New Delhi, Jul 18: The airspace over the Chinese capital, Beijing, will be closed for about five hours during the Olympics opening ceremony on August 8 as part of the security measures.
Flights that are not linked to the Olympics will not be allowed to take off or land between 8:00 p.m. and midnight (Beijing time) at the Beijing Capital International Airport, according to Chinese media reports. Beijing Capital International Airport assistant general manager Huang Gang confirmed the closure was part of Olympic security measures. The unprecedented closure in Chinese aviation history may cause dozens of flights to delay or reschedule. The Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific said it has received the notice from the Beijing airport authority, the China Daily reported. The airline has rescheduled Beijing-bound Flight CX312 from Hong Kong to 9:45 p.m. to allow for the shut down, according to Maria Yu, a spokeswoman for the company. The original departure time for the flight was 4:45 p.m.
Air China will also cancel four flights between Hong Kong and Beijing, while Dragon Air will cancel six flights - three from Hong Kong and three heading for Hong Kong.
The closure may also affect flight schedules at Shanghai Airport as many flights chartered for the Olympic Games will stop there. At least 20 flights from Shanghai to Beijing will be postponed or cancelled.
Surface-to-air missile launchers have been deployed just 300 meters from the National Stadium, "the Bird's Nest", to guard the main venue.
The Beijing Capital International Airport will also implement special security checks from July 20. Security checking equipment will be installed at the entrances of all three terminal buildings of the airport, an airport spokesman said in Beijing earlier this week.