BEIJING — If you’re going to build the world’s biggest airport, you better hope the end result lives up to the hype. After today’s inauguration ceremony in Beijing, it’s safe to assume that China has achieved just that.
Billed as the world’s largest single building airport terminal at 700,000 square metres (the length of 98 football fields), the brand new Beijing Daxing International Airport was inaugurated on Wednesday by Chinese President Xi Jinping, just days before the China’s 70th anniversary.
As Beijing’s second international airport located approximately 46 kilometres south of Tiananmen Square, Daxing took less than five years to build at a cost of US$17 billion. With four runways, it is expected to handle 72 million passengers a year by 2025 and help alleviate traffic from Beijing’s main airport, the world’s second busiest behind Atlanta.
Already today, seven domestic airlines are said to begin operations out of the new airport. China Southern Airlines A380 was the first flight to depart at 16:23 local time.
Daxing was designed by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid to resemble the shape of a starfish. Judging by early photos, Hadid’s lasting legacy will be regarded as an architectural marvel for years to come.