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China grows civil aviation industry

By Zhang Zhao and Li xinyi ( China Daily )

Airline companies, airports and associations in Asia and beyond are seeking the opportunities of new flights and partnerships in the 13th Route Development Forum for Asia in Kunming, Yunnan province.

The government of Yunnan is encouraging the civil aviation industry in its belief that the business will lead the way of its transportation development, said Vice-Governor Ding Shaoxiang, at the opening ceremony of the forum.

Ding said the flight network to Asian countries will expand over the next five years, while intercontinental routes will also be explored.

"Yunnan has large markets for both passenger and cargo flights, where airline companies from both China and overseas will find business," he said.

As one of the most dynamic regions in the world, Asia has become one of the most important forces driving the global growth of the industry, said Zhou Laizhen, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

He said the latest national strategies of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road have provided opportunities for the regional aviation industry, because of larger demand for the connectivity of people, cargo and services.

The strategies cover nearly 60 countries and represent 29 percent of the world's GDP and 24 percent of its total goods and service exports.

Zhou said the CAAC will encourage airline companies to develop flights in the central and western China regions, and consider policies to open aviation rights in Yunnan province.

Conrad Clifford, regional president for the Asia-Pacific region of the International Air Transport Association, said there is a shift in market power towards the Asia-Pacific region, and China will replace the United States to become the world's largest single aviation market by 2030.

"The future is bright," he said. "Asia-Pacific will have the highest annual average growth rate for the next 20 year."

He also said the region "is witnessing huge creativity and innovation in airline approaches to the market".

"The Asia-Pacific model can be best summed up by saying that regional airlines adapt their models to whatever best suits local conditions."

He said that one of the biggest challenges for the industry in the region is the "soft infrastructure", such as pilots, air traffic controllers, safety inspectors, engineers and skilled technical personnel.

Organized by UBM Aviation Routes Ltd, the event has attracted some 1,000 delegates from airline companies, airports and government departments of more than 60 countries and regions around the world.

The top policymakers and leading companies in Asia's civil aviation business use the meeting to discuss the development of new international airlines in the Asia-Pacific region. There are also many delegates from outside Asia representing companies that already have or are planning businesses in Asia.

Kunming is the fourth Chinese city to host the annual event after Haikou, Macao and Chengdu.

The Kunming Changshui International Airport is the seventh-busiest airport in China with the most rapidly growing number of passengers and has undergone a complete reconstruction. Routes Asia 2015 will "provide an opportunity to showcase this to the routes community", said Katie Bland, director of Routes at UBM EMEA.

Contact the writers at zhangzhao@chinadaily.com.cn

 China grows civil aviation industry

Delegates from home and abroad exchange opinions at the 13th Route Development Forum for Asia. Li Jinchan / For China Daily



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