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Liaoning aircraft carrier

Mainland Chinese to get chance to tour nation’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning

Captain says warship expected be among naval vessels that will allow tours after thousands visit the carrier in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 12:42pm
UPDATED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 10:12pm

The public in mainland China will get a chance to visit the country’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, its captain said, after the warship successfully allowed tours in Hong Kong.

Public visits to the ship on the mainland were likely in the near future, Senior Colonel Liu Zhe told state broadcaster CCTV.

Liu added that Hong Kong was chosen for the first public tours because it had “better facilities”.

“There has to be certain facilities for an aircraft carrier to dock, which are expensive and Hong Kong happens to have them,” Liu said.

The Liaoning is expected to join other naval warships that will allow public tours during major celebrations such as Navy Day in China on April 23

“I believe in the near future, our carrier will be among these ships,” Liu said.

The public were allowed to tour the Liaoning in Hong Kong in July during events to mark the 20th anniversary of the handover back to China.

It was the first time the public were formally allowed to tour the vessel since it entered service in 2012.

During its maiden port call to the city, it received about 4,000 visitors during the five-day stay.

Hundreds of Hongkongers camped overnight and queued for hours to get one of the limited tickets to take the tour.

Hong Kong public – and some mainland people – flock to view the pride of China’s navy

Liu said some groups had toured the Liaoning on an informal basis, including pupils from one primary school in its home port of Qingdao in Shandong province.

The Liaoning is a renovated Soviet aircraft carrier.

China bought the ship from a Ukrainian shipyard in 1998 and it underwent several years of renovation before entering service.