Airport employees hold a simulation drill in the departure lounge of the Beijing Daxing International Airport. [Photo by Chen Zebing/China Daily]
Beijing's new mega-airport opens on Wednesday, welcoming its first passengers after five years of construction.
China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines will lead, with flights leaving Beijing Daxing International Airport at 3:45 pm Wednesday to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport, respectively, according to flight app Umetrip. An Air China flight will leave for Chengdu 15 minutes later.
Qian Yuanyuan, manager of the airport's operations department, said a China Southern Airbus A380, a China Eastern Airbus A380-900 and an Air China Boeing B747-8 would be the first passenger departures. On Wednesday, the first passengers will arrive in one flight each from China United Airlines, Capital Airlines and Hebei Airlines.
On Tuesday, five empty planes arrived: two from China Eastern and one each from China Southern, Air China and Xiamen Air. They flew to Daxing from Beijing Capital International Airport.
China Southern will have 40 percent of airport slots at Daxing, followed by China Eastern with 80 percent and other airlines sharing the rest, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
China United Airlines, a subsidiary of China Eastern, will be the first airline to transfer its base of operations to Daxing. Currently at Beijing Nanyuan Airport, it will operate over 180 daily flights from the new airport, serving 80 routes.
The 80 billion-yuan ($11.7 billion) facility, 46 kilometers south of downtown, will ultimately handle over 80 million passengers a year, matching Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the United States.