carried, and also the 1st in Asia in terms of fleet size.

Quick Facts

  • English Name: China Southern Airlines
  • Chinese Name: 中国南方航空股份有限公司
  • Employees: 65085
  • Alliance Member: Sky Team
  • IATA Code:CZ
  • ICAO Code:CSN (Note that in the following, only the IATA code will be given for airports.)
  • Callsign: CHINA SOUTHERN
  • Headquarters: 278 Jichang ("Airport") Road, Guangzhou 510406, Guangdong Province, China (Chinese: 广东省广州市机场路278号).
  • Main Hubs: Guangzhou Baiyuan International Airport (CAN) and Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK/BJS)
  • Frequent Flyer Program: Sky Pearl Club
  • Official Website:


China Southern AirlinesChina Southern Airlines, with headquarters in the capital of Guangdong Province, i.e., the city of Guangzhou (known in the past alternately as Kwangchow and Canton) is the largest airline in China measured in terms of fleet size, which is a rough approximation for all of the other measurement parameters associated with an airline such as the number of passengers carried, the number of routes and destinations served, the number of flight hours flown, etc. China Southern Airlines is also 1st in Asia in terms of fleet size. China Southern Airlines has branches in major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shenzhen, Dalian and Zhuhai, in addition to branches in the following provinces: Hainan, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Henan, Xinjiang, Hubei, Hunan, Guangxi and Taiwan. Moreover, China Southern Airlines is affiliated with five other Chinese airlines, namely, Xiamen, Shantou, Guizhou, Zhuhai and Chongqing Airlines, and it has special, limited but significant arrangements with Sichuan Airlines and China Airlines, as will be seen in the following.

China Southern Airlines has 53 offices around the world, including offices in Brisbane, Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Dubai and Lagos. In 2010, China Southern Airlines was ranked as the world's 4th largest airline measured in terms of the number of passengers carried, behind only Southwest Airlines (1st), American Airlines (2nd) and Delta Air Lines.

China Southern Airlines has been operating a fleet of Air Bus A380s – the world's largest passenger airplane – since October 14th, 2011. China Southern Airlines was the first airline in China to fly the Air Bus A380, making it the seventh such airline in the world. The Air Bus A380 boasts 50% more cabin area and 50% less cabin noise, as well as highly prized additional features such as greater cabin volume (ensures fresher air quality), larger windows and roomier overhead bins, compared to other aircraft.

Focus Cities:

Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG), Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport (SZX), Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN), Shenyang Taoxian International Airport (SHE), Urumqi Diwopu International Airport (URC), Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH), Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO), Changsha Huanghua International Airport (CSX), Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport (DLC), Ha'erbin Taiping International Airport (HRB), Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport (KWE), Fuzhou Changle International Airport (FOC) and Qingdao Liuqing International Airport (TAO)


Besides operating the usual first, business and economy classes, China Southern Airlines has operated a premium economy class since March of 2010. China Southern Airlines is the first airline in China to offer this highly popular, maximum value new economy class. For example, the seat space of premium economy class (35-37in/ 89-94cm) is about 40% greater than that of standard economy class (31in/ 79cm), while the price of a premium economy class seat is only about 10% higher. By the close of 2010, 300 out of China Southern Airlines' 353 passenger aircraft were equipped with, in all, over 7000 premium economy class seats.

China Southern Airlines' LOGO

China Southern Airlines' logo is a stylized, blossoming kapok flower, in red, on a 'dark blue on light blue' stylized version of their airplane's tail fin. The kapok, which comes in a variety of colors and shades – including red – is Guangzhou's city flower. The kapok's blossom therefore fittingly symbolizes the welcoming hospitality of China Southern Airlines.


As indicated in the Quick Facts above, China Southern Airlines is a member of Sky Team, the world's next-largest airline alliance – second only to Star Alliance – with 15 member carriers servicing 926 airports in 173 countries around the world. Sky Team member carriers are grouped together in a shared location – Terminal 2 – at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK/BJS), thus facilitating quick and easy airline-to-airline transfers at PEK/BJS.

China Southern Airlines is the first airline on Chinese mainland to join an international (global) air alliance. This forward-looking step has greatly expanded China Southern Airlines' international "reach", via the cooperation agreement that exists among the alliance's member carriers. China Southern Airline passengers can therefore enjoy seamlessly connecting flights, Minimum Connecting Times (MCTs), flexible ticket transfers between alliance member carriers and lower air fares for a given journey. In addition, China Southern Airlines passengers tally up frequent flyer miles faster, since they earn frequent flyer miles on their China Southern Airlines frequent flyer account even when they fly with other member carriers of the Sky Team alliance than China Southern Airlines.


  • Aeroflot
  • Aeroméxico
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Czech Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air


As of 2011, China Southern Airlines, ranked 1st in Asia and 5th in the world, has operated a fleet of 353 passenger aircraft as well as a lesser fleet of 8 cargo aircraft. China Southern Airlines flies the Air Bus A380 – the largest passenger airplane in the world, as indicated above – as well as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a long-range, modest-capacity passenger airplane, becoming the first airline in the world to operate both of these types of cutting edge passenger aircraft.

China Southern Airlines has an extensive network of passenger routes in China, reaching over 100 destinations. It also serves over 60 international airports, connecting, principally, the Chinese cities of Guangzhou, Beijing, Dalian and Urumqi with international destinations.

Since Sky Team additionally has association agreements (aka Codeshare agreements) with a number of other airline alliances, China Southern Airlines passengers enjoy a global "reach" that is truly impressive, with 898 international destinations in 169 countries, which expands upon China Southern Airlines' ranking as the 1st airline in Asia, the 5th airline in the world.

The following airlines, with their respective alliance memberships indicated in parentheses, indirectly have an association/ Codeshare agreement, via Sky Team of course, with China Southern Airlines:

Airline  Alliance Frequent-Flyer Club
Asiana Airlines Star Alliance (2003) Asiana Club
Cathay Pacific     Oneworld (1999)

Asia Miles/ The Marco Polo Club

Dragonair*    Oneworld (1999) (Same as above)
Garuda Indonesia SkyTeam (future/2012) Garuda Frequent Flyer
Japan Airlines Oneworld (2007)

JAL Global Club/JAL Mileage Bank

Malaysia Airlines Oneworld (future) Enrich/ Grads
Pakistan Int'l Airlines n/a PIA Awards Plus+

* Owned by Swire Pacific, the parent company of Cathay Pacific


Carry-On Luggage

Carry-on luggage conforming to the weight and dimensions named below may be carried on the aircraft and stowed either in an overhead bin (compartment) or beneath the seat in front of the passenger's own seat, where applicable. The passenger's primary (reserved) carry-on luggage storage area is the space under the seat in front of the passenger's own seat; overhead compartments are available on a 'first-come, first-served basis', i.e., are for any and all passengers.

Each ticketed passenger is currently limited to a total of 5 kgs/ 11.02 lbs of carry-on luggage per person. First class passengers may bring the 5 kgs/ 11 lbs limit of carry-on luggage distributed over two pieces of luggage, while all other travel classes may bring only a single piece of carry-on luggage with a maximum weight of 5 kgs/ 11 lbs.

There is, alas, no single international standard size (set of dimensions) for carry-on luggage, the permitted size varies from continent to continent, and to some degree, within continents. If you wish to be 100% safe, i.e., if you wish to be able to travel anywhere in the world with your carry-on luggage, then you should choose a piece of luggage with the following maximum (Height x Width x Depth) dimensions: H: 55cm/ 21.65in x W: 35cm/ 13.78in x D: 20cm/ 7.87in (and note that each of these dimensions must be respected in order to satisfy a universal requirement, i.e., they may not be altered as long as the sum total is the same, aka the "linear" measure, a measure that will be explained in the Checked Luggage section below).

The European (less the carrier, Alitalia) and Chinese Height x Width x Depth standards are the same: H: 55cm x W: 40cm x D: 20cm (Alitalia's standard is H: 55cm/ 21.65in x W: 35cm/ 13.78in x D: 25cm/ 9.8in). Moreover, in North America (including in the US), Air Canada follows the European/ Chinese standard.

Carry-on luggage that exceeds the weight and dimensions referred to above should be checked, though, if you will be travelling to countries outside of China, it is best to simply bring carry-on luggage that conforms to the most stringent dimensions of the country, or countries, in which you will be travelling, or, to take the worry out of it all, you might simply follow the 'anywhere in the world', or universal, solution referred to above.

Checked Luggage

Free Checked Luggage Allowance Limitations

Routes First Class Business Class Premium Economy  Class Economy Class

Domestic Routes

Total 40kgs* Total 30kgs Total 20kgs Total 20kgs
European Routes 3 pieces/23kgs per piece 3 pieces/23kgs per piece 2 pieces/23kgs per piece 1 piece/23kgs per piece
American Routes 3 pieces/32kgs per piece 2 pieces/32kgs per piece 2 pieces/23kgs per piece 2 pieces/23kgs per piece
Australia/ New Zealand/ Africa/ Middle East (excl. Iran)/ Russia/ African Routes Total 45kgs Total 40kgs Total 35kgs Total 30kgs
Central & Western Asian Routes** Total 45kgs Total 40kgs Total 35kgs Total 30kgs
Other Asian Routes Total 40kgs

Total 35kgs

Total 30kgs Total 20kgs
Dubai/ Jeddah Routes Total 50kgs Total 50kgs Total 45kgs> Total 40kgs

* Note that 1kg = circa 2.2 lbs.

** Central & Western Asian Routes refers to routes reaching Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey and Iran.

There is an additional Free Checked Luggage Allowance Limit of 10kgs for infants on all domestic Chinese airlines.

Luggage that exceeds the above allowances is subject to excess weight charges.

Overall linear size/ summed dimension limits (Height + Width + Depth) for Checked Luggage are: 158cm/ 62in for international flights; 200cm/ 78in for domestic Chinese flights.

Weight Limits: The maximum weight of any piece of Checked Luggage may not exceed 50 kgs (110.23 lbs) for domestic and regional (Taiwan and Hong Kong) Chinese airlines; 32 kgs (70.55 lbs) for domestic international airlines – for example, for domestic European airlines (45 kgs/ 99.20 lbs for domestic American airlines). Checked Luggage exceeding these weight limits on domestic and regional Chinese flights will not be accepted without the prior approval of China Southern Airlines, while excess-weight baggage, even where approved, is subject to excess baggage fees.


China Southern Airlines serves Western and Chinese food, with a choice of 8 kinds of beverages, for first and business class passengers, and serves standard, internationalized Western-Chinese mixed fare, with a choice of 5 kinds of beverages, for premium economy-class and economy class passengers. Generally speaking, only snacks and beverage are served on short-haul flights. Most domestic flights departing from Guangzhou have food reservation services for first and business class passengers. Passengers should make their reservations at least 24 hours before departure. International flights and flights departing from Guangzhou offer special fare (kosher, halal, etc.) conforming to religious strictures for those passengers who require it. In addition, China Southern Airlines offers special dishes for vegetarians, infants and passengers with special dietary needs. All special food reservations should be made at least 24 hours before departure.


Wheelchair Service

Passengers bringing their own wheelchair on the flight must check it at baggage check-in. Passengers who require a complimentary wheelchair 'from check in to check out', as it were, should make the necessary reservation as early as possible, though every effort will be made to satisfy last-minute requests.

Pregnant Passengers

Pregnant passengers, up to their 32nd week of pregnancy, are welcome without reservation on China Southern Airlines flights, provided that their doctor has not advised them against air travel. Pregnant passengers in their 33rd to 36th week of pregnancy must present a health certificate - issued by a physician and not more than 72 hours old - that certifies that the bearer is healthy enough for air travel. For health reasons – and in keeping with international practice – China Southern Airlines forbids pregnant women beyond the 36th week of pregnancy to travel on its flights.

Sky Pearl Club

The frequent flyer program of China Southern Airlines is called Sky Pearl Club. Passengers not only earn frequent flyer miles when flying with China Southern Airlines, they also earn frequent flyer miles when flying with any other member of the Sky Team alliance, as well as when flying on certain select flights offered by Sichuan Airlines and China Airlines, with whom China Southern Airlines has a separate, limited, Codeshare-like agreement. If you are a member of a frequent flyer program with a Sky Team member airline in your own country, you also can accrue frequent flyer miles anytime you fly with China Southern Airlines, and anytime you fly on certain select flights offered by Sichuan Airlines and China Airlines.

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