ⓘ Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

ⓘ Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is the major airport of Guangzhou, Guangdong province. Both airport codes were inherited from the former Baiyun Airport, and the IATA code is derived from Guangzhous historical romanization Canton. Baiyun Airport serves as a hub for China Southern Airlines, FedEx Express, 9 Air, Hainan Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines.

In 2017, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport was Chinas third-busiest and worlds 13th-busiest airport by passenger traffic, with 65.806.977 passengers handled. As for cargo traffic, the airport was Chinas third-busiest and the 19th-busiest worldwide. Baiyun airport was also the third-busiest airport in China in terms of aircraft movements.


1.1. Overview 1932–2004

The old Baiyun Airport opened in 1932. Due to the expansion of Guangzhou, the airport could not expand to meet passengers needs as buildings surrounded the airport. On August 5, 2004, the new Baiyun airport opened and the old airport was closed.


1.2. Overview Since 2004

The new airport is located in Guangzhous Baiyun District and Huadu District and opened on August 5, 2004 as a replacement for the 72-year-old, identically named former airport, which is now closed. Built at a cost of 19.8 billion yuan, the new airport is 28 kilometres 17 mi north of downtown Guangzhou and nearly five times larger than its predecessor. "Baiyun" 白云 means "white cloud" in Chinese and refers to the Baiyun Mountain Baiyunshan, near the former airport even though the mountain is much closer to downtown Guangzhou than it is to the new airport. It is also referred to as "New Baiyun" to distinguish it from the previous airport, but this is not a part of the official name.

Former curfews and restrictions did not apply to the new airport so it could operate 24 hours a day, allowing China Southern Airlines to maximise intercontinental route utilisation with overnight flights. Other airlines also benefit from the removal of previous restrictions.


2. Data

  • Runways: 3 - 3.800 metres 12.500 ft, 3.800 metres 12.500 ft and 3.600 metres 11.800 ft
  • Current passenger capacity: 45 million passengers per year
  • Planned passenger capacity in 2020: 80 million passengers per year
  • Aircraft parking bays: 173 passenger apron and cargo apron
  • Planned cargo capacity in 2020: 2.5 million tonnes
  • Current cargo capacity: 1 million tonnes
  • Planned branch airports: Shaoguan, Zhaoqing
  • Branch airports: Jieyang, Meizhou, Zhanjiang
  • Destinations: 100 mostly domestic

3.1. Facilities Terminal 1

Terminal 1 has three components, Main Terminal, Area A and Area B. All check-in counters and most retail stores are placed at the Main Terminal. The two concourses controlled by individual security checkpoints, named Area A and Area B, are the boarding gates, security checkpoints, border control, custom & quarantine, baggage reclaim and relative facilities.

Since 24 January 2016, East Pier 1 & 2 are dedicated to serve international flights, domestic flights occupy the rest.


3.2. Facilities Terminal 2

Terminal 2 opened on April 26, 2018, with an area measuring over 658.000 square metres. When Terminal 2 officially operates, it will be typically home to China Southern Airlines. In addition, most of SkyTeam member airlines will also typically operate in Terminal 2.

The new transport centre GTC is under construction on the south of terminal 2, passengers will be able to go to Guangzhou downtown by taking metro, rail, bus or taxi there.


3.3. Facilities FedEx Asia-Pacific hub

On July 13, 2005, FedEx Express signed a contract with the airport authority to relocate its Asia-Pacific hub from Subic Bay International Airport in the Philippines to Baiyun airport. The new Asia-Pacific hub covers an area of approximate 63 hectares 160 acres, with a total floor space of 82.000 square metres 880.000 sq ft. At the beginning of operation, the hub employed more than 800 people and operated 136 flights a week, providing delivery services among 20 major cities in Asia and linking these cities to more than 220 countries and territories in the world. The Guangzhou hub was, at the time of the opening, the largest FedEx hub outside the United States, but it was later surpassed by the expanded hub at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

The hub has its own ramp control tower, a first for an international air express cargo company facility in China, which enables FedEx to control aircraft movements on the ground, aircraft parking plans as well as loading and unloading priorities. Included at the hub are a unique package and sorting system with 16 high-speed sorting lines, seven round-out conveyor belts and 90 primary and secondary document-sorting splits. With the new advanced system, up to 24.000 packages can be sorted an hour at the start of operations.

Construction began in 2006 and the hub was originally scheduled to open on December 26, 2008. On November 17, 2008, after several months of testing, FedEx announced that the opening date was delayed to the first half of 2009 when the hub was expected to be fully operational. FedEx claimed that the revised operation date "provided FedEx with the necessary time to fully test all systems and processes, as well as work closely with the Guangzhou authorities to ensure all necessary approvals are in place".

On December 17, 2008, the hub completed its first flight operations test. A FedEx MD-11 aircraft took off from Subic Bay International Airport in the Philippines and landed at Baiyun Airport at 5:50 am. The flight was handled by the new FedEx hub team, using the FedEx ramp control tower and the new 24.000 package per hour sort system. Following a successful operations process, the flight departed on time for its final destination at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. This Asia-Europe flight route operated four times per week during test run. FedEx also announced that the hub would start operation on February 6, 2009.

FedEx closed its 13-year-old Asia-Pacific hub at Subic Bay of northern Philippines on February 6, 2009 with the last flight leaving for Taiwan just before dawn, while hub operations have moved to Baiyun Airport. The first flight that arrived at the new FedEx Asia-Pacific hub originated from Indianapolis International Airport. The MD-11 aircraft landed at 11:07 pm at Baiyun International Airport from Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, marking the opening and full operations of the new Asia-Pacific hub.


3.4. Facilities Runways

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport now has three runways. The third runway opened on February 5, 2015, which temporarily tackled the long‐standing capacity obstacle. The operation of the third runway expanded Baiyun Airports capacity, pushing business up. Unfortunately, the third runway can only be used for landing, as its airspace conflicts with Foshan airport. The airport is planning to build two additional runways.


4. Expansion

In August 2008, the airports expansion plan was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission.

It included a third runway, 3.800 metres in length and 60 metres in width, located 400 metres to the east of the existing east runway. The centrepiece of the project is a 658.000-square-metre Terminal 2. Other facilities comprise new indoor and outdoor car parks and a transportation centre with metro and inter-city train services. The total cost of the entire project was estimated to be around ¥18.854 billion. Construction of the third runway began in 2012 and the runway commenced operation in early 2015. The whole project including the new terminal was scheduled to be finished in February 2018, at which time the airport will be able to handle 80 million passengers and 2.5 million tonnes of cargo a year.

According to its master plan, Baiyun Airport will eventually have five runways and a third terminal building, located between the third and fifth runways. When completed, the passenger and cargo handling capacity of the airport will be increased to over 100 million and 5 million tonnes, respectively. A preliminary timetable gives the completion date of 2022.


5.1. Ground transportation Inter-Terminal

There is a free shuttle bus that goes between Terminals 1 and 2.


5.2. Ground transportation Road

The airport is connected to downtown Guangzhou by the S41 Guangzhou Airport Expressway.


5.3. Ground transportation Rail

Guangzhou–Foshan circular intercity railway which is under construction will set the Baiyun Airport Terminal 1 Station, the Baiyun Airport Terminal 2 Station and the Baiyun Airport Terminal 3 Station in the airport. The rail will connect the airport to the Guangzhou South railway station and the Guangzhou North railway station.


5.4. Ground transportation Metro

Baiyun International Airport is served by the Airport South Station serving Terminal 1 and the Airport North Station serving Terminal 2 on Line 3 of Guangzhou Metro.

In the future, Guangzhou Metro Line 18 has a plan to link the airport to the Guangzhou downtown.