China's air transport sector has huge potential: insider
China's air transport sector has seen fast growth in the past few years but still has huge potential, according to an industry insider.
"China is in the transition from a large nation to a strong nation in terms of civil aviation," Li Jun, chairman of the China Air Transport Association, said on Wednesday.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has estimated that total air transport turnover was up 12.5 percent year-on-year in 2017 to 108.3 billion ton-km, and a total of 549 million passenger trips were made, up 12.6 percent year on year.
The strong growth was about 3 percentage points faster than the growth for the 2011-2015 period, Li said.
China aims to realize 142 billion ton-km of air transport turnover by 2020, an annual average growth of 10.8 percent in the 2016-2020 period.
To meet the target, the sector will face greater safety pressure than before and must put safety in first place, Li said.
The civil aviation sector is still facing constraints in terms of infrastructure, human resources and innovation capability to realize safe and high-quality development, he added.
China's air logistics sector is underdeveloped, Li said, citing a small number of air freighters and insufficient use of cargo capacity.
China now only has 140-plus air freighters, which are owned by more than 10 companies, compared with hundreds of air freighters owned by some large international air transport companies, according to Li.
The country must overcome these difficulties and challenges to realize high-quality development while maintaining fast growth, he added.