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New Beijing airport terminal holds last and largest drill
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Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) on Saturday held its last and largest drill before the trial operation of its newly-built No. 3 terminal in preparation for a passenger surge during the upcoming Olympics.

The trial operation is set for Feb. 29.

More than 8,000 "passengers" participated in the three-hour drill, checking in more than 7,000 pieces of luggage on 146 domestic and international "flights".

The main purpose of the drill was to test procedures of departure, arrival and transfer, as well as VIP security maintenance, organizers said.

Most participants were university students and other volunteers selected by an online survey. The number of flights involved was nearly double that in the previous drill and was close to the estimated daily average expected when the terminal goes into operation.

Six airlines will use Terminal 3 (T3), including Sichuan Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Qatar Airways, Qantas Airways, British Airways and El Al Israel Airlines.

With the opening, airport shuttles will stop at all three of the airport's terminals. For passengers who drive private cars or take a taxi, the southern lane of the airport expressway leads directly to T3.

A new metro line will also be completed and put into operation pre-Olympics to provide better convenience for travelers.

BCIA will arrange transfer busses connecting each terminal.

Upon T3's operation, the airport will have the capacity to carry 82 million passengers annually, against the present 35 million.

The new terminal, which started construction in March 2004, covers a floor space of 1 million square meters.

The expansion includes a third runway that can be used for jumbo jets, 125 more plane parking bays, as well as affiliated buildings, a new cargo zone and areas for special planes and private planes.

The expansion, which cost 27 billion yuan (3.65 billion U.S. dollars), covers 1,467 hectares, 1.6 times larger than the former space.

The third runway became operational in October and greatly eased the traffic volume at the country's busiest airport.

China is also upgrading several standby airports near Beijing for the August Olympics by renovating terminals, enlarging tarmacs, lengthening runways and improving services.

(Xinhua News Agency February 24, 2008)

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