Chengdu Tianfu International Airport officially began operations on June 27

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Chengdu Tianfu International Airport has officially started operations, offering travelers a new gateway to China. The first flight, operated by Sichuan Airlines, took off on Sunday morning at 11:10 local time, to Beijing. Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, is now the third city in the country to have two international airports, along with Shanghai and Beijing.

At a cost of about 70 billion Chinese yuan ($ 10.8 billion), the first phase of the giant airport has the capacity to handle up to 60 million passengers a year, further opening the southwestern region of the country. Three runways and two terminals are in operation, covering a total area of ​​710.000 square meters. Xinhua state media reported that the airport will eventually accommodate 1.4 million square meters terminals, capable of handling 120 million passengers a year.

Chengdu Tianfu International Airport officially began operations on June 27.

In addition to the famous pandas, Sichuan is famous for its spicy cuisine and beautiful scenery, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in China among domestic and international tourists. "The new Chengdu airport was needed to allow rapid continuous growth", said aviation analyst Brendan Sobie. "China's domestic market has already fully recovered from the pandemic and will continue to grow rapidly. Given the size of the city and its central location in China, Chengdu is very well positioned. “

According to the latest figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), China's domestic traffic increased by 6.8% in April 2021 compared to April 2019. Baiyun International Airport in southern Guangzhou met Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta for to become the busiest world in 2020.

Before the pandemic, the former Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport was the fourth largest in the country in terms of passenger volume. In 2020, "It was in fact the second, because the pandemic affected it less than other large airports due to its high dependence on the national market", adds Sobie. The new Chengdu Tianfu International Airport was designed by a consortium of the Southwest China Architectural Design and Research Institute, China Airport Construction Group Corporation and the French architectural firm ADP Ingenierie.

Chengdu Tianfu International Airport is just one of the many airports that China plans to open in the coming years.

The first phase took five years to complete and includes a range of cutting-edge technologies such as facial recognition software, self-check-in kiosks, intelligent security systems, self-boarding gates and robotic robots. AI-powered concierges. A metro line will connect the airport with the city center. With speeds of up to 140 kilometers per hour, the train journey will take between 37 and 44 minutes. The subway line connecting the new facility to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is scheduled for 2023.

The country aims to have 400 airports in operation by 2035, a significant leap from the current 241, according to the transport network planning scheme published by the government in early 2021. The most notable facility that opened in China in recent years years is Beijing Daxing International Airport, which began operations in 2019. Designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid and his Chinese partners, it has a terminal the size of 97 football fields.

Before opening, the city desperately needed a second airport. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) was the second busiest hub in the world and was at capacity limits, making it almost impossible for airlines to add flights at the desired times.

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