Expansion of Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport approved

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Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, one of the largest in China, is expected to handle 40 million passengers by 2010, more than four times its current capability.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has approved the airport’s expansion plan which includes the construction of a second runway, 3,300 meters long, and a 250,000-square-meter terminal.

At a cost of 15.3 billion yuan (about 2 billion U.S. dollars), the project is expected to help build Shanghai into an aviation hub for the Asia and Pacific region and ensure a successful Shanghai Expo in 2010, the NDRC said.

The new terminal will be linked to high-speed railways, inter-city railways and subways, offering passengers maximum convenience, it said.

Work will begin after the feasibility study of the plan is approved and is scheduled to be finished by 2010, increasing the number of Shanghai’s runways to five, according to the Shanghai Airport (Group) Ltd.

"The current airport is designed to handle 9.6 million passengers annually but last year more than 19 million passengers passed through its arrival and departure halls," said Wang Guangdi, vice president of the company.

"Shanghai’s two airports, Pudong and Hongqiao, have long been overloaded," he said.

To ease the strain, the company aims to expand the handling capacity of the two airports to 100 million passengers and 70 million tons of cargo a year by 2015.

Located in the west of Shanghai, and 13 kilometers from the city center, Hongqiao airport mainly accommodates domestic flights including China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines.

The airport said experts are considering reducing noise pollution for the residents living nearby.

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