Date announced for opening of new Beijing Airport
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
China’s new world-beating mega-hub airport at Daxing, near Beijing, has taken a step closer to becoming operational by announcing its planned opening date in October next year.
Work on the airport has been steadily progressing for a number of years at the site nearly 30 miles from the center of Beijing, with a design set to match the requirements of today’s travelers and the massive demand for air travel in China.
In a recent announcement, the airport confirmed that it would meet all navigation requirements by September 2019, paving the way for receiving its first passengers and flights the following month.
The term "navigation requirements" covers all of the ground facilities that enable aircraft to use the runways and navigate safely to and from the airport, including air traffic control, radars and instrument landing systems. In Daxing’s case, it will feature the very latest technology.
Set to complement, rather than replace, the existing Beijing Capital Airport, which is fast approaching its capacity limit, the new airport at Daxing has ambitions that it might become the world’s busiest airport.
In last year’s figures, Beijing Capital came in second to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport’s staggering 104 million passengers. However, Daxing has been designed from the outset to be able to handle just as many passengers in its unusual, star-shaped terminal building. What’s more is that has room to expand, giving the capacity to continue growing as demand for air travel increases.
Construction at the airport is now entering its final phase, a little ahead of schedule, with the four runways nearing completion and terminal building recently topped out, with fittings and decoration now taking place.
Pressure is now on the local government to complete the ancillary projects linked to the airport, such as the road network, subway line and the high-speed rail link that will fast-track passengers to the airport at 300 mph.
Testing of the 700,000-square-meter terminal and all of the airport’s facilities is planned to begin in June next year, ahead of new residents China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines transferring operations for an Oct. 1, 2019, launch date. Other carriers are also expected to move from Capital Airport, as well as all flights from the much older Beijing Nanyuan Airport.
The innovative design of the terminal focuses around a large central atrium with spoke-like piers of gates spreading in all directions.
This means passengers have less distance to walk (the farthest gate being 600 meters, or an eight-minute walk, from the atrium), will suffer less confusion, and the airport does not need to rely on shuttles or monorails between terminal buildings. Despite this simplified design, the airport will be the largest in the world once completed.
Whilst universally known as Daxing, this is still officially just a working title for the as-yet unnamed airport.
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