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December 10, 2009

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Hongqiao: Shorter runway will cut plane noise

CITY airport authorities said yesterday that noise will not be increased around the Hongqiao International Airport despite a 50 percent expected expansion in air traffic.

The airport, at the city's west end, will have a new runway as well as a new terminal by March.

"The noise is inevitable, but we can control it within a bearable range," said Tian Jiuqiang, an airport official.

On the new, 3,300-meter runway, the airport plans to shorten the landing zone by 300 meters without affecting the ability of the plane to land.

By doing this, airport officials said, noise over 85 decibels will be contained within the airport field instead of reaching nearby residential areas.

The Shanghai Science and Technology Commission yesterday praised the Shanghai Airport Authority's plans as "innovative and sustainable."

The current runway is 3,400 meters long.

Authorities said the distance between the two runways will also be shortened to 365 meters from 1,700, saving space as well as limiting the noise range.

However, the concept won't quickly quell complaints among nearby residents, who believe the second runway will bring more noise.

"I am not convinced by that," said a resident online anonymously. "I'm ready to move out."

More than 800 households have suffered the sounds of roaring aircraft engines since the airport finished its third expansion in 1991. Bad spatial design around the airport is to blame, said the authorities.

The city's oldest airport is undergoing a 15.3 billion yuan (US$2.24 billion) expansion that includes the second runway, a new cargo zone and the new terminal covering 364,000 square meters.


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