WASHINGTON, May 13, 2013 –Today the World Bank Board of Directors approved a loan of US$50 million to the People’s Republic of China to help improve airline connectivity in northeastern Jiangxi Province and demonstrate the environmental sustainability of the development and operation of the Shangrao Sanqingshan Airport.
During the past few decades, China has expanded its transport infrastructure to support rapid economic growth and social transformation. Air transport is China’s fastest growing mode of transport. In 2011, the country’s air passenger throughput reached 621 million and cargo tonnage reached 11.6 million tons. China is now the world’s second largest air transportation market in traffic volume after the United States, and plans to build 69 additional airports bringing the total civil airports to 244 by 2020.
Based on the long-term partnership between China and the World Bank in the transport sector, it was agreed that the Bank could bring value and innovation to China’s air transport sector in three areas: transport modal integration, environmentally friendly airport design and operation, and economic and financial sustainability. The Shangrao Sanqingshan Airport project was identified as the first World Bank-financed air transport project in China.
“Aside from improving air transport connectivity, this project is intended to enhance operations by setting up a proper business model, improving the identification of targeted passenger groups, designing proper air routes, incorporating environmental sustainability to reduce carbon emissions as well as energy saving,” said Binyam Reja, World Bank Lead Transport Specialist in China. “If successful, it can become a demonstration project for the development of future feeder airport projects in China.”
The Jiangxi Shangrao Sanqingshan Airport Project will finance construction of airport infrastructure including airfield, terminal building, air traffic control, freight facility, and auxiliary facilities, and support the development of an airport operation model, a human resources development plan, an operational and financial manual, and a marketing plan to attract airlines. The project will adopt the most environmentally sensible and practical decisions in airport design and operation with a view to developing a ‘green’ airport.
Upon completion, the airport will serve 8.5 million people in the catchment area of Shangrao and Yingtan Municipalities, as well as some of the annual 29.15 million visitors (2011) visiting the tourist destinations of Sanqingshan, Wuyuan, Guifeng and Longhushan. Lessons learned in developing the Green Airport concept will be documented and shared with other potential cities considering building green airports in China.
The total cost of the project is US$105.13 million (RMB 662.30 million), to be financed by the IBRD loan of US$50 million and domestic funding including central government grants.