The Abacus

Beijing's Daxing International Airport Opens

By: ACBC National

Last month Beijing’s massive new Daxing International Airport has officially opened just in time for China’s National Day celebrations.

Located in the Daxing district of south Beijing, the airport will carry the three letter IATA code of PKX and ease congestion of Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) - the world’s 2nd busiest airport.

Designed by the late Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid and her Chinese partners, the airport has been dubbed the world’s largest single terminal building at 1 million square metres, roughly the size of 100 football fields.

Despite its size, its builders say travelers will need to walk no more than 600 meters to reach any boarding gate. It only takes a passenger eight minutes to walk from the centre of the terminal building to the furthest departure gate.

Shaped like a phoenix and dubbed “The Starfish” by the Chinese media for its shape of five concourses connected to a main hall, construction for the $25 billion project began in 2014, with more than 40,000 workers on site at its peak.

Daxing is said to reflect unique Chinese cultural design principles drawn from courtyard houses, vistas, morphology of Chinese buildings. The sleek, modern interior design is striking, thanks in part to the 8,000 distinct rooftop windows that allow in the sun's rays.

Daxing will also be one of the most technologically developed airports and travelers will be scanned on cameras using facial recognition. Counters will be fully automated to capture face photos and relay them each part of the journey through the airport, including security and the departure gate.

State-owned China Southern is tipped to get 40 per cent of the slots at Daxing, China Eastern Airlines will take 30 per cent, and other airlines (reportedly mainly Oneworld airline partners) will account for the final 30 per cent. As Qantas partners with China Eastern, industry insiders expect it will be given Daxing landing slots.

Currently only domestic flights are departing Daxing although by April, flights will depart to 112 destinations around the globe. The ambitious master plan calls for the building of a total of seven runways (currently four), and moving at least 100 million passengers and 4 million tonnes of cargo a year through the airport.

Three urban rail lines and several expressways will connect the 5G-covered airport terminal with the city centre, Xiongan New Area and Beijing's surrounding areas. The capital has a third airport, Nanyuan, for domestic flights, but the Government says that will close once Daxing is in operation.

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