Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) had been the second busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic for seven consecutive years from 2010 to 2016, according to Airports Council International.
However, in contrast to its high ranking on the list, international passengers—as well as those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan—accounted for only 26 percent of BCIA's total passenger volume in 2016.
Such a proportion doesn't match Beijing's ambitions to build itself into an international communication center of China. But, at present, it's hard to add new flights, as BCIA's passenger traffic has already reached saturation point.
A new airport under construction in a location overlapping Beijing's Daxing District and Langfang City in Hebei Province, which is scheduled for completion in 2019, will provide more capacity for flights to and from Beijing.
In the meantime, BCIA will transfer some of its domestic flights to airports in neighboring Tianjin and Hebei, which have room to accommodate more flights. For instance, passenger traffic through Tianjin Binhai International Airport was 16.87 million in 2016, compared with its design maximum of 25 million.
In addition, new airports will be built in Xingtai, Cangzhou, Zhangjiakou and Chengde in Hebei by 2025, creating a cluster of airports in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region that will promote its integrated development. The cluster will be connected by intercity high-speed trains to make transportation more convenient and efficient.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in the Oriental Outlook on April 13)