China Plan Seeks to Bolster Airports, Locally-Produced Airplanes

China, the world’s fastest growing air-travel market, released an aviation and aerospace development plan that includes efforts to bolster the role of local airports and promote domestically-manufactured planes.

Authorities will seek to transform airports in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou into international hubs, according to a State Council plan posted today to the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s website. They’ll also encourage the development and use of Chinese-made regional jets and general aviation aircraft and accelerate reform of how the country’s airspace is managed, it said.

A more than 90-fold surge in China’s economy in the past two decades has fueled demand for flights. The State Council’s plan is based on guidelines released in July last year that were the first China has issued for the domestic aviation industry. Chinese carriers will need 5,260 new planes worth $670 billion through 2031, according to Boeing Co. forecasts.

“The government is sending a clear message that aviation is very important,” said Li Lei, a Beijing-based analyst at China Minzu Securities Co. “But the current problems such as airspace restrictions or airport slot limits won’t change overnight.”

China will also promote localization of the aircraft, engine and equipment industries and encourage the development of a green, low-carbon aviation industry, according to the plan.

— With assistance by Jasmine Wang, and Stephen Tan

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