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Aviation sector gets boost from Olympics
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China's aviation industry will soar by double digits due to the country's hosting the Olympic Games, according to its industry regulator.


Domestic carriers plan to fly 210 million passengers this year, a 14-percent jump from a year earlier, while cargo and mail volume may grow 12 percent to 4.45 million tons, the General Administration of Civil Aviation said on its website.


Five million overseas visitors and more than 120 million domestic travelers are expected to visit Beijing this year, according to the organizers of the Beijing Olympic Games.


Analysts predicted that the event will generate revenue of five billion yuan (US$689 million) to the domestic aviation industry.


In the first three quarters of last year, domestic carriers and airports earned 17 billion yuan in profit, rising 74 percent from a year earlier.


However, Li Jiaxiang, CAAC's new head, has noted that the profit came mainly from fuel surcharges and the appreciation of the yuan.


"Domestic carriers must remain cautious as they are still in the red if not for the two factors," Li said in Beijing last week.


He said the regulator will not approve any application for a new airline before 2010 and will also be strict on the introduction of new aircraft.


"We should fully consider the airlines' capability and safety to prevent the industry from overheating," he said.


The aviation industry will see a total fixed-asset investment of 36 billion yuan this year, against last year's 26 billion yuan, according to the regulator.


(Shanghai Daily January 15, 2008)

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