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Volume 14,Issue 3 Autumn 2012

Aviation Expert: Airport Construction Lagging Behind Schedule not due to fund shortages, but the overly Complex Approval Process



At the 2014 China Airport Development Summit, aviation experts specified the reason for the nation’s airports’ construction lagging behind schedule is not a shortage of funds but rather the overly complex approval process. It usually takes at least 2 or 3 years to begin the construction after the project is initiated. The experts also mentioned there were four kinds of major shortcomings in China's civil aviation development, including a shortage of qualified personnel and airspace resources, the inability of infrastructure to keep up with industry demands and a lack of proper management. These problems existed in both the 11th Five-Year Plan and 12th Five-Year Plan periods.

It is reported that during the drafting of "The 12th Five Year Plan" the decision makers understood that the airport system should be constructed rapidly, and that demand for such a multi-runway airfield and regional airport system would keep growing. There are forecasted to be 230 transport airports in total by 2015, which means building 55 new airports in 5 years. However, only 5 airports were built in 2011 and 3 were built in 2012, leaving only 10 airports completed by 2013 instead of 14. "Our original plan was to build 33 airports by the year of 2013, however in reality we only finished 18 airports, most of which were in western cities". Airport expansion projects are also lagging behind as the capacity problems of large airports become more significant.

The experts said that by the end of 2010, out the top 50 airports in China, 26 will have reached their passenger flow capacity, with the remaining 24 airports possibly reaching capacity during the 12th Five-Year Plan period.

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