Around 260,000 passengers on 1,500 flights will pass through Beijing Capital International Airport each day after Aug. 1, setting new records in the airport's history, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) deputy administrator Yang Guoqing said on Thursday.
Since most Olympic delegations and spectators would arrive in early August, the number of flights arriving and departing would increase by a fifth over the normal levels. The number of passengers would increase by a quarter, Yang said a press conference.
He added the CAAC was confronted with the unprecedented challenge in handling the heaviest and most complicated air traffic in Chinese history.
"We will strive to provide safe, rapid and convenient services to all Olympic participants," he said.
In early August, the Capital Airport expected to receive 100 special flights for state leaders, 160 chartered flights and 1,000 business aircraft flights, said Huang Dengke, CAAC North China Regional Administration director-general.
The busiest time would range from Aug. 6 to 11, with Aug. 7 the peak.
Huang said the airport would handle more flights and passengers for the Olympics than for the 1990 Asian Games and the 2006 Beijing summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, but capacity had been greatly improved since the opening of the new Terminal 3 earlier this year.
"Beijing is prone to thunderstorms in early August. We have prepared four alternative airports in the northern cities of Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan and Hohhot. Each will have 100 emergency parking bays."
Yang Guoqing said that in 2000, the CAAC began to improve the basic infrastructure at 17 airports in Beijing, Tianjin, Shenyang, Shanghai, Qinhuangdao and other host cities, including the alternate airports.
From July 20, those airports adopted double security checks -- a check at the airport entrance and another before boarding, he said.
In March, a China Southern Airlines crew reportedly foiled an attempted airline bombing on a Urumqi-Beijing flight.
Airports in northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and western Tibet Autonomous Region have also started double security checks.
"We tried to make security checks as fast as possible, and hopefully this will not inconvenience passengers or affect airline services," said Yang.
He said all the airline companies should provide safe and comfortable services, and should have plans for delayed flights and other emergencies. Those airlines whose passengers refuse to disembark or complaints are disruptive would face penalties.
In line with international custom, Beijing's airport would be shut from 7 p.m. till midnight on Aug. 8 to ensure the security of the Olympic opening ceremony.
"We informed the airline companies a month ago," he said, adding the airport would return to normal quickly after the opening ceremony.
(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2008)