Comparison of CAN/SZX/HKG Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Airport

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Comparison of CAN/SZX/HKG Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Airport

Recently, I often seen many small partners discussing and comparing the three airports in Guangdong, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. At the same time, I also met a lot of “keyboard warriors” on the Internet. The so-called “broad blowing”, “deep blowing”, etc. are all mindless accusing each other, especially the small partners in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. I personally disapprove of this behavior. And many people have been talking about such boring topics as “the airport of so-and-so is going to replace the airport of so-and-so”, which is annoying. If it is for healthy competition, to create a better air transport environment, and to be able to set a benchmark and set an example, it is naturally good and healthy. But if it’s just for the sake of comparison, it doesn’t make any sense. Because the three airports have different geographical locations and positioning, and target consumer groups have their own inclinations, in a short period of time, it is impossible to talk about who will replace the other. Therefore, we should objectively analyze the advantages and disadvantages of these three airports to make the best choice.


First, let’s look at the objective situation.


According to Wikipedia, Hong Kong currently has two runways plus one under construction, Shenzhen currently has two runways, and Guangzhou currently has three runways. Among them, two runways in Hong Kong are 3.8 kilometers long; one runway in Shenzhen is 3.4 kilometers long, and one runway is 3.8 kilometers long; in Guangzhou, one runway is 3.4 kilometers long and two runways are 3.8 kilometers long.

comparison of 3 airports (Picture from wikipedia)

comparison of 3 airports (Picture from Wikipedia)


And as we all know, the number of foreign airlines and the destination coverage of Hong Kong Airport are much larger than those of Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Therefore, in theory, among the three airports in Guangdong, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, the comprehensive ranking of Hong Kong Airport should undoubtedly be the first. If not affected by the events of 2019, Hong Kong’s cargo and mail throughput and passenger traffic should be the first. But the impact of that incident was so great that even Hong Kong’s status as an international hub was shaken, so its throughput was greatly affected.


Secondly, Guangzhou Airport is longer than Shenzhen in terms of development years and the number of foreign airlines. Guangzhou Airport’s cargo and mail throughput and passenger volume are much stronger than Shenzhen. But from the second runway in Shenzhen, it can be seen that although Shenzhen started late and has a low starting point, now he is working hard to build the airport in accordance with international standards. Its momentum is indeed not to be ignored.

Hong Kong Airport Number of Flights and Destinations

Hong Kong Airport Number of Flights and Destinations (Source from Wikipedia)

Guangzhou Airport Number of Flights and Destinations

Guangzhou Airport Number of Flights and Destinations (Source from Wikipedia)

Shenzhen Airport Number of Flights and Destinations

Shenzhen Airport Number of Flights and Destinations (Source from Wikipedia)

However, it cannot be concluded that Shenzhen Airport is inferior to the other two airports. After all, Shenzhen has always been mainly doing domestic routes. Although it is unlikely to overtake Guangzhou in terms of number of flights and destinations in the short term.


I have seen some friends say that the development of Shenzhen Airport is limited by Guangzhou, and Guangzhou has been putting a lot of pressure on the construction of Shenzhen Airport, and has imposed fines on places where Shenzhen Airport has not done well. This statement is a bit confusing. How can the Guangzhou government limit the development of Shenzhen Airport? Why should Shenzhen be fined? Both cities belong to Guangdong Province and are equal cities. Shenzhen is still a special economic zone, and it is not Guangzhou’s turn to impose fines. It’s kind of ridiculous to say that. If it is said that due to its geographical location, the development of Shenzhen Airport will be affected by Guangzhou Airport, then this is understandable. Because Shenzhen is already in the middle of Guangzhou and Hong Kong. The geographical location is rather awkward. Passengers or goods have always departed from Guangzhou or Hong Kong. This is already a deeply ingrained habit, and now it is more difficult to change. The price in Hong Kong is relatively cheap and there are many choices, and it is more convenient to go to Guangzhou without customs clearance and other procedures. There are also many flight options. Therefore, everyone’s choice has always been CAN and HKG. And the SZX is not the first choice.


However, with the upgrading of the positioning of SZX Airport and the improvement of facilities, it can be seen that Shenzhen Airport wants to improve its competitiveness and strive for more passenger and cargo volumes to depart directly from Shenzhen. But this is really not achievable in the short term. There is a way to encourage the growth of the seedlings, that is, the Shenzhen government gives considerable subsidies or various policies to attract passengers and goods. This can promote the growth of passenger and cargo volume in a short period of time, but if this state is to be maintained for a long time, this is not a good strategy. Therefore, Shenzhen Airport must continue to strengthen its own hardware quality, and truly attract passengers and goods to depart directly from Shenzhen. This is the best policy.


Let’s take a look at the current passenger and cargo composition of the two places. Hong Kong, by virtue of its “free port” advantage, has undoubtedly always been a famous transit paradise. Except for some passengers and goods from mainland China, passengers and goods from Southeast Asia and even other places will choose to transit here. In addition, there are many sensitive goods that need to go to Hong Kong. Therefore, unless there is a fundamental change in Hong Kong’s core status, it will continue to be maintained. Guangzhou is the traditional birthplace of European and American goods and the distribution center of Pearl River Delta goods. In recent years, in response to the Belt and Road policy, it is also a gathering place for goods from the Middle East and Africa. At present, foreign airlines at Guangzhou Airport can cover most of the popular destinations in Europe, America and the Middle East and Africa to meet the needs of local and Pearl River Delta shipments. Looking at Shenzhen again, due to the fact that it is limited by the lack of international flights and foreign airlines, it has led to the objective situation that its competitiveness is not enough. However, there are also a lot of goods in Shenzhen, especially e-commerce goods. If Shenzhen Airport can continue to attract more airlines to enter, I believe its strength is also indispensable.


Let’s talk about the advantages of Shenzhen Airport. In the early years, Lufthansa cooperated with Shenzhen Airport, and everyone held 50% of the shares. Therefore, Shenzhen Airport is now managed according to the German management method. The last time I went to the freight station, I saw a German sitting in the office. The management and operation of iccs, I have personally experienced it, and it is indeed very standardized, more standardized than Guangzhou and even Shanghai. This approach is very good. It is also conducive to increasing the confidence of airlines and freight forwarders in it.

Shenzhen Airport Official Site

Shenzhen Airport Official Site (Image source:

Therefore, to sum up, Hong Kong’s status as an international leader will not be shaken on the premise of ensuring normal and stable economic activities. Next is Guangzhou Airport, of course, but the management of the Guangzhou Airport cargo terminal is not very good. And subsidies are not very attractive, so the next step to attract new foreign airlines will weaken. At the same time, due to the Shenzhen government’s efforts to build a modern international airport, it is also constantly improving its policies and hardware. Its brave momentum, coupled with the blessing of local e-commerce goods, believes that it can also become an international airport in the future.


Even so, it will be difficult for Shenzhen to catch up with Guangzhou Airport in the short term, let alone replace Guangzhou Airport. However, Guangzhou Airport must change this self-defeating and unwilling to make progress. Strive to be a good example and continuously improve working methods and management efficiency. In this way, we can ensure that we can give full play to our own advantages and maintain our leading position. Otherwise, it will be sooner or later to be overtaken.


Alright, let’s talk about it this time. If you have any ideas, please let me know in the comments below. You can also email me at:

NB: Karron is the owner of the “NatureCalls” Wechat Official Account.

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