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China: 56 new airports by 2015, but is anyone flying?

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Country racks up massive civil aviation infrastructure costs

A massive airport infrastructure construction program is continuing in China, with 56 new airports scheduled to be built under the latest Five-Year Plan ending in 2015, as well as 16 relocated and 91 expanded. The country’s civil aviation infrastructure construction costs will total 425 billion Yuan (US$69 billion) during the period.
Hunan will be the province with the most airports in China’s south-central region when Hengyan Nanyue Airport becomes the province’s sixth civilian airport. By 2015, Hunan will build seven new airports with a total investment of $5 billion.
However, it is possible that some of the new structures will go to waste. One example is Lingling Airport built to serve the city of Yongzhou in Hunan Province in 2001. It has no flights during the day until a trickle takes off for Beijing and Kunming in the evenings. It handled 12,056 passengers last year. Flights to Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Haikou have stopped due to low passenger numbers. The airport needs $1.6 million in government subsidies each year. And yet it still has plans to expand.
Economic Observer
[pictured: Shenzhen Airlines, China’s fourth biggest airline]

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