Flying into China’s massive capital city proves a captivating experience. Beijing sprawls across 6,300 square miles, offering stunning views from every plane window. The vistas, however, soon dwindle upon arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport, the largest air hub in China and the second-largest and -busiest airport in the world.
Travel through Beijing Capital is burgeoning. Passenger numbers rose 9 percent in September alone, with more than 8.1 million travelers served. This trend is nothing new for Beijing Capital; traveler numbers steadily grew at 8.6 percent per year, doubling from 2004 to 2010.
Despite the rapidly rising number of patrons, overall growth at Beijing Capital slowed due to severe capacity restraints, and as a result the city will open its second major airport in 2019. The new airport, located in Beijing’s Daxing District, will serve 45 million annually in its first phase and expand to serve 100 million. Several major airlines, including China Eastern and China Southern, will relocate to the new hub upon the project’s completion. The opening of the second airport is expected to ease congestion at Beijing Capital for a smoother travel experience for the growing Chinese tourism market.
While the airport experienced many challenges over the past few years due to the growing numbers of travelers and a rise in Chinese tourism, vast improvements lie on the horizon. The airport is embarking on efficiency and safety improvements as it increases the number of flights and transitions airlines to the new Daxing airport. A joint venture between Thales and Beijing EasySky Technology will automate the airport’s terminal maneuvering space, area control space and airport operations to maximize efficiency and ease of travel.
Airline competition is also on the rise, as Qantas recently beat Virgin Australia to start flights beginning Jan. 25, 2017, after a seven-year hiatus, between Sydney (SYD) and Beijing (PEK). The airport also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Fraport AG and Air China to expand flight frequencies between Beijing and Frankfurt (FRA).
Beijing Capital boasts three terminals, including supersized Terminal 3, the second-largest in the world after Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3. Since its opening in 2008 for the Summer Olympics, Beijing’s Terminal 3 has undergone massive renovation and expansion projects. Known for its luxury and convenience, the terminal offers a 78,000-square-foot service area with business and internet centers, banks and other amenities, as well as a $240 million luggage transfer system, allowing for easy and accurate tracking and quick luggage retrieval. Aesthetic projects continue, but travelers already enjoy the indoor imperial-style gardens and the iconic red roof symbolizing luck in Chinese culture. The terminal’s “global kitchen” offers 72 stores for a wide variety of food options.
The next several years will see big changes for Beijing Capital, but the improvements thus far look promising.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
FOR THOSE OF US PASSIONATE about wellness pursuits and who feel most at peace close to the sea, there’s nothing quite like the synergy offered by a floating spa integrated into the setting of a luxurious cruise ship. I’m sailing through the Mediterranean from Rome to Barcelona, discovering along the way that the Crystal Life Spa & Beauty Salon on board the Crystal Serenity provides not only the element of high-end indulgence but also the cruise line’s signature commitment to attention and service.
CONSIDERING THAT JUST A LITTLE more than a century ago — 1910, to be exact — Miami’s population was only about 5,400 people, it’s easy to see why this South Florida hot spot has long been considered a boomtown. And the evolution continues to impress as the city gears up to welcome an array of new services, amenities and experiences.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Ethiopian Airlines added a daily non-stop between Brussels (BRU) and Addis Ababa (ADD). The carrier previously made stopovers in Vienna (VIE) three days a week, increasing the journey time from seven hours to nine.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Last month, British Airways announced plans to offset carbon emissions from all its flights within the United Kingdom. The initiative begins next year and carbon emissions are offset via the United Nations’ carbon offsetting scheme, which invests in carbon reduction projects around the world, such as reforestation and rainforest protection.