China To Build 97 New Airports By 2020

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The aviation infrastructure in China is about to take a big leap forward with the addition of 97 airports, including a second international airport in Beijing. As of now, the country has only 147 airports, so the goal is to reach 244 in the next 12 years. (By comparison, the U.S.A., with less than one-quarter the population of China, has more than 5,000 public-use airports and 555 that are certificated for air-carrier operations.) The increase will mean that by 2020, 82 percent of China's population will be living within a 90-minute drive of an airport, compared to 61 percent today. The project will cost $64 billion, China Daily reported.

A major new terminal recently opened in Beijing, in preparation for the arrival of the Olympic Games in August. And this week, a new terminal and cargo facility opened at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport, with the aim to become the cargo hub of Asia by 2010, according to The Associated Press.