China’s Airport Network Growing

Published on Author walkerc

The Chinese government is on a path to revitalize infrastructure and are doing so through building many luxurious new airports.  Although the airports are expected to loss money over the long run, the Chinese government is only focused on the effects the new infrastructure spending will have on the economy.  So why is China enjoying a new airport system while the US has to suffer with older airports with relatively little commodities?  I believe that the answer lies within the contrast of our two governments.  While China can push through these new infrastructure plans without anyone’s approval, the US political system would see battles over spending in our state and federal legislative branches.  While the Chinese government can do as they please, the US would have to explain why they are spending tax payer dollars on airports that look nice but are actually just a waste of money and time.


3 Responses to China’s Airport Network Growing

  1. One of the aspects of this article that jumped out at me was the large increase in airport travel in the last decade. The article notes that in 2012, the Beijing Capital International Airport hosted 81 million passengers, when ten years earlier it only transported 27 million customers. While this may not be indicative of airport travel within the whole country, I think it does show how fast the country’s standard of living has been increasing.
    It is also interesting how quickly these airports are being built. Shanghai constructed one in only 32 months – this is even more impressive considering that these are much more than airports. Some of them (including the Shanghai port) are hubs for buses, subways, and high-speed rails. These have potential to be logistical nightmares, but seem to be run very efficiently.

  2. With 100+ cities with populations over 1 million, you can justify lots of airports.

    The political economy differs, too. Local boosterism is the norm (even if we ignore the bribes that flow to local officials, career incentives and the base of support of local party members guarantees that). NIMBY politics are not to my knowledge a significant component (yet?) of Chinese politics. Both differences favor local public works, as does a third component: banks have a hard time finding enough customers, given their difficulty in lending to small and medium businesses. So they like these projects, too.

  3. Oh yeah and let’s not talk about how freaking expensive it is for a plane ticket. It’s ridiculous and these prices will continue to increase. I would think more airports equals cheaper tickets. Right?