Hunan province in central China could soon get its own airline.
The state-run company that operates the province’s airports has unveiled plans to create Zhongnan Airlines, which roughly translates as “Central and Southern China Airlines”.
Based in the provincial capital Changsha, the new carrier would be launched in partnership with another major Chinese airline.
Hunan Airport Management Group currently operates the airports in Changsha, Zhangjiajie, Yongzhou and Huaihua. Five airlines have operational bases in Changsha, namely China Southern, China Eastern, Shenzhen Airlines, Xiamen Airlines and Okay Airways, but none of these are headquartered in the province.
Home to an estimated 65 million people – approximately the same as France – Hunan is China’s seventh most populous province, and the capital Changsha alone is home to more than seven million people.
The city is famous for being the place where Mao Tse-tung began his political career, and it is home to a huge statue of the former communist leader.