The world’s biggest single-building airport terminal has opened in Beijing.
Daxing International airport, which viewed from above looks like a dramatic, sprawling starfish, is set to welcome 72 million travellers a year by 2025.
Work on the building began less than five years ago. The £50bn project opened to much fanfare on 25 September 2019, with an inauguration ceremony attended by President Xi Jinping.
The 700,000sqm airport, designed by architect Zaha Hadid before she died in 2016, is the Chinese capital’s second mega-airport, following in the footsteps of Beijing Capital International Airport.
It means Beijing has joined the elite band of cities, including London, Paris, Tokyo and New York, which have two long-haul international airports.
The unusual terminal building has five connected concourses serving four runways.
Plans are already afoot to expand this to eight runways, with capacity for 100 million passengers annually, by 2040, reports The Guardian.
Despite the expansive design, the journey from security to the furthest gate is just 600m.
The building features a central atrium supported by eight C-shaped columns, each of which has a 106m wide skylight at the top.
The airport is located 30 miles south of downtown Beijing, meaning rail and road links also had to be constructed to connect it to the city proper.
The first commercial flight from the airport took off this afternoon – the China Southern Airlines aircraft was bound for Guangdong in the south.
A further six flights followed it.
Airlines including British Airways, Finnair and Air China, have announced they will move all or part of their current operations to Daxing.
It’s believed China’s air travel market will overtake that of the US by 2022.
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