Beijing’s new mega-airport opens to the public on Wednesday, welcoming its first passengers after five years of construction.
China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines will take the lead, seeing off flights from Beijing Daxing International Airport at 3:45 pm Wednesday to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport, respectively, according to the State-owned self-service flight app Umetrip.
The two planes will be followed five minutes later by a Chengdu-bound Air China flight.
Qian Yuanyuan, manager of the airport’s operations department, said recently that a China Southern wide-body Airbus A380, a China Eastern long-range Airbus A350-900 and an Air China third-generation Boeing B747-8 would make the airport’s first passenger departures. On Wednesday, the first passengers will arrive in one flight each from China United Airlines, Capital Airlines and Hebei Airlines, she added.
On Tuesday, five empty passenger planes arrived to be prepared for outbound flights. They included two planes from China Eastern and one each from China Southern, Air China and Xiamen Air. They landed at Daxing airport after taking off from Beijing Capital International Airport.
China Southern will have 40 percent of airport slots at Daxing, followed by China Eastern with 30 percent and other airlines sharing the remainder, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
China United Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of China Eastern, will be the first airline to transfer its operations to Daxing from its current headquarters at Beijing Nanyuan Airport. It will operate over 130 daily flights from the new airport, serving a network of 60 routes. On Tuesday, the airline moved an empty plane to Daxing from Nanyuan.
This year, Daxing has undergone extensive tests and trials. The 80 billion-yuan ($11.7 billion) facility, which is 46 kilometers south of downtown Beijing, will serve as an important cog for international passenger transfers and improve the capital city’s standing as a world-level aviation hub.
With seven runways planned, the new airport will ultimately handle more than 100 million passengers a year, matching Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the United States.