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Work to start soon on third Hainan airport, official says
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The feasibility study for an airport in Boao, the venue of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) located on the east coast of Hainan Province, has been completed, according to a provincial official.

Li Lifeng, deputy chief of the communications and energy section with Hainan Provincial Development and Reform Department, said that his office would work closely with the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) to get construction started as soon as possible.

Under the national plan for civilian airports, which has been approved by the State Council, China is to build 97 new airports by 2020. It will have 192 airports by 2010 and 244 by 2020, up from 147 at the end of 2006.

Three of these airports will be in Hainan, which used to be a part of Guangdong Province but became a province in its own right in April 1988.

According to Li, the Boao airport will have a 3,600-meter runway and be able to accommodate three Boeing 737s a time. The first phase of the airport will have an annual passenger capacity of 100,000, with a long-dated goal of 300,000 passengers. The budget is 1.15 billion yuan (about 160 million U.S. dollars).

The two other airports planned for Hainan will be in Wuzhishan city, in the central part of the province, and Dongfang city on the southwest coast.

Hainan, which is separated from the Chinese landmass by the Qiongzhou Strait, has somewhat limited access. At present, Hainan relies on air and ferry services, including train ferries plying the Qiongzhou Strait.

It already has two airports: one in Haikou, the provincial capital, on the northern end of the province, and the other in Sanya, a popular seaside resort on the southern end of the island. Participants in the BFA annual meetings usually fly to Haikou and then take a 90-minute express bus to Boao

The BFA was launched in 2001 as a platform for high-level international leaders. Its annual meeting is scheduled for April 11-13. According to Long Yongtu, the forum's secretary-general and former Chinese World Trade Organization trade negotiator, the conference this year will focus on environmental issues and a "sustainable Asia."

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2008)

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