China, which is expected to become the largest aviation market in the world, relies on Thales to serve the growing number of air passengers in the Beijing area more safely and efficiently, and with a high-quality service. The newly-upgraded control centre of the airspace surrounding the Beijing Daxing International Airport will be able to manage 50% of additional daily flights within a year.
China picked Thales to support improving air traffic operation efficiency and enhancing the level of safety of the Beijing Daxing International Airport – the biggest airport in the world – as the country’s air traffic is expected to boom over the coming years.
Following the tremendous economic change and development of the country over the past decade, China‘s civil aviation market has seen the number of air passengers nearly triple, with a double-digit increase year-on-year. However, capacity is now a potential issue, as China is forecasted to become the world's largest aviation market by the mid-2020s. This is especially true for the capital Beijing, where the existing Beijing Capital International Airport already hit full capacity in 2018.
To relieve the pressure and satisfy the continuous growth trend, the Civil Aviation Authority of China decided to build a second international airport for the capital. Construction was successfully completed in June 2019, and the new airport - Beijing Daxing International - is now the world’s largest single-terminal airport, at 700,000 square metres. With 7 runways planned, it will ultimately handle more than 100 million passengers a year.
Furthermore, the Chinese authorities wanted to modernise the new Beijing terminal manoeuvring area control centre. Its air traffic control (ATC) automation system is likely to play a pivotal role in harmonising the region’s air traffic, since it not only covers Beijing Daxing International Airport, but also automates the Beijing Area Control Centre (ACC) and ATC towers in both Beijing Capital and Tianjin Binhai airports.
The Chinese authorities were looking for a company able to handle the complexity of thousands of flights per day with a more advanced and reliable air traffic management system and to support control of the air traffic of the North China Region. As a result, in 2016 the North China Air Traffic Management Bureau selected the consortium formed by Thales and Beijing EasySky Technology Ltd. (BEST) – a joint venture between Thales and Civil Aviation Air Traffic Control Technology & Equipment Development Co. Ltd - thanks to its state-of-art technology and excellent performance in the Air Traffic Management (ATM) domain.
The consortium delivered TopSky-ATC, the most advanced air traffic management system in the world, to help improve the efficiency of air traffic operations and to enhance the level of safety. The system features advanced redundant capabilities, including complete fallback flight data processing and flight plan synchronisation, as well as multi-sensor processing and alert systems that enable consistent operations.
The Beijing terminal manoeuvring area was the first in China to deploy Thales MAESTRO AMAN and DMAN technology at the same time, to sequence and balance airport and airspace traffic flows. This fully-integrated arrival and departure management system helps to reduce flight delays and increase the air capacity. Its advanced runway allocation processing also streamlines airline operations and reduces taxiing times.
In addition to the ATC system, Thales contributed Navaids and ATM radars to the safety surveillance and navigation service for airplane take-off and landing at Daxing International Airport. Thales and BEST also committed to a high-quality local service to guarantee the system’s performance over the next 5 years.
Supported by Thales, the new Daxing airport improves the safety support capabilities, expands capacity and enhances the operational efficiency of air traffic management. The newly-upgraded Beijing terminal manoeuvring area control centre will be capable of managing 2,900 flights per day by the autumn of 2020, compared to the current maximum of 1,900 flights.
Ensuring the safety and efficiency of 60% of China’s air traffic, Thales is committed to delivering ever more innovative technologies and consistent support to contribute to the booming future development of China’s civil aviation.