Last updated on Mar 7, 2012
Suzhou does not have its own airport. Passengers must travel to neighboring Wuxi’s airport, or Shanghai’s two airports, to take planes.
Sunan Shuofang International Airport
Sunan Shuofang International Airport, originally known as Wuxi International Airport, is the closest airport to Suzhou. It’s located in Shuofang Town of Wuxi High-tech Park, to the northwest of Suzhou City. The airport is 10 kilometers away from Suzhou High-tech Park and 22 kilometers from Suzhou Ancient City. It’s also 1.3 kilometers from the Wuxi New Town Station of Shanghai-Nanjing High-speed Railway and half a kilometer from Shanghai-Nanjing Expressway.
The airport was established by the air force and Wuxi City in the 1980s, but was mostly used for cargo transportation. Domestic flights were suspended in 2002 and by 2004 the airport formally started operating civil flights. Its runway is 3.2 kilometers long and 50 meters wide.
From that time until today the airport has developed rapidly. In its first year the passenger throughput reached 320,000 people. After introducing six airlines, including Shenzhen Airline and China Eastern Airline, flight routes from the airport has covered all the important domestic cities, including two regional routes to Hong Kong and Macau.
On September 28, 2007, a modern terminal building boasting improved environment, advanced facilities and highly integrated information systems came into use. Today the annual passenger throughput has reached 3 million people, while 100,000 tons of cargo and post are handled. The airport apron can hold 15 airplanes and the terminal building covers 42,000 square meters. In 2007, the passenger throughput reached 1.36 million people, and in 2009 it reached 2.3 million.
On November 20, 2010, Sunan International Airport Group Corporation was cofounded by Jiangsu Province, Wuxi City and Suzhou City. Meanwhile, the Suzhou Terminal of the airport was opened. Recently, the airport has opened international routes to Tokyo, Osaka and Bangkok.
According to State Council plans, Sunan Shuofang International Airport is positioned as a regional air traffic hub together with Nanjing Lukou International Airport and Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, and is foreseen to become the second largest airport in Jiangsu Province.
The Expansion Project
The current terminal building of Sunan Shuofang International Airport, which was put into use in September 2007, is designed for an annual passenger throughput of 3 million people. From this January to September, the airport has transported passengers of 2.15 million people and 47,500 tons of cargos, an annual increase of 12.9% and 17.2% respectively.
Since it is expected that the annual passenger throughput will reach the maximum 3 million people by the end of this year, the second period of the Sunan Shuofang International Airport expansion and reconstruction project has been launched in September 2011. After the expansion, the airport will be able to handle 10 million passengers annually, and the annual cargo throughput will reach 300,000 tons. The project is expected to be completed and put into use in the first half of 2013.
The expansion project is situated at the north of the current terminal building, so the daily operation of the airport will not be affected by the construction.
The expansion and reconstruction project of Sunan Shuofang International Airport comprises an investment of about 1 billion yuan, and the expansion area will reach 63,400 square meters, most of which will be used for domestic arrivals and departures. On the other side, the current terminal building will be partly reconstructed after the expansion is completed, involving about 3,600 square meters, and most of them will be used for international flights.
After the project, the total area of the terminal building will reach over 100,000 square meters, and 10 extra boarding bridges and more than 30,000 square meters of roads and parking squares will be added. The new terminal building will look like a blooming lotus in appearance, and the old and new buildings will be combined well.
Two years later, when the expansion is completed, Sunan Shuofang International Airport will have a scale of regional air hub and become more functional in promoting the economic and social development of the Yangtze Delta.
Sunan Shuofang Airport Shuttle Bus
The Suzhou Terminal of Sunan Shuofang International Airport is located on 100 Daoqian Street, west of the Suzhou Conference Center. Shuttle buses make six roundtrips between the terminal and the airport per day.
From Suzhou Terminal to Sunan Shuofang International Airport: 6am, 8:40am, 9:30am, 12:40pm, 2:30pm, 5:30pm.
From Sunan Shuofang International Airport to Suzhou Terminal: 10:30am, 11:30am, 2:30pm, 5:10pm, 8:20pm, 9:30pm.
Ticket: 30 yuan
When you reach the airport by the shuttle bus, airport staff will guide you to the luggage check-in.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Pudong airport is the newer and bigger of Shanghai’s two airports, and it predominantly handles international flights. Many people believe that it only handles international flights, while Hongqiao Airport handles domestic flights, but in reality Pudong often handles some domestic flights too.
The best way to check which flights land or take off from the two airports is to view this website: http://www.shanghaiairport.com/en/schedules.jsp. or call 021-96990.
When completed, Pudong Airport had one terminal, but a second terminal opened on March 26, 2008.
N.B. New luggage regulations state that passengers are now only allowed one piece of carry-on luggage. This regulation applies to all airports in China.
Pudong Airport Shuttle Bus
There is no direct shuttle service from Suzhou to Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Passengers can take a shuttle on Suzhou’s Ganjiang Road to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport first and then transfer to another shuttle directly to Pudong airport.
From Hongqiao airport to Pudong airport: 7am, 7:40am, 8:20am, 9am, 9:40am, 10:20am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm.
From Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Suzhou: 10:50am, 11:50am, 12:50pm, 1:50pm, 2:40pm, 3:20pm, 4:10pm, 4:50pm, 5:50pm, 6:50pm.
You can also take Airport No. 5 Bus to Shanghai Railway Station (18 yuan) and return to Suzhou by train.
Ticket: 80 yuan
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
Over recent years, Shanghai Hongqiao Airport has developed into an international airport and transportation hub. It now handles both international and domestic flights daily to Japan, South Korea, China’s Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, as well as many other cities in China.
Apart from flights, the Transportation Hub is also integrated with the metro, trains, taxis and public buses, which link to places both in and out of Shanghai. Already a convenient and comprehensive hub, the airport is foreseen to expand further in the coming years to become a major transportation center in Shanghai.
The hub is segmented into five different buildings, namely Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 for flights, Hongqiao Railway Station, followed by the East Traffic Center and West Traffic Center for buses.
There are information counters and ushers located all around the hub. Most ushers speak simple English. You can enquire relevant information from them before leaving the hub.
Hongqiao Airport Shuttle Bus
From Suzhou to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport: 6:30am, 7am, 7:40am, 8:20am, 9am, 9:40am, 10:20am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm.
From Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to Suzhou: 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 3:50pm, 4:30pm, 5:20pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm.
Ticket: 50 yuan