The Guangzhou Aviation City project, which really gets underway mid next year, will take the ‘airport city’ concept to a whole new level.

The US$10 billion project, which sees the involvement of Australia’s Woods Baggot as designer, will transform four square kilometers of land half way between Guangzhou City and the airport with the construction of a new headquarters for China Southern Airlines and other mixed-use developments.

The project also encompasses a university, an aviation maintenance area, an aviation IT park, a business park and an extensive residential area.

Maintaining the aviation theme, the university will be dedicated to training pilots, cabin crew and engineers and supplying other related skills; although practical pilot training will continue to take place at Jandakot in Perth.

Construction of the ‘core’ element of the project, the airline HQ, will commence in June 2013, with the rest to be undertaken over the next 10 years.

The project is designed to take pressure of Guangzhou Airport which will have enough aviation growth of its own in the next few years, with the Airport Master Plan including a total of five runways.

Based at the airport, China Southern’s fleet will grow to around 600 aircraft in the next three years; and could well reach 800 by 2020.

Guangzhou Airport will overtake Hong Kong International Airport in terms of passenger numbers in about three years from now; and will almost certainly do so in terms of aircraft movements in 10 years.

The airport is already the 16th largest (pax numbers) globally and the second largest in China after Beijing.

China Southern will be responsible for raising around half of the capital required for the Aviation City project, with the rest coming from regional government.

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