13.5b yuan earmarked for phase II of Baiyun
Guangzhou airport aims to handle 40m passengers and 2m tonnes of cargo
Guangzhou will spend 13.5 billion yuan in the next five years to speed up construction of phase II of Baiyun International Airport to enable it to meet its goal of becoming an international passenger and logistics hub, a senior airport official said.
Xian Weixiong, the party secretary of the airport management company, told a news conference that phase II included an international passenger terminal, a third runway that could accommodate the Airbus A380 and a FedEx complex, which was scheduled to be operational in 2008.
'We hope to open 50 new international routes, raise passenger handling by 15 per cent and cargo handling by 30 per cent,' Mr Xian said.
'We expect to handle between 38 and 40 million passengers and 2 million tonnes of cargo.'
By 2009, the airport, which is only a 30-minute drive from central Guangzhou, will have a subway link.
The airport had targeted opening 44 international flight routes by last year but only managed to start five new routes since it began operations in 2004, taking the total so far to 27.
The old Baiyun airport had worked closely with Hong Kong's airport, serving as a transit hub for international passengers flying to mainland destinations via Hong Kong, which still did not serve many mainland destinations. Mainlanders going overseas tended to fly out of Hong Kong.
Mr Xian said both airports could still complement each other but must put people first in their development plans, which meant making it convenient for air travellers.
'In Guangzhou they have to travel far away to catch a flight, and in Hong Kong they have to go very far away to catch a flight. That's not putting people first,' Mr Xian said.
On other plans for better integration with Hong Kong, he said the train journey between Guangzhou and Kowloon would only take one hour by 2010 when a second track was completed.
Over the next five years, Guangzhou would also complete construction of its subway network, which would have nine lines covering 255km.
Mr Xian said it had taken 10 years to build a mass transportation system that some cities had taken 100 years to accomplish.
The plan had received the central government's approval, Mr Xian said.
Only 59km of the system have been built so far. Work will continue on seven lines and, by the end of the year, 116km will have been completed.
The government has prepaid loans taken to build its first two subway lines and was making available 5 billion yuan annually to complete the construction.