Guangzhou master plan highlights new airport

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The location of a second international airport in Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong province, was identified over the weekend, as the city unveiled its long-awaited development plan through 2035.

The airport will be located in the city's Zengcheng district and will be called Zhengguo International Airport, after the township in which it will be constructed.

With a second international airport, Guangzhou is expected to further strengthen its status as a major aviation and shipping hub in South China.

The plan was published by the Guangzhou Land Resources and Urban Planning Commission on its official website.

With the completion of the second airport, Guangzhou's annual airport capacity will grow to 120 million to 140 million passengers by 2035.

The existing airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International, is now the third-busiest on the Chinese mainland after Beijing and Shanghai.

By 2020, it is expected to handle more than 80 million passengers a year from 65 million in 2017, and handle more than 2.5 million metric tons of cargo.

Guangzhou Baiyun currently has about 150 international and regional routes, with more than 1,000 scheduled flights linking Guangzhou to more than 210 overseas destinations.

Construction of the city's second airport is necessary as the current Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is reaching its capacity, said Chen Guanghan, a professor at Sun Yat-sen University and vice-dean of the Research Institute of the Development of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. The new facility will strengthen Guangzhou's role as a major hub.

"It will help further increase ties between Guangzhou and the rest of the world and promote the city's foreign trade, which plays a big part in the city's economic construction," Chen said.

Zhang Yiri, associate professor at Guangzhou City Polytechnic, said the airport would help boost the city's aviation, transportation, logistics and related industries for years to come.

Many major metropolises at home and abroad have more than one airport, he added.

Known as China's southern gateway, Guangzhou has been a major commercial city and a trading port for centuries. As the political, cultural and economic core of Guangdong province, Guangzhou boasts advanced railway and highway networks linking it with major cities in the prosperous Pearl River Delta and the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, ports in the southern metropolis will be able to handle more than 750 million metric tons of cargo and containers of more than 36 million TEUs - standard units used in shipping - by 2035.

To further improve the city's infrastructure, Guangzhou will form an urban light rail network of 2,000km by 2035 - five times longer than the city's current network.

It will build 10 new subway lines, totaling 258.1km, between 2017 and 2023. Construction of the new lines will cost an estimated 219.6 billion yuan (S$46 billion).

By the end of 2023, Guangzhou will have an urban light railway network, comprising 18 subway and urban light railway tracks reaching more than 800km.

Its permanent population will be controlled to not exceed 20 million by 2035, an increase of 6 million over 2016. By 2020, the city's permanent population should reach 15.5 million.