1995 (first opened), improvements started in 2005
Airport improvement / expansion
Hubei Province, Wuhan City, China
T2: 2008 and T3: 2017
Wuhan Tianhe International Airport Co, Provincial Government, CAAC
Lead Contractors, Designers, Architects and Engineers
Provincial Government, CAAC, Morgan Stanley Investment Bank
24.5 million (2018)
Wuhan Tianhe International Airport was opened in April 1995. The airport, which is situated 26km north of Wuhan City, serves the Hubei Province. It is the busiest airport in central China.
The airport handled 24.5 million passengers during 2018 and is the country’s fourth hub after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
It has two terminals, namely Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. The airport is served by two concrete paved runways. Terminal 2 is currently being renovated and will be reopened when Terminal 3 exceeds its passenger handling capacity.
The public airport is operated by Wuhan Tianhe International Airport Co., which is responsible to the provincial assembly and the national government. The airport offers flights to at least 120 domestic and international destinations.
Wuhan Tianhe International Airport was temporarily closed for the majority of air traffic following an outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus in January 2020.
Wuhan Tianhe International Airport developments
CAAC put forward policies to support the development of Wuhan airport as a new aviation hub in Central China.
The major developments at the airport included the construction of the second and third terminals as well as a new control tower and a second runway to accommodate the new A380 superjumbo and increasing passenger figures.
The construction began on the second terminal in February 2005 and the terminal was opened in April 2008. It has 64 aircraft parking bays ensuring 122,000 aircraft movements a year.
The facility can handle 7,500 passengers an hour during peak periods. The terminal has a design capacity of 13 million passengers a year. It also has an additional cargo capacity of 320,000t a year.
The expansion project also included a 38,000m² car park, a 250,000m² apron and a 20,000m² cargo warehouse.
The construction on Terminal 3 began in June 2013 and the terminal was opened to the passengers in August 2017.
The expanded airport became an integrated transportation hub with a high-speed passenger rail link and subway system connected to the airport.
Wuhan Tianhe Airport Terminal 3 details
Terminal 3 has an innovative design that resembles a wing structure. Its curved ceiling represents curling planes, mimicking the blades of a jet engine.
The four-story terminal handles both domestic and international flights. It also serves flights to the special administrative regions of Macau and Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The facility has the capacity to handle 35 million passengers a year.
The first level of the terminal features a passenger distribution centre, while the second level accommodates domestic and international arrivals halls and a baggage claim area. The domestic and international departures halls are located in the third and fourth levels respectively.
Wuhan airport T2 design and features
The T2 building was based on the competition-winning design of CPG Consultants, and consists of three primary levels with level 1 for arrival and level 2 for departure with an elevated roadway to serve level 2.
The main terminal building frontage features a large cantilever canopy that provides both arrival and departure halls with 300m of double kerbside parking area one above the other. The roof is a tied-arch system with three main arches, each around 45m apart. Each intermediate arch is tilted towards the kerbside to serve as a seismic design.
There are 20 contact stands with passenger aero-bridges and four remote stands to accommodate commercial aircraft of code C, D and E types (ICAO designation). There are two pier concourses that extend beyond the terminal building to provide boarding for up to 13 million passengers a year.
The main check-in hall is outfitted with 80 counters, each having a direct feed to the baggage conveyor system. There are 18 positions for a central passenger security screening system and ten luggage claim carousels. Over 12% of the floor area has been given over to retail concessions (shops, restaurants and bars).
Other facilities at Wuhan Tianhe Airport include two commercially important persons (CIP) lounges, several private airline lounges and an arrivals lounge and business centres.
CPG Consultants provided a range of services for the project including master planning, architectural design, mechanical and electrical engineering, civil and structural engineering, quantity surveying and project management.
Financing for Wuhan Wuhan Tianhe International Airport expansion
The CAAC provided ¥150m ($18.8m) in funds to upgrade the security infrastructure at Wuhan airport and also other airports in Hubei province.
In addition, CAAC funded ¥50m ($6.3m) to transform Wuhan into an alternative destination for the A380.