BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Beijing Daxing International Airport, a new aviation hub in the Chinese capital, started international flight operation Sunday, joining the country's expanding airport network to serve outbound and inbound travelers.
During winter and spring, a total of 570,000 passenger trips are expected to be made via 15 overseas flight routes at the airport, which boasts fast customs clearance services thanks to smart technologies.
Airports across China are seeing flights to and from a growing number of overseas destinations, as domestic and international airlines race to tap the booming international aviation market.
China's international aviation market is small compared with some countries, but enjoys fast growth and huge potential, said Zhao Wei, a professor with the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China, at the 2019 China Aviation and Tourism Forum.
The steady expansion of the outbound tourism market and the large number of individuals who are yet to enjoy air travel will drive the sector's rise, Zhao said.
China is the world's largest outbound tourism market. About 81.29 million overseas trips were made during the first half of this year, up 14 percent year on year. The total for the whole year might grow 12 percent year on year to reach about 168 million trips, the China Tourism Academy predicted.
The country's airports saw 126 million cross-border passenger trips made in 2018, up 13 percent over 2017. The McKinsey Global Institute foresaw threefold growth in the number of people in China able to afford airline travel in the next 10 years, with the upper strata of China's fast-growing middle class poised to become the principal engine of air-travel spending.
With the outbound travel market booming, the number of overseas airlines and destinations entering the Chinese market continues to increase, observed Brenda He, managing director with tourism marketing and sales services provider Travel Link Group, which saw growing market demand from overseas airlines and tourism authorities.
To improve international air travelers' experience, aviation services should be developed in coordination with tourism development and destinations promotion, He said.
Li Xiaoping, senior vice president with China's largest online travel agency Ctrip, said airports need to upgrade their infrastructure and services to improve travelers' experience by meeting their diversifying consumption and entertainment demands.
Future airports will become social-networking and cultural venues, Li said. "An airport can become a sightseeing spot in its own right."