Beijing authorities approve plans for second airport

11 Jan 2011

Beijing authorities have confirmed that a second airport will be built within the next five years to accommodate rising passenger traffic and relieve the pressure on Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA).

Plans and rumours of a second airport had been circulating for a while and were only recently approved by the central government as part of the nation's 12th Five Year Plan, which will expand Beijing's infrastructure and turn the capital into an international hub.

The new airport will be located in Daxing district and is scheduled to be completely operational by 2015, said Dr Liu Yinchun, deputy director of Beijing municipal development and reform commission.

BCIA is currently the second busiest airport in the world. The airport handled 70 million passengers last year, which is close to the airport’s maximum capacity of approximately 76 million passengers per year.

Passenger traffic is only set to grow further. The Hong Kong Ideas Centre, an economic think-tank, recently found that air traffic is poised to grow by 7 percent in Asia Pacific and by an astonishing 11 percent per year in Mainland China alone reflecting the urgency for an expansion of capacity.

The last time Beijing upped passenger capacity at BCIA was before the 2008 Olympics, when the capital city unveiled a new state of the art third terminal.

Alisha Haridasani

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