Chinese President Xi Jinping opened a futuristic new starfish-shaped airport in Beijing, the Daxing International Airport on September 25, 2019. The multi-billion-dollar airport comes days ahead of China's 70th anniversary on October 1, celebrating Communist rule in the country. The airport is expected to become one of the busiest in the world.
The airport currently has four runways and is expected to expand to eight runways by 2040. At its full capacity by 2040, the airport is expected to accommodate 100 million passengers a year and cater to 1.6 billion plane journeys each year. At its full capacity, the airport will be the world's largest in terms of traveller capacity. It is said to be the world’s largest single-building airport terminal spanning across 700,000 sq meters.
Currently, the Atlanta airport in the United States, which is the world’s busiest airport, can receive more than a hundred million passengers, but across two terminals. The other airport in Beijing, the Capital International Airport is the world’s second-largest airport and is already overflowing, with just over 100 million passengers annually.
The new mega-airport, the second in Beijing, was designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid in the shape of a starfish with five connected concourses. The project cost 120 billion yuan ($17.5 billion). Underneath the terminal is a train station and metro line that will allow travelers to quickly and easily commute from the airport. The airport has enabled high tech features, including, customer-service robots to deliver flight information and facial recognition-enabled check-in.
Domestic and foreign airlines, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Finnair, have said they will move all or part of their operations to the new airport. However, the third-largest Chinese airline, Air China, is expected to keep flying the bulk of its flights from Beijing Capital International Airport, probably wanting the new airport to be tried and tested before making any commitments.
China is expected to surpass the US to become the world’s largest market for airport travel by 2022. This airport, the officials believe, will pave way for that, reducing the problems the aviation sector in China is fraught with, including, flight disruptions, frequents delays, and overcapacity.
China prepares itself to mark the 70 years of Communist rule which will display China's largest-ever military parade and a show of the country's strength. The nation readies its tanks and missiles which will roll out across the streets of central Beijing on October 1. The pigeons are caged, dogs are banned, and the Internet slowed ahead of the mega event. The Chinese capital has come to a standstill during the rehearsals. The security and access to foreign websites have been heightened. The residents in the 22 million mega-city appear to be very excited and enthusiastic.