China planning airfield in Antarctica
The Xue Long (Snow Dragon) Chinese icebreaker sits in the ice pack unable to get through to the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, in East Antarctica.Reuters file photo

China is said to be planning to build an airfield in Antarctica to boost its research capabilities in the region.

Beijing will also deploy its first fixed-wing aircraft in 2015 to advance China's scientific research and exploration projects in the frozen continent.

"Air transport will increase transportation efficiency and therefore help to accelerate China's scientific research at the South Pole," Xue Lei, research fellow at Shanghai's Centre for Maritime and Polar Studies was quoted as saying by the Global Times.

China does not own an airfield in the continent and currently relies on sea route for most of its transportation.

In its 31st expedition to Antarctica, China would choose a site for its airfield not far from Beijing's Zhongshang Station, one of China's four research facilities.

However, the length and capacity of the runway have not been disclosed.

Though Antarctica is considered a politically neutral continent, several countries lay territorial claim in certain parts.