China Southern Airlines has set up a branch office in Yunnan province in a bid to strengthen its network in the country’s southwest region.

The carrier will also launch eight domestic routes out of Yunnan on 25 March. These are: Qingdao-Zhenzhou-Kunming, Shantou-Kunming, Kunming-Dali, Shenzhen-Nanning-Wenshan, Shenzhen-Nanning-Lijiang, Chongqing-Pu’er and Dali-Pu’er. It is also planning to launch an international service on the Guangzhou-Kunming-Istanbul route in June.

It did not say how many aircraft it will base in Yunnan.

The SkyTeam carrier says it attaches great importance to the Yunnan market and operated 50 routes out of the province in 2017. It adds that the country’s One Belt One Road policy also positions Yunnan as the centre to reach South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Yunnan is the stronghold of China Eastern Airlines, which accounts for 40.2% of all seats out of the province’s capital Kunming, FlightGlobal schedules data shows. China Southern meanwhile only has 7.7% of seats out of Kunming.

Source: Cirium Dashboard