By Seddiq Hussainy
China is building hundreds of new airports to meet the rapidly growing air traffic demand. Beijing’s brand new phoenix-shaped Daxing International Airport was just opened last week, less than five years after construction began, only to make the city among the top metropolises with two mega airports.
Beijing’s main airport as China’s aviation hub has seen drawbacks in terms of air traffic congestion and flight delays, making Beijing desperate for a second international gateway.
Beijing’s new airport has started domestic flights just days ahead of an upcoming pageantry of the 79th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1st.
Daxing, China’s biggest airport, is expected to handle hundreds of flights an hour and welcome almost 50 million passengers by 2021. It is as Beijing will host winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in 2022.
It’s not the airport that has been built. An entire new city surrounding it and a sophisticated network of transport including subway and exclusive bridges for high-speed trains and vehicles have been built.
A group of 300 international and Chinese journalists visited Daxing this week to see the takeoffs and landings from and to the airport.
According to the airport officials, the entire project cost around $65 billion. The airport itself cost $17 billion.
Daxing is 47 kilometers south of the urban Beijing which is very far as compared to the old airport. Bit the high-speed train establishes a fully accessible and convenient transport system. Passengers can traverse the distance of 47km from the city to the airport in a matter of minutes.
Equipped with cutting edge innovative technology, the state-of-the-art international airport is an architectural engineering marvel and is very eco-friendly with interior walls of the airport covered with plants and flowers. The airport terminal also runs partially on clean energy generated from solar system.
As China’s middle-income countries are rising so are the Chinese who are taking to the skies. By 2024, China will be the world’s largest air travel market, overtaking the U.S. Boeing Co., a leading aircraft manufacturing corporation, has predicted that China will need more than 8,000 new aircrafts in the next two decades amid an escalating rise in travel demand in China.
The writer is a journalist working for Afghanistan Times in Afghanistan and is currently participating in the China Asia Pacific Press Center 2019 program in Beijing.