BEIJING (Reuters) - China will further expand air rights and improve the way it allocates international routes to domestic airlines as it tries to encourage them to participate in the international market, the country’s aviation regulator said on Wednesday.
In a policy document published on its website, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the country aimed to become a “strong civil aviation nation” by 2020 but it still faced a large number of difficulties, including insufficient safety resources and “a crude way of development”.
China’s increasingly affluent middle classes has rapidly boosted demand for aviation services in recent years, leading to a shortage of airports and qualified pilots.
The regulator said it would look to establish Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou as international airport hubs, and would also support the development of regional aviation networks from border cities such as Urumqi and Kunming through means such as subsidies.
It will promote reforms to air space management and deepen cooperation between civil and military air controllers, with a view to expedite the opening up of the country’s lower altitude airspace for civilian use.
There will also be a drive to support the development of the general aviation sector by means such as simplifying approval procedures for airport construction and encouraging the growth of enterprises engaged in emergency care or private jet businesses, the regulator said.
The 18-page-long document provided no details on investment figures or timelines.
Last week, China’s Cabinet said it would further open up the country’s lower altitude airspace for civilian use, a step that could spur growth in its fledgling general aviation industry by making it easier for smaller aircraft like private jets and helicopters to fly.
Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Team and Brenda Goh; Editing by Richard Pullin and Ryan Woo