Less than a year before opening, inventive details of Beijing Daxing International Airport take shape
- The world’s largest airport is designed to handle more aircraft and to keep passengers’ walks to a minimum
- It will feature five outdoor gardens at the end of the five wings where travellers can wait for flights
Family and friends will be able to literally see off their loved ones even after they pass through security checks when the innovative Beijing Daxing International Airport opens next October.
Standing on the fifth floor, the highest point of the world’s largest terminal, visitors will have a bird’s-eye view of passengers across a glass bridge after security screenings.
“Unlike the usual design that security checkpoints block visitors and passengers, people who see their family members and friends off can actually see them walk to the gates or wander about in the waiting area. It’s a very considerate design,” said Zhang Ru, spokeswoman for Beijing New Airport Construction Headquarters.
It is one of the many designs the new transport hub in the far southern end of the capital will have to offer. Spanning 47 square kilometres (18 square miles) and centring on a 700,000-square-metre (7.5 million-square-foot) terminal, the airport is a spectacular sight.
Its futuristic shape – resembling a giant hexagon starfish or an alien base, as dubbed by some internet users – is also meant to handle more aircraft and to keep passengers’ walks to a minimum.
“It is about 600 metres, or less than an eight-minute walk, from the centre of the security check to the farthest end gate in each wing. The efficiency is higher than any other airport of similar size,” Zhang said.
The terminal building is supported by eight giant C-shape columns that also let in sunlight. “We don’t need much electrical lighting with this natural light,” he said.
Five outdoor gardens designed in an ancient Chinese style, with elements of silk, tea and Chinese landscaping, were featured at the ends of the five wings where passengers could wait for flights, he said.
Watch: Beijing’s new airport: by the numbers
The Daxing airport is meant as an international hub bridging the Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei cluster. Intercity rail links, high-speed trains and subways will be connected to the two underground floors of the airport. More than 1,000 rubber anti-shock cushions will support the terminal from rail vibrations when trains pass from below at 250km/h (155mph).
With less than a year until the world’s biggest airport opens, 8,000 workers are busy with internal decoration and mechanical and electrical engineering work.
The airport will feature four runways – eventually six after a planned expansion – and handle 72 million passengers and 620,000 take-offs and landings a year by 2025. After the expansion, it will handle 880,000 landings and take-offs and 100 million passengers.
The airport would primarily host Sky Team member airlines, including China Eastern, China Southern, Delta and Air France, Zhang said.
Star Alliance airlines, whose members include Air China, United and Singapore Airlines, will continue to use the Capital International Airport in northern Beijing.
Meanwhile, airlines like Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will continue to use the Capital International Airport.
Nanyuan Airport, China’s first, will be closed when the Daxing opens.