China plans to build a number of so-called "model airport economic zones" in pilot cities, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said in a statement. The move is aimed at supporting the development of airports, a new engine for regional growth and industrial upgrading, the statement added.
The document did not say how many such pilot areas will be established, but it did specify that qualified cities will have an airport that handles at least 100,000 tonnes of cargo or more than 10
million passengers annually. It also said those cities should also be an operation base for more than one airline company or several large logistics firms.
A Xinhua news agency report quoted the CAAC as saying that airport economic zones are major catalysts for the integration and upgrading of the civil aviation industry and regional economy, as they combine air transportation with high-end manufacturing and modern service industries, the CAAC said.
There were 63 airport economic zones built or being planned in 62 cities around China by the end of 2014, CAAC data showed.
China had 202 civil airports in 2014, with the annual cargo traffic increasing 7.8 percent to 13.6 million tonnes and passenger flows rising 10.2 percent from 2013 to 831.5 million people.
In another development, the CAAC last week approved six more Chinese airports to operate flights to Taiwan. The number of airports connecting the mainland and Taiwan has risen to 61, following the addition of the airports of Yangzhou, Huai'an, Nantong, Yiwu, Yanji and Kashgar. Total flights, including freighter services, to and from Taiwan have increased to 890 per week.
Nol van Fenema