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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.
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