Shenzhen International Airport is starting a 11.2-billion-yuan expansion plan to add a third runway and fourth terminal that could meet demand up to 2045. Image: Edward Wong/SCMP
Shenzhen is looking to build three new airports as part of plans to make it southern China’s transport hub.
The three projects, including one each for commercial airliners, seaplanes and helicopters, are part of a 1.4-trillion-yuan blueprint to shift the city’s development eastward.
“Shenzhen will build the ‘One Belt, One Road’ transportation hub in southern China and study the plausibility of building an airport on water in the east as well as starting to plan it as soon as possible,” the Shenzhen government’s Eastward Shift Strategic Action Plan for 2016 to 2020 unveiled last month stated.
According to people with knowledge of the plan, a second Shenzhen airport was in the very early planning stages. The work was being carried out based on projected future demand when Shenzhen’s Baoan international airport reached full capacity.
Existing airports in the Pearl River Delta. Image: SCMP
The second airport may be built somewhere near Huizhou, a city to the east of Shenzhen, which now has a small facility that is mostly used by the military. It could be a new airport for commercial airlines in addition to those already operating in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai.
An “airport-on-water” for seaplanes was likely to be built on Shenzhen’s Da Peng Peninsula to the northeast of Sai Kung as part of a plan to develop the peninsula as a high-end corporate travel destination.
Besides, Shenzhen’s Nantou Airport that can handle 16 helicopters at a time was to be relocated to the more distant Longhua district. Nantou airport is mainly used by CITIC Offshore Helicopters, China’s largest offshore helicopter operator, people with knowledge of the plan said.
Nantou Airport in Nanshan District, Shenzhen, mainly used by CITIC Offshore Helicopters, was said to be relocated to Longhua District. Image: baidu
“Building new airports is a typical way for local governments to engineer urban growth after development based on land sales runs out of steam,” according to Qi Qi, a lecturer at Guangzhou Civil Aviation Academy.