The Chengdu Tianfu International Aerotropolis, showcased at this week's Beijing Aviation Expo, hopes to also be a major part of the “Air Silk Road”.
It covers an area of more than 480 sq km, comprises 12 towns, and aims to have a population of more than 300,000.
Within the administrative region, which got the green light from Chengdu municpal authorities in 2017, will be Chengdu’s second airport, the Chengdu Tianfu International Airport. Chengdu Tianfu looks to commence operations in 2021, according to materials from the Chengdu High-tech Development Zone (CDHT), which will develop the Aerotropolis. It will have up to six runways, and is targeting to handle up to 90 million passengers in the long term.
Within the Aerotropolis, authorities hope to attract companies not just in the aviation and logistics sector, but those in the digital economy sector.
At a forum held days earlier, representatives from Chinese and foreign aviation and related industries came together to discuss opportunities and challenges in developing the Aerotropolis.
One advantage the city will have is its expertise in R&D and manufacturing, particularly in aircraft and engine capabilities. CDHT notes that in 2018, the added value of the city's aviation, spacecraft and equipment manufacturing industry went up by as much as 31.2%.
Chengdu is positioning itself as the “important pivot city” in China’s Belt and Road initiative, and the Aerotropolis project is part of a larger push to get investment into the eastern part of the city.