Short glimpse at Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Hong Kong Airlines (HX) Airbus A330-300 landed safely and elegantly on Pudong International Airport in Shanghai (PVG). It was a sunny day and the sky was azure. While traveling around China we were very lucky about the weather. Each time we arrived in the new city, the nature greeted us in the best possible way, with a strong and surprisingly warm October sun. Beijing showed it beauty without smog, Shenzhen amazed with humid, hot subtropical climate and Shanghai presented itself in green despite Autumn.

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We landed on one of four parallel runways which bordered two airport terminals from both sides. The last runway construction was completed in the end of 2014 and made PVG the only airport in China with 4 runways. Additional fifth landing strip will be finished in 2015 but won’t be used in commercial operation. It will serve as a testing ground for Comac’s C919 and ARJ21 newly built planes. Terminals 1 and 2 have joined capacity of around 60 million passengers annually.  However T1 is much smaller and able to serve 20 million travelers versus 40 million in case of T2. This will change as the airport is in the middle of huge expansion project, which will increase its capacity to almost 80 million and potentially even to 100 million in the distant future. The construction works should begin in 2015 and the new satellite concourse will help the PVG to cope rapidly growing passenger traffic. In 2014 the Airport handled nearly 52 million passengers. In 2013 it was around 47 million, making it 21st busiest airport in the world.

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I was able to feel the size PVG while we were taxiing to the newer Terminal 2, opened in 2008. It took us almost 15 minutes to reach the gate, but as the plane was connected to the jetway, in a few minutes we found ourselves in long concourse walking towards exit sign.

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The pier has rather low ceiling and efficient moving walkways which helped to cover a large distance between our airbridge and immigration area. Corridors were decorated with flowers and had a nice, soft carpet, making the place lot more calm and silent. I didn’t notice the airport was very busy and crowded in the moment we landed and that made a very good first impression on me. I could relax while riding on moving sidewalk and admire evenly parked planes. The Terminal looked new and fresh as well as being very clean and modern.

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When we got to the arrivals hall, we saw some people waiting for going out passengers. I immediately spotted large palm trees which graced the building. PVG didn’t look as modern as Shenzhen Bao An Airport (SZX) but sill both the dimensions and architecture were impressive. I wish only the arrival hall was a bit more spacious.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport_alberth2_Flickr_(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Shanghai Pudong International Airport, alberth2, flickr, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

PVG is the primary hub for China Eastern Airlines (MU), which was in 2013 the largest airline by passenger carried in both China and Asia and additionally 6th largest in the world. Pudong is also a main hub for Shanghai Airlines (FM) and major international hub for Air China (CA). The airport additionally being used by privately owned Juneyao Airlines (HO) and Spring Airlines (9C). PVG together with Hongqiao International Airport (SHA), the second, domestically oriented airport in Shanghai carried nearly 90 million passenger. However Pudong is not only about travelers. It is also the 3rd busiest cargo airport in the world by cargo traffic. It is an important cargo hub for DHL and UPS. Both companies helped PVG to surpass 2,3 millions tons of carried cargo traffic.

I enjoyed the quality of service at Pudong International Airport and only regret I couldn’t spend there more time. I wish, additionally, I could examine more closely departures hall and other facilities. I have seen many photos of this airport and I find it very beautiful. That is why I will definitely return there once again and then I will extend this short review.

See High Flyers video review 

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