China’s Oldest Airport Closes After An Incredible 109 Years


One of the big news topics of the past few weeks has been the opening of Beijing’s Daxing airport. However, China’s oldest airport, Nanyuan Airport, has closed its doors to passengers for the final time.

Beijing Daxing, Beijing Nanyuan, Beijing Airport
Beijing’s Nanyuan Airport has closed its doors. Photo: liangqian via Wikimedia

Beijing Daxing will bring a huge boost to the Beijing aviation scene. In fact, several Chinese airlines have started using the airport already, with international airlines due to join at the end of the month. One of the operators using the new Beijing Daxing Airport is China United Airlines. The airline has moved its whole operating to Beijing Daxing Airport since its opening last week.

Why has the airport closed?

Beijing Nanyuan Airport lived a fairly lonely existence. With Beijing’s Capital Airport being the go-to destination, Nanyuan had just one commercial operator using its facilities. This operator was China United Airlines.


China United Airlines has moved all of its operations to Beijing’s new Daxing Airport. This means all of the staff, aircraft, and ancillary equipment. As such, there is now no need for the airport to sustain passenger traffic anymore, as it has no users.

Beijing Daxing, Beijing Nanyuan, Beijing Airports
China United Airlines was the airport’s only user. Photo: DerekHe via Wikimedia

An impressive lifetime

Beijing’s Nanyaun Airport, despite now having closed to passengers, has had a good run. The airport was 109 years old when it closed on the 25th of September. The airport site at Nanyuan first opened in 1910, after the Chinese government built a factory there in a bid to begin manufacturing their own aircraft.

The airport has, throughout history, primarily been for military use. In 1986 China United Airlines, the airport’s last commercial tenant, was founded. The airline was a civil airline, however, was under military ownership. As such, the airline was able to use the airport for its operations.


Clearly, China United’s occupation of the site was more than sufficient, as a brand new six million passenger per year terminal was opened on the site in 2013. In 2011, the airport had handled 2.8 million passengers through its previous terminal.

Beijing Daxing, New Beijing Airport, Daxing Airport Opens
The new Beijing Daxing Airport is now open for business. Photo: British Airways

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

Beijing’s Nanyuan Airport will now likely be redeveloped following its closure, similar to Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport. Its largest civilian user, China United Airlines, has relocated its operations to Beijing’s new Daxing airport. Additionally, a military facility will be co-located at the new Daxing site. The runways of the old airport roughly line up with the new airport, and as such, could have been of conflict.

Did you ever fly through Nanyuan Airport? Have you used Beijing’s new Daxing Airport? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!