China will add more than 45 airports over the next five years, bringing the total to more than 220, the country's aviation regulator said on Thursday.

The government will invest 1.5 trillion yuan (about $230 billion) in the aviation sector in the period to 2015, according to a statement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Air travel is developing rapidly in China amid a booming economy.

China is in the midst of a major airport expansion, planning four major hubs in the country and developing aviation links to its poorer and more remote regions in the far west.

But many of these new airports have struggled to attract customers and languish with just a few flights a week, or none at all. ($1=6.574 Yuan)