The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) hopes an offer of more and better-optimized slots will persuade foreign airlines to move to the new Beijing Daxing International Airport.

CAAC said it has acquired some international route rights at Daxing, scheduled to open in September, and is working to obtain more. The airport will achieve an initial scale in international operations when China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines move there from Beijing Capital International Airport, Yu Biao, deputy chief of the agency’s transportation section, said during a July 9 industry briefing.

Beijing Capital is closer to Beijing’s business districts, so some foreign airlines are hesitant to move to Daxing.

“If they chose to move to Daxing airport, they can get an increase and also optimization” in slots, Yu said. CAAC released a summary of Yu’s comments.

While Chinese airlines are being directed to move services to Daxing, CAAC is allowing foreign carriers choose between the airports or operate at both. Some foreign carriers already plan to move to the new facility. British Airways (BA) said it will shift all operations to Daxing from Beijing Capital beginning Oct. 27. BA operates Boeing 777s and 787s between Beijing and London Heathrow Airport.

LOT Polish Airlines said it will begin flying four times a week between Daxing and Warsaw from Oct. 28, using 787-8s and 787-9s. LOT will retain 3X-weekly service between Beijing Capital and Warsaw. 

LOT took the opportunity to fly from Daxing despite being part of the Star Alliance, for which fellow member Air China offers strong connections from Beijing Capital, its home base. 

“We have pursued higher frequency of flights to China for a few years because we see a great business potential in this connection. This new infrastructure investment, Daxing International Airport, opens new development opportunities for us,” LOT CEO Rafal Milczarski said.

Oneworld member Finnair said it will fly three times a week between Daxing and Helsinki beginning Nov. 3, using Airbus A330s.

Turkish Airlines, another Star Alliance member, told Chinese media it would consider connecting Daxing with Istanbul if it could get more service rights.

New service rights have been obtained for Capital Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, China United Airlines and Spring Airlines to fly between Daxing and the UK, Russia, South Korea and Egypt, Yu said, adding that work is proceeding on opening routes that would connect the airport with Japanese destinations and Paris.

The shift to Daxing of all Chinese members of the SkyTeam alliance, notably China Eastern, could create an incentive for other SkyTeam members. No mainland Chinese airline is a member of oneworld.

Bradley Perrett,

Kurt Hofmann,

Research by Ryan Wang