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China air passenger traffic up 16.8 percent in 2007: state media

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 7, 2008
China's air traffic continued to soar in 2007 hitting 387.6 million passenger trips, up 16.8 percent from the previous year, state media reported Friday.

International passenger traffic jumped by 17.5 percent to 38.3 million in 2007, while trips on domestic flights rose by 16.7 percent to 349.3 million, Xinhua news agency said, citing the General Administration of Civil Aviation.

Overall passenger traffic increased 16.7 percent in 2006, previous figures showed.

Rises in oil prices and the rapid expansion of the shipping industry led to a slowing of growth in cargo and mail last year, which registered a 14.3 percent rise to 8.6 million tons, compared to 2006's 19 percent rise, Xinhua said.

International journeys have become more attractive for Chinese travellers because of the appreciation of the yuan, the report said.

China moved the yuan away from a pegged exchange rate to the US dollar in July 2005, and has since allowed its currency to strengthen by about 15 percent.

The spectacular growth in air travel has fueled a similar boom in airport construction to meet the demand, with around 100 new airports planned by 2020 at a cost of 60 billion dollars, previous reports have said.

Last month, Beijing opened its giant Terminal Three to cope with the soaring traffic, which is expected to be further boosted by visitors during the Olympics this August.

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Environmentalists climb on Heathrow jet in airport protest: officials
London (AFP) Feb 25, 2008
Four activists from environmental campaigners Greenpeace breached security at London Heathrow to stage a protest on top of a jet against the airport's planned expansion, the group said Monday.

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