Located about 30 miles south of the capital of China, Beijing’s Daxing Airport looks like something straight out of a Star Wars movie. This is the second International airport for the capital, the first of which is the world’s second-busiest airport and one of the world’s worst for delays.
Although it was completed on June 30, 2019, the dubbed “alien starfish” only opened to the public on September 25th. Its hexagon-shaped main terminal is touted as the world’s biggest free-standing terminal, equivalent to 97 football fields. It has four runways for commercial flights and can accommodate 300 takeoffs and landings every hour, according to airport officials. This is expected to become the world’s busiest airport.
Built for the Future
The new airport is set up to handle 45 million passengers by 2021, with plans for 72 million by 2025 and 100 million by 2040. Its projected initial capacity will be 300 take-offs and landings an hour. In addition, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said the airport will generate approximately 600,000 jobs.
With the appearance of a giant six-armed starfish, the Daxing is the first airport designed by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid known for her monumental experimental work around the world. Sadly Hadid never got to see the final outcome of her design. She passed away in 2016, just two years after beginning the initial building phases in 2014. The building itself cost around $17 billion and took about five years to build.
Like its infrastructure, the inside of this futuristic airport is massive. What makes this building unique is that travelers won’t need to walk more than 2,000 feet to reach any boarding gate. It’s also designed to accommodate more aircraft and minimize the amount of walking you have to do. The distance from the security checkpoint is less than an eight-minute walk to the furthest gates.
Unlike most airports, travelers do not have to say their goodbyes to friends and family at the security checkpoint. Instead, those staying behind can enjoy a birds-eye view of their loved ones from the airport’s fifth floor. From there, you can watch and wave as flight passengers walk through security and make their way toward their gates.
Cutting Edge Technology
Ultra-fast 5G mobile services, advanced facial recognition, and smart robotics are some of the hi-tech features available inside Daxing. The airport has installed more than 400 self-service check-in machines, which are expected to shorten passengers’ waiting time to about 10 minutes. Passengers can have their faces scanned to check-in their luggage, clear security and board the aircraft.
Travelers can also use a paperless tracking service by using Radio Frequency Identification tags. They then can track the status of their luggage using the airline’s app. Artificial Intelligence is an exciting part of the airport that designers hope will greatly help increase efficiency. Robots are even being tested to help drivers park and pick up their cars in the airport’s vast parking lot. A smart parking system provided as an app also gives drivers a real-time map of available parking spots, making every visit as time-efficient and effortless as possible.