Beijing Travel Essentials: Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing International Capital Airport is the busiest airport in Asia by aircraft movements, with direct flights to virtually every major city in the world. The IATA Airport Code for Beijing International Capital Airport is PEK, and BJS is also used.
Beijing International Airport has recently undergone a major renovation and expansion project in time for the Olympics in 2008 and with the knowledge that passenger arrivals are due to increase from 27 million in 2007 to 60 million per year by 2015.
There are now three terminals: Terminal 1 (Nanhang) being used for domestic flights and Terminals 2 and 3 handling international flights. The huge Terminal 3 was designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster and Partners (who built Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong) working with Dutch airport planners NACO and the engineering firm Arup. The new terminal has all of Foster's acclaimed trademarks for new airports: lightweight glass roof, extensive use of natural lighting and fully integrated transport services into the airport.
Foster's design recreates an image of traditional China: Chinese palaces and temples with the huge curved gold roof supported by red columns. The roof's spine has upturned triangles resembling scales on the back of a flying dragon.
Getting to Beijing International Capital Airport
Beijing International Capital Airport is located 20 km to the northeast of downtown Beijing. A taxi from the airport to the city centre usually takes one hour, and costs 150-200RMB. If you are approached by a taxi driver inside the terminal building, just ignore them and carry on to the rank. Make sure the taxi driver uses the meter.
Alternatively, there is an Airport Bus, which is very quick and comfortable in comparison with most Chinese buses. There are currently five different routes, linking the airport to Fangzhuang, Xidan, Beijing Railway Station, Gongzhufen and Zhongguancun.
Beijing Capital International Airport handled more than 30 million passengers in 2005, and the new terminal 3 opened in 2008, just in time for the 2008 Olympics.
In addition, a ten-mile light rail line currently under construction is scheduled to be completed in July, just in time for the Olympics. It will run from the airport into the center of Beijing, connecting with the Dongzhimen Light-Rail Station.
15km South of Beijing is the new Nanyuan Airport. It is quite small and offers relatively cheap internal flights to Chinese cities with planned charter flights to other Asian city airports including Tokyo's Haneda Airport. There is an airport bus that runs from Xidan to Nanyuan Airport. British Airways flies to Beijing.