Too many regional airports turn to be vanity projects

Updated: 2014-11-04 07:57

(China Daily)

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The construction of small regional airports must follow market laws, not the will of local officials, says an article on Excerpts:

About 80 percent of small regional airports in China are on the verge of bankruptcy, because of lack of business. Government subsidies are the main means of survival for them. For example, the airport in a poverty-stricken county in Heilongjiang province only has two flights each week and the passenger rate is less than 20 percent. The airport used to be a pride for the county government. Now it is a financial burden.

In the 1990s, there was a craze among local governments to apply to build regional airports. Some of the airports boosted the counties' connectivity with the outside world. But many of them are unnecessary given local economic conditions. Some officials blindly think that having an airport is a symbol of local prosperity. That's why many small regional airports became a burden for the governments from the first day they opened.

The senior governmental departments that are in charge of assessing the feasibility of airport construction must take their duties seriously. The assessment process should be professional, according to market laws, and transparent, with public supervision in case of corruption.

China is building a national high-speed railway network. The small regional airports will face even more competition.

There should be an accountability system for officials that waste public money in this way by making the wrong decisions.

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