Twenty airlines will move into the third terminal (T3) of the Beijing Capital International Airport next Wednesday, shifting 60 percent of the airport's handling capacity to the new building.
Insiders say it will be a real test of the world's largest terminal.
The airport said at a press conference yesterday that T3 has been operating smoothly since the first batch of six carriers moved in on February 29.
Since then, it has handled about 40 flights and 5,000 passengers daily.
"There were some trivial problems, but they didn't affect passengers or the terminal's overall operation," deputy general manager of the Capital Airport Holding Co Dong Zhiyi said.
"Passenger feedback indicated the signage in T3 needed improvement," he said.
"We have made efforts to improve this and also carried out emergency drills to prepare for malfunctions of the automatic people mover system and the luggage system," he said.
But the biggest headache for the airport is the daily average of 300 passengers who go to the wrong terminal building.
Huang Gang, who is in charge of T3's management, said a survey conducted between February 29 and March 16 showed 7,112 passengers took the free shuttle buses that carry passengers among the three terminals.
It also found 1,089 passengers ended up in the wrong terminal and got on the shuttle buses on T3's opening day. The number has since declined steadily, reaching 323 by March 16.
Analysis of the reasons people end up in the wrong terminals found 26 percent of passengers weren't given sufficient information by carriers, 19 percent were given incorrect information by carriers and 17 percent didn't know airlines were moving to T3.
It also found 16 percent of these passengers were dropped off at the wrong place by a taxi and 13 percent disembarked from the airport bus at the wrong stop.
"We have printed and distributed 1.9 million brochures for taxi drivers, tourist agencies and other places since December, but it hasn't been particularly effective," Huang said.
And there are concerns that things could get worse after Air China and 19 other carriers move to T3 next Wednesday.
The airport will continue to arrange shuttle buses to assist passengers from 6 am to 11 pm outside Gate 5 of T3 and Gate 11 of T2, he said.
Because stricter security check measures were adopted over the weekend, he also reminded domestic flight passengers to arrive at the airport at least two hours before takeoff.
Contrary to earlier announcements, not all express flights between Beijing and Shanghai Hongqiao will move to T3.
Huang said the Beijing-Shanghai express flights carried by China Eastern, China Southern and Hainan Airlines will remain in T2, while those carried by Air China and Shanghai Airlines will move into T3.
1. How many airlines will move to Beijing Capital International Airport’s Terminal 3 on Wednesday?
2. What feedback did passengers give about T3?
3. What are some reasons why some people end up in the wrong terminal?
2.Signage needs improvement.
3.Carriers either didn’t give sufficient information, carriers gave out the wrong information, or people didn’t know airlines were moving to T3.
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Bernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.