China Southern Airlines is set to conduct its debut flight out of Beijing Daxing International airport on Friday 20th September, several days before the airport was scheduled to open. Daxing will be the second international airport located in Beijing, and had been expected to commence operations on 30th September.
Flight Global reports that the carrier announced on Chinese social networking site WeChat that its first flight will take place well ahead of the presumed opening date. China Southern Airlines’ inaugural flight out of Daxing will be to the Chinese city of Guangzhou.
Details are currently sketchy, as the WeChat post provided no further details on the planned flight. This means that even though the post was aimed at attracting passengers, any potential consumers are still in the dark regarding the aircraft type that will be used on this maiden flight.
Activity has been accelerating at Daxing ahead of the opening of the airport, with its fifth round of operating simulations having recently taken place. This latest testing procedure involved nearly 9,000 passengers and 140 flights, as the international airport prepares itself for opening.
As the now apparent opening date of 20th September closes in, Daxing is planning to undergo its sixth full-scale test run in the coming days. These are essential in order to ensure that all operational problems are identified ahead of its first real world flights. The first aircraft tests at the site had taken place in May.
Reports in the Chinese media have also suggested that Daxing could be operational even earlier than reported, with a possible go live date of 15th September. This will be possible as the award of the airport’s operating license is apparently imminent, with the Civil Aviation Administration of China ready to give the green light any day.
Both China Southern and China Eastern Airlines will be using the Daxing airport as a central hub, while Air China is set to have a smaller presence at the airport as well. Air China will continue to use Beijing Capital International as its main hub, but a presence at Daxing will complement its fleet stationed in Beijing’s other major airport.
Several international carriers will be flying into Daxing, including British Airways, LOT and Finnair. Simple Flying had reported earlier this year that British Airways intends to move all its Beijing services to Daxing, with the move due to take place in October. This would make BA the first international airline to undertake the movement of all of its services.
Polish airline LOT has also targeted Daxing, with the intention of expanding its weekly flights to China from just three to seven. By making this adjustment, LOT would then be able to deliver a daily flight from Warsaw to Beijing.
As the Chinese economy continues to expand and develop, the number of travelers coming out of the world’s most populous nation continues to increase. This figure had already reached 549 million by 2017, but is forecast to increase by around 10% annually until the end of the decade.