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Tianjin's new air terminal begins operation
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A photo taken on April 12, 2008 shows the new terminal of Tianjin Binhai International Airport, a standby airport for this summer's Olympics. [Photo: Xinhua]

A new terminal was put into operation on Monday at a standby airport for this summer's Olympics in the northern Chinese seaside city of Tianjin, in preparation for a passenger surge in August.

The new terminal, covering 116,000 square meters in floor space, or about five times that of the old, can handle 10 million passengers and 500,000 tonnes of cargo a year, a spokesman with the Tianjin Binhai International Airport said.

It is expected to receive more than 300,000 passengers during the Olympics period, the spokesman said.

Construction on the new terminal and other expansion projects was started on Aug. 8, 2005 and completed on Dec. 25 last year, with a total investment of nearly 3 billion yuan (428.7 million U.S. dollars), he said.

Through the expansion work, 40,000 square meters of warehouse, 290,000 square meters of parking apron, and 62,000 square meters of car parks were also built.

Meanwhile, the runway was lengthened from 3,200 meters to 3,600 meters, which can meet accommodate Boeing B747-400s and Airbus A380s.

The old terminal, which has been in operation for 18 years, will be used to handle cargo in the future.

The Tianjin airport is a major alternate airport for Beijing Capital International Airport during the Olympics. It handled 1.15 million passengers and 33,000 tonnes of cargo in the first three months this year, up 40 percent and 24.6 percent year-on-year, respectively.

Tianjin, about 120 km southeast of Beijing, is the venue for football preliminaries for the 29th Olympics.

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