Guangdong adds a world-class airport behind
The site of Foshan’s new airport has finally been nailed down.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has approved the site of Genghebei, Gaoming District of Foshan, as the recommended site for a new airport in Guangdong Province, Zhu Wei, mayor of Foshan and a deputy to the National People’s Congress, said in an interview on March 8.
The new Foshan airport has the more official name, Pearl River Delta Hub (Guangzhou New) Airport, in the 13th Five-Year Plan for the Development of China’s Civil Aviation. It is not hard to see from the name that the new airport is not only a new member of the world-class airport group in the Greater Bay Area, but also plays an important role as an aviation hub in the Pearl River Delta.
It is understood that the pre-feasibility study report of Foshan new airport (draft for soliciting comments) has been prepared, and will be submitted for approval in the near future after internal review and improvement of relevant elements. Not only that, Zhu Wei also revealed two important time points about the new airport. He said that will strive to achieve the end of 2021 to achieve the first construction of the airport construction by the end of 2022.
When Times Weekly checked the official website of Foshan Public Resources Trading Center, it was found that the above pre-feasibility study report had been completed in April last year. Along with the tender was the conceptual master plan for the new airport, which is currently in the hands of the General Institute of Civil Aviation Airport Planning, Design and Research.
On March 9, the Times Weekly reporter called Foshan Airport Construction and Development Co., Ltd. as the tenderer to understand the current airport planning progress. A person in charge of the company’s office said that the design plan is being studied and promoted, but the details could not be disclosed at the moment.
Settlement behind Foshan
According to the current public information, the planned flight area of Foshan’s new airport is 4F class, which can handle the take-off and landing of the world’s largest civilian airliner A380. As of December 2019, there were only 15 4F airports on the Chinese mainland.
The recent construction target of the new airport in Foshan is 2035, which will build a set of two long-distance parallel runways, and the airport passenger throughput is expected to be 30 million. The long-term construction target is 2050, the annual passenger throughput of the airport is predicted to be more than 60 million person-times, and the long-term reserve of the third runway construction conditions.
The new airport shoulders the mission of diverting passenger flow from Guangzhou Baiyun Airport. According to the relevant data released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport will handle 43.768 million passengers in 2020, ranking first in the world and becoming the busiest airport in the world despite the special circumstances of the global outbreak.
At present, Baiyun Airport has 3 runways and 2 terminals. The designed capacity of airport infrastructure is 80 million person-times of annual passenger throughput, which is close to saturation.
Although Baiyun Airport is speeding up the construction of its third terminal and the fourth and fifth runways, Zheng Tianxiang, a professor at the Hong Kong, Macao and Pearl River Delta Research Center at Sun Yat-sen University, said in an interview with Times Weekly that the five runways may not be enough to meet Guangzhou’s needs. “As the core city of the metropolis, Guangzhou drives the cities of both east and west. The airport, as the channel of southwest Guangdong, plays a very important role. For the future high-tech industry, the development of aviation industry is more important than the logistics of bulk goods at the port. Therefore, to expand another airport within the Greater Bay Area is not a large number.”
Indeed, when it came to planning an airport, the alternatives were once Zengcheng, within Guangzhou, and the neighbouring city of Huizhou.
Ding Li, an economics researcher at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, has been adamant that Gaoming, in Foshan, is the best choice. Ding Li told Time Weekly that in his opinion, Zengcheng is not suitable for the construction of an airport. First of all, the southern part of Zengcheng is basically saturated, and the central part is an urban area. The airport can only be built in the north, but the northern part is mountainous. “It is theoretically possible to build a domestic regional airport, but it is basically impossible to build such a hub airport,” he said. Ding Li indicated.
Compared with various planning has been relatively mature Zengcheng, Gaoming is like a “white paper”. More importantly, the new airport is better located in the town, but also more “hub” meaning. From the map, Genghe Town is about 35 kilometers away from Hecheng, the central city of Gaoming. It is adjacent to Gaoyao Zhaoqing in the north, Heshan Jiangmen in the south and Yunfu Xinxing in the west.
Gaoming Zoning Planning (2014-2020)
The completion of the new airport fills the gap of the lack of hub airport in the west of Guangdong, which can be said to be an urgent need for the west of Guangdong.
According to statistics, from 2005 to 2019, the air passenger throughput in the Pearl River Delta (excluding Hong Kong and Macao) increased from 40.5 million in 2005 to 142 million in 2019, with an average annual growth rate of over 9%. If Hong Kong and Macao are included, the annual passenger throughput of the Greater Bay Area’s transport airports has doubled from 110 million to 223 million from 2008 to 2019. Among them, more than 90 percent of the traffic is digested in the Pearl River Delta.
It is urgent to build another airport. A number of airports in western Guangdong are being built or rebuilt. At present, the Zhuhai airport expansion project is planned to be completed in 2023. After the project is put into operation, the annual passenger throughput of Zhuhai Airport is expected to reach 27.5 million person-times. The Zhanjiang Wuchuan Airport, which is positioned as a domestic trunk airport, is also expected to be put into operation by the end of March 2022.
Guangzhou-Foshan Airport “Sanglongs to the Sea”
It is worth mentioning that the Foshan Shadi Airport, located in Foshan Shishan Town, is called the smallest civil aviation airport in China. Although the Shati airport was also expected to divert from Guangzhou airport, many experts interviewed pointed out that the development of the airport has been limited by the dual use of military and civilian positioning. The construction of the new airport not only greatly improves Foshan’s aviation status in the province, but also helps Foshan to take this opportunity to establish a sound transportation network.
The draft for the environmental impact assessment of Zhuhai-Zhaoqing high-speed railway from Jiangmen to Pearl River Delta hub airport section released last year revealed that in the future, Shenzhen-south high-speed railway, Guangzhou-Zhanjiang high-speed railway and Zhuhai-Zhao high-speed railway will interconnect at the Pearl River Delta airport station. The Foshan Metro Line 2, which passes through Gaoming, and the Guangzhou Metro Line 28 extension line are also planned to connect with the Pearl River Delta hub (Guangzhou new) airport to achieve seamless connection with the new airport. According to the plan, Gaoming Genghe will become a three-dimensional transportation hub in the western part of the Pearl River Delta.
With the experience of Guangzhou Baiyun Airport in the past, Foshan Gaoming is full of confidence in the future development.
A survey conducted by Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics shows that Baiyun Airport has a significant driving effect on the economic and social development of Guangzhou. The input-output ratio of Baiyun Airport’s business development to Guangzhou’s industrial economy reached 1:9.7. Each increase of 1 million passenger throughput can boost the GDP of Guangzhou about 3 billion yuan, and create 2800 indirect employment opportunities for Guangzhou.
Taking into account the driving force of future transportation location, Gaoming District of Foshan has been studying and planning the development of airport industry since 2017, accelerating the building of major industrial platforms such as airport economic zone, and gradually clearly developing three characteristic aviation industries: airport logistics, food, medicine and health, and airport business.
In January, the city of Foshan identified Gaoming as “the new engine for Foshan’s high-quality development”. According to the plan, during the “14th Five-Year Plan” period, Gaoming District will rely on the gathering of emerging industrial resources to promote five key emerging industries such as new-generation automobiles, intelligent consumer electronics, new materials, new energy, shared services and outsourcing, and form a new driving force for industrial development leading the whole city. At the same time, it will also promote four innovative industries with advantages of intelligent equipment, leisure tourism, modern agriculture and fine chemical industry, and become a new model of industrial transformation and upgrading in Foshan.
Foshan’s gross domestic product reached 1,081.647 billion yuan in 2020, registering positive year-on-year growth in the last quarter, official data showed. Although Foshan has maintained its position in the “Trillion Dollar Club”, the manufacturing-oriented economic structure has increased the pressure of Foshan’s industrial transformation and upgrading.
While supporting the location of the new airport is smart, Ding Li also points out that the impact of the airport should be viewed calmly. In his view, airport construction is largely unprofitable because of its large investment and long payback cycle. But for Foshan Gaoming, “the advantage of building a new airport is that it can be an important brand to attract investment”.
The Times Weekly reporter noted that this year, Gaoming has proposed to highlight the recruitment, introduction and strengthening of the chain in the investment attraction link, and strive to introduce a number of major industrial projects in the strategic emerging industries such as high-end advanced equipment, aerospace and aviation, biotechnology, information technology, airport logistics, energy and environmental protection.
“The new airport can also make up for the current passenger-oriented situation in Guangzhou by developing freight.” Zheng Tianxiang pointed out that Guangzhou is the gateway to “One Belt And One Road”, Southeast Asia and Europe, and the new Foshan airport not only conforms to the balanced development of Pearl River Delta from east to west proposed by the country, but also forms the pattern of “two dragons going to sea”.