China declares construction of massive $13bn Daxing airport complete

Work has been completed on Beijing’s Daxing International Airport over the weekend and it is expected to begin operations before the end of September, after a total of 787 tests are carried out involving 500 flights and some 52,000 simulated passenger trips.

The airport, which has a construction value of $13bn, has been built 46km south of Beijing.

The terminal building is the world’s second-largest terminal after Istanbul Airport, with an area of more than 1,000,000 sq m.

At present Daxing has four runways and 79 aircraft stands, which will be expanded to seven runways and an additional terminal to bring its capacity up to 100 million passengers a year, compared with Beijing Capital airport’s 96 million.

Although the airport has the second largest single-building terminal after Istanbul, Bai Henghong, project director with the Beijing Construction Group, said it still boasted some world records.

He said: "It is the world’s largest integrated transportation hub. The terminal building is also the world’s largest built with a seamless steel structure, boasting the world’s first design of double-deck departure and double-deck arrival platforms."

The airport’s supporting infrastructure, including expressways and a high-speed rail line have been completed on schedule.

Although the construction work proceeded smoothly, there has been a fight among China’s three main state-owned airlines for landing slots at the facility.

As the South China Morning Post reported in May, the three have been engaging in "intensive lobbying, high-level horse trading and political manoeuvring" which will "help define the future of the world’s biggest airline market".

The contenders are Air China, China Eastern and China Southern Airlines, which together hold two-thirds of China’s civil aviation market.

The first plan was for China Eastern and China Southern Airlines to have 40% each of the available places with Air China remaining at Capital.

After a lobbying battle with the Chinese authorities, it was decided in April that China Eastern would keep its "golden goose" – the Beijing to Shanghai route at Capital – and give 10% of its Daxing slots to China Air.

Daxing’s passenger throughput is forecast to reach 45 million by 2021, 72 million in 2025, and further increase to 100 million by 2040, by which time China is expected to have the world’s largest civil aviation market.

Image: Daxing International Airport (CC BY-SA 4.0) []

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