China's richest village flies to new heights
Updated: 2011-05-05 11:13
By Zhao Chunzhe (chinadailly.com.cn)
China's wealthiest village is looking to reach new heights once again by training 100 pilots for its new air tourism project, the Yangtze Evening News reported Thursday.
Huaxi, in Jiangyin of east China's Jiangsu province, has splashed out $13.4 million buying two helicopters and plans a fleet of 20 aircraft in the next five year including its own airline.
The village covering a radius of 4 km and a population of 36,000 is hailed as one of China's greatest success stories with all residents living in plush villas with two cars, at least $250,000 in the bank as well as free healthcare and education.
Now planners intend to cash in on the two million annual visitors each year by training 100 pilots to fly tourists around the beacon model village.
The helicopter crew will consist of 10 members including pilots, airhosts and safety inspectors. The flight course is centered on the village where it will take about 15 minutes to fly two to four passengers around at a height no higher than 300 meters. The budget for each flight is $4,460 per hour.
When asked why the village has to buy helicopters, the head of the village, Wu Xie'en, said the village has around 2 million visitors each year which prompted the tourism industry to bloom in Huaxi, the report said.
In 1957, Huaxi was a sleepy village with just 576 residents and assets of about 1,800 yuan ($240). In the last five years, it has amassed revenues of 229.6 billion yuan ($44.89 billion).
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