Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, the city’s first airport, is now ready to handle the super-jumbo Airbus A380, a result of a US$2.24 billion expansion.
Scheduled for official launch on March 16, 2010 are a new terminal building (replacing an older one built in 1964), a new 3,300-metre-long, 60-metre-wide second runway and other facilities making up the Hongqiao Transport Hub such a smaller terminal for private jets, the extension station of the Maglev Train, originating from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, bus stops and parking lot for 3,000 vehicles.
Originally designed to accommodate 9.6 million passengers a year, the airport exceeded capacity some time ago due to China’s unprecedented economic growth. In 2009, the record shows passenger throughput to be over 25 million. The soon-to-open facility is expected to handle 40 million passengers annually.
Despite the arrival of Shanghai Pudong International Airport in 1999 that saw majority of international flights shifting there, Hongqiao Airport never lost its usefulness. It was argued that a city as prominent as Shanghai needed to have two airports, and especially with erratic weather conditions during winter, it offered a good landing back up.
Although serving as a domestic operation, Hongqiao Airport adopted a “City to City” service in 2007, starting up flights to central Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (which also did the same) and in 2007, did likewise with Seoul’s Gimpo International Airport.
For weeks now, airport authorities have been testing the runway and conducted checks on luggage, security and boarding procedures in preparation for the final go signal from civil aviation authorities.
For more about the airport, visit www.shairport.com
Margie T Logarta