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Beijing to choose site for second int'l airport
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China's civil aviation authorities consider to choose southern suburbs in Beijing as site for a second international airport for the Chinese capital, which is faced with gobbling air transport demand in both passengers and cargos in the coming decade.


An official with the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) said, the most palpable site for the new international airport would be south to the city on either south or north bank of the Yongding River, which divides Beijing and bordering Hebei Province, the oversea-edition People's Daily reported Thursday.


The official, whose name was not released by the newspaper, said the CAAC has already submitted the site selection proposals to the State Council, which mandates the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to review the CAAC proposals.


The CAAC official said before making the proposals, the administration researched and analyzed air traffic, geographic conditions and ground transport layouts in areas which are chosen as candidates, the newspaper said.


"If we put the new jumbo airport in the southern suburbs," the officials was quoted as saying, "it will construct a tripod of air transport hubs together with the existing Beijing Capital International Airport and the big airport in Tianjin."


Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA), the busiest one in China, just opened its third runway Monday. The new runway, 3,800 meters long and 60 meters wide, was built for meeting rapidly increasing air demands for the coming Olympics in 2008. It is part of an expansion project that includes a new terminal building, 100 new aprons, a cargo zone and auxiliary facilities.


"The airport handles 1,100 arrival and departure flights every day. That will probably rise to 1,500 to 1,600 and peak at 1,900 during the Olympics next year, so the third runway is much needed, " said a BCIA spokesperson.


BCIA, a Hong Kong-listed company, saw 376,600 arrivals and departures as well as transported 48.65 million global passengers in 2006, ranked among the busiest 10 airports in the world.


Although the transport capacity of BCIA, 27 kilometers northeast to Beijing, would be enhance remarkably to 60 million passengers and 1.8 million tons of cargo each year, Beijing still needs a new international airport, which is expect to alleviate overheated ground traffic to BCIA and further accommodate more and more transcontinental flights to China, an NDRC official said.


According to the NDRC urban planning towards 2010, construction for the new international airport will begin by 2010. The proposed new site would be most likely under jurisdiction of Daxing District.


"We expect the new airport would dynamically boost local economy in Daxing and adjacent Langfang, Zhuozhou and other cities in Hebei," Shen Baochang, head official in Daxing said.


Other previous proposals included candidate locations such as Zhuozhou, a satellite city to Beijing, and even somewhere near Tianjin, a metropolis about 90 kilometers southeast to Beijing.


Wu Liangyong, a Qinghua University professor who is a recognized architect, suggested a place near Tianjin be the site for Beijing's second international airport.


The new airport, in Wu's mind, might be expanded to a modern city and connected to both Beijing and Tianjin by expressways.


Besides BCIA, Beijing now has two airports for civilian use, with the much smaller one, Nanyuan airport, being located on the southern edge of the city. The transport capacity of Nanyuan airport, operated by the Air Force-turned civilian carrier of China United Airlines (CUA), is insignificant with only about 15 passenger flight routes and a few cargo routes.


(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2007)


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