(Yicai Global) May 13 -- The first passenger planes landed this morning at Beijing's new Daxing International Airport.
The arrivals of these test flights marks the completion of infrastructure construction at the Chinese capital's second international airport and signals it has begun preparing for regular air traffic when it comes into service later this year.
Four aircraft from Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Air have passed 12 flight procedure tests. The Air Traffic Management Bureau of Civil Aviation Administration of China will adjust these procedures based on the test results and approve the new transport hub's opening to commercial flights.
"The test flight went as scheduled and smoothly," Wu Kun, captain of a China Eastern Airlines Airbus A350 on one such dry run, told Yicai Global, adding, "The Daxing airport is China's first to conduct test flights on four runways simultaneously, and its infrastructure and scale is first-class worldwide."
Because real-plane test flights take a toll on normal plane operations and need a long time, Daxing will also conduct tests with analog planes in addition to real ones, Yan Xiaodong, deputy director of the Daxing Center of the Air Traffic Management Bureau, noted, saying 94 new flight procedures will be tested.
The airport has received expressions of intent from 58 domestic and international airlines to have their planes take off and land on its runways, said Yi Wei, deputy general manager of Daxing's planning and design division.
The new facility will take some of the load off the Beijing Capital International Airport -- the world's second-largest in passenger throughput -- which has hit capacity and cannot further expand, London-based business market intelligence technology firm Verdict Media Strategies reported on its airport-technology website.
The new mammoth transit hub is expected to cost around USD11.26 billion and move over 130 million passengers and 5.5 million tons of cargo per year, per the report. The airport is thus poised to displace the US Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as the world's busiest, per the report.
Groundbreaking too place in December 2014 and the terminal's steel structure was completed in June 2017. Construction is scheduled to finish in June and the airport will start operating in September.
As designed, the airport will achieve a passenger throughput of 45 million and 72 million by 2021 and 2025, respectively. At 700,000 square meters of terminal building -- the world's second-largest single-terminal airport after Istanbul -- it has four runways, with three more to be added, and 268 airplane bays, which will ease many international flight schedules and improve the global competitiveness of China's hub airports, Yicai Global reported.
Construction of the project began on December 26, 2014. Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Dame Zaha Hadid of the UK, the only woman to win the prestigious international award, designed Daxing International's terminal building. The terminal is in the form of a central hub with six curving spokes.
A new inter-city rail line that will link Beijing with the Xiongan New Area in nearby Hebei province and connect them with the new airport will zip passengers there in only 20 minutes from the city's West Railway Station.
Editor: Ben Armour