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China forges ahead with airport construction binge, despite signs of slowing air traffic growth

China is pressing ahead with plans to build an average of 14 airports every year over the next 15 years, despite passenger and cargo growth showing signs of slowing after a period of rapid expansion.

Already equipped with some of the world’s largest airports, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) wants to add another 215 to reach a target of 450 by 2035, helping to turn China’s aviation industry into a strategic part of its trillion-dollar economy.

In the short-term, the airport investment plan – which was first outlined in 2007 – will also help stimulate growth, as concerns grow that China’s economy will shrink in the first quarter of 2020 as it is battered by the coronavirus outbreak.

China’s aviation sector is on track to surpass the United States and become the world’s largest in 2024, according to the International Air Transport Association.

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