Construction of a second airport for Xiamen on the southeastern coast of China has been approved, but with no date for entry into service announced.

To be built in stages, the facility will have an initial designed capacity of 45 million passengers a year, the Xiamen City Development and Reform Commission said. By 2030 there will be two closely spaced parallel runways, each 3.8 km (12,500 ft.) long.

Discussions for another airport at Xiamen began over a decade ago.  Serious planning started in 2011, but eight years have been needed for officials to finally give it a formal go-ahead.

Work on reclaiming land from the sea for the facility has commenced in advance of project approval, however. The airport will be built between the islands of Dadeng and Xiaodeng in the Xiangan district, which is 24 km (15 mi.) east of the current airport, Xiamen Gaoqi International.

One problem with the project that has been discussed is the environmental effect of the reclamation. The 46 sq km (18 sq. mi.) site will include 17 sq km of reclaimed land, said the commission, a municipal planning agency.

Gaoqi International has a designed capacity of 27 million passengers a year and handled 26.6 million in 2018. With just one runway, aligned northeast-southwest, the old airport is hemmed in by buildings on Xiamen Island, the densely developed core of the city. Despite the obviously high value of its site, it will continue to operate after the new one opens.

Compared with Gaoqi International, the airport at Xiangan will be closer to Quanzhou, another coastal city near Xiamen. Both are opposite Taiwan. But the new airport is farther from Zhangzhou, which is inland from Xiamen.

The government of the three cities’ province, Fujian, aims for the airport to promote their integrated development.

Bradley Perrett, perrett@aviationweek.com

Research by Ryan Wang