Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has commissioned another international airport in Beijing with a terminal billed as the world’s biggest.
Beijing Daxing International Airport, built in less than five years for N5.88 trillion (120 billion yuan /$16.8 billion), is designed to handle 72 million passengers a year.
The airline’s first commercial flight, a China Southern Airlines plane bound for the southern province of Guangdong, took off on Wednesday afternoon, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Six more flights took off later for Shanghai and other destinations.
The Chinese capital’s main airport is the world’s second-busiest after Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and is nearing capacity. Daxing, designed by the late Iraqi-British architect, Zaha Hadid, includes a terminal billed as the world’s biggest at one million square metres (11 million square feet).
Despite that, its builders said travellers would need to walk no more than 600 metres (2,000ft) to reach any boarding gate.The vast, star-shaped airport is 30 miles south of downtown Beijing. It has four runways, with plans for as many as three more. Both foreign and domestic carriers have plans to move their operations to the new airport, and British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Finnair have already announced new routes to tap into the potential of the modern aviation hub.
The SkyTeam alliance, which includes Delta, Air France and Dutch airline KLM, was also expected to move there, along with local partners Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.
Details: The airport is 46 kilometres (29 mi) south of Tiananmen Square, 26 kilometres (16 mi) west of downtown Langfang, 50 kilometres (31 mi) northeast of Xiong’an New Area, and 65 kilometres (40 mi) south of Beijing Capital International Airport, and is expected to serve Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei.
It serves as a hub for SkyTeam alliance airlines and some Oneworld members, while Star Alliance members will stay at Beijing Capital International Airport (with exception of LOT Polish Airlines, which also will serving Daxing). Hainan Airlines, which accounted for 10% of Beijing Capital International’s passenger seat capacity in 2016, but is not part of any major alliance, remains at Capital Airport.
After almost five years of construction, the $63 billion facility features a 7.5 million square foot terminal and sits on 18 sq mi (47 km2) of land, making it the world’s largest single-terminal airport.