[photopress:Air_china_tibet_small_plane_1.jpg,full,alignright]The civil aviation regulator said it will soon launch policies to subsidize largely loss-making small and medium-sized airports as well as short-hop air services.
Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) said in a statement on its website that subsidies for airports will be provided mainly to those with annual passenger traffic of less than 5 million people, and those located in remote, underdeveloped regions.
More than 80% of the country’s airports are eligible for the subsidies, with subsidy levels dependent on each airport’s size and location.
Short-hop air routes with passenger load factors lower than 80 per centwill also be subsidized. It did not provide a timetable for the new rules.
The civil aviation regulator added that the state council, China’s cabinet, has approved its proposal to continue an airport construction levy until 2010. Passengers are currently levied RMB50 as airport construction fees for each domestic flight, RMB10 for domestic regional routes and RMB90 for international routes.
The illustration is of Xining airport, Tibet. That is a small airport by any definition.