China’s Chengdu Tianfu International Airport has officially begun operations. Its first flight, which was operated by Sichuan Airlines, took off at 11:10 a.m. last Sunday, bound for Beijing. Chengdu is now the third city in the country to have two international airports, joining Shanghai and Beijing. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province.
Sichuan is well-known for its pandas, but also for its spicy cuisine and beautiful scenery. It’s perhaps one of China’s most-popular tourist destinations. For the time being, China remains closed to most international travelers.
According to CCN, the Chengdu Tianfu International Airport was designed by a consortium made up of the China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute, China Airport Construction Group Corporation and French architectural firm ADP Ingenierie. Its cost of an estimate 70 billion Chinese yuan ($10.8 billion). For the time being (phase one), the airport can handle up to 60 million passengers per year.
State media outlet Xinhua reported the airport will eventually house terminals covering 1.4 million square meters, capable of handling 120 million passengers annually. Before to the pandemic, the old Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport was the fourth-largest in the country, by passenger volume. As of today, three runways and two terminals are in operation, with a total area is of roughly 700,000 square meters.
According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), China’s domestic traffic was up 6.8% in April 2021, compared to April 2019. The Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou unseated Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson to become the world’s busiest airport in 2020, CNN reports.
A metro line connects the airport with the city center, and the journey takes from 37 to 44 minutes. A metro line connecting the new facility to the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is expected to be ready in 2023.
China is planning to open several new airport in the coming years. According to the Transportation Network Planning Outline issued by the government in early 2021, the aim is to increase the number of airports in use from 241 to 400 by 2035.
Beijing’s Daxing International Airport was designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid and her Chinese partners. It began operations in 2019