BEIJING’S RAPID EXPANSION – China looks to accommodate for ever-growing travel demands
- Posted by Helms
- On 5th July 2019
BEIJING, CHINA: The Capital of the People’s Republic of China looks to take the lead as the world’s busiest aviation hub as it nears the opening of the new multi-billion dollar, single terminal ‘Daxing’ airport.
Reported to have cost $13 billion USD, the state of the art, single terminal airport is situated just 47 kilometres south of Beijing’s city centre. Daxing will become the world’s most frequented airport, estimated to be able to hold over 100 million passengers per year. The airport is to be opened just prior to the country’s birthday on October 1st, celebrating 70 years since being declared the People’s Republic of China by Mao Zedong.
Since 1998, Atlanta’s double-terminal Hartfield-Jackson Airport (ATL) has remained the world’s busiest airport, with a turnover of some 107 million passengers in 2018. ATL’s location is within a 2-hour flight of 80% of the United States population, serving both small national airlines carriers
as well as being a major connection hub to South America, Europe and Asia.
In terms of passenger frequency, ATL is followed closely by Beijing’s current major airport, Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), which served just over 100 million passengers last year.
According to China News Daily, PEK was originally designed to handle only 72 million passengers per annum. Unfortunately, this has resulted in multiple issues for the Capital’s airport.
China’s military controls close to 70% of the country’s airspace, resulting in long delays for commercial flights needing clearance to use airspace; aviation experts suggest delays can be relieved by less military control of the nation’s airways. A further combination of overcrowding capacity and air pollution has resulted in PEK being ranked as one of the most delayed airports in the world. In a 2017 study of 28 Mainland China airports, Beijing ranked last with a mere 29.84%
of 23,432 flights leaving on time. With an average delay time of 97.10 minutes.
Designed by the late British-Iraqi Architect Zaha Hadid, the new Daxing airport from above resembles a six-pointed Star Fish. The design allows the single terminal airport to support six pointed piers which all connect to the single central atrium. The close proximity of the piers will minimalise cross airport connection travel and allow fluidity between gates.
Daxing boasts an impressive set of accolades, covering 1,000,000 m2, the airport will administer five traditional gardens and as well as connections to Beijing’s multiple rail services, allowing travellers to reach the city centre within 20 minutes. Having currently constructed seven runways (one for the sole use of the Military), it will look to launch its eighth runway as traffic increases.
The new airport will not only attempt to relieve the current strain on PEK, but also accommodate for the continuous expansion of Chinese outbound travel. China’s demand for travel continues to surge, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expecting China to overtake the United States as the biggest global aviation market by 2022. According to COTRI analytics, collective China border crossings for 2018 amounted to 162 million. Furthermore, COTRI has forecasted 2019 China border crossings to be at 180 million, 300 million by 2026 and up to 400 million by 2030.
These numbers provide nothing but justification towards Beijing’s need for the new Daxing airport, and further reaffirms Chinese investment into outbound travel.
As China looks to take the vanguard of the Global travel industry, the new Daxing airport is a timely response to the country’s ever-growing demand for outbound travel and reflects the prominent role of tourism as a ‘fundamental industry’ for the Chinese economy. Daxing affirms Beijing’s need to rapidly expand its travel facilities in order to serve its people’s