On March 15th, the Chinese government announced that it plans to build 136 new airports by 2025. The current network already boasts 207 civilian airports in use at the end of 2015, a number that is expected to surge to 260 by 2020.
China began a major airport construction boom back in 2008, as a way of fighting off the global financial crisis through massive infrastructure spending. According to the master plan by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the facilities could become a “world-class airport complex of international and regional transport hubs.”
Although such investments are not a guarantee of a decisive service upgrade inside existing airports – often far from adequate – they do reflect the commitment of Beijing to provide all cities with a thriving and expanding middle class the possibility of accessing international hubs throughout the country.
In 2015, China's airports handled 910 million passengers and are expected to deal with 1.5 billion passengers in 2020 and 2.2 billion in 2025. One of the results of these mega-projects is that Beijing is now building a seven-runway international airport south of the capital, which is due to open in 2019, making it possible to welcome 100 million passengers annually.