By Will Lee
China’s Haikou International Airport Debuts New Terminal and Runway
China hasn’t stopped improving its aviation facilities during the pandemic. Phase two of Haikou, China’s Meilan Airport is completed and started its operation. Haikou is located in Hainan province — the tourist hotspot for Chinese citizens in southern China — which is only about one hour flight from Hong Kong.
The new terminal of Meilan is another major infrastructure for the Chinese aviation industry this year, following the opening of Tianfu International Airport in Chengdu, China and Jiaolong International airport in Qingdao, China.
Phase two of Meilan Airport consists of a new terminal and a runway. Terminal two covers 300,000 square meters, is almost double the terminal one in size, and the new runway is 3,600 meters. The expanded airport is expected can handle 35 million passengers and the cargo throughput can reach 400,000 tonnes annually by 2025. The expansion also improved the ground transport facilities, such as railway and highway. According to the media, the airport is considering building phase three at the moment. Also, the brand-new air traffic tower launched in November. The new tower is 108 meters — 42 meters taller than the original tower.
Meilan is the hub of Hainan Airlines. HU7181 — operated by one of the carrier’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners — leaving Meilan for Beijing was terminal two’s maiden flight. Following HU7181, a China Southern Airlines flight CZ6444 which was bound for Shenzhen, China, became the terminal two’s second departure flight.
In response to the launching of terminal two, Hainan Airlines switched some routes to the new terminal temporarily, such as Haikou – Chengdu, China; Haikou – Chongqing, China and Haikou – Urumqi, Mongolia. According to the airline, the carrier will offer a free change to the passengers missing the flights for going to the wrong terminal. Also, it is believed that more passenger flights will move over to the new terminal in the future.
Meanwhile, Hainan Airlines has setup a VIP lounge in the new terminal, it covers 1283 square meters. The airline has a nearly 22% market share within the entire Hainan province and 27% in Haikou.
The new terminal brings the new route and passengers immediately. Meilan has expanded its route map through the addition of flights for Lhasa, Tibet-Chengdu, China-Haikou, China. Meilan became the last province to connect with Tibet in China. Tibet Airlines’ flight TV9851 —operated by an Airbus A320 — became the first flight to connect two provinces. It is expected that Tibet Airlines will provide a daily services from Lhasa to Haikou with a layover. Haikou, China’s Meilan Airport currently connects 123 cities and 236 routes.
According to Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the low coronavirus cases in the country is paving the way for recovery of the domestic aviation industry, although the pandemic is far from over and the international travel restrictions in place. CAAC believed the new terminal can meet the travel demand in Hainan.