BREAKING NEWS Gov. Ivey extends Alabama’s health order, mandatory masking to Nov. 8 Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Beijing Daxing: The world's next largest airport?

100 million passengers and 4 million tons of cargo could eventually pass through this airport each year.

Posted: Dec 7, 2018 9:35 AM
Updated: Dec 7, 2018 9:40 AM

China is poised to overtake the United States as the world's biggest air travel market by 2022 -- and it's little wonder the country's airport construction craze shows no signs of abating.

The government has plans to build or expand 74 airports nationwide by the end of 2020, aiming to accommodate a whopping 720 million passengers a year.

No project is attracting more attention than Beijing Daxing International Airport, the Chinese capital's new multibillion-dollar aviation hub slated to open in September 2019.

Bigger and busier

Beijing is in desperate need of a second global gateway. The existing Capital International Airport is hitting full capacity, making it nearly impossible for airlines to add flights at desirable times.

More than 95 million passengers passed through the three terminals of Beijing Capital, the world's second busiest airport behind only Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta.

The new Daxing airport, designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid and her Chinese partners, is built for the future, boasting four runways and a terminal the size of 97 soccer pitches upon opening of the first phase.

The "modest" initial operational target is to accommodate 72 million passengers and two million tons of cargo annually by 2025.

The ambitious master plan calls for the building of a total of seven runways, and moving at least 100 million passengers and four million tons of cargo a year through the airport.

Construction for the $11.5 billion project began in 2014, with more than 40,000 workers currently on site. The nearly completed terminal bears all the hallmarks of Hadid's signature contour lines, with plenty of natural light shining through rooftop windows.

Location, location, location

Nicknamed "starfish" by Chinese media for its shape of five concourses connected to a main hall, Daxing aims to reduce walking for passengers, long a complaint against many new mega-hubs.

The airport authority has promised a distance of no more than 600 meters between security checkpoints and the remotest gates.

Another passenger concern is Daxing's location: in the far south of Beijing, a city notorious for traffic jams. The new airport is some 50 kilometers from Tiananmen Square in the city center -- and even farther away from the main business districts in the east and north.

Officials have brushed aside such worries, claiming they are building more than just an airport -- but rather a truly integrated transportation hub that would see high-speed rail, inter-city services and downtown-to-airport express trains all stopping right beneath the terminal.

Yet others say a new mammoth aviation hub will only worsen flight delays in Beijing, already ranked near the bottom of on-time performance list among airports worldwide.

While there is no indication that the Chinese military, which controls most of the country's airspace, will loosen its grip to give airliners more maneuver room, the airport authority insists Daxing's multi-directional runway design will improve operational efficiency in the air.

Tenant intrigue

For frequent fliers around the world, though, one big question lingers as the airport's much-anticipated opening approaches: Which airlines will use Daxing?

It was going to be a crown jewel for Skyteam, one of the three global airline alliances, with China-based members China Southern and China Eastern becoming anchor carriers at Daxing. Other Skyteam members such as Delta, Korean and Air France-KLM will move to the new airport as well.

China Southern, however, announced in November that it would leave Skyteam by the end of 2019. The airline subsequently signed an agreement with American, a member of rival Oneworld alliance, for closer cooperation.

Adding another twist to the confusing plot, Air China -- the country's flag carrier and a Star Alliance member -- is supposed to remain at the current Capital International Airport along with other Star carriers, but it recently revealed plans to have a subsidiary based at Daxing.

It seems the airport often called "starfish" is already making waves in aviation news even before its grand opening.

Huntsville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 68°
Florence
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 72°
Fayetteville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 68°
Decatur
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 69°
Scottsboro
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 66°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 137564

Reported Deaths: 2399
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19938351
Mobile13507293
Montgomery8866185
Tuscaloosa8837118
Madison798179
Shelby607449
Lee597161
Baldwin560650
Marshall397543
Calhoun355644
Etowah354845
Morgan333428
Houston293921
Elmore271948
DeKalb244321
St. Clair235936
Walker235485
Talladega217830
Limestone214420
Cullman191920
Dallas179826
Franklin179130
Autauga178727
Russell17683
Lauderdale175133
Colbert167726
Blount162115
Escambia161624
Jackson159712
Chilton159530
Covington140727
Dale140344
Coffee13716
Pike121611
Chambers117542
Tallapoosa117185
Clarke110316
Marion97529
Butler91740
Barbour8867
Winston75013
Marengo72620
Pickens67014
Randolph66613
Lowndes65927
Bibb65810
Hale64928
Geneva6444
Lawrence63425
Cherokee61713
Bullock60714
Clay5918
Monroe5908
Washington56012
Crenshaw54332
Perry5426
Conecuh53911
Wilcox53211
Henry5105
Macon48318
Fayette4689
Sumter43719
Cleburne3945
Lamar3822
Choctaw35112
Greene30515
Coosa1743
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 194611

Reported Deaths: 2420
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby31097466
Davidson26797311
Hamilton963495
Knox960579
Rutherford945290
Williamson536636
Sumner489598
Wilson356247
Putnam336541
Montgomery313344
Unassigned30444
Madison299265
Out of TN297727
Bradley297217
Sevier266415
Blount256324
Maury242725
Washington235538
Robertson223939
Sullivan223133
Hamblen194828
Tipton184519
Gibson172624
Trousdale16697
Hardeman158426
Wayne15015
Dyer142017
Bedford137317
Dickson128015
Coffee127713
Fayette122719
Cumberland121919
Weakley121620
Anderson121013
Obion120211
Loudon11996
Henderson119125
Carter118028
Greene116946
McMinn116325
Jefferson114414
Lawrence108913
Warren10777
Macon106721
Monroe106618
Hardin105516
Lauderdale100316
Haywood99821
Franklin99410
Lake9252
McNairy92518
Carroll91320
Roane9126
Bledsoe8624
White85510
Rhea85413
Hawkins82720
Cheatham8199
Marshall7815
Overton7706
Cocke75310
Smith74011
Johnson7323
Chester65011
Giles64417
Lincoln6331
Henry6309
Hickman6008
DeKalb57414
Marion5518
Fentress5463
Crockett54419
Decatur5347
Campbell4614
Claiborne4455
Polk40710
Grainger3943
Union3762
Benton3418
Jackson3325
Morgan3213
Grundy3176
Cannon2950
Unicoi2911
Humphreys2673
Sequatchie2441
Clay2355
Houston2343
Meigs2323
Stewart2212
Scott2192
Lewis2081
Moore1831
Van Buren1660
Perry1530
Pickett1262
Hancock1073

Community Events