[photopress:beijingairport_1_2.jpg,full,alignright]Beijing is keen to start building a new airport before 2010, but experts cannot see eye to eye on where the airport should be located. The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) confirmed that it has a construction schedule for the new airport but that no decision has yet been taken concerning its location.
Wuqing in Tianjin Municipality.
Langfang in Hebei, the province that surrounds Beijing.
Professor Wu Liangyong from Tsinghua University’s School of Architecture recommends Beijing build its second international airport in Tianjin’s Wuqing district. He said, ‘I believe Wuqing will be an appropriate choice both from the point of regional development and safety’ in a news report carried in the latest issue of the China Economic Weekly published by the People’s Daily.
Yang Kaizhong, professor and deputy head of the Capital Development Institute of Peking University, is not in accord. He said, ‘Locating the new airport in the area north of Zhuozhou in Hebei will work better in terms of harmonious development of the entire Beijing-Tianjing-Hebei region, and will contribute to balanced urban development in Beijing, especially the development of the southern part of the city.’
Dr. Hu Zhanlue with Tehua Post-Doctorate Work Station recommends Langfang City as an ideal place for the new Beijing airport because of its favorable geographic conditions.
Not in agreement is Professor Sun Jiuwen with the Regional Economy and Urban Administration Institute of Beijing-based Renmin University of China.
He said, ‘I visited Langfang several times. It was foggy almost everyday, so I don’t think Langfang is a good place for locating a new Beijing airport. As far as the new Beijing airport is concerned, we should set our eyes on the post-2010 development of the whole Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei region and take the poverty belt surrounding Beijing and Tianjin into consideration.’
An official with the transportation division of the State Development and Reform Commission says the overriding purpose of the new Beijing airport is to contribute to economic development in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region as a whole.
The official, in an interview with China Economic Weekly, said, ‘Site selection is not yet on our agenda, but we are listening to opinions from specialists and will submit a well-considered plan to the central government for approval.’
At the moment Beijing’s Capital International Airport can handle 35 million passengers a year following a major expansion project completed in September 1999 but the 2008 Olympic Games will put Capital Airport under a lot of pressure.
The Beijing Municipality infrastructure development plan for the 11th five-year-plan period (2006-2010), released a month ago, states that construction of the second Beijing international airport will begin before 2010. The new airport will be able to handle 80-100 million passengers, plus five million tons of cargo annually.
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