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More international flights in Hongqiao project

Hongqiao Airport may provide more international flights before the 2010 Shanghai World Expo after completion of its expansion project, planners said yesterday.


The airport is closer to downtown districts than Pudong International Airport but currently serves mostly domestic routes, with just 16 daily flights to South Korea and Japan. But expansion may lead to a change as improved capacity will allow it to handle more international travelers, officials with the headquarters of the Hongqiao Integrated Transport Hub project said. Any increase, however, would be moderate.


The government-invested project involves a new terminal building and runway, new elevated roads to the airport and a multi-level traffic center connected to the new terminal. The traffic center will include a railway station for future express lines from Shanghai to Beijing and Nanjing.


It will also incorporate five Metro lines, two bus centers and underground parking lots.


The second terminal and runway are expected to help double the airport's current turnover of nearly 20 million passengers a year. The current terminal will be used for business flights after the new facilities open around the end of next March.


"Operational and technical testing is planned to start in this July or August on the new terminal and runway to prepare for their opening next year," Hu Jianzhong, a chief project engineer and official with the project headquarters, said yesterday.


Hu said construction of the underground waiting hall for the express train station, a key step in the project, was mostly completed and work would start soon on platforms and rail tracks. The station will be shared by future Shanghai-Beijing and the Shanghai-Nanjing express lines.


Headquarters officials said that the main structures of all the road and transport facilities would be finished before the end of this year.


(Shanghai Daily February 4, 2009)