Speculation has been rife recently about the possible location of Shanghai's third airport, and the latest candidate is Nantong, a city in Jiangsu province and about 120 km north of Shanghai, according to Shanghai Securities Times.
Shanghai's third airport, taking up an area of 20 square kilometers and with a designed capacity of 50 million passenger trips per year, will be reportedly located in Haimen in Nantong, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Thursday, citing sources from a meeting of the local chamber of commerce held during the Spring Festival.
The report said that the airport will take the responsibility of facilitating the integration of the Yangtze River Delta region, which is one of Shanghai's key tasks for this year.
However, only a few hours later, Chinese financial news app Wall-streetcn said a source from the East China branch of the Civil Aviation Administration of China denied that a final decision had been made yet, and the CAAC will choose from options including Haimen, Suzhou in Jiangsu province, as well as Chongming and Fengxian in Shanghai and others.
"Shanghai's existing two airports have been saturated in recent years, and the closer connection across the Yangtze River Delta region requires a new airport to support the region's further integration and development," said Zuo Xuejin, a researcher from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
Shanghai's Pudong International Airport and Hongqiao International Airport received 117.7 million passenger trips throughout 2018, up 5.2 percent year-on-year; and handled 4.17 million metric tons of cargo.
The new airport would help Shanghai reach its goal of 180 million passenger trips and 6.5 million tons of cargo volume by 2035.
"In addition to its existing capacity, Shanghai is in need of another international airport that is equivalent to one-and-a-half times the size of Hongqiao airport, and a large general aviation airport," Jiang Huaiyu, director of the East China branch of the CAAC, said at a meeting last May.
An important task for the integration of the Yangtze River Delta region's civil aviation integration and development is to build an aviation hub across the city cluster with Shanghai as the centerpiece, said Jiang.
Over the past few years, there has been discussions of different destinations for Shanghai's third airport, including Nantong, Jiaxing in Zhejiang province and Kunshan in Jiangsu province.
"All the three locations have strengths and drawbacks. It is not a simple yes or no," said Jin.
"Taking the two options in Jiangsu province for example, Nantong, which is located north of the Yangtze River, has a shortage of aviation facilities. If the new airport is located in Nantong, it will be positive for the less developed northern and central areas of Jiangsu province," Jiang said.
But for economic and practical concerns, Kunshan in Suzhou, which is situated in the south of Jiangsu province, is a better choice as it is an economic engine of Jiangsu province, and an airport would be able to cushion the passenger and cargo pressure of this area, he said.