MIAMI – China’s newest commercial mega airport, Chengdu Tianfu International Airport (TFU), began operations on June 27.

The airport cost about 70 billion yuan (US$10.8bn) with construction taking five years. TFU will serve Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province and a major air hub. The site of the airport was chosen at Lujia Town, Jianyang, Chengdu, 51 kilometres south-east of the center of Chengdu.

TFU has three runways, two terminals and can handle 60 million passengers annually. Future plans call for an additional three runways and two more terminals. Capacity will be increased to approximately 90 million passengers each year.

North/South View of Chengdu Tianfu International Airport. Photo: Google Earth.

Major China Project

Aerotime Hub says that TFU is the second largest civil aviation project in China – after the construction of Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX). China expects the airport to become its Southwest major international air hub, as it would mostly focus on international routes. Tianfu makes Chengdu the third Chinese city to have two international airports, after Beijing and Shanghai.

Air China constructed a base at the airport. Facilities include an aircraft maintenance facility, air cargo hub, and aviation food production center. Also built were supporting infrastructure facilities including offices, hostels, and hangars.

Routesonline reports that Sichuan Airlines (3U) operated the first flight to depart TFU. It took off at 11.25 a.m. local time on June 27, bound for Beijing Capital (PEK). About 260 passengers were onboard the inaugural service.

Route Map for Chengdu Tianfu International Airport. June 2021. Photo: OAG Mapper

China Eastern Airlines (MU) has also started flights from TFU to Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) and Beijing Daxing (PKX). Further services will transfer from CTU this week.

Data from OAG Schedules Analyzer shows that about 81,400 departure seats are available from TFU this week across about 470 flights. Capacity will increase to 150,000 seats by mid-July. At this time it appears that the sole international route is to Narita (NRT), operated by China Eastern.

Location of Chengdu Tianfu Int’l Airport. Photo: Google Maps

The Future of TFU

Wilipedia says that China intends for Tianfu to become the country’s third largest airport hub, after Beijing and Shanghai. The airport opened with three runways (two north-south and one east-west) with two terminals with capacity of 60 millions passengers per year by 2025 and a cargo capacity of 24.45 thousand tons.

Aerotime Hub says the complete plan includes six runways and four terminals with capacity to handle 90 million passengers per year. The airport features two terminal buildings in the shape of the mythical Sunbird, used as a logo for the city of Chengdu. From a central hollow circular core, six arms will radiate outwards with both terminals mirroring the other.

Featurted image: Chengdu Tianfu International Airport. Photo: