Airport News

Airport News

Chengdu, the largest city in southwest China, has received regulatory approval to build a CNY69.3 billion yuan (USD$11.2 billion) airport, marking the country's second major airport investment in less than a year.

The new Chengdu facility will have three runways, capable of handling 40 million passengers upon its completion in 2025, according to the official Sichuan Daily.

China is pushing to build facilities to manage its fast-growing aviation sector, as congestion at major airports lead to endemic delays and growing passenger frustration.

Passenger volumes have been growing at a rapid rate. China's airports handled more than 754 million passengers in 2013, up 11 percent from 2012 and 86 percent from five years earlier, official data show.

In December, Beijing started construction on a new USD$14 billion airport capable of handling 72 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo annually.

Chengdu's existing Shuangliu Airport, built in 1938, is the fifth busiest airport in the country and serves as a hub for inland China destinations for carriers such as Air China, AirAsia X and Korean Air among others.

Passenger throughput at the Shuangliu facility increased 12.8 percent to over 37 million last year, more than doubling the volume of 13.9 million in 2005. It could reach its designed capacity of 40 million as early as next year, according to some estimates.

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, will become the third major Chinese city to boast a second airport, after Beijing and Shanghai.

Beijing Capital International Airport, which operates the Beijing airport, the country's largest, handled around 86 million passengers in 2014, up 2.9 percent from a year earlier. Throughput at Shanghai's two facilities came to 89.6 million, up 8.2 percent year on year.

A shortage of slots at major Chinese airports, along with China's restricted air corridors, have been causing constant delays at Chinese airports which sometimes lead to riots.

Two Chinese passengers were jailed over the weekend for opening an aircraft's emergency exit door as it was taxiing, to protest a lengthy flight delay, according to media reports.

Other Chinese cities are also moving to expand their airports to handle fast-rising passenger flows. Dalian, a coastal city in the northeast, plans to build an airport on a 20.9 square-km (8.07 square-mile) artificial island to be created off its coast at a total cost of CNY26.3 billion yuan.