Zhuhai from the sky

Flying across Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Helicopter Tourism Project has been launched to promote the incredible beauty of the city and its offshore islands.

Grace Geng  (texto) Zhuhai Asia-Pacific Navigation (photos)

Zhuhai is one of the country’s most livable cities, with a long coastline and many picturesque offshore islands to explore. Now, its beauty can be better appreciated in a short space of time – from the air. Flying across Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Helicopter Tourism Project has been running from the Jiuzhou Port (where the ferries run from) out to Dong’ao, in the Wanshan islands group, for the past year. Soon, these services will be expanded to a wider circle, including the city’s airport in Jinwan, as well as Hengqin, once the new train station is open there in late November.

Flying across Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Helicopter Tourism Project, jointly operated by Zhuhai Asia Pacific General Aviation Development and China Southern Airlines, has been popular since its launch a year ago. The short ride includes a spin over the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) and is done at a low altitude, taking in many spectacular sightseeing spots along the way.

At present, there are regular helicopter flights between Zhuhai Jiuzhou Airport and Dong’ao. The high-end tourism island is owned in a joint venture by Zhuhai Youth International Travel Service and the city’s best-known company, Gree Group, which made its fortune in air-conditioners but has become a conglomerate. There is one flight a day, leaving at 2:30pm.

It takes only 10 minutes to reach Dong’ao, but the views along the way are more than the value of the quick ride to the resort. Panoramic views of the HZMB the Zhuhai Opera House are highlights, along with a wide range of island scenery.

The service uses Sikorsky S-76 12-seater helicopters operated by China Southern Airlines. Since its launch, more than 6,500 passengers have made the trip.

Later this year, passengers flying into the Zhuhai International Airport will be able to transfer to a helicopter for the flight out to the Wanshan islands. A starting date has not yet been announced. Around the end of November, meanwhile, the new Hengqin Railway Station will launch a similar service for passengers coming in by train.

At the moment, flights are only going to Dong’ao, which is the most developed of the Wanshan islands chain. But in future, they will be extended to Wai Lingding Island, and the main Wanshan Island. Ticket price is from $499, call 0756-3377786.