China is constructing new regional airports at an unusually high rate. During the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan period (for 2011-2015), 56 new airports will be constructed, 16 will be relocated and 91 will be expanded.
The Hunan province in southern China alone will have seven new airports by 2015, built at a total cost of $5 billion.
However, many of these new airports cannot be utilized to anywhere near their maximum capacity due to low passenger numbers.
Many of the airports are sustaining heavy losses and have to be subsidized by the government. However, the local governments believe that the airports will encourage industrial growth and passenger numbers will eventually pick-up in the future as the economy grows.