Shanghai's Pudong airport to open second terminal today

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2008, 12:00am

A second terminal opens at Shanghai's international airport today, as part of a 20 billion yuan (HK$22.09 billion) expansion that aims to make the city a leading global aviation hub by 2010.

Terminal Two is the final part of a project that includes a third runway and a new cargo-handling centre. The expansion will allow Pudong International Airport to handle 60 million passengers annually, double its existing capacity.

Shanghai Airport Authority chairman Wu Nianzu said the expansion was planned to ease pressure at the airport and handle a surge of visitors for the Olympics this year and the World Expo in 2010.

'The target is to make the airport the key hub of Asia's air traffic,' he said on Monday.

Along with Beijing's Capital International Airport and Guangzhou's new Baiyun International Airport, Pudong is one of the country's three airports destined to become major air traffic hubs, a national blueprint issued by the government in 2002 said.

It has experienced rapid passenger growth since it opened more than a decade ago, reaching nearly 29 million passengers last year. By 2015 it will be able to handle 80 million passengers a year with the possibility of a third terminal, Mr Wu said.

The wave-shaped Terminal Two has 540,000 square metres of space in a three-storey building, nearly twice as large as Terminal One. Yet officials promised it would reduce the transfer time to less than 20 minutes for domestic flights and around 30 minutes for international ones.

Among the 'people-oriented' design features are 20,000 square metres for retailers, 54 baby-care rooms, free wireless internet access and assistance for disabled people.

A total of 33 airline companies will operate in Terminal Two. The first 15 companies - Shanghai Airlines and 14 foreign airlines - will open today, while 18 carriers will follow on April 29. British Airways' China manager Sara Thorley said the opening would allow the company to increase its number of flights, given growing passenger demand.

The airport tested its third runway two weeks ago. At 3.4km long and 60 metres wide, it will be able to handle a combined 60 take-offs and landings per hour. Officials said Pudong planned to build two more runways.

This year the airport's cargo volume will rise to 2.9 million tonnes from 2.5 million tonnes last year. A new cargo-handling centre, which also opens today, will boost the capacity of the airport to 4.2 million tonnes annually.