A special command head-quarters opened yesterday, to take control of operations at Beijing Capital International Airport, in a bid to ensure a safe and smooth Olympics.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Huang Dengke, head of the Northeast China branch of the Civil Aviation Administration of China and boss of the new administration, said the airport has now entered its "Olympic Games phase".
Under the new structure, the functions of seven former airport departments will be handled from three centers: operation control, information management and coordination, He Yan, secretary-general of BOCOG's Beijing Capital International Airport Venue Team, said.
Staff numbers will be increased to provide 24-hour cover, while the number of volunteers will also rise to 2,200, from 600 during test events, he said.
Huang said the headquarters will work closely with BOCOG and various government departments to ensure the smooth handling of emergencies.
These might include heavy rain and thunderstorms that could disrupt flights and leave passengers stranded, He said.
"Based on weather records for the past 30 years, we have determined there is a 50 percent chance of rain in the airport area during the Games," he said.
In the event of severe weather, flights will be rerouted to alternative airports such as Taiyuan in Shanxi province and Hohhot in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, he said.
"If planes cannot land in Beijing, we will talk to BOCOG, and let them decide on alternative travel plans for athletes and officials," He said.
Over the next week, tests will begin at the newly completed T3D section of Terminal 3, which will receive Olympic charter flights, he said.
At least 50,000 athletes, coaches, officials and journalists from more than 200 countries and regions will arrive at the airport for the Olympics, followed by 10,500 for the Paralympics, he said.
The airport has so far confirmed more than 60 charter flights will arrive from July 25, and "the number will increase as the Games approaches", he said.
Also, a special parking lot has been opened near Terminal 3 to ensure Olympic officials, athletes and journalists can leave the airport swiftly, he said.
(China Daily July 2, 2008)