Chengdu will become the third Chinese city, after Shanghai and Beijing, to have two commercial airports as work begins on a new facility at the end of the year.

Sichuan Province Airport Group board chairman Li Wei says the target is for the new airport, to be called Chengdu TianFu International, to have a first phase opening in 2019. The airport will have three runways and a capacity of 60 million.

Last year, Chengdu Shuangliu International airport's passenger numbers rose 13% to 37.7 million. The airport expects 42 million passengers to pass through its gates this year, drawing close to its 50 million capacity.

The airport has seen rapid growth in its international traffic over recent years. In the first eight months of the year, while overall passenger numbers climbed 15%, international traffic shot up a third.

“In a few years’ time we will exceed capacity. So this year we really need to start building the second airport,” says Li.

He adds that the airport operator, which will be responsible for both airports, has not decided how to divide the use of the two airports. Early plans however, are for the new terminal to handle more international traffic.

Chengdu Shuangliu is also working to expand its network with more connections to Europe, North America and Africa. It currently has 83 international routes.

“Going forward, our airport will have an international focus, and to make Chengdu the biggest airport in central and western china,” says Li.

Source: Cirium Dashboard