By Albert Kuan
Operations Begin at Chengdu’s Second International Airport
China’s newest international airport in Chegdu, Tianfu International Airport, began operations this Sunday. The new airport serves as a new international gateway to the Sichuan province and China and will operate as a second airport for Chengdu with the existing Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport continuing to operate.
The new airport, 31 miles from Chengdu’s city center, is intended for Chengdu to become the third largest airport hub in China, after Beijing and Shanghai. However, as China remains closed to most international travel, Tianfu Airport for the time being will only complement existing domestic services already at Shuangliu Airport, which is growing rapidly.
Operations at Tianfu Airport commenced this Sunday, concluding the five-year Phase 1construction that cost $11.7 billion. Sichuan Airlines flight 889 became the first flight to depart from the new airport.
The airport features two terminals totaling 2,329,396 square feet and is capable of handling 60 million travelers annually. The new terminals feature new technologies including facial recognition checkpoints, self-check-in kiosks, self-boarding gates and robot concierges.
At the present time, the two terminals are not connected, but an airport people mover will eventually be completed to connect the two terminals. Tianfu Airport will also be linked with the city center at Chengdu South Railway Station through Chendu Metro Line 18. Eventually, that line will be extended to the current Shangliu Airport, providing a 30 minute connection between both international airports.
The Chinese government intends to make Tianfu Airport an international megahub and has plans for the airport to eventually house multiple terminals totaling 15,069,475 square feet and be capable of handling 120 million travelers annually. Plans are also underway to link the airport with China’s high speed rail network.