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An Air China 747-8i at San Francisco International Airport (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Air China Finishes New Base at Chengdu Tianfu Airport

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), Air China’s new base in Chengdu Tianfu International Airport is complete.

Even though the majority of international travel remains closed, China’s Tianfu International Airport is expected to launch before June 30. Chengdu becomes the third city in China, following Shanghai and Beijing, to own two international airports. The city, which is located at the southwest of the country, already owns Shuangliu International Airport, the second busiest airport in the country last year and the busiest airport during the Lunar New Year Holidays in 2021.

Air China’s new base in Tianfu will divide into aircraft maintenance, an air cargo hub and an aviation food production center.

CAAC said the hanger is approximately 14,000 square meters. It allows Airbus for routine maintenance at the same time, and the carrier mentioned that passenger flights can convert into cargo flights in the facility to reach the cargo demand during the pandemic. In addition, the cargo throughput can reach 24.45 thousand tonnes of goods. Meanwhile, the food production center can produce up to a maximum of 45,000 meals daily.

The airline also built a 1500 bed-room hostel for its employees at the new hub.

The new base cost $941 million, the biggest investment in the airline’s history. Air China has spent five years finishing the base. Air China has revealed its lounge in Tianfu cover 2950 square meters, and it may provide luxury services to its high-end customers.

China aims to set Chengdu to become a hub in the southwest of the country, and Air China has improved its Chengdu services in recent years, including expanding the city’s route map to European cities like London, Paris and Frankfurt. In addition, it has enhanced services to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Hangzhou to meet the business travelers’ demand domestically. Also, Air China has added the flight frequencies the tourist hotspots such as Xinjiang and Tibet.

According to CAAC, Chengdu operated 72 domestic routes and 14 international routes in the region with 107 aircraft. After the airport launches, Tianfu is expected to provide international services, while Shuangliu will remain to serve the domestic routes.

Tianfu is the mega aviation infrastructure in the country following Beijing Daxing Airport, which launched in 2019. The early phase of the airport construction included three runways and two terminals. The airport is expected to eventually boast six runways and four terminals.

Earlier, China Eastern Airlines has conducted operations rehearsals at Tianfu. The airline has announced destinations such as Shanghai Hongqiao, Shanghai Pudong, Beijing Daxing, Kunming, Xian and Hangzhou, which will all switch to the new airport starting July 1. The airline has planned which international routes will switch to Tianfu in the future as well.

Will Lee
Will Lee
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