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Chinese fly higher with model ports

With China and India battling it out for the mantle of the world?s next economic superpower, the former seems to have given itself a jump-start as far as airports are concerned.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 13:57 IST
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With China and India battling it out for the mantle of the world’s next economic superpower, the former seems to have given itself a jump-start as far as airports are concerned.

* Over recent years, some of the key milestones in China were the transfer of the management of 100 airports from the Central government to the local authorities and then their corporatisation. This was followed by asset re-organisation, end of monopolies, strengthening of regulations and the improvement of safety and services.

* The Chinese government’s larger vision has meant the acceptance of, and the need for, low-cost carriers to penetrate the market further. Many of the new and refurbished airports are making way for low-cost terminals and the government has been a keen supporter of this.

* Like Delhi, which wants to have a world-class airport by 2010, China has just recently announced its plans to build a new airport in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Dutch and British airport planners and engineers have teamed up with British architect Lord Norman Foster to ensure that the $2 billion new terminal is functional in time for the games. According to Lord Foster, the new Beijing Airport will outpace both of the current biggest airports, Hong Kong and Heathrow in less than three years.

* Not just Beijing, as of now, more than 20 airports are undergoing extensive upgradation, an estimated 80 are being upgraded to provide passenger and cargo feeder-line services.

* The city of Guangzhou’s new international airport opened in August last year at a cost exceeding $ 2 billion and construction for its second phase which aims to double its current 27 million passenger capacity is already underway.

* Never one to be easily upstaged, Shanghai also has flyaway plans to match soaring passenger traffic as the city takes on global economic importance. Its hyper-modern Pudong airport, connected to the city by the world’s first operational magnetic levitating train, opened in 1999. A second runway was opened this March. Now, construction is underway for a second terminal to be completed by 2007 and the airport’s long-term plan calls for a final capacity of 80 million passengers per year.

* Observing China’s efforts, the World Tourism Organisation expects that China will account for the largest number of outbound tourists by 2020.

First Published: Feb 05, 2006 00:47 IST