Beijing airport second busiest in the world

14:45, December 10, 2010      

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On Dec. 9, 2010, Beijing Capital International Airport welcomed the 70 million passengers, becoming the world's second busiest airport.

In terms of seat capacity, Beijing International is now second only to Atlanta Hartsfield in the United States, according to a report by aviation analyst OAG. Its business has been boosted by a sharp growth in the number of passenger seats to Asia, a growth of 9 percent, which is equal to some 15.3 million more seats flying to or from the region.

OAG reported in July this year that scheduled airline seat capacity within and to and from the Asia-Pacific region saw the highest growth this month and year to date. The number of seats within the region scheduled for July increased by 10 percent, or 8.5 million, bringing the total to 93.5 million. Seat capacity to and from increased by 9 percent, or an additional 1.2 million, to a total of 15.3 million seats.

According to Zhang Guanghui, general manager of Beijing Capital International Airport Co., Ltd., over the past five years, the airport has always maintained rapid growth. In 2007, passenger throughput exceeded 50 million people. In 2009, the number exceeded 60 million and ranks among the world's top three airports. Only after less than a year, on Dec. 9 this year, the number rose to 70 million people, ranking second worldwide.

Currently, the airport has the most extensive coverage of China's domestic route network and an increasingly powerful network of international routes.

To meet the ever-growing demand of passengers, the airport has carried out large-scale expansion and reconstruction projects for seven times altogether since 1965. On Jan. 1, 1980, Terminal 1, with an area of 61,580 square meters was formally put into operation. On Nov. 1, 1999, Terminal 2, with an area of 336,000 square meters, was put into use.

The construction of the Terminal 3 started on March 28, 2004, and after three years and nine months of hard work, the airport completed the construction of the world's largest integrated terminal with high quality and fast "Chinese speed."

Soon after during the two-month trial run, it organized six large-scale drills involving nearly 60,000 participants and finally the successful take-over and smooth operation of Terminal 3 was realized, which has been highly praised by the professionals from all over the world. Since then, the hardware of the airport has been effectively expanded, and it was the first airport in Asian and Pacific regions to have three terminals, three runways and two towers operating simultaneously.

The growth in the Asia-Pacific region is symbolized by significant changes in the ranking of the world's largest airports. Beijing International Airport has moved up in the worldwide ranking from third to second largest airport, surpassing London Heathrow Airport. Atlanta Hartsfield International remains the largest airport in terms of both seat capacity and flight frequency.

Travel to, from and within China continues to show strong growth, with Guangzhou and Shanghai airports now in the top 20 along with Beijing.

By People's Daily Online


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