January 15, 2015
Increased passenger and cargo demand leads to go-ahead for Chengdu’s second airport
In 2013, Chengdu Shuangliu, Chengdu’s only airport, handled 34.5 million passengers, making it the 5th busiest airport in China, and the busiest in Western China. This number of passenger virtually doubles the number handled in 2005 and takes the airport critically close to its 40 million passengers per annum capacity. It was also the 5th busiest airport in China for cargo transportation. In 2012 it was listed in the top 50 of the world’s busiest airports. Chinese airlines are looking to expand – Chengdu is a major hub for Air China, Sichuan Airlines and Chengdu Airlines. However only recently has the existing airport expanded to three runways and only from August 2014 have direct flights to the USA (San Fransisco) been available.
Throughout China air traffic has been on the increase. Chinese airports dealt with more than 754 million passengers in 2013, an increase of 11 percent from 2012 and 86 percent from five years previously. To deal with this increase Beijing started construction in December on a new USD$14bn airport able to deal with 72 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo on an annual basis.
Chengdu is now to become China’s third major city to boast a second airport, after Beijing and Shanghai since approval has been given for the construction of a three runway airport capable of handling up to 40 million passengers. It is due for completion in 2025. With such a limited availability of slots at major Chinese airports, combined with China’s restricted air corridors, constant delays are being experienced at Chinese airports which, at some points, have led to riots. It was reported that two Chinese passengers were jailed at the weekend for opening an emergency exit door as the aircraft was taxiing, in a protest at the lengthy flight delay.