Passengers wait in lines at the airlines' check-in counters at the T2 terminal of Hongqiao International Airport during the annual Spring Festival travel peak on February 9. (Yang Jian/SHINE)
Shanghai's two airports are receiving the largest number of passengers in a year from this weekend during the Spring Festival travel peak.
The peak period for outbound passengers started yesterday and is expected to last till the Chinese New Year eve on Thursday, the Shanghai Airport Authority said. The other peak period for inbound passengers will start from February 18, or the third day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, the authority said.
Passengers are suggested to spare longer hours to check in and get through security checks during the periods.
Hongqiao International Airport handles an average of 111,500 passengers everyday with over 700 inbound and outbound flights, said Wang Jintao, a manager on-duty at the airport.
"The coming week will become the busiest period for the airport in the year," Wang said.
To cope with the large number of passengers, the Hongqiao airport has opened a total of 100 self-service check-in machines at both terminals of the airport. China Eastern, Shanghai Airlines and Juneyao Airlines have opened counters for passengers to check in luggage themselves.
With no need for traditional boarding cards, passengers on domestic flights with Air China, China Eastern, Shanghai Airlines, China Southern, Shandong Airlines, Spring Airlines and Juneyao Airlines can be security checked via the QR code sent by their airline along with their valid credentials.
During the travel peak, seniors, pregnant women and people with disabilities can call for free shuttle service at the terminal buildings. Electric vehicles will take them to the boarding gates.
Passengers can also rent a "translation machine" free at the service center of both terminals at the Hongqiao airport. The portable machine can translate over a dozen of foreign languages into Mandarin.
The Spring Festival travel peak, or chunyun in Chinese, is often referred to as the world's largest migration as the migrant population returns home for the traditional family reunion for the Spring Festival which falls on February 16 this year.
Hongqiao is expected to handle 4.4 million passengers during the Spring Festival travel period. The Pudong and Hongqiao airports are expected to handle 12.6 million passengers on both domestic and international flights during the travel peak that began on February 1 and will last until March 12, the airport authority said.