It’s no secret that airlines have struggled to fill seats. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported a 96% decrease in U.S. Airline Passengers in April 2020, compared to the same month last year. International load factors were also low. In March 2020, the more recent period of available data, load factors were at 57%, compared to 81% during the same month last year.
There is one route, however, that has performed incredibly well despite lower air traffic globally. And surprisingly, this route is operated by an A380.
China Southern Airlines flight CZ330 is a daily flight from Vancouver, Canada (YVR) to Guangzhou, China (CAN) that has operated consistently since May 2020. China Southern alternates between the A380 and 787 on this route, and man, it’s been packed. Tickets for CZ are sold out until late September 2020, and on that day only business class tickets are available.
Below is the economy seat map for CZ330 that departed on July 8th. The cabin is completely full, save for a handful of blocked seats, and a few open seats that were likely due to no shows. There were no tickets available for sale. Business and first class were also completely booked.
Why does this route continue to perform so well? There are a few reasons. Firstly, there just aren’t that may flights from North America to China operating right now. United flew their first flight, UA857, to Shanghai on July 8th, but other than that, options are extremely limited. Vancouver also has a very large chinese population. According to 2011 census data, Chinese accounted for 28% of Vancouver’s population.
CZ329, the return flight from CAN to YVR isn’t as tough to book; tickets available as soon as July 14th. And neither flight is cheap: one way economy tickets, when they are available, are over $2,400.