BEIJING, June 22 -- A new airport in the capital city, which will handle soaring passenger traffic in and out of the booming metropolis, is expected to be completed by October 2017, an airline source told the Beijing News.
The new airport, which is likely to be approved within the year, will probably have eight runways for civilian use and a ninth for military use, Yao Weihui, general manager of China United Airlines, said at a ceremony marking the delivery of the airline's 10th Boeing plane on Monday.
Once the airport in southern Beijing's Daxing district is put into use, the Beijing Nanyuan Airport in the southern Fengtai district, which is used for both military and civilian purposes, will be closed, said Yao, whose airline now uses Nanyuan airport.
Sources with the Civil Aviation Administration of China said on Tuesday that the project is yet to be approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, so any detail in the previous plan is subject to change.
But Wang Jian, secretary-general of China Civil Airport Association, said on Tuesday that the new airport will have at least four runways for civilian use.
With more runways, the new airport will have more capacity to handle the large amount of traffic in and out of Beijing, he said.
"The suggested location (for the new airport) in Daxing district is a place with few residents and buildings, so many runways can be built," Wang said, adding the Beijing Capital International Airport in the northeast cannot have a fourth runway because of its location.
There has been a plan to build a second airport in the city for years. The new airport will shoulder part of the traffic pressure faced by Beijing Capital International Airport, which is now the world's second largest in terms of passenger traffic.
Last year, the Beijing Capital International Airport handled 73.9 million passengers, close to its planned capacity of 76 million passengers by 2015.
The planned capacity for the second capital airport is at least 60 million passengers a year, according to earlier media reports.
Yao was quoted as saying that the first stage of the second airport will be built to handle 40 million passengers a year.