Planning for Large-Scale Aviation Growth on the Ground and in the Air in China

Principal Investigator: Megan Ryerson, Assistant Professor of City of Regional Planning and Electrical and Systems Engineering

Lead School: School of Design

Penn Partners: School of Engineering and Applied Science

Chinese Partners: Beihang University, Civil Aviation University of China, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Tsinghua University

Project Abstract

The Chinese aviation system is in a period of rapid growth. In the 30 year period from 1980 to 2009, China’s civil aviation system grew at a rate of 17.6% per year, with the number of airports growing from 77 to 166 and annual traffic volume increasing from 3.43 million to 230 million. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the aviation authority in the Ministry for Transport, maintains a target of 244 airports across the country by 2020 with the goal of expanding aviation coverage in their National Aviation Network Plan. The CAAC aims to enlarge the aviation network such that 80% of urban and suburban areas are within a 100km (62 miles) of aviation service by 2020. This growth comes in both the major eastern cities and the second tier and emerging western and southern cities.

The research in this project focuses on the unknowns that airport planners and government officials face when developing new airports and redesigning complex airspaces to accommodate new air traffic, and that airlines face when launching new international aviation service in China. While there is a community of aviation researchers in China focused on avionics, there is little scholarly work or understanding in practice on airport planning and development, airline business plan modeling, and airspace design at the high and low altitudes.The research developed through this project will both fill a need and also provide a critical look at a rapidly growing aviation system in China, positioning Penn faculty to develop critical and impact research and hold courses and development programs for those in China on the forefront of modernizing and developing the aviation system.