October 22, 2014
5 new airports and three new railways systems get the seal of approval in China
In line with projections that China will be needing some 6,000 new airplanes by 2033, news has broken that permission has been given for the creation of five new airports across the country. Both the creation of these new airports and necessity for new aircraft comes partly from the increase in demand for domestic flight services, and partly through the country’s aim to give the economy a bit of a push during a sluggish time. It is no secret that China’s economy has slowed down considerably, though curiously it is not through a lack of money available for investment. It would appear to be a case that medium sized businesses – one of the key borrowers – are just not expanding their businesses in a time of uncertainty. It is, to a degree, a vicious circle.
However the central bank injected 500 billion yuan ($81 billion) in September into China’s five major state-owned banks, based on information provided by a senior banking executive. The move was made with the intention of channelling money into areas that the government deems important, of which airports would seem to fit, along with general transport infrastructure. The news was in fact not solely about airports but also involved three major rail projects receiving approval too. As for the five airports, these will include one each in the north western-provinces of Qinghai and Inner Mongolia, one each in the south-western provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou, and one in the north-eastern province of Jilin. All in all the cost for the development of the five airports and three railway systems is estimated at CNY150 billion yuan (USD$ 24.5 billion).
Environmentalists who are concerned about the growth of the world’s second largest economy and potential harm being done to the environment may be heartened with the fact that China’s Premier Li Keqiang recently guaranteed to implement major investment projects in information networks, water conservancy and environmental protection to support the economy. This aligns itself well with the fact that Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) now estimate waste cooking oil, or ‘gutter oil’ as it is known, could be capable of providing 500 million gallons (1.8 billion liters) of aviation-grade fuel per annum. This would be capable of reducing carbon emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to petroleum through its lifecycle and is expected to play an additional key role in supporting aviation’s growth while meeting environmental goals.