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Capital int'l airport seeks expansion
By Li Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-03 05:48

Beijing Capital International Airport may have a state-of-the-art new terminal set to open in 2007, but that does not help it deal with increasing passenger numbers today.

That is why 2 billion yuan (US$247 million) is being spent on expanding existing facilities.

Airport authorities are finding ways for the current two terminals to handle more passengers, and working to unstop the transport bottleneck between the airport and central Beijing.

Zhu Jingyuan, deputy commander-in-chief of the airport expansion project, says that when the main body of the new terminal begins operation in 2007, a year ahead of the Beijing Olympics, the airport will be able to handle up to 70 million passengers each year 10 million more than the entire population of Britain.

This year the existing two terminals are expected to process more than 40 million passengers, already 5 million more than they were designed for.

At peak periods, such as during the National Day holiday, when a fully loaded passenger jet lands or takes off at the airport every minute, the strain begins to show.

Capacity boosting measures are expected to cost 2 billion yuan (US$247 million) and will be finished by the end of this year, according to Huang Gang, deputy manager of the Capital International Airport Co Ltd.

Expansion will give the airport a capacity of 45 million passengers each year, allowing 1,200 airplanes to take off and land every day, Huang said.

At present, the airport has a maximum capacity of 1,000 planes per day.

Fourteen boarding gates will be added to Terminal Two: eight for domestic flights and six for international routes.

Out on the tarmac, 57 new parking aprons will be added by December, of which 21 will be for private and business planes.

In addition to improvements to the airport itself, a new highway connecting the cargo highway of the airport with the eastern part of the Sixth Ring Road, is also being built.

The four-lane road will be open to cargo trucks and private cars.

Huang is confident the expansion will allow the airport to meet drastically increased demand up to 2007, when the third terminal is to be put into operation.

Zhu Jingyuan said the new Terminal Three, with a budget of 25 billion yuan (US$3 billion), received its roof late last month.

A new runway and an assistant short strip are also to be built, Zhu was quoted by local media as saying.

A second expressway from Tongzhou District in southeastern Beijing to the airport is also part of the plans, Zhu added.

(China Daily 11/03/2005 page3)

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