An airport in northeastern Liaoning has been forced to stop night flights and is on the verge of closure after thieves pilfered navigational equipment. In the past two years, the airport in Chaoyang has lost 194 navigational and runway lights, more than 1,000 metres of railing, and antennas, the Liaoning-based Business Times reported, quoting airport general manager Lin Xiaoming . Mr Lin attributed the frequent thefts to the localisation of the airport in August, after which the number of airport police was cut from 39 to four. Last year, the General Administration for Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) offloaded most of the airports under its control to provincial governments in an attempt to improve efficiency. Although the thieves might not make much from selling their booty, their actions have cost the airport dearly. Mr Lin told the newspaper that the damage to the navigating lighting system had not only brought about an economic loss of 10,000 yuan, but also 'immeasurable' indirect economic losses after the night flights were cancelled because the airport could not afford to fix the lighting system. In one incident this month, the airport's navigating light system was badly damaged after a 41-year-old jobless man, surnamed Yang, stole 27 runway lights, paralysing the airport. He earned 229 yuan by selling the aluminium content of 22 lights at 4.5 yuan a kilo. Repairing the runway cable system, damaged during the raids, will cost about 1 million yuan, according to Mr Lin. He said the damage to the airport would also deal a heavy blow to Chaoyang's economic development. Planes use the airport on rainmaking missions and are now able to take off only during the daytime. Demand in the region for artificial rainfall peaks between April and September. Built in 1933, the 1.13 million square metre airport offers flights to Beijing, Shenyang , Dalian , Qinghuangdao and Harbin . It is one of six airports in Liaoning. The CAAC has transferred 90 airports to provincial governments since late 2002, when it announced plans to discontinue its dual role as the owner of most Chinese airports and the country's aviation regulator.