Xian Xianyang International Airport (1) Introduction
Xian Xianyang International Airport (1) Introduction
As subsequently reported in the National News: The Lady Shanguan'Er is usually regarded as a 'a senior female politician from the Tang Dynasty often referred to as a 'prime minister'.
The tomb (as unearthed at Xian Xianyang International Airport) was around one-hundred-and-eighteen feet long and 33 feet deep, and had five skylights, a corridor and vaults.
Archeologists found a carved epitaph inside the tomb reading 'Shangguan Zhaorong of Tang' which describes in detail her family background, biography and other information.
Shangguan Wan'er is celebrated in Chinese literature and poetry as a close aide to Empress Wu Zetian, a period which in turn is hailed as an unusual period in Chinese History, a reign by a female Emperor in which for the first and virtually last time, Chinese women were given extraordinary freedoms in society, as usually exemplified by high noble Ladies themselves, among them the Empress and first and foremost the thus legendary Shangguan Wan'Er.
world war 2 would see the explorations of contacts between the USA and the Communist rebels only slightly to the north in Yanan, there is no reason to suggest any transfer of such military information to the Communist side.
In addition to the aerial reconnaissance missions, especially in later stages of the war P-61 Black Widow night interceptor aircraft flew from the airport, providing much needed defense against night bombing raids by the Japanese, along with P-47 Thunderbolts day fighters and C-47 Skytrain transports flying in supplies and ammunition to support friendly forces in the area.
During almost the entire war the Xian military airfield remained out of the reach of the main Japanese Fighter aircraft, thus it was mostly considered a safe station. Briefly before the Japanese surrender, in the summer of 1945 the airfield was attacked by but two Japanese aircraft. These, both KI 84s, managed to shoot down a P-47 Thunderbolt as it was caught while taking off. The two Japanese Aircraft went on to strafe the airfield but one was shot down leaving the other to try and return home. The airfield was however at the very limit of the operational range of the Ki 84. Shortly after the Japanese 22nd Sentai Airwing was withdrawn from the regions and no Japanese Aircraft returned there after.
After the Japanese surrender in August of 1945, the United States turned the airfield over to the Kuomindang National Government winding down operations and soon closing their facilities at the airport. By September 1945 the airfield was fully Chinese again and turned to use as such. After the coming of the new socialist China, the former airfield continued its operations as Xian Xiguan Airfield, which was the main civilian and military airport for quite some time. Eventually, by the 1960s additional military airfields were built near Xian and the Xiguan Airport became civilian use only. The Xiguan airport continued its operations until the opening of the new Xian Xianyang Airport in 1991.
railroad will connect Xianyang Airport with the Xian North Station, which is the brand new station that also hosts the high-speed railways (Bullet Trains) and has a transfer option to the Xian City Subway system.
According to Shaanxi Government sources; In 2015, the airport handled 32,970,215 passengers, making it the busiest airport in northwest China and the 8th busiest nationwide. Xi'an Xianyang International Airport was also the nation's 14th busiest airport in terms of cargo traffic and the 7th busiest airport by traffic movements.
The airport was the hub for China Northwest Airlines until the company was merged into China Eastern Airlines in 2002. Xi'an Airport is also the hub for Joy Air and a focus city for Hainan Airlines.
Xian Xianyang International Airport (IATA: XIY ; ICAO: ZLXY)
Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (西安咸阳国际机场) is the International Airport serving the city of Xi'an, the world famous historic city and Capital of Shaanxi Province of China (P.R.C.). The airport is however not situated within Xi'an City Prefecture but some 40 kilometers (25 miles) to the north-west of the city in Weicheng District (渭城区) of the adjacent city of Xianyang which is part of the Wei River Valley (also known as Guanzhong Plain). Situated well to the north of the Wei river at some 10 kilometers north of satellite city Xianyang the airport is surrounded by flat and green agricultural lands. Depending on traffic, a journey to the city of Xian takes less than half an hour.
The Xian Xianyang airport is currently the largest airport in Northwest China, and also the second largest airport in Northern China after Beijing Capital Airport. Currently in the 3rd phase of development since groundbreaking on the site in 1987 and opening in 1991, the airport has grown from a National Level Airport to full International Service. Since May 3, 2012 the airport has two runways and three passenger terminals with a multitude of air connections available to both National and International destinations among them such far away cities as Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei and Sidney in Australia.
From a a crucial regional air transportation hub in central-west China Xian Xianyang airport has developed as Xian Cities Gateway to the world entire.
As International passengers may experience, the Xian Xianyang airport is a very modern facility with all expected services. With an elegant design it also ranks as among the most appreciated airports in the Nation today. Transportation between the airport and the city of Xian is excellent with multiple options available around the clock.
Simply hop into one of the many taxis awaiting customers and rush off to the city. The cheapest option however is to select one of the Airport Bus routes connect the airport well with the Capital Xi'an as well as with the alternative destination of Xianyang city.
In addition, there are also long-distance bus connect the airport with other cities and towns within the Wei River Valley (Guanzhong Plain) such as Baoji, Yangling, Lintong, Hancheng, Hanzhong, Weinan, Tongchuan, Yan'an, Tianshui, Qingyang, Pingliang.
A rail link between Xi'an North Railway Station and the airport is under construction and is expected to open in 2018. This airport
A view of the Guanzhong Plain of the Wei River valley on final approach to Xian Xianyang Airport. The Guanzhong Plain is said to be the most fertile valley in all of northern China with the thickest loess flat agricultural land which is why in the 1st millenium AD it was given the nickname bread basket of the Nation. For this reason it was and is the most populated region in the Province and therefor combined with its central location an excellent area to host the National Chinese Capital.
Soundbonus: Xi'An Airport, from the Film "The Soong Sisters", by Kitaro.
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Air Connections at Xian Xianyang International Airport:
As one of the largest airports within China the choice of flight destinations is staggering. No less than 50 different airlines have services at Xian Xianyang International Airport with air connections to popular tourist and resort destinations In Asia. Notably, one may fly directly from Xian to Kota Kinabalu, the main resort destination in the popular Malaysian Paradise destination of Sabah, on the coast of west Borneo. But equally easily one may fly with the sun behind directly to major cultural cities and Capitals of Europe such as Rome Fiumicino and Paris Charles De Gaulles, Helsinki and London Gatwick (starting June 20th in 2017). Australia, Japan, Korea are also reached via direct flights. As a main lay over point for flights across the Nation the choice of destinations within the Peoples Republic of China is really impressive, with flights available to previously unheard of inland destinations. Try for instance the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous
History of Xian Airport and Xian Xianyang International Airport:
First opened in the year 1991, the Xian Xianyang Airport is historically the second civil airfield to serve the city of Xian. Previously, Xian and the Wei River Valley were served by the Xian Xiguan Airport which was based on airfield that had a military origin.
Specifically, During World War II, the later Xiguan airport was known as Xian Airfield and was used by the United States Army Air Forces Fourteenth Air Force as part of the China Defensive Campaign in the years 1942 to 1945. As the airfield in closest proximity to the Japanese Forces in north- and north-eastern China, which not by chance had the objective to capture both City and airfield, the Americans used the airport primarily as a photo-reconnaissance airfield with unarmed P-38 Lightning's, equipped with aerial cameras to fly over Japanese-held territory providing intelligence to the Chinese ground forces, specifically the Kuomindang Nationalist Troops. Although
View of Xian Xianyang Airport mian terminal in an earlier phase of development in the year 2005. At the time Xian Xianyang Airport was already modern facility but air traffic was not nearly as dense as in the current day situation. A second runway of 3800 meters long brings the airbus A380 and long range international flights to the city.
Prefecture on the Vietnamese border in Yunnan Province. Fly there via the local Gasa Airport. More traditional destinations are Beijing Capital, Chengdu, Chongqing and so on. Xian is also a traditional field of
connections with Tibet, notably the regional Xining (Qinghai) and Lhasa the Tibetan Capital. The other traditional link to the west is to Urumqi the Capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region but along the Silk Road there are more stop overs such as Jiayuguan and Dunhuang.
Altogether Xian Xianyang Airports has air transporation links to nearly all 210+ civilian airfields within China.
Please refer to adjacent Google supported map of all Airports in China and all International Airports in Asia for an overview.
View of the spacious aircraft parking facilities, the flight line at Xian Xianyang Airport in 2005. Xian Xianyang airport is also used by Government and military type aircraft although this certainly is not widely advertised.
Passenger Facilities at Xian Xianyang International Airport:
There generally is not too much information available on the facilities at Xian Xianyang International Airport proper. Not even the name of the designer of designing company can be easily found.
That said, the airport is to say the least traditionally spacious, even as among modern day Chinese airports. The main passenger terminal is a well designed building metal colored exterior, much resembling in fact the Lanzhou Zhongcuan Airport. Within the spacious interior is the usual large front arrival hall and check in counters. Beyond are various shops, among them a handy gift, book and souvenir shop which caters to passing tourists. Depending on luck one might snatch a gem English language book
on the go out, but otherwise commerce at the airport usually offers nothing special.
For late arrivals or anyone who finds themselves completely stuck at the airport, immediately across from the main terminal one may find the Regal Airport Hotel, a great address to just drop everything and go recuperate.
Instead of trying to imagine or read, it may be most helpful to view the available YouTube Video which gives a reasonably good introduction to the airport as viewed by most. Off late, Xian Airport is making attempts to help revive memories of the great glories of the bygone eras, which have found a renewed expression through the ∢Belt and Road initiative∢ which seeks to revive the old silk road in the modern form of transcontinental railroads backed by an abundance of airports.
YouTube Video: News of the unearthing of Shangguan Wan Er Tomb found after 1300 years underground during development work of Xian Xianyang Intl. Airport.
A much more recent historic development at Xian Xianyang was the unearthing of the Tomb of Shangguan Wan'Er (Life: 664 AD - 710 AD), which was a historically and culturally highly significant archeological find. As one may find, Shangguan Wan'Er was female Prime Minister of the Tang Dynasty Era (618 AD-907 AD) and before she was given the honor of this title and authority, a close companion and associate of the renowned and sometimes notorious female Tang Empress Wu Zetian (Reign: 683 AD - officially 16 October 690 AD - February 705 AD). During and after her death she was renowned as a poet, a writer and a politician / states person. Because of her extremely high rank and social status enshrined after her death on July 21st of the year 710 AD), in the centuries after the chaotic demise of the Tang Dynasty and subsequent foreign invasions, splitting of the Nation, floods of the Wei River and other memorable historic upheavals, the exact location of the tomb and mausoleum of this highly esteemed royal lady had been lost, buried underneath thick layers of loess clay and by our times only identified as to have been somewhere in the Wei River valley and plain. During the third phase of development and expansion of Xian Xianyang Airport, in September of the year 2016, the tomb of Shangguan Wan'Er was discovered entirely by chance.
Although, the situation largely reversed after Empress Wu's death in 705 AD, Shangguang Wan'er was selected by the succeeding Emperor Zhongzong, son of Wu Zetian, to be the 'second highest concubine', a role in which she drafted imperial orders. Although the Zhongzong Emperor in fact reverted to the Patriarchal system while resuming the Tang Dynasty ended by Wu Zetian in 690 AD (she proclaimed herself 1st Empress of Zhou not Tang), Shangguan Wan'Er and Wu Zetian had left enough of an impression and gained enough status for women of nobility and influence to retain certain of the newfound rights for some time after.
However, society and the gentlemen at court were fixed on restoring the 'natural order' as it had been perceived for so long. In life the
personal secretary and lifelong confidant of the later powerful Tang Empress Wu Zetian, after the death of her controversial mistress in 705 AD, she soon found herself a much unwanted reminder to the rule of a woman. If only symbolically, she was also found to be a powerful obstacle to any political revisions much in demand after the demise of the 'Evil Empress'. Having been a leading feminist or perhaps better womens emancipator of the Wu Zetian Era, Shangguan Wan'Er soon found herself caught in the ongoing court intrigues. She survived for 5 long years in which she was particpant in various allegiances in court circles. In the deadly struggle of women to retain the upper hand at court versus their many jealous or traditionalist enemies and so hang on to their lives, a multitude of wild things such as were to be offcially frowned upon whenever they would come to light, happened. Eventually and perhaps inevitably this once again led to violence and chaos in the highest circles.
Finally, the resentment at the influence of women in court circles and behind the throne reached a highpoint when the Emperor Zhongzong died, alledgedly poisoned by plotters among whom Princess Wei. In the hot summer and fall of the year 710 the end of the Tang Era of Girl Power came through a series of purges and killings, eliminating various notorious ladies of the court and their factual or alledged lovers and group of loyalists. In the end, the last of these to be left standing was none other than Shangguan Wan'Er. Although even then she had already prepared a solid plot that would see her out, this time the plotting would be to no avail. Instead of lending her yet another reprieve and thus possibly looking weak the newly arriving Emperor Li Longji, formerly Prince of Lizhi opted to make a final end with the era in which women ruled as equals over men, as perceived leading to endless intrigue, distrust and instability surrounding the Throne. Many times involved in court plots, Shangguan Wan'Er was dragged off and executed where she was found.
Having died a brutal death of beheading, one she had managed to cheat several times previously, the dceased was nevertheless a lady of high rank and thus she needed to be given an according burial of high status as the factual 2nd wife of the Emperor, rituals and honor had to be upheld and she was entombed and enshrined with all due pomp. However, possibly reflecting the deeper sentiments of the times, on the inside the tomb was found to be badly damaged and relatively few articts were found within.
With social order and thus the heavenly balance somewhat restored, the men of the ruling Elite could rest assured. Having duely honored the ladies and the deceased Emperor of the resumed Tang Dynasty, the new much stronger Li Longji, with everyones agreement, could proceed to proclaim the rule of the Tang Dynasty over all under heaven henceforth in perpetuity. To everyones great relief he turmoil had passed or so it seemed.
Meanwhile, as an almost logical result, the much unwanted period of turmoil involving women in power had literally been buried and no more such social experiments would be tried in China for the next 1000 years. Under subsequent dynasties foreign nomads would rule the land implementing according customs. In the Ming Dynasty the court intrigues of the Tang Era were held up as moral examples of just why women should not be allowed to hold positions of influence in Imperial affairs. Yet, however much vilified and discounted in the centuries and Dynasties after their lives and deaths, the two ladies and their achievements have gone down in history and today new and fresh chapters can be added to their stories. In the current day, historians are discovering new aspects to the era, finding astounding evidence of an age of womens emancipation led by a small group of elite female nobles. Although perhaps not the highest in Imperial rank, no doubt Shangguan Wan'Er made a historic contribution to this important and new social development.
As one may also learn from this surprise archeological find. China's rapid urbanization in recent decades has contributed to the unearthing of countless new artifacts and tombs as farmland is churned up for new developments. The hope is that in the near future the fully examined Tomb of Shangguan Wan'Er may be available for viewing by the public eager to know more about the history of the city and regions. If this is impossible due to the difficult location of the find, the tomb may be excavated entire and placed in the local Shaanxi (Provincial) Museum of History.
YouTube Video: The Secret History of China's Female Emperor explaining the life and era of the illustrious Tang Era and Zhou Empress Wu Zetian and Lady Shangguan Wan Er.
There are many pages on the internet listing air connections for Xian Xianyang Airport however, in our experience, the listing kept on the Wikipedia page dealing with this airport is usually ranked among the best and most frequently updated.
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