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Beijing's new air terminal gets another 20 airlines
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Another 20 airlines began operations on Wednesday at Beijing airport's new terminal, an expansion project for the anticipated passenger surge during the Olympics. The new terminal will be able to handle 60 percent of the airport's total capacity.

Starting at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, more than 70 planes from various carriers, including Air China and Shanghai Airlines, were moved to Terminal 3 of the Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA), the Beijing Morning Post reported on Wednesday.

Since it opened on Feb. 29, about 5,000 passengers on 40 flights have been moved through the airport daily by the first six airlines to use the facility: China's Sichuan Airlines and Shandong Airlines and from abroad, Qatar Airlines, Qantas Airways, British Airways and El Al Israel Airlines.

These six carriers and the 20 new ones will together raise the daily capacity of the world's largest air terminal to about 80,000 passengers on almost 500 flights. With a floor space of 986,000 square meters, the new building more than doubled the total area of the first two terminals.

"The full operation of Terminal 3 will greatly ease overloading at the airport," said a BCIA official.

The airport, already the country's largest and busiest, will be able to handle 1,800 daily flights, up from the current 1,000. It is expected to receive 5.56 million people during the Olympic Games in August.

The airport handled 53.47 million passengers in 2007.

(Xinhua News Agency March 26, 2008)

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