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Xi'an's sky-high project

CHINA'S ancient city Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, plans to offer visitors a bird's eye view of it, officials said yesterday.

China Aviation Industrial Base in Yanliang, about 50 kilometers from downtown Xi'an, plans to buy five to eight helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to take tourists over the city, said project manager Gao Liting.

"A ride will last 30 minutes to two hours and will take sightseers over the sacred Daoist mountain Huashan, the mausoleum of the legendary Yellow Emperor and the Hukou Waterfalls in the Yellow River," he said. "Tourists can also try parachute jumps, shoot videos and even do some flying."

Gao said the base was negotiating with potential investors, including foreign aircraft manufacturers, travel companies and business owners interested in the 50-million-yuan (US$7.15 million) project.

Part of the plan will include opening one of the country's leading aircraft makers, Xi'an Aircraft Industry Group, to tourists, said Jin Qiansheng, director of the aviation base.

"According to the developed countries' experience, more people choose to travel by air when per capita GDP exceeds US$2,000; when the figure tops US$4,000, there's a growing demand for private planes," said Jin.


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