Tue, February 17, 2009
China > Mainland > Severe drought hits N China

China exempts anti-drought flights from service charges

2009-02-16 12:23:02 GMT2009-02-16 20:23:02 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- China's aviation authorities have been told to exempt aircraft involved in anti-drought missions from some aviation fees and ensure the supply of aircraft for drought relief.

Aviation and ground service fees, approach command fees and air route fees have been scrapped for aircraft involved in work such as cloud seeding, said an official from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Monday.

The CAAC has also ordered water, fuel and electricity supplies to anti-drought aircraft to be expedited, the official said.

China has turned to artificial means to create rain in provinces stricken by the worst drought in decades, using rockets, artillery shells and aircraft carrying cloud-seeding equipment.

Two An-26 freighters successfully created moderate rainfall on Feb. 15 in Henan's northwest and Anhui's north, covering more than100,000 square kilometers.

China's worst drought in five decades began in October and has affected 111 million mu (7.4 million hectares) of crops so far, with 4.68 million people and 2.49 million livestock having poor access to safe drinking water, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

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