Aug. 5th, 6:20 am, the first airplane landed at New Baiyun International Airport (NBIA), China. "Landing off CZ328 from L.A."
An enormous international airport opened in the capital of south China's Guangdong province on Sep. 5th. The NBIA cost 2.4 billion to construct, can accommodate 27 million passengers annually and transport one million tons of baggage. These figures are second only to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), the main hub in northeast Asia.
China currently ranks 5th in passenger air service. The number of fares has increased 40 times during the last twenty-five years, from 2.3 million to 87.6 million. According to experts, China will move up to 2nd in the air service market within 10 years. Although this is an optimistic expectation, a significant event related to China's airline industry has occurred.
Nevertheless all countries of the world are looking on the bright side of the NBIA, considering the fact that Guangdong controls 40 percent of China's exports and is known as the "Worldwide Factory."
Seeing these advantages, international airlines want to set up direct flights to Baiyun. Most of these airlines are likely to utilize the NBIA because Guangdong is China's economy-driven area. FedEx, the largest delivery airline in the U.S., has constructed a distribution base at Subic Bay in the Philippines and is in negotiations with the Chinese government to establish another one at Baiyun Airport.
China and the U.S. have stipulated a new aviation traffic agreement to allow more planes to fly between the two countries, 5 times more than now for 6 years. The Chinese government also expects to take a share of Hong Kong's conveyance fliers and much of its baggage.
With the opening of the NBIA, fierce competition is expected between HKG, which is called Chek Lap Kok, and the NBIA. In addition, one by one, other countries will be opening new airports (New Bangkok International Airport, 2005, and New Nagoya International Airport) which will kindle worldwide competition.
Hereupon, Guangdong plans to make the NBIA a hub airport. According to the plans, the NBIA will be equipped with large-scale facilities that can handle 80 million fares and convey 2.5 million tons of baggage. The number of flights going abroad will increase from 22 to 40 within 3 years. The new Baiyun airport is arranging other projects such as expanding its compound and cooperating with the U.S.. Due to the concern of excessively high competition, China is also considering a new management system that will merge five adjacent airports.
HKG is in rivalry with China. It is determined to make big reductions on flight fares to defend its market share. Starting from this September, HKG is scheduled to provide a 50 percent discount to all passengers using it for their first year and 25 percent off the next year.
Yepeng, the director of Hong Kong's Economy Advance Labor Industry insisted that Hong Kong is prepared to compete with China through improving airport facilities, lowering management expenses and by offering discount service charges.
DHL, an international circulation corp. announced at a news conference related to Asia-Pacific investment strategy, "We promote Hong Kong as the hub airport in Asia continuing from Singapore. We will invest about 200 million dollars for five years."
All the facilities at HKG operate full-time 24 hours a day, not to mention the customs' business. In line with this, nations in Asia are doing their utmost to be the hub airport of the northeast. Without exception Korea's, Incheon International Airport (IIA) strives to be the main hub. It is ranked 3rd in the baggage transfer section, the plying luggage exceeds 46 percent and its potential is appreciate by other nations. The IIA seems to satisfy all conditions needed to be a main hub.
But there are some weak points to the IIA. Its conveyance system, for example, takes too much time (2 or 3 days) compared with Narita International Airport (Japan) and Podong International Airport (China). "In order to solve the systemic problem, the IIA is running full-time from last month. And we are preparing a connection with Eurasia, which is regarded as a second transportation base," said Han Ok-soon, a Calculation Management officer at IIA.
And its connection between shipping system and flight transportation can be settled by expanding the luggage terminal and developing the rear circulation area. To execute these plans, the IIA needs an enormous budget; so government aid is essential.
Unfortunately, the Ministry Construction & Transportation has reserved the project as an Investment Free International City. Now, the Local Authority wants to develop the rear circulation area itself. This diminishes the IIA as a hub.
A few days ago, DHL presented a plan to construct an additional luggage terminal of 6,100 pyong. Moreover, it has an advantage in a location that can reach Japan and China in one hour. Utilizing the merits of IIA and expanding related facilities will make it possible to be a main hub airport.
Park Nu-ri email@example.com
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