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97 new airports to open in 12 yrs
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08:21, March 25, 2008

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A second international airport in Beijing, construction of which will begin before 2010, is just one of 97 to be built in China before 2020, the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) said in its latest airport development plan.

According to the plan, which covers the years up to 2020, the number of airports nationwide will increase to 192 by 2010, and to 244 by 2020. At the end of 2006, there were 147, including 45 used for both civilian and military purposes.

This means 82 in every 100 people - who contribute 96 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) - will live within 100 km, or 90 minutes' drive, from an airport by 2020.

At present, only 61 percent of people - who contribute 82 percent of GDP - lives within this range, the plan said.

The CAAC said the new airports will cost an estimated total of 450 billion yuan ($64 billion).

The civil airport development plan was drafted to meet increasing demand, as the CAAC predicted passenger traffic will grow by 11.4 percent annually from now until 2020, during which time freight traffic will increase by 14 percent a year.

The 244 airports will form five groups, serving different purposes.

North and Northeast China will have 54 airports, including 24 to be built. Beijing Capital International Airport will become an international air hub. The airports will assist economic cooperation with Northeast Asia.

East China will have 49 airports, including 12 new ones. Shanghai Pudong airport is to be developed into an international hub. The airports will serve the economic development of the region and make the three direct flights across the Taiwan Straits more convenient.

South and Central China will have 39 airports, after 14 new ones are completed. Guangdong Baiyun airport will become an international hub. The airports will serve economic cooperation between China and Southeast Asia.

Southwest China will have 52 airports, including 21 to be built. Kunming airport is to be fostered as the regional gateway linking China with ASEAN members.

Northwest China will have 50 airports, with 26 new airports. Urumqi airport is to be the regional gateway linking China to Central Asia.

Under the plan, the number of airports serving more than 30 million passengers a year will increase from the current three to 13 by 2020.

Beijing Capital International Airport, which opened its third terminal last month, is currently the country's largest and busiest.

Last year it handled almost 53.5 million passengers, ranking it among the world's 10 busiest.

Source: China Daily



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