China to step up support for civil aviation in 2022

BEIJING, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- China will suspend the prepayment of value-added tax (VAT) on air transport firms throughout 2022 to prop up the civil aviation industry, the country's top economic planner said Friday.

Passengers step out of a China Southern Airlines aircraft at Dalian International Airport, Liaoning province, on July 15. [Photo by Liu Debin/For China Daily]

To increase financial support for the construction of civil aviation infrastructure, the central government will continue to subsidize air routes, airports and safety capacity building projects through an aviation development fund, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

Financial institutions will be encouraged to step up credit support for hub airports, while qualified airlines are encouraged to issue corporate credit bonds to expand access to capital, the commission said.

Civil airlines and airports severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic will enjoy easy access to the registration and issuance of debt financing instruments.

The country is also mulling consultations between the China National Aviation Fuel Group Limited and upstream companies on scrapping the components of maritime shipping insurance and port charges in the jet fuel price, currently standing at two U.S. dollars per barrel and 50 yuan per tonne, respectively.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the country's civil aviation regulator, released a plan last month for the industry's development. It says that by the end of 2025, China will have over 270 civil transport airports, handling 17 million takeoffs and landings a year.

The civil aviation sector will handle 930 million passenger trips and 9.5 million tonnes of cargo and parcels annually by 2025, said the plan.

The latest CAAC data showed that China's air cargo transport rebounded to near pre-pandemic levels in January, with the volume of cargo and mail transported by air standing at approximately 654,000 tonnes, or 97.3 percent of the amount recorded in the same period in 2019.