7 Facts to Know About the new Beijing Daxing International Airport

Beijing Daxing: The World’s Largest Single-Terminal Airport Is Now Open

China’s newest airport is a mix of stunning architecture and state-of-the-art technology. Here’s what you need to know about the new Beijing Daxing International Airport!

Image Credit: Ma Long

No, it’s not an UFO: that is an aerial view of the new Beijing Daxing International Airport, which opened its doors to the public on September 25 – just in time for China’s 70th birthday celebrations. The new airport is located south of Beijing, making it the Chinese capital’s second airport after Beijing Capital International Airport.

To understand the uproar behind this new mega structure, here are 7 facts you need to know about the new Beijing Daxing International Airport.

1. It’s supposedly the world’s largest single-terminal airport

Beijing Daxing International Airport measures approximately 1,000,000 square metres, the equivalent of 97 soccer fields. While there are larger airports in the world like London Heathrow’s sprawling airport complex with five terminals, Beijing Daxing International Airport will hold the record for being the biggest single-structure airport in the world. 

Currently, the airport has just one terminal to service all flights, which will include both domestic and international flights. For now, only domestic flights will be operating at the new airport, with a majority of routes helmed by China Southern Airlines.

2. It’s also an expensive airport to build 

Besides being one of the world’s biggest airports, Beijing Daxing International Airport also holds the title for one of the world’s most expensive airports. The stunning airport terminal and runways cost approximately US$12 billion to build, exceeding the government’s initial budget of US$8 billion. 

With its astronomical price tag, the new Beijing airport is one of the most expensive airports in the world. Other airports in the list include London’s Heathrow Airport and the Hong Kong International Airport, which have a price tag of more than US$10 billion. However, nothing tops the construction costs for Dubai’s new international airport, which will be completed in 2027 and costs approximately US$34 billion dollars.

3. It’s designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

Image Credit: N509FZ

The late architect Dame Zaha Hadid is known for her modern curvilinear architectural designs. Those not familiar with her may recognize her works as the backdrop of many Instagram photos, including the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul and the Innovation Tower in Hong Kong. While Zaha Hadid may have left our world in 2016, her legacy still lives on.

Beijing Daxing International Airport is designed by architects from Zaha Hadid’s namesake firm, taking their inspiration from the great dame’s design ethos. The satellite building has six wings originating from a central courtyard, earning itself the nickname of “starfish” due to its unique design. Just like Zaha Hadid’s previous works, you can expect the new Beijing airport to appear on your Instagram feed soon.

4. It will become the busiest airport in the world by 2040

Image Credit: CGTN

Beijing’s current international airport is the second busiest airport in the world, with an annual passenger figure of almost 100 million. This figure is also set to increase in the next few years, as more mainland Chinese are planning to travel abroad. With an increasing Chinese middle class, going overseas has become the norm for this new generation of Chinese.

The new Beijing Daxing International Airport is set to alleviate the massive passenger load at Beijing Capital International Airport. The government estimates the airport to accommodate 40 million passengers by the end of 2021. This number will increase gradually as more airport runways and facilities are being built. 

By 2040, the airport will be able to receive 100 million passengers – along with 20 million tonnes of cargo – on a yearly basis. As more routes are gradually phased in, Beijing Daxing International Airport will be set to become the world’s busiest airport.

5. Its automated facilities will reduce the whole check-in process to under 30 minutes

Image Credit: N509FZ

Beijing Daxing International Airport is an architectural behemoth on its own, as it is the first airport in the world to have double-deck departure and arrival platforms. With China’s advancements in technology, the new airport is also set to have state-in-the-art infrastructure, providing passengers with smoother departure and arrival processes.

For example, the check-in counters at the new airport will all be automated, as passengers collect their tickets and check in their own luggage. Facial recognition systems will be used throughout the airport from check-in to customs security, thereby reducing the time taken to reach the gate. 

In fact, the whole process will take less than 30 minutes. This even includes the walk to one of the airport’s many gates. Beijing Daxing International Airport may look gigantic, but the well thought out design allows one to walk from the central courtyard to any gate in under 8 minutes.

6. It will open before China’s national day

Edit: Beijing Daxing International Airport has been officially opened on 25 September at noon, as China’s president Xi Jinping graced the airport’s opening. He was accompanied by other high government officials and airport executives, sitting through a brief highlight reel about the airport and multiple speeches before declaring the airport open.

Beijing Daxing International Airport will finally be open for commercial flights this coming September 2019, 5 years after construction began in 2014. While the airport was completed in 2017, it had to undergo rigorous tests to ensure its safety and operational readiness. The testing took a long time, considering how Beijing Daxing International Airport is slated to be the world’s biggest airport – in terms of both physical size and passenger capacity.

While the airport has completed its tests in August 2019, there is no indication of the exact date which the airport will open to the public. However, the Chinese state media has announced that China Southern Airlines will be having its debut flight from the new airport on September 20, while experts estimate the opening date to be even sooner. 

Nevertheless, most agree that China’s biggest and most advanced airport will definitely be open in time for the country’s national day. As China prepares to celebrate its biggest day yet, the opening of the new airport will boost its position as the world’s biggest aviation hub.

7. It will offer access to Beijing’s city centre and high speed network

The new Beijing Daxing International Airport is located 54 kilometres from Tiananmen Square, which is at the centre of Beijing. This makes the new airport further from the city centre than the current international airport, which is just 32 kilometres northeast of Beijing’s centre.

However, distance will not be an issue for passengers heading to Beijing Daxing International Airport, as there will be two connections plying the route between Beijing and the airport. The Beijing-Xiong’an high-speed railway will connect Beijing’s West Railway Station with Daxing Airport, completing the trip in 20 minutes. For those who are not pressed for time, there is a cheaper subway connection from Beijing’s Caoqiao station to the new airport. 

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Lucas Neo

Lucas is always at home researching for his next travel destination. When he’s not doing that, he’s most likely heading to the airport to catch a flight to an exciting location. Lucas enjoys wandering around and exploring beautiful attractions, but he never turns down a spot of retail therapy too.