Shanghai is expected to handle a total of 84 million air passengers and 5 million tons of cargo during 2010, the year the World Expo will be held here, slightly higher than the designed capacity of the city's two airports.
But airport authorities are confident they could manage the challenge by improving infrastructure facilities and services.
The Shanghai Airport Authority estimated that the daily peak passenger flow for the city's two airports - Pudong International Airport and Hongqiao Airport - would reach 280,000 during the 2010 World Expo. But the two airports are designed to handle up to 260,000 passengers per day.
"It is clear that it may create a big pressure on both Hongqiao and Pudong during the Expo," Wang Guangdi, the authority's vice president, told an inspection team from the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
"But we can make it with full preparation and good coordination," he said.
To cater to the expected large demand, the city has started construction projects to add a new terminal building and a new runway at Hongqiao. The project covering a total of 26.2 square kilometers is expected to be completed by 2010.
Meanwhile, Terminal 1 at Pudong will also be refurbished, said Shan Chuanbo, a senior official with China Eastern Airlines.
The number of air bridges at Pudong's Terminal 1 is expected to be expanded from 28 to up to 35. Renovation to the boarding gates to separate departing and arriving passengers will also be undertaken. A 7,000-square-meter area will be built at the terminal for new VIP rooms and transfer areas, Shan said.
However, the committee members, airlines and the airport authority expressed concerns over the city's urban road transport capacity to match the increased air passenger volume as Hongqiao and Pudong still lack Metro lines or expressways for quick transfer of passengers traveling between downtown areas and the airports.
Construction of a transport hub has started on the west side of Hongqiao, where express railway stations will connect Shanghai and Beijing and Shanghai and Nanjing, city officials said.
(Shanghai Daily July 4, 2008)