[photopress:busy_airport.jpg,full,alignright]A long and extremely well written article in The Economist -its articles are the best-edited in the world – concerns the future of aviation in Asia with special attention been give to China. What follows is the gist of part of the article regarding China. It is well worth looking up the full article using the URL at the end.
According to Naverus, the Seattle-based firm that installed the Required Navigation Performance (RNP) system at Linzhi in Lhasa conventional ground-based aids do allow precise enough navigation to the airport, which sits 9,670 feet above sea level. So it combines the avionics in a modern jet airliner with GPS to guide pilots along a narrow path to the airport. (Note that Aviation Week has the most excellent article on doing a landing using this system. It gives you some idea of the problems involved. If you know anything about flying this article is a serious ‘must-read.’)
China is planning to install scores of such systems, not just where landings and take-offs are difficult but also at congested airports. Already China has announced that from November the vertical spacing between aircraft will follow world standards which effectively doubles the air space in China.
Travelers in China are already getting fed up with airport queues and flight delays and these moves will help eliminate them.
In China last year airline passengers took 179m trips in China (135m on domestic services and 44m on international ones). The government says the numbers are increasing by around 15% a year, with a huge boost expected next year because of the Beijing Olympic Games. By 2010 they are likely to reach 270m – though that will still be only a third of America‘s total last year.
China‘s Civil Aviation Administration says it will spend more than RMB140 billion ($17 billion) in the next three years on building more than 42 new airports and upgrading others. China will still end up with only around 200 commercial airports, compared with some 20,000 (including many small ones) in America, which has barely one-quarter of China‘s population. The potential for China‘s aviation market is huge.
China leads the world in the introduction of electronic ticketing, which offers huge savings. Last year 95% of tickets issued in the country were electronic, up from 10% in 2005.
China is also investing heavily in new aircraft. Officials say that mainland carriers plan to double the size of their fleets to a total of more than 1,500 aircraft by 2010, reaching 4,000 aircraft by 2025. China already builds some small regional airliners and has announced plans to challenge Boeing and Airbus in the market for big jets by 2020.
Source: The Economist