Xiamen, a Special Economic Zone in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian, is set to become an aviation hub with the fourth terminal at its Gaoqi International Airport scheduled to open in June 2014.
Currently, all the flights using the airport are served by a facility that is the result of merging Terminals 2 and 3. Terminal 1, which opened in 1982, has since been bulldozed to make way for more apron space.
According to Liu Fanchou, director and vice general manager of Xiamen International Airport Co, the airport was originally designed to handle 10 million passengers annually, but last year, it was already receiving 15 million.
Seventeen million passengers are expected this year and the number may well grow beyond 20 million next year. The new terminal, when in operation, will be able to handle 20 million alone, and it will become the home of all domestic services while the existing terminal will serve international flights.
“In terms of the number of international visitors, Xiamen airport is number four in the country, after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou,” Liu said. “It is well connected to the East Asian region.”
The airport has connections with Bangkok, Hong Kong, Manila, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo, among others. In 2010, KLM launched flights between the city and Amsterdam (see story here). Efforts were being made by the government to open more long-haul routes to Europe as well as North America, Liu said.
Before the new terminal is completed, however, upgrade works to the exiting facility are continuing. By the end of the year, there should be an underground car park and an extension with an additional aerobridge.
The airport is managed and owned by Xiamen Iport Group, which also operates the Fuzhou Changle airport, Longyan Guanzaishan airport and Wuyishan airport.
Xiamen is Dell’s command centre in China as well as the manufacturing hub for various Chinese and Taiwanese companies. Its MICE industry has also been growing tremendously in recent years. For more on the city, stay tuned for the September issue of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.