China to almost double number of airports by 2035

Beijing Daxing International Airport, serving the JingJinji megalopolis, will be the world;’s largest airport when it opens in September 2019

China aims to add 216 new airports by 2035, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), with a forecast of becoming the world’s largest passenger market in the next few decades. 

According to CAAC, the country plans international airport hubs for the Yangtze River Delta, Beijing-Tianjian-Hebei “JingJinJi” region and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

As of the end of October, China had 234 civil airports and is expected to have around 450 by 2035, according to a civil aviation development guideline. The demand for passenger transport in China will account for one-fourth of the world’s total and exceed that of the United States by 2035, making China the largest air passenger market in the world, the guideline said.

“Service has improved substantially, but existing airports are far from adequate and are unevenly distributed throughout the country,” said Dong Faxin, director of the administration’s development and planning department.

In November, CAAC signed an agreement with Guangdong Province to speed up construction of a “world-class airport cluster” and resource sharing in the so-called Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. Guangzhou Baiyun Airport and Shenzhen Bao’an Airport will be developed as international transfer hubs.

China’s air transport sector is growing fast, with a year-on-year increase of 12.3% in total air transport turnover for the first 9 months of 2018 and around 50 million passengers  month, of which around 45 million are domestic, according to the CAAC.

Air transport data from CAAC for year-to-September 2018

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