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Last Wednesday saw the new and shiny Beijing Daxing International Airport's first flight take off. Construction only began a mere five years ago.
Designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid's firm, Daxing is an architectural feat. The entire airport resembles a six-legged low-lying ochre alien if seen from above. It looks stunning and sleek from the inside and out.
Will Daxing join the big leagues of Singapore's Changi Airport or Qatar's Hamad Airport, to be considered the best in the world?
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Daxing Airport in numbers
Costing 80 billion yuan ($11 billion) to build, the airport spans across 47 square kilometers (18 square miles) and boasts a 700,000 square meter (7.5 million square feet) terminal — the largest in the world to date.
In order to keep efficiency at the forefront of its operations, the furthest gate to the central security check zone is a short eight-minute walk, or 600 meters (1,970 feet).
There will be more than 70 different restaurants in the airport, along with tea and coffee shops, and 36 international brands will house their stores at the airport.
Built to ease traffic from Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA), which is notorious for delays and overcrowdedness, Daxing will begin by handling 45 million passengers a year. This number will grow to 72 million by 2025, and to 100 million by 2040.
Daxing's location, to the south of Beijing, initially spurred criticism for being too far away from the city center. However, the 46 km (28.5 miles) journey will not be as arduous or time-consuming as travelers originally thought. An airport express train, departing every six and a half minutes from Beijing's Caoqiao station. It will only take 19 minutes to reach the airport.
Once in the airport, the 400 self-service check-in kiosks (over 80% of all check-ins will be self-service) will make the process even faster. Furthermore, as Daxing is located to the south of the capital, 10 to 15 minutes will be slashed off of southernly directed flights.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, more than 600,000 jobs will be generated thanks to the new airport.
If any of these figures weren't enough to impress you with this phenomenal feat of planning, let the following images speak for themselves — proving that Daxing is visually spectacular, inside and out.
Daxing in pictures
The smooth and sleek look Zaha Hadid Architects went for, makes the inside of the airport look as though it belongs in a sci-fi space movie.
There are five traditional Chinese gardens at the end of each of the halls. Keeping in line with traditional Chinese architectural principles, smaller structures are based around a grand central courtyard.
Smaller details stand out as grandiose.
The spacious interiors will allow the millions of yearly travelers to feel at ease.
The outside offers striking and smooth curves, with four different levels to ease the flow of arriving and departing passengers.
It's early days for Daxing International Airport, but it looks like it's operating smoothly for the time being.