Step aside, Heathrow & Dubai: Beijing to get world's largest airport

By danwarne, September 19 2011
Step aside, Heathrow & Dubai: Beijing to get world's largest airport

China is set to build the world's largest airport, twice the size of Norfolk Island.

When the massive 54 square kilometre Beijing Daxing (Beijing South) International airport opens in 2017 it will have nine runways operating simultaneously, handling a staggering 370,000 passengers a day -- or an annual maximum of as many as 200 million people per year.

In comparison, London Heathrow, currently the world’s busiest international airport, handles 68 million passengers annually.

Daxing will be slightly larger than the massive Dubai World Central International Airport (Al Maktoum) Airport, which will open to passengers later this year.

Along with servicing Beijing, Daxing airport will cater to nearby cities Tianjin and parts of Hebei.

The rural area of Daxing is an hour's drive from Beijing city centre, but the government is already looking at extending the metro rail system or building a high speed rail line.

Also, as Australian Business Traveller previously reported, according to China's official English language newspaper China Daily, flights will be split between the current Beijing Capital and new Beijing South airports according to airline alliance.

Star Alliance is firmly entrenched at member airline Air China's base at Beijing Capital's enormous Terminal 3, so it's likely that oneworld airlines (such as Qantas and Cathay Pacific) plus potentially SkyTeam airlines (including China Southern and China Eastern) will be shifted to Beijing Daxing.

Beijing opened a large new terminal just four years ago for the Beijing Olympics. However, it pushed the existing airport to capacity, carrying almost 74 million passengers last year.

By 2015, it's expected that passenger traffic through the airport will rise to 90 million, overwhelming the airport's resources.

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