The new Beijing Daxing International Airport was officially inaugurated yesterday (25 September) by China President Xi Jinping in time for China National Day on 1 October.
International operations are due to being next month, but seven member-only flights bound for Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, Yan’an, Hangzhou, Fuzhou and Xiamen departed from the new airport to mark its official opening. Xiamen Airlines, Hebei Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, China United Airlines, Air China, China Eastern and China Southern, all launched their inaugural flights from the new facility yesterday.
British Airways, for example, will switch all London Heathrow to Beijing flights to the new airport starting from October 27 2019. The likes of China Eastern and China Southern Airlines will also relocate their services.
Located between the Daxing district of Beijing and Guangyang District of Langfang City, Beijing Daxing is believed to be the world’s largest terminal in a single building. By the end of the year, it is expected to be operating 116 routes (101 domestic and 15 international), covering 112 destinations worldwide (97 domestic and 15 international).
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT OBJECTIVE
It is estimated that by 2021, Beijing Daxing will be handling 45 million passengers annually, with international flights accounting for 20% of the total. In around six years from now, passenger throughput is expected to reach 72 million with international flights comprising 30%.
Ultimately, combined passenger throughput at Beijing Daxing and Beijing Capital International Airport will exceed 250 million passengers.
Passengers can also look forward to an impressive DF&TR offering courtesy of leading travel retailers such as China Duty Free Group and Lagardère Travel Retail. Total retail spans around 18,000sq m, 13,000sq m of which is duty paid and 5,133sq m duty free.
CDFG secured the 10-year contract to operate two duty free concessions (tobacco and food and fashion and beauty) in March 2019 with the agreement signed the following month. The latter captured the key 1,100sq m fashion contract.
In a statement obtained by TRBusiness around the time of the contract award, Charles Chen, President, CDFG thanked Capital International Airport Group, for its trust and recognition.
“Daxing International Airport is the new capital of Beijing,” he said. “Positioned as a large international aviation hub, it is a new source of power for the country’s development. It is a comprehensive transportation hub for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region that supports the construction of the Xiong’an New District.”
Chen continued by acknowledging the supportive domestic and foreign brands ‘who have been paying attention to the development of China’s tax free industry’.
Offering a Lagardère perspective, Nathalie Santonja, Executive Vice President, Fashion told TRBusiness in an exclusive interview as part of the magazine’s July fashion report: “In the new Beijing Daxing Airport, Lagardère Travel Retail will bring together a line-up of luxury fashion and accessory brands designed to meet a broad range of customer preferences and passenger needs.
“With over a dozen brands, the fashion offer reflects our strategy to capture the interest of both business and leisure travellers, and to encourage practical and impulsive purchases.”
Focusing on millennial travellers and female customers, who represent a growing share of the spend in the Chinese travel retail market, is a priority. “Aside from ready-to-wear and accessories, the offer is tuned to capture the growth of product categories including footwear and jewellery.”
TRBusiness has reached out to China Duty Free Group for further reaction to yesterday’s inauguration. Capital Airport Commercial & Trading Company declined to comment.
COMMENT: ANDREW PENTOL, SENIOR EDITOR
When TRBusiness visited the Beijing Capital Airport Commercial and Trading Co., Ltd (ACT) headquarters at the end of last year, the excitement ahead of the opening of the new Beijing Daxing Airport was evident.
The company made it clear it had set out to establish new retail benchmarks in planning, construction and design at Beijing Daxing and promised many leading international luxury brands would be present.
Only time will tell if its business vision becomes a reality, but in the meantime, let’s consider the impact of its opening on Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA).
Critics have questioned the need for a second airport in the capital, especially one that is almost twice the distance from the city centre as the existing airport. But what Beijing Daxing will do is alleviate traffic pressure at BCIA.
Assessing what the opening of Beijing Daxing means for BCIA, Denise Wong Analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence, Asia Infrastructure told TRBusiness in August: “The government is determined to ensure the new airport is a success as they have spent a significant amount of money building it. BCIA is definitely in a transition period. Until the Daxing Airport capacity is being absorbed, I don’t think they will make any major moves.
“Beijing Capital International Airport Limited (BCIAL) has the right to purchase the new airport, but I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.”
When formulating plans for Beijing Daxing, the Chinese government knew passenger traffic at BCIA would decrease. This is why the government gave BCIAL the opportunity to purchase Beijing Daxing once it becomes profitable in a few years.
Speaking as part of the 2018 BCIAL Annual Report, Liu Xuesong, Chairman, Beijing Capital International Airport Company Limited suggests the company is not expecting much impact on traffic volumes at BCIA this year, but predicts a new landscape ( ‘one city, two airport’) and that BCIA and BCIAL will face a new development situation.
“The diversion will mostly occur in 2020 and 2021, after which air traffic volumes at Beijing Capital airport will once again enter a steady growth cycle,” he remarked.
Wong added: “Then traffic loss is not exactly negative for BCIAL because once Beijing Daxing begins making money, it can look to buy it.”
Click here for more from Denise Wong Analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence, Asia.
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