A third airport worth CNY80bn ($13.1bn) is to be built in Beijing, China, in order to reduce congestion and handle 72 million passengers a year.

The National Development and Reform Commission said that the project is slated to be completed in the next five years.

The new airport will be located 46km (29 miles) south of the city centre and will be able to handle two million metric tonnes of cargo and 620,000 passenger flights a year.

Beijing currently has two airports, Nanyuan Airport, a former military airfield with limited capacity, and Beijing Capital International Airport, which is the second busiest airport in the world.

The new airport will help in serving the rising demand for air transport in Beijing, boost the balanced development of the capital city’s northern and southern areas and strengthen China’s competitiveness in the civil aviation sector.

"The new airport will become a pillar of Beijing’s efforts to form a modern service sector."

The state-run China Daily quoted the Commission as saying that the new airport would include 150 parking aprons for passenger jets, 24 parking aprons for cargo aircraft, 14 maintenance areas and a terminal building with a floor area of 700,000m².

The city will build a 66km rapid transit line to link the new airport to Beijing’s northern areas. Once completed, it will only take 30min to reach the city centre from the airport.

The airport’s construction would be undertaken by state-owned Capital Airports Holding, the Northern China Regional Air Traffic Management Bureau under the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the China National Aviation Fuel Group.

While CNY18bn ($3bn) will be provided by the civil aviation administration to fund the project, Capital Airports Holding will invest CNY6bn ($1bn). The rest of the investment will come from bank loans and private capital.

Dean of the Beijing-based International Institute for Urban Development Lian Yuming said: "The new airport will become a pillar of Beijing’s efforts to form a modern service sector.

"It can substantially buoy the development of the city’s southern areas that lack growth momentum."

Image: An aerial view of the Beijing Capital International Airport. Photo: courtesy of Beijing Capital International Airport.