Beijing Capital International Airport

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Beijing Airport
Beijing Airport

Beijing Capital International Airport (IATA: PEK, ICAO: ZBAA) is the main international airport serving Beijing, China. It is located 32 km (20 mi) northeast of Beijing's city center, in an enclave of Chaoyang District and the surroundings of that enclave in suburban Shunyi District.The airport is owned and operated by the Beijing Capital International Airport Company Limited, a state-controlled company. The airport's IATA Airport Code, PEK, is based on the city's former romanized name, Peking.

Beijing Capital has rapidly ascended in rankings of the world's busiest airports in the past decade. It had become the busiest airport in Asia in terms of passenger traffic and total traffic movements by 2009. Beijing Capital International Airport is currently the second busiest airport in the world (as of 2011) in terms of passenger throughput behind Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The airport registered 517,584 aircraft movements (take-offs and landings), which ranked 8th in the world in 2010. In terms of cargo traffic, Beijing airport has also witnessed rapid growth. By 2009, the airport had become the 14th busiest airport in the world by cargo traffic, registering 1,420,997 tonnes.

Beijing Capital International Airport is the main hub for Air China, the flag carrier of the People's Republic of China, which flies to around 120 destinations (excluding cargo) from Beijing. Hainan and China Southern Airlines also use the airport as their hub.

Beijing Airport
Beijing Airport

To accommodate the growing traffic volume, Beijing Capital added the enormous Terminal 3 in 2008 in time for the Olympic Games, the second largest airport terminal in the world after Dubai International Airport's Terminal 3, and the fifth largest building in the world by area.


Terminal 1, with 72,000 m2 (780,000 sq ft) of space, opened on January 1, 1980, and replaced the smaller existing terminal which was in operation since 1958. Terminal 1 was closed for renovation from 1999 to September 20, 2004, during which all airlines operated from Terminal 2. Featuring 16 gates, it was the operational base for China Southern Airlines' domestic routes and a few other airlines such as Xiamen Airlines and Chongqing Airlines, and was originally planned to handle domestic traffic, excluding those to Hong Kong and Macau.

With the opening of Terminal 3, the terminal was closed for light refurbishment, and its airlines were moved to Terminal 2 on May 20, 2008. Terminal reopened for a second time on June 27, 2008, and became the operational base for all domestic flights operated by the HNA Group, including those of Hainan Airlines, Grand China Air, Deer Air and Tianjin Airlines, while the international flights and the ones between Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Beijing of the HNA Group remained in Terminal 2.

Terminal 2 opened on November 1, 1999 with a floor area of 396,000 m2 (4,260,000 sq ft). This terminal was used to replace Terminal 1 while the latter was undergoing renovation, cramping all airlines into this terminal despite it being far bigger than Terminal 1 and can handle twenty aircraft at docks connecting directly to the terminal building. Prior to the opening of Terminal 3, all international flights (and the majority of the domestic flights) operated from this terminal. This terminal now houses China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Skyteam, Air Koryo, and other domestic and international flights after Air China, Shanghai Airlines, Star Alliance members, Oneworld members moved operations to the new Terminal 3. A gate capable of handeling the A380 (gate 21) was also built at the terminal.

Terminals 1 and 2 are linked by a public walkway that takes about 10ĘC15 minutes to traverse. Shuttle buses connect all three terminals.

Terminals 3:Construction of Terminal 3 started on March 28, 2004, and the terminal opened in two stages. Trial operations commenced on February 29, 2008, when seven airlines, including British Airways, El Al Israel Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Shandong Airlines and Sichuan Airlines moved into the terminal. Twenty other airlines followed when the terminal became fully operational on March 26, 2008. Currently, it mainly houses Air China, Oneworld, Star Alliance, and other domestic and international flights. Star Alliance members LOT Polish Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines System, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, United, Turkish Airlines (with Star Alliance livery), Thai Airways International, Singapore Airlines, and Air China use Terminal 3-E as part of the Move Under One Roof program to co-locate alliance members.

Terminal 3 was designed by a consortium of NACO (Netherlands Airport Consultants B.V), UK Architect Foster and Partners and ARUP. Lighting was designed by UK lighting architects Speirs and Major Associates. The budget of the expansion is US$3.5 billion. Far grander in size and scale than the preexisting terminals, Terminal 3 was the largest airport terminal-building complex in the world to be built in a single phase with 1,200,000 m2 (13,000,000 sq ft) in total floor area at its opening. It features a main passenger terminal (Terminal 3C), two satellite concourses (Terminal 3D and Terminal 3E) and five floors above ground and two underground, with the letters "A and B" omitted to avoid confusions with the existing Terminals 1 and 2. Terminal 3C is dedicated for domestic flights, Terminal 3E for international flights, and Terminal 3D, called the "Olympics Hall", was used for charter flights during the Beijing Olympics, and will be used by international flights in the future.

Terminal 3 is larger than London Heathrow Airport's 5 terminals combined with another 17% to spare.

Terminal 3 of the BCIA is currently the second largest airport passenger terminal building of the world. Its title as the world's largest was surrendered on October 14, 2008 to Dubai International Airport's Terminal 3 which has 1,980,000 m2 (21,300,000 sq ft) of floor space.

Official Website: Beijing Capital International Airport