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China plans to double then number of its civilian aircraft to 5,000 by 2015, according to the Shipping Gazette, citing a ChinaDaily report.

The report quoted head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Li Jiaxiang at a forum on civil aviation development in Beijing saying, China will increase its aircraft fleet from the current 2,600 to 4,800 to 5,000 in next five years to cater for the needs of growing passengers and cargo customers.

It is the first time the CAAC has made public its forecast for the next five years. China’s aviation industry has witnessed double-digit growth in the past five years, and “this pace will not slow down in the coming five years” Li was quoted saying.

According to the CAAC, it plans to use the next 20 years to build China into a “civil aviation power”. Its targets include 1.5 billion passenger trips a year by 2030 to make China the largest air transport market in the world with at least 85% cent punctuality rate of scheduled flights.

But China’s civil aviation sector is facing increasing competition from the fast-sprawling high-speed rail network, which excels in terms of punctuality and proximity to city centres.

China also plans to build a 13,000-kilometre high-speed rail network by 2012. To face the keen competition from high-speed rail, Zhao Jian, a transport professor at the Beijing Jiaotong University, said the CAAC should relax control and allow more budget, regional and private airlines to operate.

— Source: Shipping Gazette

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