China's Aviation Syndrome -- Growth Amid Restriction

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As China's commercial aviation sector continues to grow at an ever-accelerating pace, the future of private general aviation is less clear. This week, a senior official told China Daily that the commercial fleet would double by 2010, growing to 1,580 aircraft, and reach 4,000 by 2020. Plus, 42 airports will be built in the next four years, and another 30 in the 10 years after that. Yet also this week, China Daily reported that two people were killed and a third critically hurt when their airplane crashed just 10 minutes after takeoff on an "illegal" flight. Since all airspace is controlled and supervised by military authorities, private flying requires a complicated application procedure. "Unremitting efforts lobbying for the opening of airspace have been made for years, but there is still a long way to go," Hu Dalin, spokesman for the Aero Sports Federation of China, told China Daily on Monday.