China Southern Launching Flights Between LAX & Shenyang

Filed Under: China Southern

We’ve seen an incredible amount of growth when it comes to aviation in China, and in particular we’ve seen huge expansion when it comes to longhaul international flights being operated by mainland Chinese carriers.

This has included a lot of routes that may seem “random,” though this is due to China’s aviation policy. Since 2009 China has had a “one route, one Chinese airline policy,” and with this, only one Chinese airline can operate each longhaul route. There are a few markets where there are exceptions (like Shanghai to Frankfurt), but in a vast majority of longhaul markets that policy exists.

Last I heard this policy is being partly scaled back as of October 1, 2018. For countries with at least a partial open skies agreement (including the US), the policy will be abolished completely, while other longhaul destinations will still have some restrictions.

So the number of nonstop routes between the US and China has increased greatly, and there’s no airport where that’s more visible than LAX. As of now there are nonstop flights from LAX to a dozen mainland Chinese city. You can now add yet another destination to that list.

As of December 18, 2018, China Southern will be launching 3x weekly flights between Shenyang and Los Angeles. The flight will be operated with the following schedule on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in both directions:

CZ609 Shenyang to Los Angeles departing 1:20AM arriving 9:00PM (-1 day)
CZ610 Los Angeles to Shenyang departing 12:40AM arriving 5:10AM (+1 day)

The flight will cover a distance of 5,908 miles, making it the shortest nonstop flight between Los Angeles and mainland China (Shenyang isn’t far from China’s border with North Korea). The flight is blocked at 11hr40min eastbound and 12hr30min westbound.

China Southern will be using an A330 for the route, which features staggered seats in business class, much like China Southern’s A380 (which I reviewed between Los Angeles and Guangzhou earlier in the year).

This new flight is now bookable. I don’t see any amazing fares loaded for this year, but in general mainland Chinese carriers have incredibly low fares, so I’d expect that to be the case here as well.

Shenyang is a focus city for China Southern, so while Guangzhou is by far their biggest hub, they also have a lot of connectivity here for those wanting to connect within Asia.

While Shenyang is no Beijing or Shanghai, it is a huge city, with a population of over eight million.

This route signifies the 13th nonstop flight between LAX and mainland China, as we have the following destinations from Chinese carriers:

  • Air China — Beijing, Shenzhen
  • China Eastern — Nanjing, Shanghai
  • China Southern — Guangzhou, Shenyang
  • Hainan Airlines — Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing
  • Sichuan Airlines — Hangzhou, Jinan
  • Xiamen Air — Qingdao, Xiamen

That’s pretty remarkable, in my opinion.

What do you make of China Southern’s new flight between SHE & LAX?

(Tip of the hat to @airlineroute)

  1. What do connecting options into North Korea look like from Shenyang? Or best crossing the border by land?

  2. I actually do not understand why all the newly opened LAX route by Chinese carrier depart around midnight out of LAX, for example, LAX-CSX, XMN, SZX… however all the US based airline have departure time around noon. Personally I prefer departing around noon to midnight.

  3. Just a note that CZ has several 330s in non-flat, 2-2-2 configurations in Business class and they have been using these for some of their international long hauls from their secondary hubs. Hence, it’s likely passengers won’t get the “normal” 330 for this route.

  4. Shenyang seems obscure from this outsider’s perspective. But a city of 8 million is huge….I’d love to know the route analyses on this. What are the business interests? Load expectations? Freight needs?

  5. My experience with the Chinese airport is that there is no uniformity. Every airport has its own sets of rules and regulations on who’s allowed to enter or transfer through. What are the restrictions on entering or transiting through this SHE airport? For Americans and other passport holders?

    Thank you!

  6. @Lucky

    Forgot about PVG-PIT???
    It seems to be a very successful flight according to local media. The dead leg load is 30-40% so that is much less subsidy that first reported.

  7. @JDHogg
    There are two Korean air flights carrying passengers from Shenyang to ICN and transferring to US. One is A333, one is 777. So there should be a demand there. However, how big the demand is is not sure.

  8. @bsp – because both respective sets of airlines are trying to maximize connecting opportunities into their respective gateways. Cities like LAX or the spoke to an Asia carrier, so arriving into Asia at 5am increases their ability to sell connections onward, which a large percentage of passengers are doing. On the US side, carriers are looking to funnel people from other spokes into the hubs like LAX, so they need to wait until later in the morning or early afternoon to allow for transits.

  9. @Kalboz: Shenyang is one of the cities with a 72 hour visa-free transit policy, so for Americans, plus virtually all European passports, Canada, Mexico, Australia, NZ, Japan, South Korea, and a handful of other countries, you’d be able to connect in Shenyang for up to three days without a visa, if you have an onward ticket to a third country (i.e. not mainland China, and not back where you originally came from).

  10. Shenyang sits right in the heart of the north-east China (AKA China’s rust belt). Shenyang is kind of the Detroit of China, which had been the center of heavy industries of China from 1930s until 90s. It was traditionally considered as one of the “Major” cities in China.

    However, it is now a city with one of the lowest GDP growth (-3%/y), one of the most aging population (young people tend to find opportunities elsewhere in China).

    There is a government initiative to make the city more competitive to attract new businesses. I think that is why we got a flight here.

  11. @Mitch Cumstein: Access by land to the border is fairly easy. Once there, the DPRK military will happily watch your every move and many soldiers will give you an overwhelming escort into the country.

  12. My take on this service is to compete with Air China. China Southern (CZ) main hub has been Guangzhou. Most people will not take CZ if their final destination is in northern China. This will make Shenyang an attractive alternative, and maybe bring more passengers. Shenyang has its problem too. It’s in Manchuria, winter time snow storm frequently shots down the airport. That was the reason, that there was a China Northern Airlines, no longer in business. Guess who took over? You guess it, China Southern.

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