Shanghai Airport City Terminal

pass-by asked about the Shanghai Airport City Terminal. Your guess about what the terminal is “supposed” to use is right, but it does not works that way.

The Terminal

Besides Hongqiao and Pudong airport, the Shanghai Airport Authority built an Airport City Terminal near Jing An Temple. The tall building was designed to allow passengers to check-in baggage in the downtown, and go to airport without large luggage.

It was not Fully Used

The terminal started operation on Sept 9, 2002. Three years past, only one airline moved into the terminal – Shanghai Airlines. All the other airlines have started move yet. The recent news said the China Eastern Airlines have plan to move into the terminal building within 5 years. What 5 Years? They said they are consider to move in before 2010. Other airlines still don’t issued any announcement of any plans yet. Now only 2 out of the 18 counters of the terminal were used, by Shanghai Airlines.


If you look at what you need to do with the only airline – Shanghai Airlines, and you will know the reason why this terminal is not popular.

1. Passengers need to check-in 2 and half hours before departure time. That is 2 hours more than required in Pudong Airport. 2 Hours are long enough to get to Pudong airport using the slowest transportation – bus.

2. Passengers have to double check-in their package at gate 44 in Pudong Airport, 40 minutes before departure.

This is ridiculous. It seems the only service the City Terminal provides is to help you to move your luggage from the terminal to the airport, and you still need to get the baggage at the airport again.

3. Only flight after 11:30 AM can be checked-in in the Terminal Building.

4. Only flight at Pudong Airport is served. Most of flight of Shanghai Airlines is domestic and depart at Hongqiao. No wonder there is only 4 passenger per day used the terminal, according to a local newspaper.

5. Transportation to the Pudong Airport by your own. Since there is no train directly connect the City Terminal and the Pudong Airport, passengers need to use the Metro Line #2 and transit to the Maglev at Long Yang Road Station. About one hour is needed. Passengers can also take Pudong Airport Shuttle Bus #2 (there is a stop right at the City Terminal).

Do Not Recommend to Use it

So my conclusion is, don’t use the terminal (even if you take Shanghai Airlines flight), and directly go to Pudong Airport – unless your luggage is big enough that you can not even take with a taxi (chances are, they cannot be taken by aircraft).

Hope the City Keeps Learning

This is an example of huge investment (300 million RMB) and little (or zero) return. Since many things are the first in the country, including this terminal building, there are a lot to learn. I hope with more and more 1st mover project going on, Shanghai doesn’t make too much mistakes like this.

P.S. Of cause, it needs time for the City Terminal to be fully unitlized, and for the city to learn… Just be patient.

8 thoughts on “Shanghai Airport City Terminal

  1. I have been to that “city terminal” near Jingan Temple. I feel it is not convinent to passengers. I learnd from news report that Guangzhou New Baiyun Airport have established

    city terminals in Panyu and Xintang, new star-citis of Guanzhou City. It was said those city terminals are popular as two transit spot, passengers can get on bus at any time to the new airport.

  2. It looks like a painful lesson now, but may turn out to be another sucess story for MBA students in 2-3 years. Who knows?

  3. The first mover carries the risk of the experiment, but then there is nothing new under the sun. Can’t Shanghai just learn from the established city like Hong Kong, in this case, the HK city terminal is a success story.

  4. Hi JS,

    Thanks for the update on the terminal. You are always so prompt in replying your reader’s questions and with more details than expected. Xie Xie to you!

    Although Shanghai is considered a modern and advanced city as compared to its counterparts but there is still so much room for improvement. Looking forward, I am glad to be here to witness on how Shanghai continues to evolve into a even better city. Good night, everyone!

  5. Wang Xian Sheng NiHao!

    I would like to ask you How to leave luggage in SH city.Do luggage deposite office safe enougn for leave luggage for 3-4 hrs during I stroll in SH city . How can I select which office is good and safe? and how much does it cost ?

    Xie Xie

  6. Do you know where I can store my luggage while spending some time in the Luwan district, Shanghai before going to Pudong airport? Thanks.

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