China’s New $11.5 Billion Mega-Airport features World’s Biggest Terminal
China’s new $11.5 billion mega-airport in Beijing features ‘world’s biggest terminal’ the equivalent of 144 football pitches.
China is poised to overtake the United States as the world’s biggest air travel market by 2022 and it’s little wonder the country’s airport construction craze shows no signs of abating. The government has plans to build or expand 74 airports nationwide by the end of 2020, aiming to accommodate a whopping 720 million passengers a year.
No project is attracting more attention than Beijing Daxing International Airport, the Chinese capital’s new multibillion-dollar aviation hub slated to open in September 2019.
Beijing is in desperate need of a second global gateway. The existing Capital International Airport is hitting full capacity, making it nearly impossible for airlines to add flights at desirable times.
In 2017, more than 95 million passengers passed through the three terminals of Beijing Capital, the world’s second busiest airport behind only Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta.
The new Daxing airport, designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid and her Chinese partners, is built for the future, boasting four runways and a terminal the size of 144 football pitches upon the opening of the first phase.
The “modest” initial operational target is to accommodate 72 million passengers and two million tons of cargo annually by 2025. The ambitious master plan calls for the building of a total of seven runways and moving at least 100 million passengers and four million tons of cargo a year through the airport.
Construction for the $11.5 billion projects began in 2014, with more than 40,000 workers. The terminal bears all the hallmarks of Hadid’s signature contour lines, with plenty of natural light shining through rooftop windows.
For frequent fliers around the world, though, one big question lingers as the airport’s much-anticipated opening approaches: Which airlines will use Daxing?
It was going to be a crown jewel for Skyteam, one of the three global airline alliances, with China-based members China Southern and China Eastern becoming anchor carriers at Daxing. Other Skyteam members such as Delta, Korean and Air France-KLM will move to the new airport as well.
The airport is expected to officially open in September this year. There are two floors each devoted to arrivals and departures.
Beijing Daxing International Airport in numbers
The terminal at Beijing Daxing International Airport measures 1,000,000 square metres – or around 140 average football pitches (7,140 square metres each). Initially, there will be four runways, but there are plans for this to expand to seven in the future.
By 2025, some 72 million passengers will travel through the airport on some 630,000 flights a year – eventually, this will rise to 100 million. There are plans for a second terminal to be added to the airport although there are no concrete plans as to when this will happen.
Technology will also be important for the hub, with facial recognition being used throughout the airport. The same architects also designed the 80,000 square metre ground transportation building that sits below the terminal. This will link the terminal to high-speed trains as well as metro to central Beijing.
Beijing Daxing Airport is expected to be operational from September 30. Before that happens, there will be 787 tests, of which six are major test runs. Around 500 flights are expected to take part in these tests, and there will be simulations of 52,000 passenger journeys to iron out any issues.
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