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January 10, 2010

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Runway at Hongqiao ready for flight test

SHANGHAI'S smaller airport will test flight its new runway on Friday in advance of a final inspection by the civil aviation industry in February.

The Hongqiao International Airport is gearing up for the second runway and a new terminal to open on March 16.

The Shanghai Airport Authority organized a half-hour-long emergency drill yesterday on the new 3,300-meter runway, involving 400 staff from the fire department, police, rescue agencies, airport operators and airlines.

The drill followed after a fatal aircraft accident on November 28 last year when a Zimbabwe-registered cargo plane overshot a runway at Pudong International Airport and crashed, killing three crew and injuring four.

The airport authority has invested 17.5 million yuan (US$2.56 million) in new rescue equipment, fire engines and ambulances for Hongqiao airport.

Over 240 firefighters and rescue workers will be based at the airport.

The facility is undergoing a 15.3-billion-yuan expansion as part of the Hongqiao Transport Hub which includes the airport, subway and railways.

City traffic police estimated that after the upgrade, vehicles using the hub will increase to 106,000 a day by March, a 130 percent rise over the current 46,000. With its two terminals and 159 gates, the airport will have capacity for 40 million passengers a year, a 60 percent rise over the 25 million last year.

The second runway will have the capacity to handle the world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380.

Over 189,000 aircraft took off and landed at the airport last year.


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