BEIJING -- Beijing's Capital International Airport (BCIA) successfully tested the simultaneous use of three runways on Tuesday, in the first such operation in Asian aviation history.
The arrival and departure capacity would increase from 80 flights to 105 to 115 flights per hour when the third terminal goes into operation in February next year, said BCIA controlling office director Yang Fei.
The third runway, to be used at the end of October, would provide solid support for air transport during the Beijing Olympic Games.
Simultaneous use of three runways is a challenging operation and only a few airports in the United States and Europe could manage it, said Duan Shili, an official with China's General Administration of Civil Aviation.
To prepare for the Olympics, the airport has been expanding since March 2004.
The enlarged airport will be able to accommodate 60 million passengers and handle 1.8 million tons of cargo each year.
The expansion project includes the construction of a third runway, a new terminal building covering 420,000 square meters, 100 new aprons, a cargo zone and auxiliary facilities.
The airport presently has two runways and two terminals with a combined capacity to handle 35 million passengers a year.
Official forecasts show the peak monthly passenger arrival at the airport will hit 5.56 million during the Olympics, which is equivalent to the normal transport volume predicted for 2015.