Longhua Airport to reopen as city's 1st heliport

The Longhua Helicopter Airport, which will cover 35,000 square meters on the riverside area of Xuhui, will mainly serve helicopters used for urban management and emergency rescue.

Construction will be completed by the end of the year on the city's first specialized helicopter airport being developed from the former Longhua Airport in Xuhui District.

The Longhua Helicopter Airport, which will cover 35,000 square meters on the riverside area of Xuhui, received an operation license from the nation's civil aviation authority. The airport will mainly serve helicopters used for urban management and emergency rescue, according to Civil Aviation Administration of China. The airport will have aprons and hangers for 23 helicopters.

The city's police authority launched a maneuver at the airport on Monday after the certificate was issued. Police helicopters carried out air patrols, traffic control, photography, the pursuit of suspects and anti-terrorism tasks.

Longhua Airport was built in 1917 for both civil and military use. By 1935, it had become the biggest airport in the East Asia. The airport was later used only for pilot training and airships because its central location meant it was no longer suitable for fixed-wing takeoffs and landings.

A renovation and construction program began in 2016 with an investment of 130 million yuan (US$19.5 million). Terminal buildings, an air traffic control tower and helicopter maintenance facilities have been newly built.

Helicopters can be widely used for fire fighting, disaster relief, police tasks, sightseeing tours and medical services. Shanghai has long lacked a major helicopter base due to limits on land resources and airspace controls. The CAAC has made Longhua a trial operation for wider promotion of these general aviation services, according to the administration.

It will establish an East China General Aviation Service Center in an office building beside the airport. It will offer one-stop services for flying routes applications and other general aviation services. Currently, helicopters and business jets owners have to apply to fly at government bodies in different places.

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