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January 1, 2010

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Hongqiao prepares to welcome A380s

THE world's largest passenger plane will soon be able to take off and land at the city's Hongqiao International Airport, officials said yesterday.

Construction work on a new runway passed quality inspections yesterday, the Shanghai Airport Authority said.

The 3,300-meter runway, which will be able to handle the Airbus A380, will be put into use on March 16, together with a new terminal.

The 4.5-square-kilometer flight area, part of the airport's renovation, consists of the new runway, one parking apron for cargo planes and another apron for repairs as well as 89 gate positions.

A test aircraft from the state aviation authorities has already been used to test the signals, radar system and automatic landing systems.

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.

The project will be subject to a thorough inspection by the civil aviation industry in February.

Over the past year, more than 57 million passengers used the city's two airports, a 12-percent rise compared with 2008.

The airports also saw a 6 percent rise in the number of aircraft, with 476,703 taking off and landing.

Six international flights were added last year and, to date, 74 airlines both foreign and domestic have regular flights to and from the city.


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