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Beijing Capital Airport

beijing capital airport

The Beijing Capital International Airport is the main international airport in Beijing, China. The airport is located in Chaoyang District. It is about 25.35km from the Tian-anmen Square, and about 20 mi/32 km northeast of the city center. The airport is also surrounded by the Shunyi District, a rural area in Beijing.

Fast Facts

Chinese name: 北京首都国际机场
Address: Beijing Capital International Airport Company Limited, Capital Airport, Beijing, China
Airport Code: PEL
Website: en.bcia.com.cm
Address: Chaoyang District, Beijing
Telephone number: 86-10-64541100


The Beijing Capital International Airport is considered as the second busiest airport in the world ranked based on passenger traffic and the 14th busiest airport in terms of cargo traffic. It is also ranked as the 8th in the world in terms of aircraft movements (take off and landings), making it the only Asian airport in the top 30 airports in the world. 


Terminal 1

The oldest building in the airport is Terminal 1, which was erected in 1958 when the airport first opened. In 1980, Terminal 2 was added, after which Terminal 1 was renovated. The improved Terminal 1 was then opened in 2004.

Terminal 1 currently services China Southern Airlines’ domestic and international flights as well as the domestic flights of Hainan Airlines and its various subsidiaries. It also serves Grand China Air and Deer Air.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2, on the other hand, services other domestic and international flights from other airlines, including Hainan Airlines’ international flights. Terminal 2 also serves China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Air France, and SkyTeam members.

Terminal 3

To accommodate the increase in traffic, China added the Terminal 3 in time for the 2008 Olympic Games. Terminal 3 of the Beijing Capital International Airport is now considered as the second largest airport terminal in the world, second only to the Terminal 3 in Dubai International Airport.

By area, it is also considered as the fifth largest building in the world. It currently also uses a 240 million dollar luggage transfer system that uses bar codes and matches these with the bar code on every piece of luggage. This enables accurate and convenient luggage tracking.

Terminal 3 currently houses Air China, Oneworld, and Star Alliance members, as well as other domestic and international flights that are not housed by Terminals 1 and 2. These include Scandinavian Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Air Canada, Shanghai Airlines, United Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Macau Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Qantas, and British Airways. Additional, Terminal 3 has a runway dedicated for the Airbus A380; this is being used by Emirates Airline, China Southern Airlines, and Lufthansa.

Transportation To/From the City

Passengers going to or coming from both urban and rural areas in Beijing can travel with ease thanks to the strategic and convenient location of the Beijing Capital International Airport.

Buses to/from the city

There are six different bus routes that can take you to the Beijing Capital International Airport from various points in the city, and vice versa. The bus fee for the urban shuttles is 16 Yuan per person for a single trip. Shuttle buses depart every 15 minutes or when the bus is full.

Bus Routes

• BCIA t0/from Fangzhuang
• BCIA to/from Xidan
• BCIA to/from Beijing Railway Station
• BCIA to/from Gongzhufen
• BCIA to/from Zongguancun
• BCIA to/from Beijing West Railway Station
• BCIA to/from Shangdi
• BCIA to/from Tongzhou

Shuttle bus tickets are available at the airport at these locations:

Terminal 1 – Gate 7, First Floor
Terminal 2 – Gate 9 to 11, First Floor
Terminal 3 – Zone A Exit, Second Floor; Near Gates 5, 7, and 11, First Floor

Provincial shuttle buses

As for those who live in other provinces, there are also buses traveling between the Beijing Capital International Airport and Qinhuangdao, Tianjin, and Tanggu. Bus fees are 70 yuan per person for the Beijing-Tianjin route, 80 yuan per person for Beijing-Tanggu, 126 yuan per person for Beijing-Qinhuangdao.


When driving to Beijing Capital International Airport, there are four express toll ways that you can take, two of which come from northeastern Beijing. The other two express toll ways are then connected to nearby highways.

Terminals 1 and 2: If coming from the northeastern 3rd Ring Road at Sanyuanqiao, you can take the Airport Expressway, which runs 20 km going to Terminals 1 and 2. If coming from Jingcheng Expressway, you can take the Northern Airport Line, an 11.3 km toll road that will bring you to Terminals 1 and 2.

Terminal 3: If coming from the east at Yaojiayuan Lu and the eastern 5th Ring Road, you can take the 2nd Airport Expressway, which travels 15.6 km going to Terminal 3. You can also take the Southern Airport Line, a toll road that runs from the Jingcheng Expressway, takes the eastern 6th Ring Road and the Litian Bridge, and crosses the Airport Expressway and the 2nd Airport Expressway. This passes by Terminal 3 then heads on to Terminals 1 and 2.

There is one untolled road to the airport, which is the Old Airport Road; the two-lane road runs to the south of the Airport Expressway. 


Taking a taxi is the most convenient and most recommended way to travel to the Beijing Capital International Airport for tourists. There are more than 70,000 taxis in Beijing, and most of the drivers can speak simple English. Taxi flag down rate is 10 yuan in the daytime; this applies for the first three kilometers. Succeeding kilometers are charged 2 yuan each within the first 15 kilometers. For trips longer than 15 kilometers or 8 miles, the per-kilometer fee is increased to 3 yuan per kilometer.

In the nighttime or from 1:00 to 5:00 in the morning, the flag fall is 11 yuan for the first 3 kilometers, and each kilometer is charged 2.4 yuan for the first 15 kilometers and 3.4 yuan for every kilometer exceeding 15. Waiting time or stationary time is charged 1 kilometer for every 5 minutes.

When travelling to the Capital Airport from the city proper and vice versa, taking a taxi will cost anywhere between 100 and 200 yuan. Before getting on the cab, ask the driver whether he will use the meter; some drivers do not do so when traveling to busy areas, such as the airport. In case the driver does not use the meter, be sure to negotiate the fare.


The Beijing Capital International Airport can be conveniently accessed via the Airport Express Line of the Beijing Subway. The line runs for 28.1 km/17.5 miles, which encompasses Terminal 3, Terminal 2, and the city center, before it stops at Dongzhimen and Sanyuanqiao. The Airport Express Line opened in July 19, 2008. Taking this line to go to the airport takes about 16 to 20 minutes.

Inter-Terminal Transportation

For those who need to move within the terminals, there are also transport provisions. Terminal 3 is divided into two different parts, 3C and 3E, with a two-kilometer distance between them. There is an automated people mover that facilitates the transport between the two buildings. The people mover can take you to and from the two terminals within 2 minutes.

Terminals 1 and 2 are connected by a walkway that takes 15 minutes to walk. You may also take the free inter-terminal shuttle, which leaves every 10 minutes from 6am to 11pm and every 30 minutes between 11pm and 6am. The inter-terminal shuttle also stops at Terminal 3.