Beijing plans second int'l airport
( 2003-09-11 07:11) (China Daily)
Beijing is expected to start building a second international airport in 2010.
Chen Guoxing, chief of the Beijing Capital Airport Expansion Project Headquarters, revealed the plans for the new airport Wednesday, after widespread media speculation about the issue.
The authorities have just approved a huge plan to build another international airport for the capital," he told China Daily. "But the location and design scheme of the project have yet to be decided."
Beijing's current airport will undergo massive expansion to ready itself for the extra demand created by the 2008 Olympic Games, Chen said.
But he said Beijing has been ruled out as a venue for the new airport, as the capital has mountains to its west and north, and no suitable space for such a mammoth project elsewhere in the city.
Designers will probably locate an ideal site in neighbouring Hebei Province, Chen said.
Companies worldwide will be invited to tender for the design of the new airport, and construction will be completed by 2015, Chen said.
New passenger terminal
In a related development, Chen said at a press conference that Beijing plans to spend 16.7 billion yuan (US$2 billion) to add another terminal to the current airport.
The Capital International Airport, operational since 1959, has come under mounting pressure from surging air traffic demand in recent years. The number of passengers has increased by 3 million annually, Chen said.
The current airport was expanded twice late last century. The second passenger terminal (Terminal 2) was finished in 1999, when the first terminal was shut down for refurbishment, according to airport sources.
Last year, the busiest and biggest airport in China handled 27.5 million passengers, 880,000 tons of cargo and mail, and registered 240,000 departures and arrivals.
Terminal 2 is expected to meet its designed capacity of handling 35 million passengers by 2005, Chen said.
However, in the month when the 2008 Olympic Games is held in China, the peak traffic volume is projected to hit 5.56 million passengers, almost reaching the monthly total anticipated for 2015, he said.
The airport authorities Wednesday began a week-long exhibition at Terminal 2, showcasing seven design proposals for a new, 350,000-square-metre terminal (Terminal 3), a runway and related facilities. They have invited passengers to vote for their preferred schemes.
According to an initial plan, the new terminal will be used by Air China -- China's flagship carrier -- as well as Hong Kong, Macao and foreign airlines, according to Chen.
Terminal 1, which is being redecorated, will be used for domestic air companies flying domestic air routes when it resumes operation next October. In the meantime, terminal 2 will be used by Chinese air carriers flying both domestic and overseas routes, he said.
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