China’s new Chengdu Tianfu International Airport (TFU) welcomed a first round of test flights, as it prepares for its official opening in the first half of 2021. Six Chinese air carriers brought their aircraft to participate in airport testing. 

Air China Boeing 747-8 aircraft, registered as B-2486 and China Eastern Airlines Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, registered as B-2002, as well as four other Chinese air carriers, namely China Southern Airlines (ZNH), Lucky Air, Sichuan Airlines, and Chengdu Airlines successfully landed on the west TFU runway on January 22, 2021. 

TFU airport plans to build a total of six runways and four terminals, with a capacity to serve approximately 90 million passengers each year. However, the first phase of the project to be put in operation will have three runways and two terminals. The airport is expected to serve 60 million passengers by 2025, according to a statement on the website of the Government of Sichuan Province. 

Chinese air carriers are already planning to increase their operational capacity at Tianfu airport once it officially opens. 

In a statement, Air China said it has invested 6.1 billion yuan ($941 million) to build a base in Tianfu airport. By 2025, Air China expects their capacity in Chengdu to double with more than 150 aircraft being added.

Rival China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA) told Global Times that it is planning to relocate all of Chengdu operations from the current Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) to the soon-to-be-opened Tianfu airport. 

TFU airport is expected to become Southwest China’s major international air hub, as it would mostly focus on international routes. Tianfu being an international hub, would make Chengdu the third Chinese city to have two international airports, after Beijing and Shanghai.