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Shanghai begins tests on new runway as passenger demand soars
2005-03-01 00:33:21 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SHANGHAI, Mar 1 (AP) -- Shanghai has begun test landings on a second runway at the city's international airport built to relieve congestion because of soaring flight traffic in China's commercial hub, state media reported Tuesday.

An Airbus A340 passenger jet belonging to China Eastern Airways on Monday became the first plane to land on the new runway, scheduled to open later this month, the newspaper Shanghai Daily reported.

Built to accommodate the Airbus A380 "superjumbo," the world's largest commercial jet, the runway is also equipped with a sophisticated blind landing system that will allow planes to land even in heavy fog, the newspaper said, citing the airport's management, Shanghai Airport Authority.

Opened in 1999, Pudong's present runway is operating at capacity, handling nearly 500 flights per day carrying the bulk of the more than 35 million air passengers who flew to or from the city last year. A second, older airport, Hongqiao, handles only domestic flights.

With a population of 20 million people, Shanghai sits at the heart of one of China's fastest growing economic regions. Pudong plans to handle up to 80 million passengers annually by 2010, when a second terminal is due for completion.

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