China to invest $11.9 billion in aviation infrastructure in 2016: Xinhua

Thu May 5, 2016 12:37am EDT
 
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By Adam Jourdan and Siva Govindasamy

SHANGHAI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China will invest 77 billion yuan ($11.9 billion) this year in building aviation infrastructure, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Wednesday, citing the country's civil aviation regulator.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the investment, which will focus on airports, will initially lead to 11 key construction projects and 52 aviation-related upgrades to existing facilities, Xinhua reported.

"The general aviation sector, especially aircraft research and manufacturing, has became a hot spot of both industrial upgrading and social concern," Feng Zhenglin, head of the CAAC, told the official news agency.

China's cabinet separately said late on Wednesday it would support the development of the country's aviation industry and opening up low-altitude air space, an issue that constrains a fledgling market for helicopters and small aircraft. It did not provide details.

"Opening up will especially benefit China's tourism, emergency medical services and pilot training sectors, which operate light aircraft and helicopters," said Greg Waldron, Asia Managing Editor at industry publication Flightglobal.

Civilian air traffic controllers handle low-altitude air space and work with the military to manage both civil and military traffic in most parts of the world.

China's military controls the country's air space, and its planes have priority over civil aircraft. Special military-only zones also force other aircraft to take a longer route.

Over the last few years, Beijing has relaxed some restrictions on flights below 1,000 m (3,280 ft) - although civil aircraft still need military approval to fly through some areas.   Continued...

 
A security guard keeps watch at Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE) at Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai, China, April 11, 2016. REUTERSAly Song