China’s Chengdu Tianfu International Airport has begun operations

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China’s has officially begun operations with three runways and two terminals, covering a total area of 710,000 square meters. The inaugural flight, operated by Sichuan Airlines, took off at 11:10 a.m. on Sunday, bound for Beijing. Constructed at a cost of about 70 billion Chinese yuan ($10.8 billion), phase one of the massive aviation hub has the capacity to handle up to 60 million passengers per year. The new was designed by a consortium made up of the China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute, China Airport Construction Group Corporation and French architectural firm ADP Ingenierie. The new airport has cutting-edge technologies, including facial recognition software, self-check-in kiosks, smart security systems, self-boarding gates and AI robot concierges.

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China remains closed to most international travelers. A metro line connecting the new facility to the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is due for completion in 2023. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province. It has a big attraction: the majority of the panda population lives in its bamboo forests. On other part, Sichuan has been historically known as the “Province of Abundance”. It is one of the major agricultural production bases of China but also one of the major industrial centers. The auto industry is an important and key sector of the machinery industry. Speaking on global terms, China aims to have 400 airports in use by 2035, a huge leap from the current 241, according to the Transportation Network Planning Outline issued by the government in early 2021.