GT on the spot: Beijing airport welcomes cross-border flights on first day China downgrades COVID measures
Published: Jan 08, 2023 12:48 PM
Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT

Flight CX344 from Hong Kong to Beijing with 291 passengers on board arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport at around 10:40 am, marking the first cross-border flight landing in Beijing Capital International Airport on Sunday, the first day on which China downgraded its COVID-19 management measures from Class A to Class B.

Global Times reporters went to Beijing Capital International Airport on Sunday morning and learned that there will be a total of 10 cross-border flights arriving at Beijing Capital International Airport on Sunday, eight from Terminal 3 and two from Terminal 2, including inbound flights from Warsaw, Frankfurt and Madrid.

As the downgrading of COVID-19 measures means there will be no more quarantine for people entering the country, the entry-exit frontier inspection point at the airport has ended the inbound specific check at Terminal 3-D. 

A Global Times reporter saw that the previous closed loop area has been removed and there were no anti-epidemic workers in white protective clothing but airport staff in blue uniform. Inbound travelers won't receive COVID-19 testing at the airport or get transferred to specific hotels for quarantine, but need to fill in their COVID-19 testing results by themselves and take temperature before getting through the customs, where an epidemiological investigation window is still set for those having a fever.

For inbound passengers, it generally takes them two to three minutes to pass through each entry section such as at the customs, epidemiological investigation and border inspection.

It's much more convenient to come back for Spring Festival as I don't have to quarantine at home or centralized zones any more but only need to take nucleic acid testing before boarding, a student surnamed Wu on board of Flight CX344 told the Global Times at the airport. 

Wu said he flew from the US and transferred in Hong Kong. "I took the COVID-19 test at 2 am in Hong Kong and then boarded the plane at 4 am with the negative testing result."

"I cannot believe the whole process went so smoothly. I'm so excited that I can directly come back home," said another passenger surnamed Chang who once quarantined in Hong Kong for three days and then experience "7+3" quarantine process in Beijing in last September.

Chang said she immediately changed the date of flight ticket from Saturday to Sunday after knowing the changing of entry policy. "My child currently goes to school in the US and I planned to visit him more this year."

According to China's National Immigration Administration, the 24/144-hour visa-free transit policy will resume at the Beijing port starting from Sunday, with five special windows set up at the border inspection station at Terminal 3-E to accept applications for temporary entry permits for foreigners.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said the international flights travelling to Beijing will not have to enter the country through other Chinese cities any more from Sunday.