[photopress:air_beijing_shambles.jpg,full,alignright]Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) is expected to become one of the world’s top five busiest airports by the end of next year. This is not a record to boast about.
A record to boast about would be that the airport handles all passengers with style, efficiency and dispatch.
That all flights depart on time. (Airports have no control over the timing of arrivals.)
That there is more than enough seating for people waiting for flights. And the counter staff is polite and efficient.
As this does not at the moment apply to many airports in the world – Hong Kong and Singapore might be exceptions – the numbers handled are simply nothing to boast about.
BCIA said in 2008 the will have been more than 64 million passenger departures and arrivals. It has already handled 50 million passengers this year ranking it among the world’s top 10 busiest airports.
Atlanta and Chicago in the U.S., London in the U.K. and Tokyo of Japan have the world’s busiest airports by both passengers and cargo volumes in past years. That is quantity not quality. China LawBlog reminds us that the late London Jeffrey Barnard wrote of Heathrow: ‘I welcome death for I will not have to pass through Heathrow.’
In Beijing a new terminal building is now under construction, largely in order to meet high demands of air transportation during the Olympic season next year.
With No. 3 Terminal being completed in February 2008, the three terminals of the airport will have a total annual transport capacity of about 82 million passengers.
Besides the terminal construction project, BCIA has invested nearly RMB2 billion (US$266 million) in upgrading its security checks, service counters, luggage systems and information systems.
And now the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC), a regulator oversees China’s air transportation, has announced that it has proposes to build a second international airport in southern suburbs of Beijing.
The second international airport, proposed to begin building in2010 in Daxing District, is expected to alleviate already overheated ground traffic to BCIA and accommodate many more transcontinental flights to China in the years to come.
All of that is the good news. Now a quick reality check from someone who is in a position of some responsibility.
Sun Defu, a senior official with the Civil Aviation Administration for the North China Area, was reported in China Daily saying the airport would need to at least improve the transfer service to attract more international travelers.