Out-Law News | 16 Sep 2014 | 10:39 am | 1 min. read
Xinhua reported on 14 September that flight tests will be conducted at the Huatugou civil airport, in the Mongolian-Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Haixi, once the construction phase has been completed.
The airport is being built at an altitude of 2,945 metres above sea level and will cover an area of 180 hectares. Xinhua said the region is “a major production base for petroleum and potash fertiliser and is expected to support local development and improve the aviation network on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau”.
According to Xinhua, the 700 million renminbi (CNY) ($114m) airport project will have a 3,600 metre-long runway. The terminal building will cover an area of about 3,000 square metres.
China announced the start of construction of Huatugou in 2011. The deputy head of the provincial development and reform commission Yang Yang told Xinhua then that Huatugou was one of three new regional airports to be built in Qinghai before 2020.
According to the executive vice-president of the China West Airport Group Cheng Zhuzu, Huatugou will “provide stronger logistic support for exploiting natural resources”. He said: “It will help expand the air traffic network on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.”
Cheng said two more regional airports, one in Haixi's city of Delingha and the other in the town of Dawo, in the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Golog, will be operational by 2020.
According to a 2011 report by KPMG China (4-page / 160 KB PDF), China’s 12th five-year plan outlined government plans to invest more than CNY 1.5 trillion ($260bn) in developing the country’s aviation industry.
KPMG’s report said: “The switch of focus to domestic consumption and the desire to improve prosperity of the people, would help drive demand for air travel, both domestically and internationally. Increasing prosperity is also likely to increase demand for higher-end cargo, which is more likely to be transported by air.”
The World Bank said in May 2013 that “air transport is China’s fastest growing mode of transport”. According to the bank, the country’s air passenger throughput reached 621 million in 2011 and cargo tonnage reached 11.6 million tonnes. “China is now the world’s second largest air transportation market in traffic volume after the US, and plans to build 69 additional airports bringing the total civil airports to 244 by 2020,” the bank said.
The bank approved a loan of $50m to China last year to help improve airline connectivity in the north-eastern Jiangxi Province.