China plans $80 bn investment in 193 aviation projects to speed up growth
24 June 2015
China will invest 500 billion yuan ($80 billion) in 193 major domestic aviation projects this year as the government looks to increase infrastructure spending to drive economic growth in the world's second-largest economy.
The plan, outlined by the country's aviation regulator, Civil Aviation Administration of China, will also help meet the growing demand from travelers.
The plan was outlined on Wednesday by Li Jiaxiang, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, at an aviation forum in Beijing.
Jiaxiang did not specify details of proposed investments or the projects.
The country's state planner has so far in the first six months approved billions of dollars of railway and airport projects, after economic growth slowed to a six-year low in the first quarter.
Chinese airlines now fly 553 routes to 127 cities in 51 nations, and the plan is to add 83 more routes over the summer and autumn period.
The country's planners estimate the number of airports in China to increase to 240 by 2020 from around 200 today.
Of the 500 billion yuan investment, 200 billion yuan will be spent on 51 projects in Chinese cities such as Urumqi and Kunming, which are along routes marked out in China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative, Li said.
Li also said that the government plans to expand China's traffic rights with Central, East and West Asian countries "at an appropriate time" which would pave the way for new routes.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had, In 32013, launched an initiative to increase trade and extend China's influence with Central, West and South Asia as well as Europe and Africa through a series of projects ranging from oil and gas pipelines to railways.
China's aviation sector has grown rapidly in recent years, driven by demand from the country's increasingly wealthy middle class. Outbound passenger volumes rose 39 per cent year-on-year over the January-May period, Li said.