Two interesting bits of news came out of China at the weekend.The first is the comments of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) chief Li Jiaxiang at a speech at the annual general meeting of global airline industry group IATA.
“China plans to build 70 new airports in the next few years and to expand 100 existing airports,” Li said, and reiterated pledges that the country would buy 300 planes a year from 2011 to 2015, AFP reports.
In a country where air travel is already relatively cheap and frequently-used, those numbers represent a significant effort to not just modernize, but to rule the skies. James Fallows has noted that in the entire of the US and Europe at present, there are perhaps 10 airports being built, and the President of Boeing has said he believes that a Chinese firm may eventually break the industry’s duopoly of Boeing and Airbus.
The Chinese ambition goes even further skywards, however. China has also announced a plan to dock a manned spacecraft on its orbiting space laboratory by the middle of the month, as long as tests go well, Xinhua reports. If it succeeds, it will be only the third nation (after the US and Russia) to succeed in that task.
If that plan come to fruition, we wonder how long it will before China gets its man on the moon.
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