First Aircraft Tests Commence At Beijing’s New Daxing Airport

Beijing is currently in the process of building a new mega airport. Known as Beijing Daxing, the airport will see Beijing’s aviation hub moved. This week the airport received its first test aircraft including a China Southern A380.

China Southern Beijing Daxing A380
China Southern flew their A380 into the new Beijing Daxing Airport. Photo: Sergey Kustov via Wikimedia

For now, the new airport will not completely replace Beijing Capital airport. Instead the airport will increase capacity for Northern China, while absorbing some flights from Capital Airport. This is in contrast to the recent Istanbul move and the move from Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport. In both of these cases, old airports were completely replaced in a matter of hours.

Heavy testing

While construction on the new airport began back in 2014, the airport is yet to open. As such, it is necessary to ensure that the airport is safe to use, prior to the official opening. Tiny modifications required to operate the airport are much easier to implement if spotted when four empty aircraft are using the airport, as opposed to hundreds of fully laden planes.

CGTN reports that between April 28th and April 30th, the taxiways and runways of Beijing Daxing airport were validated. Following this, four aircraft, each from a different carrier, arrived at the airport yesterday to begin flight testing.

Beijing Daxing Airport
A model shows the shape of the new Beijing Daxing Airport. Photo N509FZ via Wikimedia

Four large aircraft

The four aircraft used for testing were all wide-bodied aircraft. Half were Airbus and the other half Boeing aircraft. In fact, The Jakarta Post reports that the largest aircraft to attend the test day was an A380 supplied by China Southern.

Additionally, Air China, China Eastern, and Xiamen Airlines attended the day. While China Eastern flew an Airbus A350 into the airport, Air China and Xiamen Airlines opted for Boeing aircraft. In the case of Air China, this was the Boeing 747-8, while Xiamen picked the Boeing 787-9.

2019 opening

The new Beijing Daxing Airport is due to finish construction by the end of next month. Following this, the airport is scheduled to open on September 30th. These tests will ensure that the airport is fit for purpose when it opens. Looking back in time, other airport openings have been caked in disaster.

Air China Boeing 747-8 Beijing Daxing Airport
Air China chose to fly a Boeing 747-8 to the test. Photo: Eric Salard via Wikimedia

When Heathrow’s Terminal 5 opened, it immediately had a fairly full flight schedule. However, the opening of the terminal was a complete disaster. The baggage system was unable to cope, and as a result, flights were delayed, and many passengers arrived at their destinations without their bags.

Hopefully with robust testing and a steady increase in traffic, Daxing will avoid troubles. By 2021 the airport will handle 45 million passengers per year. This will increase to 75 million by 2025.

Do you think Beijing’s New Daxing Airport will be a success? Let us know in the comments!