City cementing reputation as flight hub

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily) 08:43, August 02, 2023

 Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport. CHINA DAILY

As the land-based Silk Road accelerates its expansion, Chengdu is also witnessing the rise of its aerial counterpart.

Chengdu is home to two international airports: Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport and Chengdu Tianfu International Airport. In 2022, the combined Chengdu aviation hub recorded a passenger throughput of 31.09 million, securing the top position among all cities in China.

The international cargo throughput experienced a year-on-year increase of 53.7 percent that year, reaching 221,000 metric tons.

The relatively new Chengdu Tianfu International Airport was officially put into operation in June 2021. It makes Chengdu the third city on the Chinese mainland to have two international airports, following Shanghai and Beijing. This serves as a catalyst for Chengdu's ambition to establish itself as a thriving international hub city.

The airport features a terminal building spanning 710,000 square meters, capable of accommodating an annual passenger throughput of 60 million and a cargo throughput of 1.3 million tons.

It also has ambitious expansion plans. The long-term vision includes increasing the annual passenger throughput to 120 million and accommodating a cargo throughput of 2.8 million tons.

According to the local government, aviation is the primary means through which Chengdu directly participates in global industrial division.

In recent years, Chengdu's import and export trade through aviation transportation has accounted for more than 70 percent of the total.

On June 27, coinciding with the second anniversary of Tianfu airport's operations, officials from the Chengdu port and logistics office spoke at a promotional event that the city has operated 55 direct international passenger and cargo routes.

Chengdu plans to launch six new routes to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Istanbul, Turkiye; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Manila and Kalibo in the Philippines. It also wants to increase the frequency of seven popular international routes, including Dubai, Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore.

To enhance the travel experience, Chengdu Tianfu International Airport has introduced various services, such as advanced check-in, luggage handling and security procedures. Passengers who have an overnight layover before taking their domestic flights can access the given rest areas, 24-hour commercial facilities and self-service vending machines. These amenities cater to the diverse needs of travelers, ensuring a smooth and pleasant journey through the airport.

Chengdu Tianfu International Airport. CHINA DAILY

With the two airports launching more flights, an increasing number of aviation logistics giants have boosted their presence in the city.

Since 2022, high-profile companies have signed contracts for projects such as the SF Airlines Western China Headquarters, DHL Southwest International Airlines Express Transfer Center and Apex Regional Headquarters in Chengdu.

Global logistics giant Apex launched two new international all-cargo flight routes from Chengdu to Chicago and New York in September. With the new routes, the weekly capacity from Chengdu Shuangliu airport to the United States reached more than 600 tons.

They have addressed the demand for airfreight logistics from Chengdu, Sichuan and the entire western region of China to North America, with reduced logistics costs for businesses in the area.

The company intends to optimize the cargo flight routes from Chengdu to North America by extending them to Sao Paulo in South America. This will create a seamless connection between the major aviation hubs of Chengdu, Miami and Sao Paulo.

According to the local government, Chengdu is home to more than 7,800 logistics companies and has attracted more than 120 well-known companies. They include those recognized in the "Global Top 100 Logistics" and "China's Top 50 Logistics" rankings, along with renowned supply chain brands.

The city has developed high-standard warehouses spanning more than 6.1 million sq m, making it the third-largest warehousing hub in the country. Notably, cold-chain warehouses in Chengdu cover an area of more than 1.3 million sq m.

Industries worth billions of yuan, like biopharmaceuticals and green food, are experiencing rapid growth with renowned domestic and foreign cold-chain logistics companies having established operational bases in Chengdu. The consumption of fresh agricultural products and the trading volume in large-scale agricultural wholesale markets are increasing, according to the local government.

Looking ahead, Chengdu is poised to embrace opportunities in the fields of fresh cold-chain logistics, cross-border e-commerce and pharmaceutical logistics.

The city's strategic location and complete logistics infrastructure offer a favorable environment for the expansion and development of these sectors, the local government said.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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