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October 31, 2014

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Airport renovation biggest since it opened in 1921

THE Terminal 1 building at Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport is set to undergo its largest renovation since opening in 1921, authorities said yesterday.

The main aim of the project, set to start before the end of the year, is to provide a better experience for people using the airport, Li Derun, president of the Shanghai Airport Authority, told a press conference.

An expansion of the floor area by almost 40 percent will make it much easier for passengers arriving by taxi or on the Metro, while the higher ceilings will give the terminal a roomier and more welcoming feel, he said.

“Though capacity will not be significantly increased, the level of service will be greatly upgraded,” Li said.

In preparation for the development project, the 10 check-in counters used by Spring Airlines, which are currently in Building A, will be relocated to Building B from next Thursday.

The budget carrier will also switch boarding to gates 5, 6 and 7 from its usual gate 4.

Wang Zhenghua, president of Spring Airlines, said that while the renovation work is ongoing, new signs will be erected and extra staff and volunteers will be on hand to help passengers find their way.

“We will do all we can to make things run smoothly,” he said.

Among the key features of the project will be the provision of a direct link to the terminal from the Yan’an Road highway, said Jiang Yunqiang, the airport authority’s project manager.

A two-story parking lot will be built to the front of the terminal building, while the Hong Gang Hotel near Building A will be demolished to create more room, he said. That will be at a time when there are no flights.

The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2017, Li said, adding that operations at the terminal will continue as normal while the work is ongoing.

Once completed, Terminal 1 will be primarily a base for Spring Airlines and a small number of other carriers operating charter flights to Japan and South Korea, he said.

Since it opened more than 90 years ago, Hongqiao Airport has seen its passenger turnover increase to almost 36 million people a year. The upgrades are long overdue, Li said.


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