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Hongqiao airport gets its biggest facelift since its opening in 1921

The new waiting room at Hongqiao airport.

The new waiting room at Hongqiao airport.

Renovation workers carry out final touches to the airport’s new Terminal 1 building, which will be opened to the public on Sunday. — Dong Jun

Renovation workers carry out final touches to the airport’s new Terminal 1 building, which will be opened to the public on Sunday. — Dong Jun

A newly renovated Terminal 1 building at Hongqiao International Airport will open to the public on Sunday, while the old T1 building will be closed for a reconstruction, the airport authority said yesterday.

All domestic and international flights at T1, mainly with China Eastern and Spring Airlines, will be moved to the newly open Building A terminal from Sunday.

The renovation project was launched in 2014 — the airport’s largest renovation since opening in 1921.

The building’s floor area had been expanded by almost 40 percent, said Dai Xiaojian, deputy president of the Shanghai Airport Authority.

“The higher ceilings will give the terminal a roomier and more welcoming feel,” Dai told a press conference. Moreover, passengers would be able to pass security checks and customs inspections more quickly, Dai said.

The T1 building has 42 international flights and 68 domestic flights daily.

Extra staff and volunteers will be on hand to help passengers to find their way, said Wang Yu, president of Spring Airlines. The budget carrier has promised to offer ticket refunds for those who miss their flights due to the opening of the new terminal building on Sunday.

China Eastern said it had sent messages to remind all its passengers whose flight will take off from T1 on Sunday of the launch of the new building.

Among the key features of the renovation project is the provision of a direct link to the terminal from the Yan’an Road highway.

Previously, drivers had to exit the highway to a ground-level road to reach the T1 building.

“The new design is expected to relieve the traffic congestion near Hongqiao airport and make it more convenient for drivers to send and take passengers,” said Wu Xiaoming, a senior officer with the airport’s police bureau.

A three-story parking lot has been built outside Building A. The 70,000-square-meter parking facility has 1,250 parking lots.

The full renovation will be completed by mid-2018 when Building B of T1 will be revamped and open to public.

Once completed, Terminal 1 will be primarily a base for Spring Airlines and a small number of other carriers operating charter flights to Japan and South Korea.

Some 3.4 million people entered and left the border last year through Hongqiao airport, which ranked sixth among domestic airports.

A total of 1,369 foreigners had benefited from the 144-hour visa-free transit policy at Hongqiao airport since January 2016, Li Guoguan, deputy head with the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection said.

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