CAAC:Air travel to increase

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-09-23 09:25
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By 2010, 270 million Chinese will travel by air and the country will have a fleet of more than 1,500 aeroplanes, a top civil aviation industry official said on Friday.

The sector will strive for an accident rate lower than 0.3 per million flight hours between 2006 and 2010, a standard comparable to that of developed nations.

Wang Changshun, deputy director of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC), unveiled the five-year plan for the industry at a forum marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Aviation Flight University in Guanghan, Southern China's Sichuan Province.

Also by 2010, the number of airports catering to civil aviation will jump to about 190, according to the plan.

To meet that goal, the country is in need of 11,000 pilots by 2010 and another 18,000 by 2015, Wang said.

"With the rapid increase of the air transport volume and the fast expanding airplane fleets, we are facing more and more pressure and difficulty to ensure flight safety," he added.

The country has to overcome a series of problems such as the lack of competent human resources, inadequate airport facilities, a strain on airspace and an incomplete legal framework, Wang said.

Underdeveloped scientific strength in aeronautical fields is also a bottleneck that stunts the development of the country's civil aviation industry and doesn't fully support flight safety.

"Developed countries usually set civil aviation safety policies based on the technological support they have, while we mainly rely on our experience and promote that under administrative order," Wang said.

"We introduce not only most of our civil planes from abroad, but also most of the new techniques."

"(The situation is basically that) they develop the new technique, we learn it and then introduce it."

The CAAC will allocate special funds to develop civil aviation safety and reward people who contribute to this field.

Earlier in May, the CAAC announced the establishment of an institute of civil aviation safety to train about 10,000 staff including flight safety inspectors in the next five years.

China operates about 5,000 flights with more than 11,000 sorties every day.