The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) aims to construct 216 new airports by 2035 to meet the growing demands for air travel.

China had a total of 234 civil airports at the end of October, and this number is likely to hit 450 by 2035. This is part of China’s ambition to become an aviation power, reported Reuters.

Data shows that demand for passenger air transportation in China will surpass the US by 2035, representing almost one-quarter of the world’s total flights.

Airports in China managed 552 million travellers last year, which is expected to grow to 720 million by 2020.

China’s current number of airports would not be able to handle this rise in passenger volume. As a result, it has plans to build additional airports to cope with the growing demand.

The primary factors for the aviation sector growth are an expanding middle-class and government policy.

“Airports in China managed 552 million travellers last year, which is expected to grow to 720 million by 2020.”

China is planning to build airports in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Yangtze River Delta region, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, as well as in the cities of Chongqing and Chengdu.

Alongside improving connectivity between various regions, the new airports will promote tourism and economies in these areas.

Recently, China’s state planner  National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) granted permission for an RMB42.1bn ($6.06bn) expansion project of Urumqi Airport (URC) in Xinjiang.

Construction of the URC is scheduled to run through to 2030 when the airport is predicted to manage 750,000t of cargo and 63 million passengers per annum. By 2015, Urumqi Airport is expected to have 550,000t of cargo pass through it a year.

In its latest report, IT solutions provider SITA said that Chinese airports and airlines have boosted their IT spending with a particular focus on cybersecurity. Focuses are on equipping new airports and terminals with the latest technology and managing growing passenger numbers.