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China's civil aviation booms with safer, greener record

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BEIJING, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's civil aviation sector has grown steadily this year with an air safety record above the world's average and lower emissions volumes, Chinese civil aviation authorities said Thursday.

Amid the global economic downturn, the Chinese civil aviation market has realized robust growth this year in terms of major traffic indicators, according to Li Jun, deputy chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

In the first 11 months, the sector's total flight hours hit 5.64 million hours, up 10.2 percent year on year, Li said at a national work conference on civil aviation in Beijing.

During the same period, China's air safety record has improved, with the rate of casualties resulting from human error down 48 percent from last year, according to CAAC data.

Continuous positive safety records since 2003 have secured China's position among the world's leading countries in aviation safety, with lower death tolls and a smaller number of accidents compared with global industry averages, Li said.

By increasing airports' operating hours and optimizing flight routes, the sector's annual carbon dioxide emissions will fall by 240,000 tonnes, equivalent to a cut in fuel costs of about 540 million yuan (86 million U.S. dollars), according to Li.

The CAAC also forecast that a total of 320 million plane trips will be made in China in 2012, up 30 million year on year.

The Beijing Capital International Airport, the world's second busiest airport by passenger volume, is expected to serve 80 million passengers year-round, according to the administration.

Next year, China's civil aviation market targets passenger traffic of 350 million, and about 75 billion yuan will be pumped into infrastructure construction, Li said.

China had 180 airports for civil aviation use by 2011. To meet rising demand, the country vowed to build 82 new airports and upgrade 101 others during the 12th Five-year Plan period (2011-2015).

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