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Kinmen seeking to co-build, co-operate airport in Xiamen

TAIPEI--Taiwan's outlying Kinmen County, which is less than 10 kilometers from Xiamen on China's southeastern coast, expressed its interest on Sunday to jointly build and operate a new international airport being planned in the Chinese city.

During a meeting with an official from the Xiamen Municipal Bureau of Planning and other Kinmen officials, Kinmen County Magistrate Li Wo-shi said he hoped the county could take part in both the construction and operation of the new airport to help boost Kinmen's passenger capacity.

An expansion of Kinmen Airport was completed late last year, but the facility's full capacity of 3.9 million passengers per year will be reached in five years, Li said, a problem because the airport cannot be expanded further.

The use of the airport in nearby Xiamen would be a solution to the capacity problem, Li said, adding that he would submit the proposal to Taiwan's Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Kinmen's idea of jointly building and operating the new Xiamen airport follows a previous proposal to build a bridge connecting Xiamen and Kinmen, which consists of 12 islands.

During Sunday's meeting, representatives from both sides agreed to hire a consulting firm to carry out a feasibility study on the Kinmen-Xiamen joint venture.

Li also asked the county government to create a designated communication channel with its Xiamen counterpart to further discuss the issue.

Xiamen is currently reclaiming land around Dadeng and Xiaodeng islands to create a 26-square-kilometer plot of land for the new airport, which will have four runways, according to the construction plan. The facility is expected to become operational in 2020.

Among the Chinese islands closest to Kinmen County, Dadeng and Xiaodeng islands are closer to Kinmen's main island than they are to downtown Xiamen.

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