China Southern Airlines officially opened its new regional headquarters for Australia and New Zealand in Sydney last night, following the purchase and fit-out of a heritage building in the heart of the CBD.
The newly refurbished six-storey building is China Southern’s first overseas office purchase and reinforces the company’s commitment to the Australian-New Zealand market.
China Southern has also hired and trained Australian-based cabin crew and is encouraging all Chinese staff in their AU/NZ offices to use English as their first language on the job.
Located at 120 Clarence Street at the corner of King Street, the turn-of-the-century brick and stone building with high ceilings and carefully conserved arched windows is classified by the National Trust of NSW for its heritage significance.
Altering the heritage-listed building offered cheers and challenges for Sydney architects, Watermark, which was commissioned to design a modern office that blended the airline’s rich Chinese culture with high-tech ecologically sustainable features.
The August 8 opening signified an auspicious and lucky date in Chinese culture for the building, which covers more than 1150sqm and includes China Southern’s first regional call centre, a stylish customer reception area and spacious, open-plan offices for the airline’s expanding workforce.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore and Chinese Consul General Duan Jielong took part in the grand opening, unveiling a launch plaque before more than 100 top-level government and travel industry guests and media representatives.
China Southern President and CEO Mr Tan Wangeng, who travelled from Guangzhou with Executive Vice President Mr He Zongkai for the event, said China Southern “viewed Australia as the most important component of its internationalisation process”.
“Today is another staging point for China Southern to continually improve itself and provide the best product and service for our Australian customers as we listen closely to what they want and expect from a world-class airline,” Mr Tan said.
“It is my sincere hope that China Southern’s new regional headquarters will serve as a bridge connecting our two great nations and another element of the long-lasting friendship between our two people.”