China gives world its big­gest air­port

Business a.m. - - TRAVELLER & HOSPITALIT­Y -

CHI­NESE PRES­I­DENT, XI JIN PING, week­end, presided over the in­au­gu­ra­tion of a sec­ond in­ter­na­tional air­port for Bei­jing with a ter­mi­nal billed as the world’s big­gest.

Bei­jing Dax­ing In­ter­na­tional Air­port, built in less than five years for N5.88 tril­lion (120 bil­lion yuan /$16.8 bil­lion), is de­signed to han­dle 72 mil­lion pas­sen­gers a year.

The air­line’s first com­mer­cial flight, a China South­ern Air­lines plane bound for the south­ern prov­ince of Guang­dong, took off on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, state broad­caster CCTV re­ported. Six more flights took off later for Shang­hai and other des­ti­na­tions.

The Chi­nese cap­i­tal’s main air­port is the world’s sec­ond-busiest af­ter Harts­field­Jack­son At­lanta In­ter­na­tional Air­port and is near­ing ca­pac­ity.

Dax­ing, de­signed by the late IraqiBri­tish ar­chi­tect, Zaha Ha­did, in­cludes a ter­mi­nal billed as the world’s big­gest at one mil­lion square me­tres (11 mil­lion square feet).

De­spite that, its builders said trav­ellers would need to walk no more than 600 me­tres (2,000ft) to reach any board­ing gate.

The vast, star-shaped air­port is 30 miles south of down­town Bei­jing. It has four run­ways, with plans for as many as three more.

Both for­eign and do­mes­tic car­ri­ers have plans to move their op­er­a­tions to the new air­port, and British Air­ways, Cathay Pa­cific and Fin­nair have al­ready an­nounced new routes to tap into the po­ten­tial of the mod­ern avi­a­tion hub.

The SkyTeam al­liance, which in­cludes Delta, Air France and Dutch air­line KLM, was also ex­pected to move there, along with lo­cal part­ners East­ern Air­lines and China South­ern Air­lines.

But when con­tacted last week, Delta and Air France said the de­ci­sion on whether to move to the air­port had not yet been made.

The third-largest Chi­nese air­line, Air China, is ex­pected to keep fly­ing the bulk of its flights from Bei­jing Cap­i­tal In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Avi­a­tion an­a­lyst, John Strick­land, said: “Switch­ing air­ports can be a com­plex de­ci­sion for air­lines.

“Air­lines would pre­fer to see a new air­port open and over­come teething prob­lems be­fore mov­ing ser­vices from an­other tried and tested air­port.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.