Airports keen to get linked up with railways

08:38, December 01, 2010      

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More than 30 airports want to be better connected with the rail network in order to provide convenient transfers for travelers and tackle growing competition from the fast-growing high-speed rail network, an aviation industry official said.

"Airports in eastern and southwestern China that have faced competition from high-speed railways are seeking improved connections," said Wang Jian, secretary-general of China Civil Airports Association, in a telephone interview with China Daily.

The fast development of the nation's high-speed rail network has been an issue of great concern for China's airports and air carriers.

By 2012, the nation will have around 13,000 km of high-speed railways, and by 2020, the network will be completed, affecting more than 80 percent of the civil aviation market, according to a report from the China Civil Airports Association.

A new high-speed railway linking two major cities in Jilin province in Northeast China will have a stop at Changchun Longjia Airport from next year, cutting the traveling time to the airport by at least 30 minutes, said Nie Rongjun, a publicity official at the airport.

In addition, Hongqiao High-speed Railway Station is within walking distance of Shanghai Hongqiao Airport.

But the coordination of air and rail transport remains in its infancy in China, said Zhao Jian, a transport professor at Beijing Jiaotong University.

"Seamless transfer at existing airports or railway stations is seldom possible at traffic hubs, and rebuilding them for this purpose would be virtually impossible," Zhao said.

He added that overall planning is crucial for the nation's ongoing railway and aviation projects.

The concept of seamless connections between different modes of transport should be included in future plans in order to improve efficiency, he said.

"But in reality, another problem is that China's railway, aviation and highway sectors tend to draw up their own construction plans," he said. "The Ministry of Transport covers air, water and roads, but not railways."

"Therefore, more cooperation and coordination is expected between various authorities when mapping out overall plans," he said.

Tan Zongyang contributed to this story.

Source:China Daily


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