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Aviation traffic growth in single figures

CHINA'S aviation market reported a single digit growth in air traffic last year for the first time in five years.

Passenger volume rose 3.3 percent to 192 million last year, compared to a rise of 16 percent in 2007, and cargo volume edged up 0.3 percent to 4 million tons compared to 13 percent in 2007, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said. In December, domestic companies carried 15.67 million passengers in total, a rise of 8.2 percent from a year earlier, and delivered 307,853 tons of cargo, a drop of 15.2 percent.

This year the aim is for an 11-percent increase in passengers and 8 percent in cargo after stimulus plans to boost demand.

These included waiving several fees and taxes airlines have to pay, urging carriers to cancel or postpone plane deliveries due this year and parking unnecessary planes, as well as injecting more cash.

Liu Shaoyong, chairman of China Eastern Airlines, said demand on domestic routes was expected to recover in the second half of this year and the international route would recover next year. "Lack of demand is worse than higher oil prices and is the biggest difficulty for the aviation industry's development at present," Liu said.

The economic recession and weak situation is troubling aviation sectors around the world.

In December, global international cargo traffic fell by 22.6 percent while international passenger traffic was down 4.6 percent, according to figures issued by the International Air Transport Association.


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