Beijing’s new mega-airport commences first commercial flights this weekend

Sep 19, 2019

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The brand new Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) will welcome its first commercial flights this Sunday 22 September with a double daily service by China Southern to its hub in Guangzhou (CAN).

The Zaha Hadid-designed airport has four runways and plans to handle 72 million passengers each year by 2025, which would make it one of the world’s busiest airports.

Beijing’s existing Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) will remain operational. Last year, it saw 100 million passengers pass through its terminals, which according to CNN made it the second-busiest by passenger numbers after Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Most airlines will chose to operate to either PKX or PEK, though some airlines intend to use both.

So why the need for such an enormous second airport? Beijing Capital is almost at capacity, which limits growth in such a booming travel market. The designers of Beijing Daxing have chosen a ‘starfish’ design and promise that no passengers will have to walk more than 650 yards from security to gate, unlike the mammoth new Istanbul Airpot (IST), which has some of the longest distances between gates of any airport in the world. PKX will become a major SkyTeam hub, as it’ll be home to SkyTeam members such as Air France, KLM and Delta as well as local carrier China Eastern. Although China Southern will leave the SkyTeam alliance at the end of this year, it is expected to eventually move all operations from PEK to PKX, as well as operating the first flight from the airport this week.

Remaining at PEK Airport will be local Star Alliance member Air China, though it has been given some slots at PKX as well. British Airways will move operations of its daily BA38/BA39 flight from Beijing Capital to Beijing Daxing from 27 October.

Featured image by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

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