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People's Liberation Army
Air Force

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
23°11'N 113°16'E

Guangzhou (known as Canton), located in the north of Pearl River Delta, is the capital of Guangdong Province and the gateway to the south China. Guangzhou is located in the hinterland of the Pearl River Delta,with Hong Kong and Macau to the southeast and southwest. It is the political economic, and cultural center of South China, as well as an important gateway for economic and cultural exchanges with the outside world.

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, which is located to the north of Guangzhou, is one of China's busiest major airports with large passenger capacity and cargo turnover. The Baiyun International Airport opened 90-odd domestic air routes and 23 international air routes with a total capacity of 12.57 million passengers in 1997, and cargo turnover reached 351,800 tons in 1997. There are over 110,000 flights annually. The current single 11,089 foot long runway has almost outlived its usefulness.

The Guangzhou city government decided to move the airport, one of China's busiest, away from the crowded urban area as rising cargo and passenger volumes are causing increasing congestion. The PRC Government has approved the project in the document that titled "the Approval of Moving and Construction of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport by the state council and the State Military Commission". The new airport project in Guangzhou commenced construction in the second half of 1999, with completion targeted for early 2003. Upon completion, the new airport will replace the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport as the main hub. Guangzhou New Baiyun International Airport is located at the junction of the North Ren He County of Baiyun District and the East Xin Hua County of Hua Du, 28 kilometers away from downtown Guangzhou, and 17 kilometers from the current Baiyun International Airport. At an estimated cost of US$2.3 billion, the first phase of construction is scheduled to be operational by 2002. When completed in 2005, the three-runway airport will have a cargo capacity of 2.5 million tons and a passenger capacity of 80 million a year. Two runways are being constructed in the first phase -- the west runway is 3600 meters in length and 45 meters in width, while the east runway is 3800 meters and 45 meters respectively. The vertical distance between the two runways is 2200 meters. The two long-distance parallel runways will be equipped with precise instrument landing system and flying assistant lighting system. The third paralleled runway is designed 680 meters south of the east one, with a length of 3200 meters and a width of 45 meters.

The PLA has little need or incentive to utilize the airfields and other military facilities in this area, since other well-maintained nearby coastal military facilities ensure more proximate access to Taiwan. In the event of military conflict, the PLA is unlikely to this area as a staging base, because involving the area directly in military activities would be extremely disruptive to economic activity in the region.

Photographic Evaluation Report

High resolution imagery is available from three sources. Declassified CORONA imagery includes coverage from 10 February 1969. Commercially available Russian 2-meter resolution KVR-1000 imagery is available via the SPIN-2 service on TerraServer. As of 01 May 2000 archival Space Imaging IKONOS 1-meter imagery available on the CARTERRA™ Archive includes at least 28 scenes of the general Guangzhou area, acquired between 03 February 2000 and 04 April 2000. Of these scenes, however, 25 have heavy cloud cover in excess of the standard 20% threshold. There is evidently no coverage of Guangzhou Baiyun Airport.

1969 - CORONA 1989 - SPIN-2
Imagery from TerraServer.com Copyright Aerial Images, Inc. and SOVINFORMSPUTNIK. Distribution and publishing in any form requires permission from Aerial Images, Inc.

Sources and Resources

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Friday, May 12, 2000 12:00:01 AM