LONDON – Beijing’s Daxing International Airport (PKX) has celebrated its first year anniversary of operations since opening on September 25 last year.

PKX has said that despite the disruption caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the airport has been able to maintain smooth operations thanks to high standards and innovation. In just one year, the airport has handled around 10 million passengers.

Currently, around 187 domestic air routes, connecting 129 airports across China are in operation at Daxing, with around 84,000 takeoffs and landings witnessed, and 39,000 tonnes of cargo handled.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Pressure on Beijing Capital

There is significant pressure on Beijing Capital (PEK), which is just next door to PKX, as many carriers are now transferring over to the new airport.

China Southern Airlines (CZ) has transferred around 80% of its flights from PEK to Daxing. CZ has plans to have around 200 aircraft based at PKX by 2025, with the forecasts of accommodating 28.8 million passengers by then.

This will no doubt place the future of PEK into potential doubt, especially if more airlines migrate over to Daxing. Du Xiaoming, deputy general manager of the airport planning and development department explained the benefits of the airport.

“Under strategic guidance, we are building the airport into one that is safe, green, smart, and humanity-centered. We also decided to make the Daxing airport a ‘sponge airport,’ where the main buildings can store rainwater and all polluted water can be recycled,”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

What Makes Daxing So Special?

Daxing is now China’s largest airport, with future plans including seven runways in total and a second terminal to the south of the current one.

This is so then PKX can meet its targets of accommodating 880,000 flights and 100 million passengers every year, putting it into contention with the likes of Atlanta (ATL) and others for passenger movements.

There are more than 300 shops at the airport including what the airport brands as “fun activities” such as stopping for manicures or sing-in karaoke booths.

The airport has over 62,000 information points and more than 4,000 internet-enabled devices, with state of the art facial recognition technology which allows passengers to check-in, pass through security, board planes, claim tax refunds, and shop.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Airport Links

In the local areas, such as Gu’an, regional integration via city terminals has opened up enabling passengers to complete check-in procedures ahead of time and with minimal difficulty. This is something that PEK has not focused on in the past.

Buses leave every 20-30 minutes which takes the consumers to the new airport. Plans for a Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region link is also on the cards.

Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

A Successful Start

It remains clear that Daxing has had a successful start. If COVID-19 had not happened, then PKX could have had an even more successful first stint in operations.

Either way, handling 10 million passengers in the first year of operation, especially with another major international airport in the capital, is a significant achievement.

All eyes will now be on PKX over the next few years to determine whether it can hit its targets of 100 million passengers annually and what further presence the likes of China Southern will have, even after 2025.

Featured Image: Inside Beijing Daxing Airport. Photo Credit: Skift