Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG) – the flagship gateway of the 12 airports in Yunnan Province operated by the Yunnan Airport Group Co, Ltd – opened on 28 June 2012 and has all the mod cons expected of a new airport. There are 2 independent runways, 6 taxiways and 110 parking positions (68 boarding bridges and 42 remote stands).
Not surprisingly, the number of passengers and airlines serving the gateway is on the up. In 2013, KMG recorded a total of 254,600 aircraft movements, equating to 29.68 million passengers and 293,600 tons of cargo. In 2014, passenger numbers will be around 32 million. As of November 2014, 46 airlines (29 domestic, 13 international and 3 special regional airlines) were operating 269 routes (225 domestic, 39 international and 5 special regions) and connecting 130 destinations (97 domestic, 29 international and 4 special regions).
To an extent, it is still a numbers game for the airport. The goal is to attract more international airlines to the Yunnan market. The Group’s ambition is to directly connect with every capital and secondary city in southeast Asia as well as major tourism sites. Further intercontinental routes would be the icing on the cake. But there is more to Kunming and Yunnan than a state-of-the-art airport. A thriving city and province have their own appeal. Consequently, the Yunnan Airport Group Co, Ltd is not alone in its marketing efforts. It has partnered with the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration on the Aviation and Tourism Confluent Development Agreement. This will see the two partners co-operate on marketing strategy and event attendance, maximising the destination’s potential.
Fortunately, Kunming and Yunnan Province are a relatively easy sell. Kunming, known as the Spring City, enjoys an average temperature of 15°C, an ideal climate for the natural world and for those looking for the perfect holidaying destination. Culture lovers are equally well rewarded. There are the 26 rich ethnic minority cultures in Yunnan and four UNESCO natural and cultural heritage sites; Lijiang Ancient Town, the Stone Forest, the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas and Honghe Hani Rice Terraces.
If the hard marketing work pays off, KMG will need to be ready. Additional aircraft stands are planned as is a runway upgrade to ILS CAT II. The reconfiguration and expansion of the main terminal’s commercial and retail space is already underway. A second phase of the airport’s expansion will include two more runways, a new cargo terminal dedicated to freighters and another passenger terminal that will enable KMG to handle 80 million customers annually.
Welcome to Routes Asia 2015
Kunming promises to be a valuable and attractive trip for delegates. The potential of Yunnan Province and China in general is well documented and will cater to myriad route development ambitions. Unique cultural experiences as well as beautiful landscapes also await. Two tours on offer to delegates will provide an opportunity to visit the Stones Forest National Park and Yunnan Provincial Ethical Village. But there is also the Dianchi Lake just beside the convention centre with great views of the Siberian seagulls passing the winter in warmer climes.
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