Between 1949 and 1978, China invested several billion yuan to construct and expand a group of airports, laying the foundation for civil aviation in the country. Since the initiation of the policies of reform and opening, a group of airports have been built and expanded to satisfy the needs of economic development. By the end of 1998, there were over 140 airports opened to civil airplanes. Of them, more than 80 could accommodate large airplanes such as Boeing 777s, 767s, 757s, 747s and 737s, and A340s. By 1999, the total length of civil air routes in China was 1.522 million km, 3.5 times that in 1978, and 1,122 air routes had been opened, 128 of which were international air routes.
The domestic airlines radiate from Beijing to all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, all open cities, and border and remote areas. The international airlines reach more than 50 cities, including Tokyo, Bangkok, Jakarta, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, London, New York and Vancouver.