China plans to start building its first airfield in Antarctica in the near future, reported Keji Ribao, citing an anonymous source. The airfield is expected to be built in a couple of years and will receive both scientific expeditions and tourist groups.
Chinese researchers have picked a spot where the ice covering the continent is stable and moves at a relatively slow pace. Still, the construction of a runway in Antarctica is not an easy task and will require some time.
At the moment, China's only polar airplane, the Xueying (Snow Eagle) 601, uses other countries' runways for landings and takeoffs, but coordinating with them proved to be rather complicated. Thus the idea for China to build its own airfield came about, which will become the 21st on the continent.