Airport's expansion lifts city's regional status

By Zhuan Ti ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-11-17 08:16:23

Qingdao, Shangdong province, has experienced rapid development of its civil aviation industry since the city's Liuting International Airport resumed service in 1982.

The city started operating a civil airport in Cangkou in the 1930s, which was diverted to military use in the 1950s.

The Qingdao Liuting International Airport is forecast to handle more than 20 million passengers this year. By 2020, the number is expected to reach 26 million and annual aircraft movements at the airport will reach 231,000. This would make the airport a pivotal hub in northeast Asia, according to the airport authorities.

The airport has a 170,000-square-meter passenger terminal, a 31,800-sq-m cargo terminal, a 3,400-meter runway and 64 aircraft stands. Through 146 regular routes, the airport can take passengers to 86 domestic and overseas cities. A total of 42 airlines have launched operations at the airport, including the Qingdao branch of Shandong Airlines Co Ltd, the Shandong branch of China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd and Qingdao Airlines.

In 2010, the airport handled more than 10 million passengers for the first time, making it the top airport in the province and the 15th large-scale airport with such a passenger flow in China.

In 2015, the airport handled 18.2 million passengers, 208,000 metric tons of cargo and 154,600 aircraft movements. It saw average annual growth reach 8.4 percent for passengers, 10.4 percent for cargo and 4.9 percent for aircraft movements during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15).

The airport is building an air route network that centers on routes to and from Japan and South Korea, and a transshipment center for express items and fresh goods, which will make it an important link in the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

During the 12th Five-Year Plan period, seven Chinese and foreign airlines operated routes linking Japan and South Korea, and the number of flights linking these countries increased by 8.9 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively. The airport handled 1.95 million Japanese and South Korean passengers last year, accounting for 76 percent of its international passengers.

The airport has launched several international routes this year. On March 29, a direct flight between Qingdao and Frankfurt started operation. On Sept 29, longhaul routes linking the city with San Francisco and Melbourne opened. Another flight between the city and Vancouver is expected to be launched at the end of this year.

Jiaodong International Airport is expected to start operation in 2019 and serve 35 million passengers by 2025. With 74 short-haul flight slots, the most among all airports under construction in the country, the new airport is expected to elevate Qingdao's status to an international metropolis and reshape the aviation network in northeast Asia.

 Airport's expansion lifts city's regional status

Ticketing and ground service staff at the Qingdao Liuting International Airport.Photos Provided To China Daily

(China Daily 11/17/2016 page12)

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