DAXING International Airport: World’s Largest Single-Structure Terminals
On the 25th of September 2019, China’s President Xi Jinping presented the aviation world with the largest single-structure airport terminals in the world, when he opened the Daxing International Airport. The construction of the 11,000,000 sq ft area new international airport was completed in a record time of just 4 years 9 months. Construction started on the 26th of December 2014 and the airport was opened for the public on the 26th of September 2019. Daxing International Airport was built at a cost of $11.5 billion.
It is indeed inspiring and a marvelous feat of the Chinese government to create such a spectacular infrastructure for the world to relish in awe. China has invested their money and energy in building magnificent infrastructure for their citizen and the world. Unlike the Western counterparts, who are busy in multiple wars destructing various countries, China has invested in building amazing infrastructure to boost its economic growth.
The Daxing International Airport was officially opened at 10:12 am on the 26th of September 2019, when the first commercial flight landed at the airport. The opening of Daxing International Airport is part of the Chinese celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China on the 1st of October 2019. By 2020 spring season, as many as 112 destinations around the world will be connected with Daxing International Airport.
The Starfish-shaped airport was designed by the renowned late Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid and her Chinese partners. The mammoth infrastructure was designed to represent futuristic appeal, function and look. The terminal area can accommodate 97 soccer pitches. Customer-service robots provide travelers with flight updates and airport information. The airport has been designed to reduce walking for passengers with multiple mega-hubs, which are connected to the main hall.
Futuristic interiors are striking and provide a soothing ambience. The design has incorporated 8,000 distinct rooftop windows to allow natural light trickle in. Every single and small detail has been thought of during the designing stage to make the terminal building high-tech for the comfort of the travelers. Facial recognition is being used and fully-automated counters will capture face photos to relay them during each part of the journey through the airport to maintain flawless security and safety of passengers.
Beijing’s Capital International Airport is world’s second busiest airport and has hit full capacity. Hence, the Chinese government built the Daxing International Airport. By the year 2022, China will overtake the United States as the ‘World’s Biggest Air Travel Market’. By the year 2025, Daxing will be able to accommodate as many as 72 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo annually. The airport’s master plan also includes building of 7 runways in total to increase its capacity to 100 million passengers and 4 million tons of cargo annually.
An integrated transportation hub has also been built, which includes speed rail, inter-city services and downtown-to-airport express trains for the ease of passengers to travel to and fro airport, because Daxing International Airport is 50km away from Tiananmen Square. The airport is located in the far south of Beijing. The 160kmph airport express trains will allow passengers to travel to and from city in less than 20 minutes.
Beijing Daxing International Airport has been nicknamed ‘Starfish’. It is located on the border of Langfang in Hebei Province and Beijing. On the 14th of September 2018, the airport’s name was announced. Daxing International Airport is 65kmsouth of Beijing Capital International Airport. The airport will serve Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei.
As of now, four out the seven planned runways are ready for operation. Another three runways will be completed soon to raise operation capacity of the Starfish-shaped airport. China has confidently invested in expanding its air network internationally as well as domestically. Chinese airlines carry nearly 15 per cent of the global traffic worldwide. By 2029, China is expected carry as much as 35 per cent of global traffic. In all probability, China will become the World Leader in the aviation market as per various industry experts. At 6.2, China’s GDP is still impressive as compared to European countries, American, Asian and the Western counterparts.
A Brief History
In the year 2008, with the increasing air traffic, a second airport for Beijing was proposed. The Beijing Capital International Airport was running in full design capacity by 2012. By 2013, the Beijing Capital International Airport was serving 83 million passengers. The capacity was increasing with each passing year, so a second airport became the need of the hour, which would be able to handle as many as 120 to 200 million passengers annually. By the year 2022, Daxing International Airport is expected to surpass Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to become the ‘World’ Busiest Airport’.
It took almost 8 years for the official to approve construction of Daxing International Airport by National Development and Reform Commission on the 22nd of December 2014. The airport’s master plan was designed by NACO – Netherlands Airport Consultants. The master plan featured a ground transportation centre to provide the airport with public transportation links to metro, high-speed rail, expressways, Beijing Airport Bus routes, inter-airport transportation system and local buses.
The design of the terminal building was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and French planners ADPI. The design was executed by the BIAD – Beijing Institute of Architectural Design. Lead 8 – the Hong Kong design studio was appointed as the lead designer of the integrated service building in the year 2018. The terminal encompasses of a purposeful design of work spaces, with integrated retail, dining, and entertainment options for the large number of passengers expected. Future plans to incorporate interactive pet hotels, a child care and nursery, hybrid online retail and dining, and a showroom for companies.
On the 26th of December 2014, the construction of the mammoth infrastructure commenced. In less than three months, the terminal’s concrete structure was capped. Construction pace was simply outstanding, because in less than 5 years the Daxing International Airport was ready and opened on the 25th of September 2019 by President Xi Jinping.