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Volume 14,Issue 3 Autumn 2012

Increasing volume straining


年载运3.32亿旅客并持续增加中CAAC Airport Ranking by Passenger Output, 2006 Airports in China broke a record in 2006 when domestic and international passenger volumes on scheduled flights reached 331,973,261 passengers in 2006, higher by 47,622,198 passengers or 16.7 percent than the 2005 total of 284,351,063. Of the total, domestic passengers accounted for 299.34 million and international passengers numbered 32.63 million. Beijing Capital International Airport again led the rankings, handling 48.74 million passengers and aircraft movements totaling 378,888, higher by 11 percent compared to 2005. Second was Shanghai Pudong International Airport, which handled 26.78 million passengers, up by 13.2 percent or 3.12 million passengers from the 2005 total. Beijing Airport was among the top 10 busiest airports in the world last year in terms of passenger traffic. But Shanghai Pudong beat Beijing Airport in mail and cargo, handling 2.16 million tons against Beijing Airport’s 1.2 million tons. China’s strong performance last year only solidified its claim as the second largest aviation market in the world after the United States. In the 11th Five-Year Plan, China has committed to invest RMB 140 billion (about US$18 billion) from 2006 to 2010 to build 49 new airports, expand 71 existing facilities and relocate 11 airports to increase capacity. But how far can China’s airports go--especially the large hubs—in handling the increasing number of passengers, which is now near the saturation point and is putting too much pressure on airport resources? The top 10 airports in China in terms of passenger volume handled 197.51 million passengers last year, or 60 percent of the total passengers handled by all 146 airports in China. Besides Beijing and Shanghai Pudong Airports, others in the top 10 are: Guangzhou, 26.22 million passengers; Shanghai Hongqiao, 19.33 million; Shenzhen, 18.35 million; Chengdu, 16.28 million; Kunming, 14.44 million; Hangzhou, 9.91 million; Xi’an, 9.36 million; and Chongqing, 8.05 million. The year-on-year passenger increase of the top 10 airports of 26.82 million accounts for 56.32 percent of the total passenger increase at all of China’s airports. There were 44 airports in China whose annual passenger output were more than one million passengers, up by two airports in 2005. The total passenger output of these airports accounted for 95 percent of the total passengers. Based on area distribution, passengers from North China accounted for 17.5 percent of the total; Northeast China, 5.6 percent; East China, 30.7 percent; Central South China, 25 percent; Southwest China, 15.2 percent; and Northwest China, 6 percent. The increasing passenger volumes have prompted the Chinese government to rush different airport expansion projects. This year, the Chinese government will invest RMB 26 billion (about US$3.36 billion) to build and expand 33 airports, most of which are being readied for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. For instance, China’s National Development and Reform Commission approved the RMB 15.3 billion (US$1.98 billion) expansion project of Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. The fund will be used to build a new terminal with an area of 250,000 sq.m. and a second runway with a length of 3,300 meters. The airport is projected to handle 40 million passengers by 2010. China is also investing RMB 56 billion in the next five years for airport development in west China. Last year, cities which opened new scheduled flights were Liping of Guizhou Province, Nyingchi of Tibet, Wenshan of Yunnan Province, and Nalati of Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Airports which resumed operating scheduled flights included Ankang of Shanxi Province, Daxian of Sichuan Province, Kelamayi of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Jiujiang of Jiangxi Province and Qinhuangdao of Hebei Province. China needs to build an aviation infrastructure quickly to ease the strain in the civil aviation industry. China has 146 major airports, but only 22 can handle large aircraft such as the Boeing 747, according to a report published last year. “Recognizing this deficiency, China will spend more on airport development in the next five years that it did in the last 15 years, opening up huge investment opportunities for overseas and domestic investors,” the report said. China spent RMB 120 billion (about US$15 billion) for aviation infrastructure from 1990 to 2006. In the 11th Five-Year Plan, part of the expansion projects will cover Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou airports. China has spent RMB 25 billion (over US$ 3 billion) to expand the Beijing Airport, including a new terminal building and a third runway. This will increase its capacity to 90 million passengers per year. China expects to increase its airports to 220 by 2020. Increase in mail and cargo Chinese airports also increased mail and cargo volumes last year, reaching 7,531,935.2 tons, a 19-percent increase over the 6,330,842.3 tons in 2005. Of this totals, domestic mail and cargo was 5.042 million tons, up by 16.8 percent, and international cargo amounted to 2.49 million tons, higher by 23.6 percent. Shanghai Pudong Airport had the highest mail and cargo turnover of 2.16 million tons, higher by 16.7 percent compared to the 2005 total of 1.85 million tons. Beijing was second with 1.2 million tons of cargo and mail, but it registered the highest increase at 53 percent over its 2005 total of just 782,066 tons. Third was Guangzhou Airport, which handled 653,261.3 tons of cargo last year from 600,603.9 tons in 2005. It is followed by Shenzhen Airport, 559,243.7 tons; Shanghai Hongqiao, 363,581.4 tons; Chengdu, 295,497.9 tons; Kunming, 219,197.6 tons; Hangzhou, 185,518.1 tons; Xiamen, 175,011.1 tons; and Nanjing, 12,063.2 tons. Beijing, Shanghai Pudong and Guangzhou airports were in the top 25 airports in the world in cargo traffic in 2006, according to preliminary reports by the Airport Council International.

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