Hong Kong to Launch Direct Flights to Western Xinjiang

Hong Kong is planning to launch direct flights to China's westernmost region of Xinjiang this year as part of China's measures to develop the impoverished hinterland, a report said Tuesday, January 2.

The direct flights between Hong Kong and Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, are expected to start in March or April to attract Hong Kong investors to invest in the west, the Chinese-language Ming Pao daily said.

Wang Mingang, a Hong Kong delegate to China's parliament or National People's Congress and an economic advisor to Xinjiang, said a Hong Kong aviation delegation will travel to the region this month for talks.

The report said Cathay Pacific Airways, Dragonair and Xinjiang Airlines will be involved in setting up the new route.

China has made the development of the vast impoverished western hinterland a top priority.

Premier Zhu Rongji has described the move west as "a major policy decision" and called for huge infrastructure projects such as railways, roads, airports and power grids.

(People's Daily 01/02/2001)