Chinese carrier pax traffic to exceed 300 million in FY2012 as double-digit pax growth returns

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China’s aviation market is poised for a memorable year in 2012, as Beijing likely eclipses Atlanta as the world’s busiest airport (expected in 2H2012) and double-digit traffic growth rates return. Chinese carriers are expected to report a 10% increase in passenger traffic this year to 320 million passengers, according to industry regulator, the CAAC, following growth of 9.2% in 2011.

Some 21 airports in China handled more than 10 million passengers in 2011, five more than 2010 – and more are expected to join the ‘10 million+ club’ in 2012. Eight Chinese airports handled more than 20 million passengers last year. 10 years ago, Beijing was the only Mainland Chinese airport handling over 20 million passengers (with 24.2 million passengers in 2001), while Guangzhou Baiyun and Shanghai Hongqiao (both with 13.8 million passengers) were the only two other airports in China with over 15 million annual passengers.

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