For those concerned about the environmental implications of a third runway at Heathrow, consider this – China has plans to open 97 new airports by 2020.
According to a report in the Financial Times this week, the Chinese government plans to spend US$62.5 billion on regional airports over the next decade, with 45 of the new facilities to be opened by the end of 2010.
Granted China is starting from a relatively low base – the country had a total of 147 civilian airports at the end of 2006, compared with well over 3,000 airports in the US, but the speed of aviation growth in China is staggering.
According to the Financial Times’ report, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) cites the problems facing the country’s aviation industry as “too few airports, limited services, saturation at the main hubs of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing, and difficulties in co-ordinating civil and military flight paths”.
With passenger traffic expected to rise at an annual rate of 11.4 per cent between now and 2020, the number of Chinese airports servicing more than 30 million passengers a year will rise from three to 13 over the same period – food for thought when you’re next checking in for your flight to Asia.
Click here to read the FT’s full report.