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New Kunming airport's first phase nearing completion

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The new airport's terminal
The new airport's terminal

The terminal at Kunming's vast new international airport is nearing completion and the facility is still expected to begin operations before the end of the year, according to a recent Kunming Information Hub report.

The new airport, which will be located 30 kilometers northeast of downtown Kunming, will be one of China's largest and after the second phase of construction will have two runways long enough to handle the largest wide-body airliners being flown today. There have been no direct confirmations of new routes, but there has been media speculation that the new airport will connect Kunming to Europe, Australia and the Americas via direct flights.

The airport's first phase includes one runway and is expected to enhance Kunming's trade and travel links with Southeast Asia and India as well as its international profile further afield.

Local reporters have been told that the airport's terminal building was "90 percent complete" and that workers' hours on the job had been lengthened to ensure that the facility would be open for business by the end of the year.

Once both phases of construction are completed, the airport is projected to handle 38 million passengers annually. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, approximately 14.8 billion yuan (US$2.27 billion) has been spent on the airport to date.

Image: Kunming Information Hub

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Wow! Whatever you think about their methods, and the consequences, the Chinese certainly get things done.

Fantastic news, particularly for business. It's actually been a long time since talk of 'the new airport began'.

and I guess Taxi drivers will make a lot of money until the light rail is ready,,2015?

@yuantongsi Hopefully there will at least be a decent shuttle bus service but it does seem like the new airport will be a less convenient location for most people. Reminds my of the new bus stations.

If there are to be direct flights linking Kunming to The Americas, Europe, and Australia, which cities in particular do you think are most likely to score one?

Please submit your guesses.

Mine:

Europe - London, Paris
Australias - Sydney, Melbourne
Americans - Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco

Is this too optimistic? I'm not sure really how much market there is for these routes. I'd benefit, but how many others are there like me? How many actual Europeans, Australians, and North Americans live in Kunmign? A few thousand?

Then of course there's foreign tourists. That might be where it makese sense. I'd guess a good chunk of the foreigners who come to China would like to include Kunming on their itineraries? Currently the fly into the hubs in Shanghai, Guangzhou, or Beijng, and then travel to Kunming by train or domestic flight. I wonder how many would be diverted onto the new direct flights.

And then the're the outgoing Chinese market, which I imagine would not be insignificant. The number of Chinese going abroad for business, travel, and study abroad is getting bigger every year.

But all together, how much aggregate demand is there for these direct flights? Maybe if they only operate a 2-3 days a week they'd make sense.

Please add your thoughts on this topic...

For Europe I would say it will most likely be Amsterdam over London or Paris as there are quite a lot of Dutch companies here,,Plus KLM already has the rights for passenger flights KM to Holland, currently KLM is already flying direct to Chengdu from Holland.

I think Amsterdam.But I would prefer Brussels because it's more near for me because I live near Antwerp.

Getting there from most places in Kunming will be far harder.

New York City, Los Angeles, Frisco, Seattle & Chicago - all possible USA.
Being a Flying Tiger fan, and many years ago exposed to the beautiful weather of "Spring City" and the diversity of Yunnan... direct flights to Kunming would seem a boon.
Retired to Florida, I've often noticed people here chose to fly to Vienna, Beijing and then to Kunming (or any where else in China)... this might be an even shorter route if a middle-European city had direct flights, since in getting there now we travel to LAX (and wait); fly to Guangzhou (& wait); finally to Kunming, spending 21 air-hours and as much, or sometimes more sitting in airports or over-nights.

I think they are considering Muleshoe, Texas; Dirty Woman Creek, Colorado; and Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania (is that how you spell that yankee state?).

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