China's wealthiest village to purchase 20 aircraft in five years

16:57, November 17, 2010      

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A village in east China's Jiangsu Province has announced plans to buy 20 aircraft for pilot training and tourism, after the government said it would open low-altitude airspace for private planes.

Huaxi, the richest village in China, said it would have its own fleet of aircraft in the next five years, with the aim of establishing a pilot training base.

"We've waited so long for the low-altitude airspace to be opened. The two helicopters in the village will take off in mid December," said Zhou Li, manager of the Huaxi Village tourism company.

According to a circular jointly issued by the State Council and the Central Military Commission, China will open part of its low-altitude airspace in an orderly manner to promote the country's general aviation sector.

Huaxi's two helicopters -- one manufactured by McDonnell Douglas and one by Eurocopter -- cost almost 90 million yuan (13.56 million U.S. dollars). Two pilots are doing the trial tourist flights.

"It will help upgrade the village's tourist industry and attract more wealthy visitors," said Zhou.

Visitors would be able to have a bird's eye view of the village for about 300 to 500 yuan.

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