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China tests two new airfields in South China Sea

Updated: Jul 14,2016 10:24 AM     Xinhua

People pose for a group photo after a passenger jet of China Southern Airlines landing at the airport on Meiji Reef, July 13, 2016. China successfully carried out test flights on two new airports on the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea on July 13, further enhancing its capability to provide public services as a responsible player in the region. Together with the one on Yongshu Reef, the two airfields, respectively located on Meiji Reef and Zhubi Reef, bring tangible benefits to vessels sailing in and planes flying over the area, thanks to their convenient location in the middle of the vast water body.[Photo/Xinhua]

HAIKOU — China successfully tested two new airfields on the Nansha Islands with civil flight on July 13, bring the number of airfields open to civil aircraft in the archipelago to three.

A flight took off from Haikou, capital of south China’s Hainan province, at 8:30 am and landed on Meiji Reef two hours later, while another took off from Haikou at 8:40 am and landed on Zhubi Reef at 10:28 am.

The two flights, an Airbus A319 chartered by China Southern Airlines and a Boeing 737 by Hainan Airlines, both returned to Haikou after a short stay on the reefs.

The round trips came one day after a Cessna CE-680 flew to the two reefs to ensure that both airfields are prepared for civil flights.

Including the airport on the Yongshu Reef opened in January, China now has three functioning airports on the Nansha Islands, which lie under one of the world’s busiest airspaces.

In addition to the airports, there are four multi-purpose lighthouses on Huayang, Chigua, Zhubi and Yongshu reefs, while the construction of a fifth on Meiji Reef is nearing completion, according to the Ministry of Transportation.

A passenger jet of China Southern Airlines lands on the airport on Meiji Reef, July 13, 2016. China successfully carried out test flights on two new airports on the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea on July 13, further enhancing its capability to provide public services as a responsible player in the region. Together with the one on Yongshu Reef, the two airfields, respectively located on Meiji Reef and Zhubi Reef, bring tangible benefits to vessels sailing in and planes flying over the area, thanks to their convenient location in the middle of the vast water body. [Photo/Xinhua]

A passenger jet of Hainan Airlines takes off from the airport on Zhubi Reef and flies towards Haikou, capital of south China’s Hainan province, July 13, 2016. China successfully carried out test flights on two new airports on the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea onJuly 13, further enhancing its capability to provide public services as a responsible player in the region. Together with the one on Yongshu Reef, the two airfields, respectively located on Meiji Reef and Zhubi Reef, bring tangible benefits to vessels sailing in and planes flying over the area, thanks to their convenient location in the middle of the vast water body.[Photo/Xinhua]

A passenger jet of China Southern Airlines lands on the airport on Meiji Reef, July 13, 2016. China successfully carried out test flights on two new airports on the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea on July 13, further enhancing its capability to provide public services as a responsible player in the region. Together with the one on Yongshu Reef, the two airfields, respectively located on Meiji Reef and Zhubi Reef, bring tangible benefits to vessels sailing in and planes flying over the area, thanks to their convenient location in the middle of the vast water body. [Photo/Xinhua]

A passenger jet of Hainan Airlines lands at the airport on Zhubi Reef, July 13, 2016. China successfully carried out test flights on two new airports on the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea on July 13, further enhancing its capability to provide public services as a responsible player in the region. Together with the one on Yongshu Reef, the two airfields, respectively located on Meiji Reef and Zhubi Reef, bring tangible benefits to vessels sailing in and planes flying over the area, thanks to their convenient location in the middle of the vast water body. [Photo/Xinhua]

A passenger jet of Hainan Airlines lands at the airport on Zhubi Reef, July 13, 2016. China successfully carried out test flights on two new airports on the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea on July 13, further enhancing its capability to provide public services as a responsible player in the region. Together with the one on Yongshu Reef, the two airfields, respectively located on Meiji Reef and Zhubi Reef, bring tangible benefits to vessels sailing in and planes flying over the area, thanks to their convenient location in the middle of the vast water body. [Photo/Xinhua]

People pose for a group photo after a passenger jet of Hainan Airlines landing at the airport on Zhubi Reef, July 13, 2016. China successfully carried out test flights on two new airports on the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea on July 13, further enhancing its capability to provide public services as a responsible player in the region. Together with the one on Yongshu Reef, the two airfields, respectively located on Meiji Reef and Zhubi Reef, bring tangible benefits to vessels sailing in and planes flying over the area, thanks to their convenient location in the middle of the vast water body.[Photo/Xinhua]

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