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China now has 248 working airports – new arrivals in 2021 led by Chengdu’s Tianfu International

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Airport construction continued in China throughout a pandemic which itself continues there, and by the end of 2021 there were almost 250 operational commercial airports throughout the country.

However, at the vast majority of airports passenger numbers fell further from 2020 levels and those airports recorded financial losses.

Ten new airports opened during the year. The most significant is at Chengdu, the country’s fifth most populous city, and with an airport – Shuangliu – which was already one of the country’s busiest.

The new Tianfu airport could quickly overtake Shuangliu but it isn’t clear how differing business models will be distributed in a city that is earmarked as a ‘central hub’ for the entire country.

Questions are being asked as to how the government can continue to fund expenditure on new airports while it experiences a sharp contraction in revenue, with an infrastructure funding gap of almost USD1 trillion currently – much the same size as the US economic rescue package.

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