Airport Expressway (Beijing)

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Beijing Expwy S12 sign with name.svg
Airport Expressway (heading towards the airport, July 2004 image)
The old and the new: The Airport Expressway Toll Gate at Xiaotianzhu (August 2004 image)
Old Airport Road (August 2004 image)

The Airport Expressway (机场高速公路, Hanyu Pinyin: Jīchǎng Gāosù Gōnglù) is an expressway in Beijing, China, which links central Beijing to the Beijing Capital International Airport. It is just under 20 km in length.

Opened in 1993, the expressway links Sanyuanqiao on the northeastern 3rd Ring Road to Beijing Airport.

The Airport Expressway is named after Beijing Airport and numbered as S12.


The Airport Expressway runs entirely within the confines of the municipality of Beijing.

Basic Route: Beijing (Sanyuanqiao - Siyuan - Beigao - Xiaotianzu - Beijing Capital International Airport)

Status: The entire expressway is complete.


The expressway opened on September 14, 1993, following a year-long construction effort which began on July 2, 1992. Previously, all traffic used the old Airport Road, which was tested to the limit in the early 1990s.

This expressway has slashed driving time to the airport from the previous hour (using the old airport road) to just around 15 minutes. It is convenient and traffic is usually smooth.

Extension into the 2nd Ring Road[edit]

A 2.5 km stretch of expressway links Sanyuanqiao on the 3rd Ring Road to the area between Dongzhimen and Xiaojieqiao on the 2nd Ring Road. Construction started in 2004; it was finished in 2006.

Portions under Construction or Projection[edit]

Northern Approach Route[edit]

Further approach routes to the airport, most, if not all of them in the form of expressways, are on the drawing board. One of these has actually begun work, connecting neighbouring Jingcheng Expressway with the northern part of the airport, to form a northern approach route. This is the Northern Airport Line (Hanyu Pinyin: Jichang Beixian) and will be completed between 2005 and 2006.

It will commence at Lutong, just over halfway between the 5th Ring Road and the 6th Ring Road, on the Jingcheng Expressway. It will be a short 11 kilometres and connect with a projected airport ring road. This is expected to be completed in 2005.

The Northern Approach Route is important because the current Airport Expressway is beginning to fill up with traffic. While traffic jams on the expressway are infrequent, the frequent usage of the expressway and the incessant influx of visitors and users of the airport are factors influencing the construction of the Northern Approach Route. At rare times, the total vehicle flow on the Airport Expressway overwhelms the maximum projected limit.

In future, drivers can choose between the central approach route (Sanyuanqiao - Northeastern 4th Ring Road at Siyuan - Dashanzi - Xiaotianzu - Beijing Airport) or the northern approach route (Taiyanggong on the Northeastern 3rd Ring Road - Jingcheng Expressway through Lutong - Beijing Airport).

2nd Airport Expressway[edit]

Also mentioned is the concept of a wholly new, second airport expressway, which would start from eastern Beijing. A second airport expressway will stretch 23 kilometres.

This second airport expressway would run between the eastern 5th Ring Road and the eastern 6th Ring Road, starting up north from the airport all the way through to the second Jingjin Expressway (bound for Tianjin).

Road Conditions[edit]

Speed Limit[edit]

Leftmost lane: minimum 100 km/h, maximum 120 km/h. Other lanes: minimum 60 – 80 km/h, maximum 100 km/h.

August 2007. Speed limits signs at the Airport Expressway (Beijing)


CNY 0.5/km as of 5th Ring Road intersection for sections south of the toll gate. Entire stretch from Sanyuanqiao to Beijing Capital International Airport costs CNY 5 (price for small passenger cars). As of June 2011, the Airport Express is free of charge into the city, but retains the CNY 5 fare toward the airport.
Note: For frequent users, a sensor-style Express Transit Card is available.


6 lanes (3 up, 3 down) uniformly.

Surface Conditions[edit]



Good during the day. Mild traffic jams during rush hour, mostly in the southern section of the road near Beijing.

Major Exits[edit]

NE 2nd Ring Road, NE 3rd Ring Road, NE 4th Ring Road, Dashanzi, NE 5th Ring Road, Beigao, Xiaotianzu, Beijing Capital International Airport

Service Areas[edit]

None on the expressway. The Weigou exit has a gas station close to it (on the way back to Beijing).


Ring Roads of Beijing: Connects with the NE 2nd Ring Road between Dongzhimen and Xiaojieqiao, NE 3rd Ring Road at Sanyuanqiao, the NE 4th Ring Road at Siyuan, and the NE 5th Ring Road at Wuyuan Bridge.

List of Exits[edit]

Listed are exits heading northeast as of Beijing (2nd Ring Road)
Symbols: ↗ = exit, ⇆ = main interchange; → = only when heading for the airport; ← = only when heading for central Beijing; ↘ = exit only; ¥ = central toll gate

See also[edit]