China to tap airport economic zone strategy

China will build model airport economic zones in pilot cities, the country’s aviation watchdog has announced according to Xinhua.


China will build model airport economic zones in pilot cities, the country’s aviation watchdog has announced according to Xinhua. The move is aimed at supporting the development of airports, a new engine for regional growth and industrial upgrading, according to a statement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

To qualify, cities must have airports that handle at least 100,000 tonnes of cargo, or more than 10 million passengers annually, according to the CAAC and the National Development and Reform Commission. It said those cities should also be an operation base for more than one airline company, or several large logistics firms.

Airport economic zones are major drivers for the integration and upgrading of the civil aviation industry and regional economy, as they combine air transportation with high-end manufacturing and modern service industries, the CAAC said.

There were 63 airport economic zones built or being planned in 62 cities around China by the end of 2014, CAAC data indicates and the statement did not specify how many pilot zones will be established under this new initiative.

China had 202 civil airports in 2014, with the annual passenger flow rising 10.2 per cent from 2013 to 831.5 million passengers and cargo traffic increasing 7.8 per cent to 13.6 million tonnes.