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Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 21:59

China tests two new airfields in South China Sea

By Xinhua

China tests two new airfields in South China Sea
A China Southern Airlines plane lands on a newly built airfield on Yongshu Jiao in the Nansha Islands at 10:21 am on Jan 6, 2016. (Xinhua photo)

HAIKOU - China on Wednesday successfully tested two new airfields on the Nansha Islands with civil flights, bring the number of airfields open to civil aircraft in the archipelago to three.

A flight took off from Haikou, capital of South China's Hainan province, at 8:30 am and landed on Meiji Reef two hours later, while another took off from Haikou at 8:40 am and landed on Zhubi Reef at 10:28 am.

The two flights, an Airbus A319 chartered by China Southern Airlines and a Boeing 737 by Hainan Airlines, both returned to Haikou after a short stay on the reefs.

The round trips came one day after a Cessna CE-680 flew to the two reefs to ensure that both airfields are prepared for civil flights.

Including the airport on the Yongshu Reef opened in January, China now has three functioning airports on the Nansha Islands, which lie under one of the world's busiest airspaces.

In addition to the airports, there are four multi-purpose lighthouses on Huayang, Chigua, Zhubi and Yongshu reefs, while the construction of a fifth on Meiji Reef is nearing completion, according to the Ministry of Transportation.

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