COMAC Scaling Up In Shanghai; Chinese Airport Building Forges On

Credit: COMAC / Xinhuanet

China is in the process of developing new facilities for COMAC in Shanghai, laying the foundations for the state-owned airframer to one day take on the global powerhouses.

This comes as Beijing continues to approve new airport expansion projects, including at Bengbu, Nanning and Tianjin.

A list of 2021 infrastructure projects newly released by Shanghai’s city council includes the construction of a COMAC flight test center, a COMAC manufacturing and assembly center, a C929 widebody research and development center as well as an AVIC aircraft engine facility construction project. 

COMAC’s C919 is entering its certification phase. A prototype will head to Canada in March to conduct certification flight tests involving natural icing conditions. Production is planned to begin by the end of the year. The Chinese OEM will also be responsible for delivering the fuselage for the Sino-Russo CRAIC C929 widebody aircraft.

Also entering the preparation phase is the Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG) phase 4 expansion project and its supporting facilities. Most of phase 4 will revolve around the construction of transportation infrastructure to better connect the airport with the city and sea port. PVG opened the world’s largest satellite terminal and its fourth runway in 2019 under phase 3. 

China has been relentless in forging ahead with its airport development projects, all within its five-year plans. Most recently, the Anhui provincial government announced that the new 12,000 m² (129,000 ft.²) Bengbu Airport terminal will begin construction in 2021 with completion targeted for 2024. The aim is to have annual passenger volume of 950,000 by 2030. 

Tianjin (TSN) and Nanning (NNG) airports were also given the greenlight to go ahead with respective expansion programs. TSN’s Phase 3 will consists of a new 400,000 m² terminal and runway extension in a bid to make TSN a key node in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei airport cluster. TSN envisages eventually reaching passenger volume of 55 million and 1 million tonnes of cargo throughout annually.  

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.