In recent years China’s aviation industry has developed rapidly, with an average annual growth rate greater than 16%, according to the country’s civil aviation authority (CAAC). As a result, a shortage of pilots, technical workers, air space and airport capacity has occurred. The government is forecasting a 14% annual growth in passenger numbers through 2010, after which even more rapid growth is forecasted.
To give it time to expand its aviation infastructure and services, China will allow few new Chinese start-up airlines for the next three years. Exceptions to this include airlines carrying freight, airlines that use mainly foreign pilots, and airlines that serve the West and Northeast of the country, where development is slower than in the Eastern sections of the country.
China has indicated that because of the rapid aviation industry expansion, 18 of its airports are operating beyond designed capacity, especially Beijing, which is the country’s largest and the world’s 9th busiest airport.