BEIJING, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The infrastructure of Sansha City in southern China's island province of Hainan has significantly improved, a city official has said, noting that civilian flights are expected to debut within a year.
Sansha was officially established in 2012 to administer the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha island groups and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.
Civilian flights are expected to take off from the airport on Yongxing, one of the Xisha islands and the city's administrative base, said Xiao, Party secretary of the city and a deputy to the National People's Congress, China's top legislature.
In January, China carried out successful test flights at a new airfield at Yongshu Jiao in the Nansha islands.
The two airfields will improve air traffic services in the South China Sea and provide more information about weather, aeronautics, communication, navigation and surveillance, said Xiao on the sidelines of the annual legislative session.
Before Sansha City was established, there was only one regular passenger ship, the Qionghai 3, connecting Yongxing and Hainan island.
Sansha added another ship, the Sansha 1, with telephone and Internet access on board. Sansha 1 was added within a year of the city's establishment, doubling the number of regular voyages between Sansha and Hainan from two to four every month, Xiao said.
The two passenger ships, along with a law enforcement ship, function as base stations for mobile communications and have significantly improved wireless access in neighboring areas.
Waste water treatment facilities, garbage collection and transfer stations, and marine environmental monitoring stations have also sprung up, said Xiao.
Every inhabited Xisha island now has desalination equipment, Xiao said, and Yongxing boasts a 1,000-tonne-a-day desalination plant. A hospital and a school have also been opened.
The water supply has helped with large-scale tree planting. More than 300,000 trees were planted last year, and the city aims to add another 500,000 trees this year, Xiao said.