Airports set for summer travel rush
Shanghai's two airports are getting ready for the summer travel peak by offering faster boarding procedures, a green channel for children and upgraded commercial facilities along with garbage-sorting promotion.
The Pudong and Hongqiao airports are expected to handle a total of 21.4 million travelers, a 4 percent increase from last year, during the annual peak period in July and August, when many students and their families travel for summer vacations, the Shanghai Airport Authority said.
Over 130,000 flights will take off and land at the airports during the travel rush period as airlines increase their capacity to cap rising demand. China Eastern, for instance, has opened a new direct flight from Pudong to Budapest, Hungary, while Juneyao Airlines has a new route from Pudong to Helsinki, Finland.
Local carriers have also increased the frequency of domestic flights to popular domestic summer destinations such as Urumqi, Chengdu, Kunming, Xi'an and Sanya.
On peak days, the Pudong airport alone will receive 240,000 passengers daily.
More rainstorms and typhoons are also expected during the peak period as it coincides with Shanghai's flood season, so flight delays and cancellations will hit both airports more frequently, according to the airport authority.
Both airports have streamlined their boarding, check-in and security check procedures, featuring more self-service and paperless boarding. With facial recognition and self-service luggage check-in machines, the boarding process can be shortened by 20 percent.
Eight self-service check-in channels have been launched at the T1 terminal at the Pudong airport. Passengers with China Eastern can drop off their luggage at the self-service machines and finish check-in within a minute, said Hu Hongqing, an airport official.
"The self-service section on the northernmost of the terminal where staff with China Eastern will offer guidance can largely reduce the waiting time, especially during peak hours on the summer travel rush," Hu said.
Peak hours for international flights at the Pudong airport are from 9:30am to 12:30pm and 3pm to 9:30pm at T1, and 6:30am to 8:30am, 1pm to 3:30pm and 9pm to 11pm, the airport authority said.
At Hongqiao airport, Chinese passengers can now finish check-in, security check and boarding only with their identity card as part of efforts to promote paperless check-in that reduce waiting times and cut costs.
Overseas travelers can finish the procedure with both their passport and QR code on their mobile phone after online check-in, said Jiang Hao, a security official at Hongqiao airport.
"Passengers are expected to check in and board only with facial recognition in the future, which can already be realized technically now," Jiang said. The airport authority will begin research on the technology by the end of the year, he added.
Due to an increasing number of children, four Child Priority security check channels have been opened at both terminals at Pudong. Children under 1.3 meters tall can go through the quick channel with two parents. Airport and airline staff can also help children between 5 and 12 years old to travel alone.
Passengers can also shop at a new duty-free store for those arriving at the Pudong airport. The store at the T1 building features 32 perfume and cosmetic brands, 26 boutique brands, 161 cigarette and wine brands and 17 food brands.
Duty-free merchandise also includes skin-care products, sunglasses, leather goods and electronic products.
Previously, passengers sometimes had to wait for half an hour at the smaller duty-free store after arriving at Pudong, said Zhao Anqi, a commercial manager at the airport.
Ten bilingual screens have been erected across Pudong airport to guide passengers to the 400 commercial facilities and restaurants.
The city's two airports have also reduced the number of trash bins by a third and replaced the rest with sorted bins to implement the first domestic garbage management regulations which took effect on Monday.
The terminals at Pudong and Hongqiao airports handle about 300,000 passengers a day and generate over 120 tons of garbage.
The number of trash bins at the airports have been reduced by 31 percent to 1,857. Garbage collection sites have also been cut by 36 percent to 83, the airport authority said.
The remaining sorted trash bins have been placed around eateries and areas with large crowds. Multilingual notices have been posted to guide passengers from both home and abroad to dump garbage into the correct bins.
Additional art and cultural exhibitions have been placed at both airports to help calm anxious passengers during travel rushes and flight delays.
A piano at the T2 terminal of Hongqiao airport can play soothing music automatically along with a light show. Close to the boarding gate, a new art space has opened which features miniature furniture and olive core sculptures along with other Chinese heritage skills. Music festivals and other performances will also be staged at terminals at both airports during the summer peak period.
For the approaching flood weather, both airports have prepared a total of 34 dredging and cleaning machines to ensure sewage ditches remain clear. They have cleaned up 15,600 cubic meters of sludge ahead of the rainy season, the authority noted.
Pumps and other flood-prevention measures have been readied at the aircraft maintenance fields and taxi-parking areas at both airports.
Rooftop facilities, hanging signs, glass curtain walls and advertisement boards have been stabilized.
Passengers are advised to check with the airlines in the event of bad weather before making their trip to the airport, the authority said.