From security to gate in 8 minutes: A look at the biggest airport in the world that has just opened

2019-09-26 04:50
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A new airport hub is coming onto the scene - the Beijing Daxing International Airport opens on 30 September 2019, just ahead of China's national day.

Known for its slightly comical starfish design, the airport is designed to become an integrated transportation hub. Despite its massive 700 000 square metres size, airport officials claim that passengers will only walk about eight minutes from security checkpoints to the farthest gates, according to CNN. While it seems to be far from the main hubs of Beijing, high-speed trains are expected to take travellers to the city in less than 20 minutes.

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At full capacity, about 100 million passengers are expected to travel through its winding halls every year, but it will be a while before they reach those levels. Travel & Leisure reported that by spring 2020, the airport will be servicing around 112 destinations across the world. 

Despite its size, security checks will take seconds to complete under the combination of new technology like facial recognition, reports 

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“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,” says Bai Henghong, director of the Beijing Daxing International Airport project.

Other additions to the airport include a solar farm, terminals with two floors, sensors that detect radioactive materials and a massive main terminal designed by the late Zaha Hadid, a renowned Iraqi architect who was the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize. 

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At the moment the Chinese city's main airport is Beijing Capital International Airport, which Daxing isn't expected to replace, but rather to support. The older airport has no more space for expansion and has reached the limit of its capacity reports CNN.

According to Asia Times, the mega-hub cost $17.5 billion (about R260bn at R14.86/$) to build, and China Eastern, China United Airlines, Air China, China Southern, Capital Airlines and Hebei Airlines are all prepared for their first flights to the new airport. 

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