Beijing Daxing International Airport is Officially Opened

After its expansion for the Olympic Games back at the start of the 2000s, Beijing Capital International Airport broke all sorts of records. But at the end of September, the airport will get an even bigger, record-breaking rival: Beijing Daxing International Airport. This brand-new airport, whose official name is Beijing Daxing International Airport, was opened officially on September 25, 2019, just several days before China’s National Day and the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.

(Source: New China TV Youtube channel)

The airport has been constructed in a record time of just five years, unlike the time needed in Europe to build such a huge transport hub. Located between Beijing’s southern district of Daxing and the city of Langfang in the Hebei province, the airport terminal boasts floor space equivalent to over 97 football pitches. Over 100 million passengers and four million tonnes of cargo are expected to pass through the airport annually.

The sheer size and scale of Beijing Daxing will make the airport one of the largest and busiest in the world. Few airports internationally will be able to compete with this size and scale. Notable exceptions include the international airports in Atlanta (USA), Istanbul (Turkey) and Dubai (UAE), all of which can vie for the accolade of the world’s largest or busiest airport according to passenger numbers, terminal space as well as frequency of take-offs and landings in any one given day.

Conceived by the star architect Zaha Hadid who passed away in 2016, her seemingly organic design of Beijing Daxing is like something out of science fiction. But it is, in fact, inspired by the Chinese mythical phoenix, known as Fènghuáng (凤凰) with its wide, open wings. Even the choice of the red roofing for the airport terminal plays on the legend of the phoenix’s fiery feathers. Beijing Daxing’s phoenix, then, appears to complement the dragon design of Beijing Capital International Airport: in ancient Chinese tradition, the dragon and phoenix were the symbols of the Emperor and Empress respectively.

Daxing boasts the world’s largest interconnected terminal building. And yet, the five fingers extending out from the central atrium ensure that distances from the departure lounge to the gate remain relatively short: a maximum of just 600 meters. Requiring fewer pillars and columns to hold up the roof, the huge hall creates a new, large public space.

Subterranean train stations at the airport provide excellent connections to the national railway system and to Beijing’s own underground network. High speed trains link the airport to the important port city of Tianjin, making this new airport a major transport hub for the region.

Original from the German by Jasmin Adler and Konrad Winkler: Mega-Flughafen Beijing Daxing eröffnet dieses Jahr in HanBao. Das China-Magazin für Hamburg & Deutschland, edited by the Gesellschaft Deutsch-Chinesischer Verständigung (GDCV), Hamburg, Issue 5 (2019), pg. 8. Translated and adapted into English by John Goodyear

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