New airport and new airline for Kunming

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Thursday, November 13, 2008

from GoKunming
The long-discussed new international airport in Kunming will be China's fourth-largest airport hub, according to an official from the Kunming Airport Economic Zone Management Committee cited by China Hospitality News.

The new airport will be located 21 km northeast of Kunming, making it more accessible to citizens of Qujing - Yunnan's second largest city - than Kunming Wujiaba Airport, which is located south of downtown Kunming.

The new airport's construction will be accompanied by road network infrastructure improvements enabling anyone living within a 200-kilometer radius to reach the airport within two hours. A 160-square kilometer Airport Economic Zone will also be built adjacent to the airport.

It seems that Kunming is looking to bring in the foreign expertise it needs to build an airport that will help it make the quantum leap from up-and-coming provincial capital to regional trade and transport hub. It has awarded UK-based design and engineering consultancy Arup the airport's design contract. Moreover, German company Fraport - which owns Frankfurt Airport - has been reported to be in talks to buy a stake in the US$1.9 billion airport project.

And also from GoKunming

Kunming Airlines (昆明航空公司) announced that it will launch its first flights in January of next year, according to Kunming media reports.

Kunming Airlines CEO Wang Qingmin (王清民) told reporters that Kunming Airlines is receiving investment from Shenzhen Airlines and will also draw support from the airline's management and IT systems.

Kunming is building what is expected to be China's fourth-largest airport which is expected to drive the city's emergence as the main air hub between China, Southeast Asia and South Asia.

Wang said Kunming Airlines has a 15-year development plan it calls its '3-5-7 Plan', which involves three stages of strategic development. In the airline's first three years (2008-2010) the airline will assemble a fleet of 30-40 planes and establish an extensive flight network throughout Yunnan. During this stage the airline will also establish routes to China's provincial capitals and economically developed cities on the mainland, eventually connecting these cities with major Southeast Asian destinations.

In the following five years (2010-2015) the airline plans on upgrading its fleet to 80-100 planes and establish hubs in Xi'an and Guangzhou while strengthening its trunk and branch routes.

During the seven years after that (2015-2022) Kunming Airlines will expand its fleet to 150-200 planes and establish hubs in Tianjin and Hangzhou and will focus on developing its international reach.

Shenzhen Airline's involvement in Kunming Airlines brings needed credibility to the new airline, which was formally established in 2005. Established in 1993, Shenzhen Airlines has been profitable for the last 14 years and is China's largest privately held airline. Specific terms of Shenzhen Airlines' investment in Kunming Airlines have not been released.
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