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China's mega-airport: Beijing Daxing bigger than Heathrow & JFK

By David Flynn     Filed under: China, airports, Beijing

Just how large does an airport need to be?

If you're China, with not only a rampant economy but a booming middle class, and your capital city's airport is already at capacity with some 74 million passengers per year, then you'd want it to be pretty big. Something about the size of Bermuda would do.

In fact it'd need to be that big if you wanted eight runways (plus one more reserved for military use) and the ability to handle a reported 130 million passengers per year – some 23 million more than London's Heathrow and New York's JFK airports combined.

Welcome to Beijing Daxing International Airport, to be built outside the Chinese capital and take its first touchdown in late 2017.

These renders from the airport's master plan (courtesy of design winner NACO, a Dutch airport consulting firm) simply can't convey the sheer size or scope of the project.

But think about it: eight commercial runways, with the airport designed to minimise their taxi distance to and from the gates – all the better to get you off your plane faster, and get those planes back in the air quicker too.

At 55 square kilometres, it's slightly larger than Bermuda.

For our Aussie readers, the roughly 7.5km on each side of this sprawling airtopolis is about the distance from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Bondi Beach, or the MCG to St Kilda Beach. Yeah, we told you it was big.

Daxing will reportedly serve as a SkyTeam exclusive hub for alliance members China Southern -- Asia's biggest airline -- and China Eastern, which is Qantas' main Chinese partner and the other half of the Jetstar Hong Kong effort.

Fellow Chinese carrier (and Star Alliance member) Air China will keep the current Beijing Capital Airport in the city's northeast.

An integrated 'ground transportation hub' will feed passengers onto a high-speed rail link to Beijing inside of 30 minutes, or into the city's metro network for a slower but more direct route.

Of course, you can also hop onto one of the superfast Beijing-Shanghai bullet trains.

Check out our photo galleries of these other amazing airports

Richard Branson's new Virgin Galactic Spaceport

Located in the New Mexico desert, the world's first commercial spaceport is home to Richard Branson's ambitious Virgin Galactic.

New York's futuristic TWA terminal at JFK

You may think this looks like an airport terminal of the future, but it's actually almost 50 years old!

Kuwait's amazing 'mega-hub' airport

Kuwait is planning to challenge Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports for supremacy in the Gulf region.

Berlin's new and much-delayed Brandenburg Airport

Brandenburg won't be open until October 2013 (the third postponement since the original target date of June 2012) but here's what you'll see after the cut the red ribbon.

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 10/10/12 by kash

Air China is by far Beijing largest airline

Hainan airlines comes second

Then other star/oneworld/non aligned members

China southern's presence in Beijing is significant but low compared to Air China

Yet Only China southern and skyteam get a 130 million passenger airport while all other airlines remain crammed in the 80 million passenger airport.

China eastern has a very limited presence in Beijing.

The math doe snot seem to work??

It would make sense is all airline but Star Alliance members shifted to the new Airport  considering Air China and Hainan have massive expansion plans for Beijing while China Southern is more focused on Guangzhou.

well If this is true,Air China has a pretty stunted future as they are finding it hard to start new flights out of Beijing due to lack of space.

I am sure all airlines but Star alliance will move to the new airport.The Chinese government would not want to see its flag carrier fade.

I wonder what this will do to Cathay? will they fly to both like in Shanghai via Dragonair

1 on 10/10/12 by kash

Okay there are a lot of typos in my comment!

How do I edit it/

1 on 10/10/12 by David

You can't edit comments (this is something we will implement in a refresh of the site). For now, you must live in shame, in fact you must go and stand in the corner! :P

2 on 11/10/12 by seanpodge

I'll be interested to see how well they link the two major Beijing airports once Daxing is finished. Shanghai airports have a convienent, cheap and simple (if a bit slow) link between Hongqiao and Pudong, i.e. Shanghai Metro line 2. Something similar would be good, although the distance would be a factor. I've also read that Daxing is also meant to be a defacto second airport for Tianjin, so I wonder what links will be provided to that not exactly small city. Maybe there will be a China Railway station at the basement of the airport following examples such as Frankfurt, although the ticketing situation may need a bit of tweeking for this to be practical.

3 on 11/10/12 by Agfox

...meanwhile, at Melbourne Airport, incoming passengers continue to queue around the baggage carousels while passing through the painfully slow Immigration & Customs processes, departing passengers are sometimes unable to reach the terminal entrance by vehicle because of gridlock on the incoming access roads & the State Government talks of proceeding with a fast-rail link to Avalon Airport for passengers still using those few remaining Jetstar flights...

4 on 13/12/13 by gwilli1

What blows me away  , is that is will be done 4years ! . How long is the wait for 1 extra runway in Brisbane ?? ;-)

 

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