109-year-old airport officially retired from serving civil aircraft

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.

109-year-old airport officially retired from serving civil aircraftAll its civil aircraft aviation operations will move to Beijing Daxing International Airport, which opened to traffic on the same day.

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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.

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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.

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