According to the data of the Civil Affairs Bureau, excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, there are 3215 administrative divisions above the county level in China in 2018. According to the statistics of Civil Aviation Administration of China, there were 235 civil transport (certification) airports in the same year. Finally, on average, 13 administrative divisions above the county level can enjoy a civil airport. This makes Changhai airport as a county-level Airport special.
Usually a city has an airport. Changhai airport serves the county. Zhang Tao, director of Changhai Airport Office of Dalian International Airport Group Co., Ltd.
Changhai airport is next to the islanders home. Photo by Wang Wei, reporter of Beijing News
Mini airport for county
It may be hard for other airports to have this experience: out of the terminal, a quack quack call comes from the edge of the airport.
It was an area outside the airport, where the tower was visible, with a small flock of ducks and geese. We raise them all by ourselves, and occasionally improve our food. Wei Xianshi, deputy secretary of the Party branch of Changhai airport, said with a smile.
Part of the materials on the island are mainly imported by sea, and once encountering severe weather, the sea transportation stops continuously, the price will rise when watching. Weixianshi said, so the airport also built a shed around, planting sweet potatoes, potatoes and vegetables.
Changhai airport. Photo by Wang Wei, reporter of Beijing News
The airport is surrounded by villages. The cement road leading to the airport and the two nearby cement roads passing through the village are named flying Street, flying Street and Feida Street, respectively. Some dirt roads are covered with seashells dropped by fishermen when they go back and forth.
According to Wei Xianshi and Zhang Tao, the shape of Changhai airport is like an aircraft carrier. Buildings such as the terminal and the apron form the ship island of the aircraft carrier. The 800 meter long runway and the surrounding safety belt form the flight deck of the aircraft carrier. The aircraft carriers only carrier aircraft, a transport-12 fixed wing transport aircraft with a length of about 15 meters, is parked on the apron, and two propellers are hung on its wings with a wingspan of about 17 meters; the hatch at the back of the engine room is opened, and then the steps are pulled out, so that passengers can pick up the steps to board the engine room less than 1 meter from the ground.
Yun-12 is parked on the tarmac. Photo by Wang Wei, reporter of Beijing News
According to the airport staff, only 17 seats can be installed on the Yun-12 aircraft, but because there is no cargo warehouse, the space behind is reserved for luggage. There are 13 fixed passengers when flying from Changhai County to Dalian urban area, and 11 fixed passengers when returning from Dalian urban area. A flight attendant once explained to the local media the reason: Changhai airport does not reserve aviation oil. Every time we take off from Dalian, we need to reserve enough oil for the round-trip. If we take more oil, we will have fewer passengers.
In the summer tourist season, there is a flight between Dalian city and Changhai County in the morning and afternoon respectively; in the off-season, the flight in the afternoon is cancelled. In the four days reporters interviewed, only one day has flights in Changhai airport.
An aviation enthusiast specially came to experience a transport-12 aircraft in September. At that time, the captain informed him that only two passengers had made an appointment for the flight from Changhai County to the downtown of Dalian in the afternoon. There was no passenger appointment in the downtown of Dalian, and the aircraft would return empty, so the flight in the afternoon was likely to be cancelled. At noon, the airport informed him that the flight had been cancelled because of aircraft failure.
As long as it can fly, a passenger can fly, the staff said
However, the flight conditions of small airplanes are more severe. For example, a strong wind above level 5 will make small airplanes unable to aim at the runway, and sometimes airports will cancel flights due to the icing of low-level channels.
All aircrafts have corresponding meteorological requirements for safe flight, such as wind speed, visibility, low-level cloud and rain... Both airlines and airports want to fly more flights in order to pursue social and economic benefits, but they must strictly abide by the requirements of ensuring safe flight, weixianshi said
The mini plane on the mini airport. Photo by Wang Wei, reporter of Beijing News
The mini airport and aircraft, as well as low-density flights, make Changhai airport only harvest 2720 people throughput in 2018. Except for two airports newly opened in December and those closed in that year, this throughput is the last in the ranking of Civil Aviation Airport throughput in 2018 issued by Civil Aviation Administration of China, with a difference of nearly 10000 person times compared with the last one.
30 years ago, the price of air tickets was 25 yuan
Wei Xianshis family lived in the downtown area of Dalian. When his family came to visit him at Changhai airport, the child asked secretly, Dad, did you make any mistakes??
Wei Xianshi laughed as he told the story. He told the story as a joke. In his opinion, working in the countrys only Island border county gave him a sense of honor to defend the border.
In the same year that Changhai airport was completed, Wei Xianshi came to Dalian to study at University, but he didnt know the existence of Changhai airport from a big brother of his peers until he graduated to work in the civil aviation industry. I thought that there was an airport in a county? Its amazing. He cant remember how big brother described the airport, but the sea water in Changhai County is very beautiful. When he learned that he would be transferred to the airport, which he knew twenty or thirty years ago, Im very happy and willing to come.
Recalling the scene of navigation, Lao Li, a 60 year old resident of Changhai County, said, I was very happy at that time. It was a great event in Changhai County.
Yangjia village at the foot of the airport is an island village. Photo by Wang Wei, reporter of Beijing News
At that time, the villagers stood under a big tree not far from the airport and watched the plane rise and fall. Even if they just stopped there, they could attract a large number of people.
Ive seen little black spots flying in the sky before. Its rare to see a real airplane for the first time, no matter how big or small it is. Liu Xiong said.
Until now, Changhai airport seems to be a small tourist attraction in Changhai County. Weixianshi said that many islanders will take their relatives and friends who come to the island for the first time to visit outside the airport.
In 1990, two years after the airport was open to traffic, Lao Li became the general manager of the catering service company under the Changhai County Bureau of Commerce. At that time, the catering service company and Changhai airport cooperated quite a lot. After application, the small aircraft of Changhai airport took the employees of the catering service company in batches and flew around the big Changshan island.
I didnt go. Old Li said shaking his head. At that time, he had several experiences of taking a plane for business. The plane was really fast and convenient. It only took about half an hour from Changhai County to downtown Dalian. In the early years, the sea shipping was far less intensive than it is now. There were only one or two flights a day, and the time was more than one and a half hours. In addition, it took more than two hours by bus from the port to the downtown of Dalian. It took four hours to get down.
At that time, the price of 25 yuan air tickets was not too heavy a burden compared with Lao Lis salary of 700 or 800 yuan, but in addition to his work, Lao Li would still choose the ferry of three or four pieces plus the bus of eight pieces of hair when he went to the downtown of Dalian.
As an island county, Changhai County has frequent fishing boats. Photo by Wang Wei, reporter of Beijing News
Even the villagers living in Yangjia village near the airport seldom choose the near by plane as their way of travel. Even in terms of the road conditions on the island in the 1980s and 1990s, it means an extra hour or so to take the bus from the east of the island to the west of the island where the port is located.
At that time, the wages of the mariculture workers who came to Changhai County from other places could reach 4500 yuan, but they were more willing to spend their own time.
But young people may have different ideas. Lao Li said.
Zhang Tao introduced that the current ticket price is 320 yuan, with different discounts in different periods. And the islanders and tourists who used to fly told reporters that they paid between 100 yuan and 200 yuan.
More emphasis on social benefits
In a flight accident on June 21, 1996, Changhai airport was suspended for nearly 12 years. Until February 2, 2008, the silver gray Yun-12 aircraft took off from Changhai airport again, marking the resumption of Changhai airport.
At the same time, the number of sea shipping is also increasing gradually. Up to now, there are more than ten ships going back and forth to Yuanyang port in Changhai County and Pikou port with a straight distance of 15 kilometers. The shipping time is also shortened to 30 minutes for fast ships and 50 minutes for slow ships. After taking a private car called return car at Pikou port, you can reach the downtown area of Dalian about an hour later. The whole trip cost about 110 yuan.
However, due to the shallow water and the impact of the tide, large vessels are unable to enter the port when the tide is low. Some days just after noon, there are no flights. Sometimes, there are strong winds at sea, and flights may be cancelled all day long.
Islanders can also go out by boat. Photo by Wang Wei, reporter of Beijing News
Therefore, for some passengers who are in a hurry or need to travel in the afternoon, the small aircraft of Changhai airport gives them a choice of space when the weather conditions allow.
At present, Changhai airport focuses more on social benefits, Wei Xianshi said. Zhang Taos most impressive group of tourists was a volunteer team who came to Changhai County to train primary and secondary school teachers. When learning their identity in the chat, Zhang Tao thought, we have built a bridge between Changhai County and the outside world.
Another time, a patient with a lumbar injury was unable to withstand the turbulence of shipping and needed to fly to Dalian city for treatment. The flight crew put the two seats in the last row as flat as possible, so that the patient who carries the stretcher to the cabin door can spend the journey in a more comfortable position. Sometimes some patients who need to be referred for emergency treatment will fly directly to the downtown of Dalian when they happen to have a proper flight. After all passengers are in place, Changhai airport will also apply to Dalian Airport and air traffic control department for early departure.
In most cases, Changhai airport serves as the sea base for Beihai rescue flight leader of the Ministry of transport to welcome the rescue helicopter from Dalian to transport patients.
At about 15:00 on December 28, Changhai airport received a call for help. A patient with food poisoning needs to be referred to a hospital in downtown Dalian for treatment. The Beihai rescue flight team of the Ministry of transport will send rescue helicopters to Changhai airport for emergency rescue.
The preparation work starts immediately - the tower is ready, the weatherman observes the meteorological data in real time, the bird driving vehicle drives from the apron to the runway, and clears the runway area with the chirp of various birds of prey. Soon, the ambulance of the county hospital delivered the patient. After the security inspectors used the hand-held security equipment to check the patient and the ambulance, a group of people waited for the arrival of the rescue helicopter in the airport.
At 15:40, the rescue helicopter landed at Changhai airport. Five minutes later, the patients rescue helicopter took off and left Changhai airport. The bird driving vehicle that completed the task returned from the runway with birdsong.
Before that, Changhai airport has guaranteed the Beihai rescue flight team to transport critical patients 8 times this year, Zhang Tao said.
Changhai airport terminal. Photo by Wang Wei, reporter of Beijing News
As early as 2009, local media reported the expansion plan of Changhai airport, which plans to expand the 800 meter runway to 1800 meters to meet the landing requirements of larger aircraft; and plans to develop the air shuttle route of Changshan Islands to realize island to island aircraft. Over the past decade, these plans, which have not yet been truly implemented, have kept the characteristics of Changhai airport for another decade.
But these features are inevitably disappearing. According to Zhang Tao, based on the requirements of the security inspection system, this route of Changhai airport will use printed boarding passes and itineraries in the future. Once each one was a unique handwritten boarding pass and itinerary, or it will become a souvenir of history.