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China Ambitious to Boost Airport Industry

Showing great ambition to boost airport industry, the Chinese mainland will invest 140 billion yuan (US$17.5 billion) in the construction of airports during the 11th five-year plan from this year to 2010, a Chinese official said.


"In the next five years, we are going to launch 71 airport expansion projects, relocate 11 airports and build 49 new airports," Zhang Haidong, from the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China, said at the Fifth Airport Cities World Conference and Exhibition (ACWCE) in Hong Kong which ended Wednesday.


He expected the mainland airport industry will have an average growth rate at 11 percent from 2006 to 2020.


Of the 40 airports worldwide, airlines, government bodies and aviation-related organizations attending the ACWCE, 17 were from the Chinese mainland, including Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.


Representatives said that the Chinese mainland airport industry is growing rapidly. As major airports are evolving from a city's airport to an airport city, becoming the focal point of people, cargo, capital and information flows, an airport city will be an increasingly important economic growth engine for local and regional development.


Beijing Capital International Airport expansion project is the largest one of all. With a total investment of 25 billion yuan (US$3.13 billion), the airport will become a transport hub with an annual capacity of 90 million passengers turnover and 9 million tons cargo turnover by 2015.


"Beijing government has listed the airport economic zone into the 11th five-year plan. So far the free trade logistics garden near the airport has got approval from departments concerned. The Beijing Conference Center is also near the airport. They will support and push forward the development of the airport economic zone," President of Beijing Capital Airports Holding Company Li Peiying said.


Shanghai, the single city in the Chinese mainland with two international airports - Pudong and Hongqiao, is striving to build an integrated complex hub, which targets at a combined capacity of 110 million passengers by 2015.


To help achieve the target, a 12 square kilometer free trade logistics area near the airport is built in the meanwhile. The government also has decided to build a 86 km cargo expressway as an international passage between the airport and the Yangtze River Delta Region, Chairman and President of Shanghai Airport Authority Wu Nianzu said.


He added that the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway Station, the Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev Train Station and the Urban Terminal for Yangtze River Delta Region will meet at Hongqiao International Airport when the Terminal II of Pudong International Airport is finished and starts operation in 2008.


A 100 square kilometer economic zone will be established around the relocated Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, housing industrial, logistics and commercial areas, President of Guangdong Airport Management Corporation Liu Zijing said.


With a spider-like network of expressways with the downtown of Guangzhou, one can reach major cities in the Pearl River Delta Region within a couple of hours departing from the Baiyun International Airport, Liu said.


Though confident in the future of the airport industry, Zhang Haidong admitted there remains a lot of challenges ahead. "Lack of infrastructure and airspace capacity are our major problems," he said.


He hoped more foreign loans and capital could be pooled to the industry.


(Xinhua News Agency September 14, 2006)

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