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May 23, 2013

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Pudong apron to make extra room for aircraft

SHANGHAI'S Pudong International Airport will build a new apron while expanding the current one to make space for more aircraft.

Plans are afoot to build a new apron on the east side of the international airport and expand the current one in the south to accommodate over 300 aircraft by 2015, an official with the airport authority said yesterday.

The airport currently has parking space for 218 aircraft, including some 123 aircraft of four local carriers - China Eastern, Shanghai, Spring and Juneyao airlines.

"However, the actual available space is 135 only because they need frequent maintenance," the official said. "The aircraft number is expected to rise to 271 by the end of 2015, making the expansion work a necessity," he added.

Construction work on the new apron and expanding the existing one will cost about 1.5 billion yuan.

A satellite terminal, S1, is also in the plans because the distance between some gates to waiting flights are very far. In such cases, passengers will be moved from the designated gates to the satellite terminal before they board the flights.

Meanwhile, authorities also announced plans to renovate Terminal 1 at the Pudong airport later this year. It includes expanding the facilities and upgrades of the luggage system.

The renovation work is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, and will largely benefit the China Eastern Airlines, which will become the largest occupant of the terminal.

The capacity of the terminal, first was put into service in 1999, will grow from 20 million to more than 36.8 million passengers a year after the 1.2 billion yuan (US$192.9 million) renovation.

The revamped terminal will be expanded by one floor to seven floors, and new areas will be added to make it easier and faster for passengers to change planes. Passenger lounges also will be added.

Pudong handled more than 44 million passengers in 2012, nearly 8 percent more than 2011, to become one of the fastest growing airports in the Asia-Pacific region.

About 1,117 aircraft per day, or 68 flights per hour, take off and land at the airport right now.


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