China Airborne by James Fallows
  • Title: China Airborne
  • Subtitle: None
  • Author(s): James Fallows
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • Year: 2012-05-15
  • ISBN-10: 0307907406
  • ISBN-13: 9780307907400


“China Airborne” by James Fallows is an insightful exploration of China’s ambitious goal of becoming a global aviation superpower. Through his extensive research and firsthand experiences, Fallows delves into the challenges and complexities that China faces in its quest to revolutionize its aviation industry. He examines the historical, political, and economic factors that have shaped China’s aviation development, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the country’s aspirations, achievements, and setbacks.

The book unravels the fascinating story of China’s rise in aviation, covering topics such as the privatization of airlines, the construction of new airports, the growth of domestic airlines, and the country’s efforts to compete with established aviation giants like the United States. Fallows presents a well-rounded account of the Chinese aviation industry, shedding light on both its successes and failures, offering valuable insights into the broader implications for China’s economy and global influence. “China Airborne” is a compelling and thought-provoking read, offering a unique perspective on China’s aspirations for growth, innovation, and power.

Book Review

Title: A Fascinating Dive Into China’s Aviation Aspirations: “China Airborne” by James Fallows

“China Airborne” by James Fallows is an illuminating exploration of China’s ambitious pursuit to become a global aviation power. As a seasoned journalist and China expert, Fallows provides readers with a well-researched and engaging narrative, chronicling the challenges, achievements, and complexities faced by China in its quest for aviation dominance.

Fallows delves into the historical context, revealing how China’s aviation industry has evolved over the years. He examines the country’s struggles during its early attempts to build a domestic aviation industry and highlights pivotal events, such as the tragic crash of China Airlines Flight 611 in 2002, which prompted a deep examination of the country’s aviation infrastructure and safety standards.

One of the core themes explored by Fallows is the push for privatization within China’s airline industry. He presents a comprehensive analysis of how the Chinese government sought to transform state-owned enterprises into competitive private entities, drawing parallels between the experiences of China’s airlines and their Western counterparts. Through insightful interviews with industry leaders and in-depth research, Fallows uncovers the inherent challenges faced by Chinese airlines in adapting to a market-driven aviation landscape.

Fallows also sheds light on China’s extensive airport construction spree in recent years. He takes readers on a journey across the country, showcasing the rapid development of new airports and the associated challenges of infrastructure planning and financing. By delving into cities like Zhengzhou, where an ambitious new airport is planned to transform the region into a global freight hub, the author effectively captures the grand scale and potential of China’s vision.

In “China Airborne,” Fallows examines the intense competition between China and established aviation giants, particularly the United States. He highlights the profound implications of China’s aviation ambitions beyond economic growth, showcasing how aviation is intricately linked to national pride, military power projection, and global influence. Fallows explores the rise of ambitious Chinese airlines like Air China, China Southern, and China Eastern, detailing how they strive to challenge their American counterparts and capture a larger share of the global aviation market.

One compelling story Fallows shares is the tale of Comac, China’s aviation manufacturer aiming to rival Boeing and Airbus. The author provides an inside look at the innovative C919 airliner project, revealing the immense political pressure, technological hurdles, and competition that China faces in its endeavor to create a globally competitive aircraft.

Throughout the book, Fallows skillfully weaves together personal anecdotes, expert interviews, and rigorous analysis, delivering an engaging and thought-provoking exploration of China’s aviation aspirations. By examining both successes and failures, Fallows provides a balanced perspective, offering valuable lessons on the challenges and opportunities that China confronts in its quest to achieve aviation excellence.

In conclusion, “China Airborne” is a captivating and informative book that offers a deep dive into China’s aviation industry. James Fallows’ meticulous research and engaging storytelling make this book an indispensable resource for anyone interested in understanding the complexities and implications of China’s aviation ambitions. It provides a nuanced understanding of China’s rise as an aviation superpower, shedding light on the broader context of its economic growth and global influence.

Word Count: 523

Target Audience

The book “China Airborne” by James Fallows is targeted at a diverse audience interested in China’s economic development, aviation industry, and global competition. The book is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Aviators and Aviation Enthusiasts This book offers a fascinating exploration of China’s aviation industry, its growth, and its potential impact on the global aviation landscape. From the construction of new airports to the rise of Chinese airlines, aviation enthusiasts will gain valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by China in its quest to become an aviation superpower.

  • Business Leaders and Economists “China Airborne” provides a unique perspective on the Chinese economy and its rapid development. The book meticulously examines the intertwining relationship between aviation, market competition, and national pride, making it a valuable resource for business leaders seeking to understand the complex dynamics of China’s economic growth and its impact on global trade.

  • China Watchers and International Relations Scholars For those interested in China’s rise on the global stage, this book offers compelling insights into how aviation plays a significant role in the country’s pursuit of economic and political influence. It provides a nuanced understanding of China’s ambitions, motivations, and challenges, making it essential reading to grasp the broader context of China’s evolving role in international relations.

  • Travelers and Adventure Seekers “China Airborne” takes readers on a captivating journey across China, exploring its diverse landscapes, bustling cities, and ambitious infrastructure projects. Travel enthusiasts will find themselves immersed in vivid descriptions of Chinese airports, experiencing the rapid changes and capturing a glimpse of modern-day China.

In conclusion, “China Airborne” is recommended reading for individuals interested in China’s economic growth, aviation industry, global competition, and the broader implications for international relations. James Fallows’ thorough research, engaging storytelling, and diverse audience appeal make this book a valuable resource for anyone seeking insights into China’s aspirations and challenges in the aviation realm.