The Chinese Government has given approval for the construction of new CNY70bn ($11.2bn) international airport in Beijing to reduce congestion at the existing international airport in the capital.
Set to be located in southern Beijing, the second international airport in the capital will have six runways for civilian use and a runway dedicated for military use.
The China Daily quoted Beijing airport spokesman Li Shengbo as saying: "The plan for a new airport has been approved by the State Council."
Citing CAAC News, the news agency reported that the construction of the new airport will start in 2014 and is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2018, with an annual capacity to handle 70 million passengers by 2025.
According to reports in the Chinese media, the proposal for the new airport was initiated in 2008, which was not approved by the State Council and Central Military Commission until late 2012, due to a disagreement in distribution of airspace between civil and military use.
Upon completion, the new airport will also take over some flights that were previously handled by Nanyuan Airport, which would place Beijing in the league of cities such as New York, London, Paris and Tokyo by having more than one international airport.
Beijing Capital International Airport is currently witnessing rapid rise in passenger numbers and its capacity has reached saturation point.
In February 2012, the Chinese Government revealed plans to build a second airport in the capital with an investment of $A4.47bn. The proposed airport could serve over 130 million passengers and 5.5 million tonnes of cargo per year.
Additionally, in mid-2012, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) also revealed plans to construct 70 new airports in addition to expanding 100 existing airports and refurbishing the existing airports to handle an anticipated 450 million passengers by 2015.
CAAC report also revealed that the country’s civil aviation industry has been deficient in infrastructure and capacity, while major airports have been operating at full capacity.
Image: The new airport will reduce congestion at Beijing Capital International Airport which served 81.8 million passengers in 2012. Photo: courtesy of Yaoleilei.