To boost local tourism, a new airport in Tengchong, southwest China's Yunnan Province, is expected to be in service at the end of 2008, a local official said in Tengchong on November 21.
According to Ding Wei, director of the leading group for the airport project, the early-stage work is underway and construction of the airport will begin in January and be completed at end of 2008.
The airport will be located at Tuofeng village, 12 kilometers from Tengchong County. Currently a highway leading to the airport is being built with an investment of 62 million yuan (US$7.88 million) from the Tengchong government. Some infrastructure projects are also underway.
In memory of the Hump Route, an air route which contributed much to the victory in the west Yunnan theater during Chinese War of Resistance Against Japan, Tengchong airport will be named "Hump Airport", Ding Wei told China.org.cn.
Meanwhile, to remember the American Flying Tigers, the road to the airport will be named the "Flying Tigers Road", Ding added.
Opened in 1942, the 500-mile Hump Route began in the southern Indian state of Assam, passed over the Himalayas and reached the southwest Chinese province of Sichuan. As the major air passage connecting China and the Allied Forces during the WWII, the hazardous Hump Route saw losses of over 500 "Flying Tigers" planes and the lives of more than 1,500 pilots from the US and Chinese air forces.
The airport project was approved by the State Council in May and now the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is looking through the feasibility report to fix final investment and construction details. Final approval is scheduled to be issued next month, Ding said.
The total investment in the airport is to be around 430 million yuan (US$54.69 million). The major investors of the project are the Yunnan Airports Group, Yunnan Guangfang Group and Tengchong government who will contribute at a proportion 46 percent, 40 percent and 10 percent respectively.
The airport is designed to reach 4c standard with its runway being 2,350 meters long.
Bordering Myanmar, Tengchong has many wonderful scenic spots in the western part of Yunnan Province. Some of the county's major sites include a volcano, hot springs, Heshun Ancient Town as well as scenic landscapes at Gaoligong Mountain.
Last year the county received 2.3 million tourists, but most of them were visitors from within the province. Tengchong is 620 km from Kunming, the provincial capital, and many tourists think the trip there is too far.
After construction of the airport, visitors from home and abroad will get easier access to the area
and Chinese mainland tourists will also find Myanmar more accessible.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Wang Zhiyong, November 22, 2006)