- China Southern Airlines could soon own all of the Merredin Aerodrome in WA
- It paid West Australian government $1 for a 100-year lease in 1993 to train pilots
- Aviation veteran Dick Smith said it was 'outrageous' China decided who landed
China's communist government could soon own an Australian airport after paying just $1 for a 100-year lease on the land.
The state-owned China Southern Airlines partially owns Merredin Aerodrome, 260 kilometres east of Perth, and has control of the runways, hangars and the control tower.
However, this Chinese government company could soon own all of the country airport less than 25 years after it secretly paid the West Australian government $1 for a 100-year lease, The Australian reports.
Entrepreneur Dick Smith, who is also a former chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, said this was the first time a foreign power had owned an Australian airport.
'It is outrageous that an Aussie pilot can't go to a country airport without getting approval from the Chinese to land there,' he said.
'I've never heard of this happening anywhere.'
China's biggest airline presently owns half of Merredin Aerodrome and may soon own the entire airport, despite recently shutting down its pilot training school because of safety concerns.
Anyone wishing to land at this airport must obtain permission from China Southern.