At around 11 pm on Wednesday, as the last flight took off from Beijing Nanyuan Airport, the 109-year-old airport officially retired from serving civil aircraft.
All its civil aircraft aviation operations will move to Beijing Daxing International Airport, which opened to traffic on the same day.
As the country’s first airport, it was built in 1910 and mainly used for military, serving as a training center for air and ground troops. At the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the Nanyuan airport supported a nearby aviation school that had sprung up in 1913, training more than 100 pilots who later became the backbone of China’s civil aviation industry.
It started serving as both a civilian and military airfield since 1984. With its small terminal expanded in 2012, Nanyuan airport became a supplement to Beijing Capital International Airport, to help ease air traffic pressure on its counterpart to the north. In 2018, Nanyuan airport processed 6.51 million passengers in total.
To deliver a seamless connection between the two airports, China United Airlines, which was using Nanyuan airport as its main hub, carried out several operating simulations before. On Wednesday, a total of 75 flights took off and landed at the airport — 38 inbound and 37 outbound, accommodating around 11,500 passengers.
On Tuesday, one day before its closing, people went to the airport to snap pictures or to even take a short flight and keep the plane ticket as a souvenir. The airport will likely be converted into an aviation museum.