One Chart Shows Just How Fast China's Airline Industry Is Growing

The aviation industry is booming in Asia. Boeing predicts the region will need nearly 200,000 more pilots and 12,820 new planes by 2032.

A lot of that is thanks to China, where the airline industry is growing at a crazy pace.

In its Current Market Outlook, published earlier this year, Boeing included a chart that encapsulates just how remarkable that growth has been over the past 20 years.

Between 1992 and 2012, weekly available seat-kilometers (a measure of how much planes are flying) rose from 351 to 8,701, a 24-fold jump. Weekly frequencies and total airport pairs also skyrocketed. The average aeroplane now seats a few more people.

But the clearest illustration is in the maps on the left side of the chart, which show domestic routes. In the 1992 version, you can tell they’re individual lines. In the 2012 one, not so much:

China’s growth spurt isn’t painless, however. In terms of on-time departure performance, Asia’s 20 worst airports are all Chinese. More 80% of flights leave Beijing Capital International Airport late. And the country’s new policy to improve performance is a farce that reveals just how much it’s struggling to make things better.

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