Beijing Airport the Second Busiest in the World

Aiir traffic at Beijing Capital International Airport has been increasing steadily in recent years. According to statistics released by Airports Council International, Beijing Capital Airport is now the second busiest in the world. In the twelve months ending in November 2010, over 72 million travelers flied to and from the airport. This puts Beijing just behind Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which served 89 million travelers during the same period. Ranking third after Beijing is Ohare International Airport of Chicago, which was utilized by 66 million passengers.

In 2009, Beijing welcomed 65 million travelers and was the third busiest, ranking behind Atlanta and London Heathrow Airport.

Other Chinese airports have also moved up in numbers of passengers served. Hong Kong International Airport, which ranked no. 13 in 2009, is number 11 in 2010. Guangzhou moved up from no. 23 to no. 19. Shanghai Pudong International Airport, which is one of the two major airports that serve the city (the other is Shanghai Hongqiao Airport), is no. 21 in 2010. One year earlier it was not among the top 30.

For most Chinese, air transportation is relatively new. Thirty years ago, few average Chinese ever flied. Now with the country's dramatically expanded economy, faster life pace, as well as increase appetite for sightseeing and vacations, flight has become a major means of getting around. The recent resurgence of high-speed railway poses a serious competition but so has not stopped the growth of air transportation in China.

Currently there are three terminals at Beijing Capital International Airport. Terminal 3, the largest of its kind in the world, opened in 2008, just in time for the Beijing Olympic Games held in that year.