It’s been hailed as an architectural masterstroke and symbol of China’s explosion onto the world stage of global travel.
But Shenzhen International Airport’s brand-new terminal has a problem: nobody seems to want to go there.
The £612million ($1 billion) travel hub opened at 6am yesterday with much fanfare as a Shenzhen Airlines flight took off to next-door Mongolia.
Smiling staff handed out commemorative model planes to passengers on the flight as dozens of golf carts circulated the lounge to give free rides for anyone in need.
But despite claims on its website that tourists can be spirited away to far-flung locations including Sydney, Dubai and Cologne, no airlines actually appear to offer services to or from any of these cities, The Independent reported.
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In reality, flights only seem to go to regional destinations such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
The only US destination is Anchorage in Alaska – and those flights are all cargo deliveries by UPS and Federal Express – while there is only one direct flight to Europe from Chongqing, and that’s Finnair’s service to Helsinki.
Unlike the largest Chinese cities, Shenzhen does not allow a visa-free stopover.