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Airport economy in Guangzhou:lifting off
Update: 2018-08-22     Source: newsgd.com

Roaring down the runway of Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou is a Boeing 737-700, a frequent visitor of one of the world’s busiest airport. After touch-down, the aircraft trundles to the terminal to unload hundreds of passengers and tons of cargo, feeding an expanding airport economy.

In July, the airport welcomed over 20,000 planes carrying well above 2 million travelers and 60 thousand tons of goods. This vibrant industry, with over 10,000 connected enterprises in the surrounding area, is growing in economic influence in Guangzhou, and the 24th World Route Development Forum, due September this year, is right around the corner.

E-commerce: Fast and Convenient

 [Photo by Eric, Newsgd.com]

Part of the airport complex is International Freight Terminal 1, a transfer station for transnational air shipment operated by COSCO Air Freight, a Chinese E-commerce logistics specialist, and others. In the warehouse reserved for international E-commerce, dozens of employees busy themselves with sorting through light-weight goods. On a daily basis, COSCO Air Freight processes up to 10,000 orders (the highest record is 30,000).

The company has two modes for cross-border electronic business. One way, known as BBC, sees transnational electronic business keep their collectively procured goods in the bonded area for customer to place orders. It takes an average of 2.6 days for a product to reach its buyer. The alternative, Business to Consumer direct mail, is a more straightforward business model, but longer and more expensive.

COSCO Air Freight started its global flow of commodities in 2015, when Chinese demand for milk powder and baby diapers soared. Now the number of Chinese overseas shoppers is projected to reach 88 million, according to iiMedia Research. The company has expanded into almost every kind of product, including clothes, jewellery, perfumes, and cameras.

Maintenance and P to F Conversion

[Photo by Eric, Newsgd.com]

A short distance away, a few planes await maintenance in a hangar run by GAMECO, an airline maintainance firm. The company plays a key part in keeping the airport running, as it provides around 700 flights with line maintenance every day, and 256 planes with annual checks.

In its complex, its 5600 workers repair 50,000 accessories to be reloaded onto the aircraft. With demand on the rise, GAMECO is scheduling expansion, which includes two new maintenance bases to be completed by 2021.

Other plans are the third stage of construction of its hangar, the establishment of new branches in Australia and New Zealand, and the optimization of current production process.

General manager Nobert Marx predicts that the company needs to recruit 800 people or so next year. GAMECO is also seeking closer ties with OEMs, original equipment manufacturers, such as Honeywell.

In another factory, GAMECO’s passenger aircraft are being converted to freight aircraft, a practice known as P to F conversion. Rows of seats are removed from the cabin to make room for goods and other necessary equipment.

Marx explains that despite a passenger aircraft having an average life of 24 years, normally after 15 to 18 years of service it appears a little bit too tired for passengers, and will be used instead for cargo shipping.

With E-commerce booming, the demand for cargo planes is on the up. In view of this development, Guangzhou has brought home two P to F conversion projects from Boeing and Airbus, making it the world’s biggest arena for this conversion.

Introducing More Corporate Jets

[Photo by Eric, Newsgd.com]

Since the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) in Baiyun Airport began service last year, Guangzhou is reshaping the landscape of world business aircraft.

According to Xiao Qiming of the management body of Guangzhou Airport Economic Zone, the 3-stage Baiyun FBO project, on completion, will have a total area of 900 square kilometers, making it the world’s largest parking apron for corporate aircraft.

Xiao is very positive about Guangzhou’s prospects in this field, as the province is one of China’s economic hubs, and is close to Hong Kong and Macao. The government is lavishing support as well, linking it to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, a national strategy to bring the three regions closer. “The land grant is very generous,” he said.

Guangzhou is planning the airport as an engine to turbo-charge the city’s economic and technological development. With the World Route Development Forum this September, new heights await for the city’s Baiyun Airport.

Reported by Will, Eric

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