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Beijing Airport to Open 3rd Runway This Year Jul. 19. 2007

Beijing Capital International Airport will open its third runway by October, a part of its expansion to meet surging air traffic demand before next year's Olympics.

The 3,800-meter-long runway, with a total investment of 200 million yuan (US$26 million), will raise the airport's capacity by half to 90 flights an hour, the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China said in a statement on its Website today.

The facility will undergo trial operations starting in October, the statement said.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai are expected to increase tourism in the country. Spending on airport expansion will amount to 140 billion yuan by 2010, according to the government's five-year plan.

The new runway will also be equipped with the country's most advanced navigation system that will allow planes to take off and land when visibility is reduced to 200 meters, the statement said.

The new runway and a third terminal will more than double the airport's annual capacity to 78 million passengers before the Olympic Games, which will attract an estimated 500,000 overseas visitors.

The airport, Asia's second-busiest, handled 26 million passengers in the first half of this year, a 16 percent increase from a year earlier. The airport handled 48.7 million passengers last year, exceeding its design capacity of 35 million.

(Shanghai July 19, 2007)

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