China opens new Beijing airport with world’s largest terminal
BEIJING—President Xi Jinping on Sept. 25 inaugurated a second international airport for the Chinese capital with the world’s biggest terminal.
Beijing’s Daxing International Airport is designed to handle 72 million passengers a year. Located on the capital’s south side, it was built in less than five years at a cost of 120 billion yuan (US$17 billion.)
The airline’s first commercial flight, a China Southern Airlines plane bound for the southern province of Guangdong, took off Wednesday afternoon, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Six more flights took off later for Shanghai and other destinations.
The main Beijing airport, located in the city’s northeast, 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 largest at 1 million square metres (11 million square feet.)
Despite that, its builders say travellers will need to walk no more than 600 metres (2,000 feet) to reach any boarding gate.
The vast, star-shaped airport is about 45 kilometres south of downtown Beijing. It has four runways, with plans for as many as three more.
Carriers include British Airways and state-owned China Southern, the country’s biggest airline by passengers, plan to move to Daxing from Beijing Capital International Airport.
The capital has a third airport, Nanyuan, for domestic flights, but the government says that will close once Daxing is in operation.