Chengdu Tianfu International Airport welcomes a round of test flights, six carriers bring flagship aircraft
Published: Jan 22, 2021 05:53 PM

Photo: Courtesy of China Southern Airlines

Chengdu Tianfu International Airport, the second international airport in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, welcomed a round of test flights on Friday, as six carriers, including Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines, all brought their flagship aircraft and teams to attend the flights.  

Air China brought the Boeing 747-8, the main model for its wide-body airliner, which has participated in the Beijing Daxing International Airport test flight and the verification test flight of the Chongqing airport's new runway in 2017.

China Southern Airlines took an Airbus A380, as it is the world's largest passenger aircraft and has participated in the test and maiden flights at Daxing airport. At present, only China Southern Airlines operates five A380 passenger planes in China.

China Eastern Airlines brought a Boeing 777-300ER to attend the flight, being the first China International Import Expo-themed airplane.

The remaining three airlines are Lucky Air's Boeing 737, Sichuan Airlines' A330 and Chengdu Airlines' ARJ21. 

The airport is expected to be put into operation in the first half of this year. By then, Chengdu will be the third Chinese city with two international airports, after Beijing and Shanghai. 

The airport said it will focus mostly on international routes. China Eastern told the Global Times that they will move all of the outbound routes from Shuangliu airport to Tianfu airport upon completion. 

Photo: Courtesy of Air China

China Southern said the successful test flight of China Southern Airlines' A380 aircraft also signifies that Tianfu airport has reached level 4F standard, which is the highest level of airport services, showing the potential and advantages of the airport as an international aviation hub in Chengdu. 

Air China said it has invested 6.1 billion yuan ($941 million) to build a base in Tianfu airport. In 2019, the southwest branch of Air China transported 17.75 million passengers, showing its dominant position in the Southwest regional market.

By 2025, Air China's transport capacity in Chengdu will double from now, with more than 150 aircraft being added.

Test flights are an important prerequisite for an airport's operation. After obtaining the formal approval of the flight procedures, the airport can be opened smoothly.

Rules from the Civil Aviation Administration of China state that test flights will help check airport communication, navigation, surveillance and meteorological facilities and will also examine the comprehensive support capabilities of an airport's air traffic control, aeronautical information, ground services, and emergency response. 

The first phase of Tianfu airport is designed to meet the target of 40 million passenger trips, 700,000 tons of cargo and mail, and 320,000 aircraft movements in 2025.