China's civil aviation sector has established the goal of setting up 270 civil aviation airports and handling 930 million passenger trips in 2025, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said recently in a five-year plan to guide the industry's development.
China now has 241 airports. In 2019, the country handled 660 million passenger trips.
According to the guideline, the industry's regulator has set up a timetable to focus on recovery in the first two years and pay attention to further growth during the latter three years.
The global aviation sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a significant decline in passenger trips.
The International Air Transport Association earlier estimated that international travel won't recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
The sector is expected to transport 9.5 million metric tons of cargo in 2025, the guideline said.
Han Jun, director of the administration's planning and development department, said at a news conference in Beijing that the guideline draws up plans for development in six perspectives, including improving aviation safety, service quality, innovation and promoting green development.
The industry will promote digital intelligence during the period, said Bao Yi, deputy head of the department.
It will also promote digitalization through enhancing scientific and technological innovation, as well as new infrastructure construction, he said, adding that it will facilitate the intelligent application and integration of the industry.
By 2025, busy airports in China that are able to handle more than 10 million passenger trips a year are expected to provide paperless service, and 90 percent of those airports will be able to provide luggage tracking services, Bao said.
"It demonstrates the capability of intelligent travel," he said.
Zhang Qing, another deputy head of the department, said China plans to further expand the civil aviation network to more countries.
By 2025, China is expected to build an international network with access to 70 countries, of which 50 are involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, she said.
In 2019, China's international civil aviation network covered 65 countries.