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China to take delivery of 241 aircraft in 2009
Updated: 2009-01-07 18:52

China is expected to take delivery of 241 aircraft in 2009, including 16 delayed orders from 2008, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Leases on 43 planes are expected to expire this year, but the newly delivered aircraft would increase available passenger seats by 16 percent in 2009, the CAAC said.

The aviation industry expanded 20 percent annually for three years after 2004, it said. The number of aircraft increased from 751 in 2005 to 1,254 at the end of 2008. Many of the new planes due for delivery this year were ordered a few years ago.

However, the world aviation industry has, like many other industries, been hit by the financial crisis. Through the end of last year, more than 20 international airlines went into bankruptcy.

China's aviation industry was also affected. In the first 11 months of 2008, Chinese airlines lost 7.07 billion yuan ($1.03 billion). Air China, one of the three major State-owned airlines, reported 1.92 billion yuan in losses in the third quarter alone.

Experts said they believed that China's aviation industry would have trouble making a profit this year as the global crisis continued.

CAAC deputy head Yang Guoqing has encouraged carriers to cancel or delay orders for new aircraft in 2009 and encouraged them to return leased aircraft and ground or sell older planes. He also said the administration would be cautious about approving new aircraft orders this year.

About 192 million people traveled by air in China last year, up 3.3 percent year-on-year. That growth rate was 13 percentage points less than in 2006.

Airlines carried 4.03 million tons of cargo, up 0.2 percent. That rate was 14.8 percentage points below that of 2006.

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