Beijing Capital says closure of some shops will not seriously affect revenue Beijing Capital International Airport will remove some retail space this year to make room for passenger traffic that could exceed 40 million. Company secretary Shu Yong said the H-share airport operator had chosen to sacrifice rental revenues from stores because unlike airports in the west, mainland airports derive more profits from aeronautical operations than non-aeronautical activities. 'The closure of some shops will not substantially affect our revenues, as those shops will be close to the check-in counters,' he said. 'Most passengers are more anxious to check in than shop.' Chairman Wang Zhanbin said the airport's passenger throughput may reach 40 million this year, up from 34.88 million last year. His projection was backed by a 17 per cent year-on-year throughput growth in the first two months of this year, while aircraft movement rose 9.8 per cent. Last year, the airport sourced 57 per cent of turnover from aeronautical operations, with non-aeronautical providing the rest. To cope with growing throughput, the airport will spend 1.2 billion yuan before 2008 to renovate facilities such as the boarding gates, baggage-moving facilities and check-in counters. Company parent Capital Airport Holding is also investing in the 19 billion yuan expansion of Phase III, but announcement of a financing plan has been delayed as the central government has yet to give its approval, Mr Wang said. It is understood that Beijing Capital has failed to reach an agreement with its parent on how much each will contribute to the project, although they will be responsible for 15 billion yuan of the costs. The Beijing municipal government will fund the remaining four billion yuan. 'The financing plan should come out in June or July,' he said. In August last year, he said it was expected to be approved by the central government by the end of last year. When completed in late 2007 or early 2008 before the Beijing Olympics, Phase III will add 31 million a year of passenger capacity. After engaging in a merger and acquisition frenzy in 2003, Capital Airport now operates 17 airports on the mainland, but Mr Wang had no comment on whether some would be injected into Beijing Capital. Beijing Capital yesterday posted an 87.3 per cent net profit rise to 749.35 million yuan. Turnover rose 38.5 per cent to 3.13 billion yuan. Passenger throughput rose 43.2 per cent to 34.88 million, as aircraft movements rose 29.2 per cent to 304,778. Freight throughput rose only 1 per cent to 668,690 tonnes. General manager Wang Jiadong blamed the small gain on the positioning of the airport as a passenger-focused airport, lower revenues of the cargo business and that cargo airlines in Beijing have yet to generate much business. 'Cargo volume of Beijing's peripheral areas is not as much as in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai,' he said, but added the airport's development into an aviation hub and faster economic development in northeast China would help lift cargo throughput growth in the future.