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Air traffic growth expected to slow
(Shenzhen Daily/Agencies)
Updated: 2005-12-29 09:41

Domestic air passenger and cargo volume growth should ease off in 2006 as the market reverts to a more stable pace of expansion following the post-SARS rebound of 2004 and 2005, domestic media and the industry's watchdog said.

About 15 percent more passengers, or 159 million people, will fly next year, the country's aviation regulator said in a statement.

Cargo volume is expected to rise 10 percent to 3.36 million tons in 2006, it added.

That compared with passenger traffic growth of 33 percent in 2004 and 20 percent this year. The past two years' growth is partly due to increased air traffic following a 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that grounded planes around the region, the Shanghai Securities News said yesterday.

Freight volume grew by 25 percent and 20 percent in those two years, respectively.

China, the world's fastest-expanding major aviation market, is a pivotal battleground between Airbus -- a subsidiary of European aerospace firm EADS -- and Boeing.

Airbus signed a US$10 billion deal to supply 150 single-aisle A320 jets to China during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to France earlier this month.

That followed a Chinese commitment last month to buy 70 Boeing 737s, part of what a Boeing spokesman said were plans to sell 150 of its jets to the country.

Now, domestic carriers such as Air China Ltd., China Eastern Airlines Corp. and China Southern Airlines Co. plan to keep acquiring planes, spurring concerns of overcapacity.

Boeing has forecast that China will need to pick up more than 2,000 planes over the next two decades.

Chinese airlines will gain 142 jets in 2006 through deliveries, the newspaper added.


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