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China opens huge Beijing airport to serve travel boom

The star-shaped airport includes a terminal billed as the world’s biggest at one million square metres.

An aerial view of the new Beijing Daxing International Airport (CCTV via AP)
An aerial view of the new Beijing Daxing International Airport (CCTV via AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Chinese president Xi Jinping has presided over the inauguration of a second international airport for Beijing with a terminal billed as the world’s biggest.

Beijing Daxing International Airport, built in less than five years at a cost of 120 billion yuan (£13.5 billion), is designed to handle 72 million passengers a year.

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The terminal hall after the launching ceremony for the new Daxing International Airport (Thomas Suen/Pool Photo via AP)

The airline’s first commercial flight, a China Southern Airlines plane bound for the southern province of Guangdong, took off on Wednesday afternoon, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Six more flights took off later for Shanghai and other destinations.

The Chinese capital’s main airport is the world’s second-busiest after Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and is nearing capacity.

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The terminal building for the new Beijing Daxing International Airport seen from above (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)
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One terminal is being billed as the world’s biggest (Thomas Suen/AP)

Daxing, designed by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, includes a terminal billed as the world’s biggest at one million square metres (11 million square feet).

Despite that, its builders say travellers will need to walk no more than 600 metres (2,000ft) to reach any boarding gate.

The vast, star-shaped airport is about 45 kilometres (30 miles) south of downtown Beijing. It has four runways, with plans for as many as three more.

Carriers including British Airways and state-owned China Southern, the country’s biggest airline by passengers, plan to move to Daxing from Beijing Capital International Airport.

The capital has a third airport, Nanyuan, for domestic flights, but the government says that will close once Daxing is in operation.

PA

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