New capital airport cleared for takeoff
Updated: 2013-01-14 01:01
By WANG XIAODONG (China Daily)
Beijing's new airport will greatly ease the burden on the current airport, but civilian and military use must be coordinated to ensure smooth operations, experts have said.
Approval of the airport, to be located in the south of the capital, was announced on Sunday.
"The rapidly increasing number of passengers has forced the airport in Beijing to run at near-full capacity," said Liu Weimin, a professor of Civilian Aviation Management Institute of China. "A second airport is needed to divert passenger flow."
Beijing Capital International Airport has been ranked as the world's second-busiest airport for three consecutive years.
It handled 81.8 million passenger trips last year, a 4.2 percent increase from the previous year, second only to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the United States.
Shanghai's two airports handled more than 78 million passenger trips in 2012.
"The plan for a new airport has been approved by the State Council," Beijing airport spokesman Li Shengbo said on Sunday.
He declined to give further details, such as when construction will start and what the new airport will look like, as "this is still under discussion".
Zhong Ning, a spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Administration of China, declined to comment on Sunday.
According to CAAC News, a newspaper affiliated with the aviation administration, large-scale construction will commence next year, and the airport is scheduled to open before the end of 2018.
The airport will be located near the border between Beijing's southern suburban Daxing district and Hebei province.
It will cost at least 70 billion yuan ($11.2 billion) and have six runways for civil use and one for military use, CAAC News reported, quoting Zhu Wenxin, who works in the office in charge of construction.
The airport will be able to handle 70 million passenger trips annually by 2025, Zhu was quoted as saying.