The country's civil aviation industry will continue to develop
robustly, Sha Hongjiang, deputy director of the planning and
development department under the General Administration of Civil
Aviation, said yesterday.
"The industry should grow at about 14 percent a year between now
and 2010," he said.
Sha was addressing aviation business leaders from around the
world at a two-day forum, organized by the China Air Transport
Association and China Civil Airports Association, which started
The aviation industry is set for its fastest rate of growth
ever, Sha said.
This is due in part to three upcoming events: The Beijing
Olympics next year, and the World Expo in Shanghai and Asian Games
in Guangzhou, both in 2010.
The annual passenger transport capacity will double to 270
million by 2010, he said. The number of airports will increase to
186 by 2010 from the current 147.
Sha said private and foreign funding was being encouraged in the
air cargo transportation sector, especially in the central and
western parts of China.
The aviation industry was becoming more flexible and considering
using low-altitude airspace, below 3,000 m, Sha said.
"We have a safe flight record of 9 million hours," Sha said.
Challenges remain, however, including insufficient
infrastructure, relatively poor airport management and strict
control of airspace.
Compared with other countries, China relies heavily on just four
major airlines, Air China, Southern, Eastern and Hainan
The number of airports in the United States is almost five times
that of China.
Kirk Shaffer, associate administrator for airports at the
US-based Federal Aviation Administration hopes to have more
exchanges with his Chinese counterpart.
"We're looking forward to more cooperation the more sharing of
ideas between our two countries the better off we'll be," he
Currently, the United States is working on the next generation
of air transportation systems as the current system is "not
performing adequately", Shaffer said.
(China Daily October 24, 2007)