Beijing's main hub is set to burst its capacity limit next year as it exceeds its 82 million passenger maximum for the first time.
Passenger throughput at Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) - where congestion has long been a bugbear - is expected to exceed the capacity limit by 500,000 passengers. The airport is now trying to tackle runway congestion.
It managed to increase aircraft movements from 83 in 2011 to 88 this year during peak hours, through working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority of China and the air traffic controllers, says Olivia Lee, BCIA's planning and development manager.
The aim is to be able to handle 125 movements during peak hours. To do so, BCIA is planning to upgrade its IT system to a more integrated one where real-time information is efficiently shared between air traffic control, airlines, ground handlers and the airport.
The airport will also start work in November to expand its second terminal, increasing capacity by 10 million. It will also open an unused section of its third terminal.
At Routes, BCIA is concentrating on talking to Middle Eastern and African carriers to grow its network in those regions.
"We're not very well connected to Africa, and we really want to expand our network there to cater to increasing passenger demands," says Lee.
Over 986 scheduled flights depart from the airport weekly to 104 international destinations in 51 countries.
The Chinese government is also planning to build a new airport in Beijing to ease congestion at BCIA. The airport will likely be located in Daxing, south of Beijing's political centre, and construction is likely to begin this year.
"A lot of research is ongoing into the setting up of a second airport. We're not sure how we'll be involved but we think if one operator handles both airports in Beijing, operations will be smoother," says Lee.