China unveiled plans recently to build a new airport in Beijing to turn this capital city into Asia's aviation hub. The planned airport, proposed as part of Beijing five-year economic plan, would be located in southern Beijing and be able to handle 40 million travelers a year.
China's fast-paced economic growth has fueled air travel both for tourism and business. Last year, Chinese air travelers totaled a record 267 million, and the number is projected to exceed 300 million this year.
Capital International Airport, currently the world's second busiest airport after Atlanta Airport in US, handled 70 million travelers last year. By 2015, these two Beijing airports would have a combined capacity of 120 million travelers a year, making Beijing "an international aviation hub and the gateway to Asia".
Air travel has been developing rapidly in China in the background of booming economy. The Boeing Co. confirmed this week that China had agreed to a $19 billion contract to purchase 200 Boeing aircrafts between 2011 and 2013. China also has big plans for its airport network, especially in poorer and more remote regions.