PEK or PKX: How to choose the airport to Beijing
Wang Yutong

Air China's flight CA757, bound for Bangkok, Thailand, took off at 7:50 a.m. on Sunday from the newly-built Daxing International Airport (PKX) in southern Beijing. This is the first international flight taking off from the new airport, marking the beginning of its official operation of international business with a total of nine outbound flights and six inbound flights on the first day.

From October 27, the start of the winter-spring air season, there will be 15 airlines operating in Daxing airport including seven domestic and eight overseas airlines, and the total number of passengers is expected to reach 570,000. 

Together with Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) sitting at the northeast corner of Beijing, the era of double airport giants in Beijing officially begins. Both of these two are designed to work as large-scale international aviation hubs. There's no big difference in airline plans in between, so one should make a good choice when booking flight tickets. Let's look at what factors should be taken into consideration.

PEK: older and bigger

Serving as the main international airport in China for decades, Beijing Capital Airport is not only older but also bigger than Daxing airport, if we look at the terminal area. There are three terminals for the Beijing Capital Airport with a total terminal area of 1,400,000 square meters, compared with 780,000 square meters for the new Daxing airport. 

A greater terminal area means a larger throughput capacity. The maximum throughput capacity reaches 76,000,000 passengers in Beijing Capital International Airport, but the number passing through Daxing airport accounts for only two-thirds of that amount. 

As for total airport area, Daxing airport covers 29 square kilometers, and four airstrips, which is bigger than Beijing Capital Airport. This is designed for more development space in the future. 

PKX: the less the better

The design of Daxing airport's terminal is more compact; for example, the distance between the terminal entrance and the foremost boarding gate is around 1 kilometer, compared with 3.6 kilometers in Beijing capital airport. 

The estimated load rate of Beijing Capital International Airport by the end of 2019 is 110 percent, meaning it is working overload this year, compared with 30 percent of that of Daxing airport. Daxing airport would have a relatively small passenger flow for a while, which will save some queuing time. 

Isolated but connected

Passengers always look for the best way to get to the airports to avoid missing their flights. In Beijing, the suggestion would be taking the airport express train, which links many subway stations. Though the distance from the city's central area to Daxing airport is further than to the capital airport, it takes less time on the ride.

This airport express train service launched on September 26, connecting Caoqiao Station to the airport's north terminal. Caoqiao is accessible by train line 10. The subway opens at 06:00 and closes at 22:30, though adjustments to the schedule are made depending on the night's last flight arrival time.

(Infographics designed by Du Chenxin)