With the opening of Pudong in October, Shanghai became China's first city with two international airports. Now the question is how to co-ordinate the two.

Under a three-phase plan approved by Beijing, Pudong will boost operations in stages. During its first month, Shanghai Airlines and China Eastern planned to shift 154 weekly flights from Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport to Pudong.

Starting in November, weekly domestic flights by all Chinese carriers will increase to 314, with at least 38 international flights by Chinese and foreign carriers. By next March, Pudong expects to be at full operation, with 1,050 weekly flights.

Pudong and Hongqiao will provide domestic and international flights, but Pudong is to become Shanghai's main international gateway. With both airports under common ownership, it is not a question of rivalry but of seeing that both remain profitable.

A spokesman for the airports comments: "There is no official policy to force foreign carriers to use the new airport, but they will be encouraged to move to Pudong."

Wu Xiangming, president of the Shanghai Airport group, says part of that encouragement is the decision to keep airport charges at both airports the same. "We want to use the leverage of charges to attract more airlines to come to Pudong so it can reach its design capacity as early as possible." Star Alliance partners are likely to be the first to move to the new airport.

Shanghai's plan to create an international financial centre in Pudong is showing results. A number of foreign banks and Fortune 500 companies have joined the Shanghai Futures Exchange in the new area.

Source: Airline Business