Did you know that the country’s busiest air route operates between the coastal cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen? Incredibly there are over 100 flights per day shuttling back and forward between Shanghai and Shenzhen. Maybe not so incredible when you compare the train journey time – nearly 12 hours compared to a short 2 hours 30 minutes hop by air! Half of the Top 10 busiest city routes in China start in Shanghai, so Shanghai’s historic place as a gateway to the rest of China still holds true today.
And despite there being a high speed rail option that can deliver you to Beijing in just under 4 and a half hours, with 36 departures during the day, there is still a high frequency air service between Shanghai and Beijing with 100 flights operating every day between these giant cities. With an average flight time of just 2 hours and 25 minutes, you can arrive at Shanghai’s Hongqiao airport at 6am and be in downtown Beijing by 10am.
Shanghai’s travellers are lucky. They have two airports to choose from and, collectively, these airports have seven runways. Between them, Shanghai Pudong Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport handle 1 in every 10 airline seats in China.
Although better known for operating only flights within China, Shanghai Hongqiao does have some flights to destinations outside mainland China, to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau and on key routes to Seoul and Tokyo, although there are no intercontinental routes. Useful for those people who live on the west side of Shanghai, where Hongqiao is located.
However, for those who want to travel further afield, it’s best to head to the east side, to Shanghai Pudong. 92% of Shanghai’s international flights go from there and for the airport itself, just over half of all flights from Shanghai Pudong jet off to countries outside China. This year, travellers can reach 108 different destinations from Shanghai Pudong, 51 of which are intercontinental. The range of places served has grown each year, with fewer than 100 international routes just 3 years ago.
China Eastern of course is Shanghai’s home airline, and across the China Eastern airline family, they operate 42% of all seats flying in and out of both of Shanghai’s airports. Since January 2018, airlines operating to and from Shanghai’s two airports have added the equivalent of nearly 1,900 extra seats every day to their flights from the city’ airports. That’s enough to fill the Shanghai Stadium 12 times over and means travellers in and out of Shanghai have more choice than ever!