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Beijing to Open Airport Designed by Zaha Hadid

Beijing to Open Airport Designed by Zaha Hadid

Tuesday, 2 July, 2019 - 05:30
A worker walks inside the terminal hall of the Beijing Daxing International Airport under construction in Daxing district, Beijing, China June 19, 2019. Reuters
Beijing - London - Asharq Al-Awsat
In response to the soaring air traffic and to celebrate the Communist government's 70th anniversary in power, China has invested billions in building a gigantic airport co-designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. The new airport is reportedly the biggest in the world.

Millions of travellers, who will land annually in the Beijing Daxing International Airport, will be able to see the huge starfish-like airport and its five runways leading passengers to airplanes from a central point.

The airport's construction has been officially concluded on Sunday, ahead of its opening scheduled on September 30, and of the anniversary of the foundation of the People's Republic on October 1, 1949 by Mao Zedong.

Celebrations of that event will see President Xi Jinping reviewing a huge military parade through the center of Beijing, with the opening of the futuristic hub a fitting embodiment of the 'Chinese dream' he has offered his fellow citizens.

Located 46 kilometers south of Tiananmen Square, the new airport will help alleviate the congestion in the current International Airport in Beijing and its three runways located to the northeastern city with its 21 million people.

The new airport will operate at full capacity in 2025, with four runways and the potential to receive 72 million passengers per year.

By 2040, the hub will include eight terminals, one for military use, and will be able to welcome 100 million passengers per year, which will make it the world's largest single terminal in terms of traveler capacity, according to its designers.

Atlanta airport, in the United States, can currently receive more than 100 million passengers, but across two terminals. By comparison, all the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport terminals, the tenth in the world, received less than 70 million passengers in 2017.

The current Beijing Daxing International Airport, the world's second largest, is already overflowing, with just over 100 million passengers annually.

Air transport is booming in China as living standards improve along with peoples' desire to travel. It will pass the US to become the world's biggest aviation market by the mid-2020s, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Inside, the hub of the new airport stands out for its flowing, curved lines and use of light. It is designed by Hadid, who died in 2016, in conjunction with the engineering subsidiary of Aeroports de Paris.

The airport is covered with a ceiling of about the size of 25 football pitches, with openings that allow light to enter the lowest levels of the establishment. Unlike traditional airports, the new airport has been built high, with two floors for arrivals, two for departure, and a metro station – trains are found directly under the station. A highway will reach central Beijing from the new airport in 20 minutes, but connecting it to the current airport, which is 67 kilometers away, seems more complex.

The project cost 120 billion Yuan (15 billion euros) and 400 million, including the extension of railways and roads.

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