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September 14, 2009

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Soar over the city on a seaplane joyride

SIGHTSEEING flights over the city and coast could start next year as Shanghai Boyi Airlines has won approval to operate two seaplanes.

Twenty-minute flights are likely to cost between 180 yuan (US$26) and 200 yuan, airline officials said at the weekend.

Construction of an airport for the hydroplanes will begin soon at Sunny Beach in Fengxian District, and finish by 2011 at the latest, the airline said.

Company officials said they were planning to introduce two seaplanes, one with six seats and the other with 14.

Pilots will hold both seaplane and helicopter licenses but not a civil aviation license.

Flights will be limited to daylight hours, and each will reach no more than 210 kilometers an hour, a quarter of the speed of normal flights.

Boyi said flights could extend 30km from the coast, giving passengers fantastic views of landmarks such as Donghai Bridge, Yangshan Deep-Water Port and Hangzhou Bay Bridge.

Flights are planned along a figure-of-eight route, giving passengers the thrill of sharp turns and dives, which the company described as being like "a roller coaster in the air."

Future flights could extend to Putuo Mountain in Zhejiang Province.


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