UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday inaugurated Beijing’s new airport, equipped with ultra-modern designs, which is expected to become one of the busiest in the world.
Xi announced the opening of the star-shaped airport, in brief remarks at a ceremony at the huge airport, just days before a grand celebration by China on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the communist state.
The airport, dubbed Beijing Daxing International Airport, is 46 kilometers south of Tiananmen Square. The airport will operate at full capacity in 2040 with eight runways and a capacity to handle 100 million passengers annually.
The airport is the embodiment of the “Chinese dream” promised by citizens.
Foreign and domestic companies have announced plans to move their operations to the new airport.
British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Vener have announced their new destinations to Daxing.
SkyTeam, which includes Delta Air France and KLM, is expected to move to the new airport with its Eastern and China Southern partners.
But in an AFP call last week, Delta Air France said they had not yet made a decision on airport transfers.
Air China, China’s third-largest airline, is expected to continue to operate the majority of its flights from Beijing Capital International Airport.
“Changing airports could be a complicated decision for airlines,” aviation analyst John Strickland said.
– Great growth –
The 700,000-square-meter airport will be one of the largest in the world.
His designs were developed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, who died in 2016.
Inside the airport stands out the smooth, curved lines, and natural light that reaches the lowest levels of the building from the roof openings.
Under the airport, a train station and a metro line allow travelers to reach the city center in 20 minutes.
The project will cost 120 billion yuan (17.5 billion US dollars), or 400 billion yuan if the cost of railway and road construction is calculated.
When fully operational, the airport will be the largest single airport in terms of passenger capacity, according to its designers.
The Atlanta airport in the United States – the world’s busiest – can handle more than 100 million passengers but through its two terminals.
The current Beijing Capital International Airport – the world’s second largest – has surpassed its capacity with just over 100 million passengers.
“Daxing is an extension of the exceptional growth of the aviation market in China,” said Shukr Yusuf, director of Indo Aviation Consulting.
The air transport sector is booming in China with rising living standards and people’s desire to travel.
The sector is expected to overtake the US air transport industry to become the largest aviation market by the middle of the next decade, according to the International Air Transport Association.
By 2037, China will record 1.6 billion flights a year – one billion more than 2017, according to the EU.
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