Beijing Nanyuan Airport poised to close its doors

By Wang Keju | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-20 07:17
China United Airlines' passengers in the 1990s.[Photo provided to China Daily]

In 2002, the central government halted commercial services at the airport for three years, as it did not allow the military to run such businesses.

Li Peibin, senior manager of China United Airlines' marketing department who has worked at the airport for nearly 15 years, said that with the expected increase in air traffic as Beijing hosted the Olympic Games in 2008, the airline relaunched commercial aviation services in 2005 with a single Boeing 737 leased from Shanghai Airlines, its largest stakeholder at the time.

"With one aircraft in 2005, we only had three routes-Dalian, Liaoning province, Harbin, Heilongjiang province, and Wuxi, Jiangsu province. We handled just six flights a day, but it took us only three years to see passenger trips increase to more than 1.3 million," he said.

To meet the surge in demand for air travel, the airport witnessed large-scale expansions and renovations in 2011 and 2016. The newly constructed terminal, together with the old one, covered a total of 200,000 squares meters and was designed to handle 6 million passenger trips annually, more than twice its former capacity.

The airport, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines, handles 49 aircraft and more than 170 flights a day, covering a network of nearly 60 routes and 80 domestic destinations. Last year, it handled 6.5 million passenger trips.

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