China’s largest international airport officially began operations last Sunday, June 27. Chengdu Tianfu’s inaugural flight was operated by Sichuan Airlines, bound for Beijing.
It currently operates three runways and two terminals, covering a total area of 710,000 square meters, but plans to expand to 1.4 million square meters to accommodate 120 million passengers a year.
For now, the airport in Sichuan’s capital is in the first phase and can handle up to 60 million passengers a year. However, due to pandemic restrictions, Chengdu Tianfu Airport will only receive domestic travelers.
“China’s domestic market has already fully recovered from the pandemic and will continue to grow faster. Given the size of the city and its central location in China, Chengdu is positioned to benefit,” said aviation analyst Brendan Sobie.
The airport was designed by a consortium consisting of the Southwest China Architectural Research and Design Institute, the China Airport Construction Group Corporation, and the French architectural firm ADP Ingénierie.
This first phase took five years to complete and features some cutting-edge technologies, including facial recognition software, self-check-in, intelligent security systems, self-boarding gates, artificially intelligent robot concierges, and a subway line connecting the airport to downtown Sichuan, CNN reported.