SHANGHAI - China's second-largest air terminal building became operational in Shanghai on Wednesday.
The T2 terminal at Pudong International Airport, opened at 6:15 am. Yao Mei, who checked in for her 8 am Shanghai Airlines flight FM9545 to Chongqing, became its first passenger.
Consisting of three parts -- the main hall, the hallway and the lounge -- Pudong International Airport's T2 has a combined floor space of 546,000 square meters. It provides quick connections to the first terminal.
Its size is second only to the Beijing International Airport Terminal 3, which also started full service on Wednesday.
Shanghai built the new terminal to cater to the continuous growth of passenger and cargo flows in and out of the most populous city on China's east coast. The Beijing Olympics in August and the Shanghai World Expo 2010 are expected to bring large increases in air passenger traffic.
The new terminal has been designed to transport 40 million passengers annually and its tarmac can accommodate the ultra-large Airbus 380.
According to Wu Nianzu, president of the Shanghai Airport Authority, with T2 in operation, Pudong can handle 490,000 flights annually, with a passenger capacity of 60 million.
Shanghai also has a downtown airport named Hongqiao.
The two airports handled a record 51.57 million passengers last year, an 11.8 percent increase over 2006.
Pudong and Hongqiao handled 440,809 planes last year, up 7.61 percent. Pudong handled 58 percent, or 253,671 aircraft movements, while Hongqiao accommodated 42 percent, or 187,138, according to official figures.
Pudong is the only airport in the world to provide a dual presence for courier companies UPS and DHL.
Currently, 71 domestic and overseas airlines have regular service to Shanghai, linking the Chinese financial and commercial hub with 179 cities worldwide.