Tianjin builds for the future


Centre For Asia Pacific Aviation (SYDNEY) -  Tianjin Binhai International Airport attracts a lower profile than its neighbour, Beijing Capital International Airport, but it is a powerhouse in the making.

Increasing numbers of foreign and domestic investors have been attracted to the city, which offers a lower cost alternative to Beijing and strong growth rates.

For much of the 1990s, Tianjin Airport was widely regarded as the leading freight airport in North China, with its strong transport links to the local port. But investment and development associated with Shanghai Pudong to the south and expansion of activity at Dalian and Shenyang to the north, saw much of Tianjin's momentum shift. After reaching a low point in 2001, freight volumes at the airport have begun to grow again.

Tianjin's resurgence and Beijing's continued rapid development could help the Northern neighbours reclaim some ground lost to Shanghai. The powerful Shanghai Pudong/Hongqiao airport combination in the fast-growing Yangtze River Delta market has soared ahead of Tianjin/Beijing in terms of freight traffic since Pudong Airport opened in 1999.

Beijing-Tianjin vs Shanghai Pudong/Hongqiao Annual Freight Volume (tonnes): 1997 to 2005*

Source: CAAC & Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation * Estimated

Passenger volumes have been much more even of late, with Pudong/Hongqiao closing the gap on Beijing/Tianjin since 2003 and both airport systems handling just under 43 million passengers in 2005 - the equivalent to Europe's fourth busiest passenger airport, Amsterdam Schiphol.

Beijing-Tianjin vs Shanghai Pudong/Hongqiao Annual Passenger Volume: 1997 to 2005*

Source: CAAC & Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation * Estimated

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