Airlines across the world could soon be upping their Oriental services in order to cash in on the opportunities presented by one of the fastest expanding air travel markets in the world.
The travel world has been alerted to Chinese plans to build as many as 97 new airports by 2020 – in a country that is already the world's second biggest air travel market.
The country's General Administration of Civil Aviation claimed that the government had approved a detailed civil airport layout plan that would bring eight out of every ten Chinese residents within 100 kilometres of an air hub.
Taking China's total airline stock to 244, the proposals are a response to rapidly increasing air passenger numbers in the country, which rose by more than 15 per cent in the third quarter of 2007 alone.
But it is punctuality as well as flight numbers that could allow China's air travel boom to grow unabated – with Beijing Airport now hitting back at claims from Forbes magazine that it is the second worst airport in the world for flight delays.