CHINA PLANS TO add 320 more aircraft to its commercial-airline fleet so that it can double, to 80 million, the number of passengers carried by the year 2000, according to Chen Guangyi, director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

The country's next five-year plan, for the period 1996-2000, calls for the additional civil aircraft to increase China's total fleet to 1,000 passenger jets. China took delivery of 48 aircraft in 1994.

Orders for new aircraft, however, are not expected to pick up until the end of the year. In July 1994, the CAAC imposed an 18-month moratorium on additional aircraft purchases in an effort to improve safety and training.

Chen predicts that passenger traffic will double over the next five years, from 40.27 million passengers carried in 1994. The CAAC estimates are based on a slowdown in annual passenger growth to 12%. Traffic in 1994 was up by 19% and is projected to rise to 46.5 million passengers by the end of the year.

The CAAC, in the meantime, will reportedly start taking over control of the country's airspace from the military, starting with the heavily used Beijing-Guangzhou-Shenzhen route. Over the next three years, other routes will follow, including Beijing-Shanghai and Shanghai-Guangzhou.

Source: Flight International