135 of China’s 180 civil airports recorded a combined loss of 1.68 billion yuan ($265m) in 2011, figures show.
Most of the airports in the red are secondary facilities that do not have enough flights to break even. They operate with subsidies from CAAC and their respective local governments.
The subsidies come out of the China Airport Construction and Development Fund, to which all Chinese airlines contribute 5 per cent of their revenue.
Under China’s 12th Five-Year plan (2011-2015) the government will spend 1.5 trillion yuan ($237bn) to build 60 new airports including the second Beijing International Airport, 91 will be expanded or upgraded and 16 earmarked for relocation. Twenty-six airports are facing overcapacity problems while only 35 have decent baggage handling systems.
Most of the 60 new airports will be secondary ones in the less-developed western region. Five were completed in 2011 while the remaining 55 will be built over the next four years.
CAAC director Li Jaxiang said airport infrastructure will continue to be developed as more domestic routes are opened up to link the less-developed regions with other parts of the country.