China will build 70 airports and expand 101 existing ones in the next five years, said Li Jiaxiang, the head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
The nation currently runs 180 airports, which profited ¥5.3 billion last year. Of the 180 airports, 119 posted a combined ¥2 billion loss last year, or ¥16 million per airport, data show.
Li said that although smaller airports in China are operating in the red, they have stimulated the development of other industries in regional economies. The 119 loss-making airports generated ¥3 trillion worth of business in 2011, according to Li's calculation.
China will import a total of 2,500 aircraft in the next five years, well above the annual pace of 300 aircraft seen over recent years, Li added. The 2,500 aircraft will bring the total number of aircraft in China to 4,500.
Boeing Co (NYSE: BA) last year predicted that China would need 5,000 new aircraft valued at $600 billion in the next 20 years. Specifically, the nation will need 3,550 single-aisle aircraft and 1,040 double-aisle aircraft in the coming two decades, according to Boeing.