Construction of Beijing Daxing International Airport has been completed after five years of frenzied activity. When the mega-airport begins operation on Sept 30, it will be the world’s largest single-terminal airport at 700,000 square meters – the size of 98 soccer fields. The 80 billion yuan ($11.7 billion) facility, which is 46 kilometers south of downtown Beijing, will serve as a second international airport for the capital. It is designed to relieve the pressure of rising demand for air travel on Capital International Airport in northeastern Beijing.
With seven runways planned, including one for military use, the new airport will ultimately handle more than 100 million passengers a year, matching Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the United States. The Daxing airport is the world’s largest integrated transportation hub. The terminal building is the world’s largest built with a seamless steel structure, boasting the world’s first design of double-deck departure and double-deck arrival platforms.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, there were 36 airports in 1949, most of which could handle only small aircraft. The number had soared to 236 by the end of June, with about seven new airports coming online each year in the past decade. Beijing Capital International Airport, the first airport for commercial flights after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, featured just one 2,500-meter runway when it opened in 1958, and had a terminal covering about 100,000 square meters.