American Airlines has set in motion plans to move to Beijing’s Daxing Airport in March 2021. The move follows several of the airline’s oneworld partners, including British Airways, who was the first international airline to use the new airport.
Last year, China caused great excitement when it opened its new airport for Beijing. Daxing Airport was opened at the end of September 2019, initially being used just by domestic carriers. But, soon after, the Chinese airlines were joined by others. Carriers from all over the world have slowly been announcing the move to the new airport for China’s capital.
American Airlines’ relocation
Today American Airlines became the latest airline to announce a move from Beijing’s Capital Airport to the new Daxing Airport. The US carrier will change over on March 27th, 2021, with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner service from Dallas Fort Worth. Tickets for the service will go on sale from Monday.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
American Airlines’ services to Beijing have currently been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the airline is operating cargo flights to Beijing Capital Airport. These will continue until the relocation in March, when the passenger services resume.
American Airlines has planned the move to co-locate with codeshare partner China Southern. This will give American’s passengers more convenient connections to onward flights from the airport. British Airways moved to Daxing just under a year ago and announced a joint venture with China Southern in late December.
Commenting on the relocation Vasu Raja, American’s Chief Revenue Officer, said,
“While there is so much uncertainty in travel right now, we want to be well positioned to serve our customers, shareholders and team members with the best service, convenience and products all over the world when they’re ready. Daxing is very much a part of that bright future.”
Why didn’t everybody move to Daxing at once?
Typically, when a new airport opens, all of the carriers using the city’s other airport will relocate. This was the case when Istanbul’s new airport opened, and will be the same when Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport finally opens at the end of the month.
However, when Beijing Daxing opened, thing we’re slightly different. The new airport is not intended to replace Beijing Capital, but rather to complement its capacity. The airport’s opening did cause the closure of another nearby facility, but the impacts were minimal.
Compared to the complexities of moving a home base, it is much easier for a foreign carrier to move to a new airport. Rather than shuffle its whole fleet, it simply flies to the old airport one day, then the new airport the next.
By 2021, the airport was projected to handle 45 million passengers per year. This was expected to increase to 75 million by 2025. It’s unclear what impact the pandemic will have on these figures. While Boeing’s 2020 market outlook shows that China’s aviation industry has recovered by 80%, this is primarily made up of domestic flights. The international long-haul market is still hurting badly.
What do you make of the American Airlines move? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.