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Shenzhen airport confirms expansion plans

South China Morning Post – 14 Oct. 2011

Third runway and fourth terminal needed by 2040 as increases in passengers and freight drive growth

A Shenzhen municipal official yesterday confirmed plans to build a third runway and a fourth passenger terminal at Baoan airport by 2040, helping the city to compete with Hong Kong as a regional air hub.

Shenzhen airport is planning to open its third passenger terminal by the end of next year following the opening of the second runway in July.

The third terminal is intended to help meet Shenzhen’s forecast capacity of 45 million passengers by 2020. It will be connected to the existing terminals by underground passenger and freight links. Once open, it will handle check-ins, arrivals and departures from terminals one and two.

Terminals one and two were designed to handle 15 million passengers. But passenger throughput reached 26.7 million last year, Shenzhen vice-mayor Zhang Wen said yesterday.

Outlining revisions to Shenzhen airport’s 2020 master plan, Huang Min, the director-general of the transport committee at Shenzhen municipality, said the “ultimate goal” included developing an airport that could handle 63 million people by 2040. This included a third runway parallel to the second runway and a fourth terminal between the two runways. New cargo facilities are also planned, which would boost airfreight capacity to two million tonnes per year.

“In the long term, the existing freight area will be integrated and a new freight area will be built in the north side of terminal 4. By then, 4.5 million tonnes of freight throughput will be met annually,” Huang told about 300 airline and airport executives at the China air cargo summit.

The revisions to the earlier master plan were carried out by the China Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group and NACO, a Dutch airport planning consultant for the city’s transport committee, and the Shenzhen Airport (Group).

Wang Xianping, a general manager of airport advisory firm GCW Consulting, said there was no timeframe for developing the third runway or fourth terminal.

He said the runway was likely to be financed by the airport group or the municipality, adding officials thought the terminal could be built under a public-private partnership. This could involve possibly domestic and international funding development of the terminal in exchange for a long-term build-and-operate concession.

GCW is involved in a mainland programme that envisages the development of 45 airports by 2015 to take the total number to 220.

Huang said terminal three would have a ground transport centre that would contain metro and mainline stations, including an interchange for the planned Hong Kong-Shenzhen airport express railway and the Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen intercity railway line.

Outlining the benefits from the airport’s expansion, he said estimates showed a million passengers generated 1.16 billion yuan (HK$1.41 billion), while every 10,000 tonnes of freight produced 196 million yuan of social and economic benefit.

Huang said Shenzhen airport handled about 800,000 tonnes of freight last year, up 185 per cent from 2009. This followed the opening of the UPS Asia-Pacific cargo hub and the arrival of courier firm SF Express.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said cargo volumes this year had been hit by sluggish economic prospects in Europe and North America and a slowdown in domestic cargo. Cargo volumes in the first nine months grew by just 1.1 per cent.

But Chen Fanhua, a general manager of Shenzhen Airport, forecast cargo volumes could exceed 1.3 million tonnes by 2015, of which 650,000 tonnes was expected to be air express cargo. “By 2020, we may handle one million tonnes of air express.”

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