China Eastern Airlines to build base worth $2 bln at new Beijing airport

SHANGHAI, April 13 (Reuters) - China's economic planner on

Thursday approved China Eastern Airlines'

13.2-billion-yuan ($1.92 billion) plan for a base at an

expansive new airport in Beijing that could eventually be the

world's largest, when completed.

The National Development and Reform Commission said in a

statement on its website that the base will cover 1.17 million

square meters, and 30 percent of the investment, or 3.96 billion

yuan, will be funded by China Eastern.

The remaining 92.4 billion yuan will be financed using

domestic bank loans, the statement added.

China plans to complete the first phase by 2019, and will be

able to serve 45 million passengers a year with four runways on

the first opening. Two more phases would push the capacity to an

annual count of 100 million passengers.

That would put the airport as the world's largest in surface

area, roughly in line with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta

International Airport, the world's busiest by number of annual

passengers.

Upon completion, rival state carrier, China Southern

Airlines Co Ltd, will also relocate to the new

airport from the existing Beijing Capital International Airport,

the airport project managers told reporters last year.

They said China Eastern and China Southern will handle 40

percent of the new airport's footfalls.

($1 = 6.8848 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)