Caixin
Jul 23, 2012 07:36 PM

Early Planning for New Airport Underway

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(Beijing) – The preliminary planning for Beijing's second international airport is being done, the head of the National Development and Reform Commission's Basic Industries Department says.

The study still needs the approval of the State Council and no timetable has been set, Huang Min said on July 20.

It was necessary to build a new international airport in Beijing, Huang said. "We need a new one and plan to get the construction started as early as possible," he said.

More than 80 million passengers will pass through Beijing Capital International Airport this year, said Dong Zhiyi, president of Capital Airports Holding Co. "Beijing's new airport will be expected to be put into use in 2017. We predict that the passenger throughput will reach 100 million."

The country's civil aviation sector needed to be developed, Li Jiaxiang, director general of the Civil Aviation Administration, said on July 20.

In its latest five-year plan, China set a target of adding 82 new airports. Most of them will be regional airports.

Small and medium-sized airports were not very profitable, Huang said. In 2011,

20 percent of China's 180 airports were large and made a profit of 6.6 billion yuan. The rest were small and medium-sized airports and lost 2 billion yuan.

The previous five-year plan set aside 90 billion yuan for the civil aviation industry, up more than 100 percent compared to the preceding plan, Ministry of Finance data shows. Of that sum, more than 64 billion was spent on airport construction and air traffic control.

The number of airports in China not only lags far behind the United States and Japan, but also India and Brazil, Li said. China has less than 300 airports, while the United States has 19,000.

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