Shanghai plans to expand two terminals after traveller volume rises 15pc to 41m Passenger volume at Shanghai's two airports last year grew by more than 15 per cent and the bigger of the two will more than double existing capacity by 2015, the Shanghai Airport Authority (SAA) announced at the weekend. Officials at the airport authority told a news conference that Pudong and Hongqiao airports handled 41.4 million passengers last year, an increase of 15.3 per cent over 2004 and 2.2 million tonnes of air freight, up 13.9 per cent. Built in 1999 on the shore of the East China Sea, Pudong International Airport is the larger of the two, handling 23.6 million passengers last year, up from 21 million, and 1.85 million tonnes of freight, up from 1.6 million. The officials said that Pudong ranked ninth or 10th among the world's 1,450 airports last year in terms of freight volume, up from 13th in 2004. The airport's rapid growth is a major challenge to Hong Kong, Inchon in South Korea, Singapore and other Asian airports that are competing fiercely for passengers and freight to be the region's main hub. 'The city's two airports have been overburdened in meeting the rapidly growing demand in passengers and cargo,' said Wu Nianzu, SAA chairman. 'We will adjust the facilities at both to meet demand.' For this year, the officials forecast a 13 per cent increase in both passengers and freight. A total of 65 airlines fly in and out of Shanghai with eight added last year and the city is linked to 181 destinations. Pudong is the second-largest mainland airport after Capital Airport in Beijing, which handled 40.7 million passengers last year. The SAA has ambitious plans to transform Pudong into one of the biggest travel hubs in the Asia-Pacific region, with 30 per cent to 40 per cent of passengers transferring to other flights, up from 5 per cent now. It currently has one terminal and two runways. On December 16, the SAA announced plans to double passenger and cargo volume by 2015 with construction of a second terminal with a 480,000 square metre floor area compared with 278,000 sqm for the existing terminal and three new runways. Preparatory work is under way on the site, chosen on empty land next to the ocean to allow for easy expansion. Longer-term plans call for construction of two more terminals with a target of 60 million passengers and 4.2 million tonnes of cargo in 2015. Passengers complain about the long distance from the city centre to Pudong airport, which takes about an hour by bus or taxi. The alternative is a Mag-Lev (magnetic levitation) express train - it takes seven minutes to reach a suburban station on the city's No2 subway line, leaving travellers with a further journey. The failure to build a rail line from the airport into the city centre, as in Hong Kong, was a major design mistake. The city government says it will extend the No2 subway line to Pudong airport by 2010.