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January 16, 2010

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Hongqiao airport tests its new strip

SHANGHAI'S Hongqiao International Airport ran a test flight early yesterday morning on its second runway.

The new strip will go into use by March, giving the city five runways at its two airports.

Using an Airbus A330-300, the Shanghai Airport Authority started the test at 6:07am and ended it at 7:10am.

Officials checked out the new runway's signal lights, navigation system and road worthiness.

The 3,300-meter-long runway is 365 meters west of the first one, which was put into use in 1964.

The 60-meter-wide runway will be able to handle the world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, according to the airport authorities.

Officials with the civil aviation authority will conduct a final inspection of the runway in February before operations begin on March 16.

The airport is undergoing a 15.3-billion-yuan (US$2.2 billion) expansion, including a new terminal and the new runway, as part of the under-construction Hongqiao Transport Hub, a connector for subways and high-speed railways as well as planes.

Designed for 9.6 million passengers a year, the Hongqiao airport has strained to handle growing traffic: 25 million passengers last year.


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