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Beijing airport reserves place for Olympic charters
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Beijing Capital Airport is designating about 100,000 square meters of tarmac for Olympic Games and Paralympics charter flights to tackle the unprecedented travel rush.

The D section of the tarmac in the newly-completed Terminal 3 (T3), or one 10th of its total floor space, will be especially designated for the charters with 12 boarding gates during the Games, airport officials told a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday. "We are well prepared and confident of ensuring convenient and comfortable services to passengers", said Dong Zhiyi, the airport's general manager. He applauded the end of the four-year construction of the terminal, adding it manifested the great resolution and capabilities of China to deal with such an event. When the world's largest single terminal starts operation on Friday, the airport will have the capacity to carry 76 million passengers annually, against the present 36 million, he said.

The airport, China's busiest, handled 53.47 million passengers last year, putting it among the world's 10 busiest.

The Olympics, to be held in the Chinese capital in August, are expected to bring more passengers to the city. A total of 26 airlines will use the new terminal. The first six -- Sichuan Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Qatar Airways, Qantas Airways, British Airways and El Al Israel Airlines -- will use the operations immediately. Other carriers, including Air China and Lufthansa, will begin using the terminal on March 26. The terminal, which started construction in March 2004, covers a floor space of 1 million square meters. 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. The present airport will see its passenger flow exceed 60 million this year, seven years earlier than anticipated, Yang Guoqing, China's General Administration of Civil Aviation (CAAC) deputy head, said last month.

(Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2008)

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