The construction of a new airport in south-central China's Hunan
Province began Sunday in a bid to improve transportation conditions
in the mountainous regions in the west of the province.
Zhijiang Airport, to be located at the site of a former military
base some 35 kilometers from Huaihua City, a regional center in
western Hunan, will cover some 290 hectares and is expected to be
completed in two years.
With a total investment of 162 million yuan (US$19.5 million), the
project was jointly approved by the State Council, the Chinese
cabinet, and the Central Military Commission at the end of last
Once completed, the airport will be able to accommodate Boeing 737
aircraft and will boast an annual handling capacity of 200,000
passengers and 3,200 tons of cargo by the year 2010, local sources
Economists say that as Huaihua city lies at a strategic point
linking eastern and central China to southwest China, construction
of the new airport will add much impetus to local economic
development as well as the country's ambitious plan to develop its
vast western hinterland.
1942, Zhijiang was one of the two major bases for the US 14th Air
Fleet, which was vital in aiding China's war of resistance against
Japanese invasion (1937-1945).
The old airport was deserted after the war, but some parts of it,
such as the tarmac, runway, control tower and even a Sino-US
airmen's club, have been carefully preserved, local sources
(Xinhua News Agency December 9, 2002)