Chengdu fuels aviation growth with world routes
One of the rising stars of the Chinese economy, the emerging city of Chengdu, will move closer towards its ambition of becoming the main transport hub for western China when it hosts the World Routes aviation forum next month (24-27 September). World Routes is an annual event that brings together airlines, airports, tourism authorities and governments to plan new air services. It travels to a new location every year to stimulate different aviation markets.
This year’s host city, Chengdu, is the capital of Sichuan Province and one of the fastest developing cities in the world. Chengdu’s GDP increased by 7.9% in 2015 to over 1.08 trillion Yuan (1.1% higher than the national average) and 271 Fortune 500 companies including IBM, Intel and Microsoft are based in the city.
Chengdu’s tourism industry is also booming. Around 2.3 million oversea visitors travelled there last year (16.3% more than 2014) to see attractions such as the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding where pandas have been brought back from the brink of extinction.
The host of World Routes 2016, Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, is already mainland China’s fourth busiest airport with over 50 airlines serving 199 destinations. Last year the airport handled 42 million passengers and this number is expected to reach 45 million by the end of 2016. Direct international routes include San Francisco, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Moscow, Paris and Melbourne.
China is investing massively in aviation to create a one trillion yuan ($153.8 billion) market by 2020. A construction programme will increase the number of airports from 300 to 500, one of which will be in Chengdu. It will be the one of only three cities in China to have two airports (along with Beijing and Shanghai) when Chengdu Tianfu International opens in 2020.
Chengdu has 3,000 years of history and was part of the ancient network of Silk Road trade routes. President Xi Jinping’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy aims to create a modern day Silk Road through improved transport connections to western Asian, the Middle East and Europe, putting Chengdu in an even stronger position to bid for increased air services.
Adrian Newton, group director at UBM EMEA, the organiser of World Routes, said: “Chengdu is a prosperous city with massive potential for the aviation industry. Our delegates are excited to explore the opportunities created by Chengdu’s powerful economy and the desire to create more international air services.”
Some of the biggest international airlines have registered for World Routes including Air China, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Iberia, Japan Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa and Qantas.