Beijing Capital International Airport is the main hub for Air China, the flag carrier of the People’s Republic of China, connecting almost 120 destinations from Beijing. China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines use this airport as their main hub. Beijing Capital added Terminal 3 for using in the 2008 Summer Olympics, which made it the second largest airport terminal in the world after Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3, and the sixth largest building in the world by area. Beijing Capital International Airport spreads over 1480 hectares of land.
Beijing Capital has rapidly climbed up the ladder in rankings for the world’s busiest airports in the past ten years. It has now become the busiest airport in Asia in terms of passenger traffic and total traffic movements since 2009. It has been the world’s second busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic since 2010. The airport registered 557,167 aircraft movements including take-offs and landings, ranking 6th in the world in 2012. In terms of cargo traffic, Beijing airport has also witnessed increased growth. The airport has become the 13th busiest airport in the world by cargo traffic, registering 1,787,027 tones in 2012.
After all these steps up the ladder, it is now on the verge of becoming the busiest airport in the world. It is predicted that China is set to overtake the US as the world’s biggest air-travel market as soon as 2022. To handle the swell in the number of fliers, Beijing is building a $12.9 billion mega airport in a southern suburb that’s planned to open next year. It would accommodate as many as 100 million passengers per year, with the existing and new airports likely sharing 170 million travellers a year by 2025, according to official estimates.
The two state-owned Chinese carriers China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines will each be permitted to capture 40% of the airport’s passengers, gaining coveted time slots to Europe and the US in flag carrier Air China Limited’s backyard.