Fears for environment as China plans 48 new airports – Jonathan Watts

From Guardian Unlimited (link):

China plans to build 48 new airports over the next five years in an aviation spending splurge that will delight architects and plane makers but heighten concerns among environmentalists.

With the economy booming, hundreds of millions more journeys are being made by air every year, prompting a rush to buy planes that has made China the most important customer for Boeing and Airbus. But the boom is also set to benefit international design firms and construction companies, including British names such as Norman Foster and Arup.

According to the domestic media, China will spend 140bn yuan on airport development between 2006 and 2010 – more than the total for the previous 15 years. Zhao Hongyuan, of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, told the China Daily that the number of airports would rise in that time from 142 to 190. Work is already under way to expand the three biggest international hubs: Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

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