Beijing's Badaling Airport reopened to tap low-altitude flight market

Update:29 Jun 2011

Beijing's Badaling Airport
 
 A nearly idle airport in suburban Beijing came to life again Tuesday as a Eurocopter helicopter made a smooth landing on the tarmac lot at a ceremony to mark the airport's relaunch that targets the country's growing general aviation (GA) market.
 
The Badaling Airport, about 50 kilometers northwest of downtown Beijing and neighboring the famed Badaling Great Wall, is the only privately-funded facility in Beijing dedicated to general aviation.
 
General aviation refers to flight operations apart from military and scheduled airlines, regular cargo flights and aerial work. GA aircraft usually fly less than 3,000 meters above ground.
 
To boost business at the airport, the owner - Jinggong (Beijing) General Aviation Co., co-established a management company with Capital Helicopter of the Hainan Airlines Group on Tuesday, hoping to tap China's promising low-altitude flight market as the government relaxed control on low-altitude airspace over half a year ago.
 
The airport, with a 800-meter-long runway and a 12,000-square-meter parking tarmac, is the only GA airport in Beijing where fixed-wing aircraft can take off besides Capital International Airport.
The relaunched airport now serves planes of the country's GA companies and will, in the future, provide space for China's growing number of corporate aircraft and private jets, said Xu Lidong, president of Capital Helicopter.
 
China's air traffic authorities in October issued a document to open part of the country's strictly-controlled low-altitude airspace.
 
Some experts predict the industry will take two or three years to take off following the easing of air traffic control. However, China's general aviation market still has a long way to go as the country only had 997 GA aircraft by 2009, while the United States had around 200,000.

SOURCE: China Daily
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