China opens mega airport with a look of a starfish

China opens mega airport with a look of a starfish

A futuristic new airport in Beijing, which is expected to become one of the busiest in the world, was opened by President Xi Jinping on September 25, 2019. (Photo AFP)

Beijing, AFP: A futuristic airport that resembles a giant starfish opened in Beijing on Wednesday, as China unveils another massive infrastructure project just days before it celebrates 70 years of Communist Party rule.

Located 46 kilometres south of Tiananmen Square, Beijing Daxing International Airport will operate at full capacity in 2040, with eight runways and the potential to receive 100 million passengers per year.

The airport was opened by President Xi Jinping, but had an immediate hitch when its maiden commercial flight -- an A380 superjumbo heading to the southern city of Guangzhou — was delayed by nearly 30 minutes. State broadcaster CCTV, which offered a live coverage of the first flight, offered no explanation for the delay. 

Beijing Daxing -- with the airport code PKX -- is seen as an embodiment of the “Chinese dream” Xi has offered his fellow citizens. Both foreign and domestic carriers have plans to move their operations to the new airport, and British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Finnair have already announced new routes to tap into the potential of the modern aviation hub.

“Switching airports can be a complex decision for airlines,” said aviation analyst John Strickland.

At 7,00,000 square metres — about the size of 100 football pitches — the new structure will be one of the world’s largest airport terminals.