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China to have 74 more airports by 2020
China plans to have 74 more civil transport airports to bring the total number in the country to around 260 by 2020, said the latest report released by civil aviation regulator.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), by then, number of air passengers in China will grow to 720 million. It means that China will complete its construction of a traffic network in air in the near future after the convenient high-speed railway network takes shape.
Civil airlines have constituted China's most important transportation tools together with railways and roads. Latest data from the CAAC revealed that during the week-long 2017 Spring Festival holiday, over 80,000 flights were operated by domestic airlines and 9.84 million passengers were transported by them, up by 11.9 percent and 15.1 percent over the previous year respectively.
In addition, 12.83 million seats were available, with an average load factor of 83 percent.
But the country's aviation industry needs a more balanced structure. To this end, the plan, by putting more emphasis on short-distance transport, would make passenger trips easier to those remoter areas that regional aircraft hard to cover.
By 2020, six airport clusters encompassing China's northern part, northeast, central and southern part, southwestern area as well as northwest region will be completed, read the report, adding that new airports for cargo transportation will be deployed as well.
Of the 74 civil transport airports, 30 ones are under construction and 40 ones will be new. Upon completion, the total number would reach about 260.
The airports located in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are requested to improve their competitive edges to build themselves into international hubs after complementing their advantages with neighbors but differentiating their positioning.
These airports will be upgraded to world-class airport clusters that meet the development demands of the cities in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta.
The country's airline on-time arrival rate was 67 percent in 2015, but the regulator asked the carriers to increase that figure to 80 percent by 2020, as an effort to reduce the customer complaints resulted from flight delay.