China is to build an airport in Chengdu, the largest city in the south-west, at a cost of $11.2bn. It will have three runways and be capable of handling 40 million passengers a year when completed in 2025. This would make it about the 16th busiest in the world.
The airport is designed to reduce congestion in China’s rapidly growing air transport market. In 2013, the country’s air terminals processed 754 million passengers, a rise of 11% compared with 2012, and 86% compared with 2008.
If this rate of growth continues in the future, it will put pressure on the country’s infrastructure: at present, China has 0.13 airports for every million people; this is a seventh of the provision in Europe, and about one twentieth of the US’.
Chengdu’s existing Shuangliu International Airport grew from a second world war airbase that was greatly expanded between 1994 and 2001. It is now the fifth busiest in the republic, and may reach its capacity of 40 million passengers by next year.
It was recently announced that $13bn will be spent on a third international airport in Beijing.
China is to stimulate domestic demand by fast-tracking work on $1 trillion of construction and infrastructure projects as the republic fights to keep its GDP growth rate above 7%.