Hongqiao Airport has had $2.2 billion dollars spent on it to make it a fitting gateway for the Expo. It is now also part of an ultramodern travel hub linking metro and high-speed rail.
The first flight from Hongqiao’s new terminal – four times bigger than the cramped old facility – flew earlier this week to Beijing.
Note that Pudong Airport is Shanghai’s main airport for international flights while Hongqiao is used mainly by domestic airlines. Officials expect the vast majority of the Expo’s 70-100 million visitors to come from within China.
Hongqiao, which means rainbow bridge in Chinese, is expected to handle 40 million passengers a year by 2015, three-quarters of whom will use the new, four-level terminal.
AFP reports a direct metro line into the building has also opened, linking the airport to the city by subway for the first time.