Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It's my honor to participate in the "Flying from Guangzhou" Tourism Promotion Convention and to share with you opinions on the development of Baiyun Airport and its role in promoting tourism in Guangdong and Pan Pearl River Delta.
Tourism, as an important element of modern economy, is a significant symbol of modern society. The development of tourism greatly facilitates the progress in economy and society. Both air transportation and tourism belong to tertiary industry. They are closely linked and mutually supplementary to each other. Air transportation is essential to the development of tourism industry, especially long distance tourism and international tourism. Since the 1940s, the development of air transportation has gradually changed the world into a global village, providing safe, efficient and convenient trips to passengers and considerably cutting the traveling time and cost. As a result, tourism has witnessed rapid development. On the other hand, the growth in tourism also brings a unique market demand for the development of air transportation.
Civil aviation is a fundamental and leading industry in national economy. Since 1978, civil aviation in China has witnessed remarkable historic achievements with air transportation maintaining sustained and speedy development. While gradually carrying out domestic deregulation, China has implemented more open international air transportation policy. Since 2005, China's total traffic turnover has ranked the second in the world, which made the air transportation system of China the second largest in the globe. By the end of 2006, we have all together 147 transportation airports. Suppose 100-kilometer ground traffic needs 1.5-hour drive on average, the air service in China has covered 52% of the counties, 61% of the population and 82% of the economic activities in the country. The development of China's air transportation has met the need of national economic and social development, opening up and tourism growth. At present, General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) is now strengthening the construction of airport, air control and other infrastructures for a new generation of air transportation system so as to better satisfy the public need of air transportation development.
Guangdong, the forefront of China's reform and opening up, is the largest economy in the country as well as the starting point of the renowned Marine Silk Road. Guangdong is endowed with numerous places of interests and abundant tourism resources, such as the Nanhua Temple with thousand years of history. In 2006, the inbound tourists to Guangdong have exceeded 100 million, making it one of the key destinations for international tourists and consumption. Guangdong is the largest processing base for export commodities in the world. The 9 provinces and regions plus Hong Kong and Macao have formed the Pan Pearl River Delta, which enjoys great economic growth. Guangdong is also famous for being the hometown of over 22 million overseas Chinese in more than 100 countries and regions. All of these have provided favorable conditions for air transportation of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.
Besides, Baiyun Airport also enjoys evident regional advantage and guarantee. Baiyun Airport is located in the center of Asian air transportation system. Within five hours, flights from Baiyun Airport can cover countries and regions with half of the world population. Within 18 hours, flights can reach every major city in the globe. Within 4 hours, flights can reach East Asia, South Asia, West Asia, and North Asia, making it a large transportation hub that enjoys the shortest distance between China, Southeast Asia, Middle East and Australia. Baiyun Airport is the first airport that is built in accordance to the concept of hub airport by CAAC. Both its function and facility have reached first class of international level. In 2006, the Airport was awarded "International Clean Airport" by the WHO. In 2007, the Airport also won the prize of "National Best Service Quality Airport" and "National Best Lounge Environment Airport" by CAAC. Meanwhile, China Southern Airlines, which is mainly based in Baiyun Airport, is the air company that boasts the largest aircraft fleet and transportation volume in China. In 2006, China Southern Airlines ranked the 16th in terms of the total passenger turnover worldwide, and 23rd in terms of operating revenue. Not long ago, Southern Airlines has joined the "Sky Team" which expands its network to more than 700 cities in the world with over 14,500 flights every day. Therefore, within one transfer, passengers can reach over 80% of the cities in the world. Moreover, FedEx has established the transfer center of Asia-Pacific region in Baiyun Airport, which again promises Baiyun Airport with a bright future.
Over the years, Baiyun Airport has maintained a strong momentum in its development. In 2006, the total number of planes taking off and landing, passenger throughput and cargo and mail transportation handling volume of Guangzhou Baiyun Airport has ranked the 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd respectively among all the airports in the country. In terms of passenger throughput, Baiyun Airport ranks the 41st in global airports. Baiyun Airport has provided favorable conditions for the development of tourism and economy in Guangdong.
The developments of tourism and economy in Guangdong and Pan Pearl River Delta call upon a new step forward in Guangdong's air transportation as well as a new leap forward in the development of Baiyun Airport. As functional department of CAAC, we will, as always, support the hub construction of Guangdong Baiyun Airport. Recently, the People's Government of Guangdong Province and CAAC have jointly established a joint leading group to promote the construction of hub airport in Guangzhou, which can provide organizational guarantee. We encourage domestic and foreign air companies to set up branches in Baiyun Airport and build passenger and cargo hubs here, which will enhance the opening-up level of the air transportation market in Guangzhou region. We also encourage these companies to increase medium- and long-distance international flights to Baiyun Airport, and increase flights from Baiyun Airport to neighboring countries. Through our cooperative efforts, we aim to build Baiyun Airport into a large passenger and cargo portal hub airport that is based in Pearl River Delta and links the whole nation, province, Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific regions. By doing so, we can promote the economic and social development of Guangdong and even the Pearl River Delta in a better and more efficient manner, and to facilitate the prosperity of Guangdong and Pan Pearl River Delta.
Thank you very much!
(Full text of the remarks by Wang Ronghua, Director of the Transportation Department of CAAC at "Flying from Guangzhou" Promotion Convention of the 2007 Guangdong International Tourism and Cultural Festival on November 24, 2007, as transcribed)