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Well Under Way
A close-up of Beijing's new airport
By Wei Yao | NO. 34 AUGUST 24, 2017

Large construction machines are employed in the construction work (WEI YAO)

If they look carefully, air passengers arriving in or departing Beijing might now glimpse the overall outline of the terminal at the capital's new airport, which is taking shape in the south of Beijing.

By the end of June, over 80 percent of the project's construction work had been completed. The terminal's steel frame was completed on

June 30, and the runways are under construction as planned, according to Zhu Wenxin, assistant commander and spokesman of the Beijing New Airport Construction Headquarters.

When Beijing Review visited the site of the passenger terminal, set to be the world's largest, in July, workers were installing glass curtain walls. Although the construction involves over 10,000 workers, the core site is not crowded, as it covers over 1 million square meters. The work is progressing smoothly, despite the flaming heat of Beijing's summer.

According to Zhu, the construction of the terminal's roof is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The next step is the interior fittings and electrical equipment installation.

To meet Beijing's increasing demand for air transportation, a new airport was first proposed around the year 2000. But, the plan was postponed while a third terminal was built at Beijing Capital International Airport before the 2008 Olympic Games. However, passenger numbers at the airport have continued growing. In 2014, it handled 83.65 million passengers, ranking second globally in this respect and will soon reach the saturation point, hence the need for a new airport.

The terminal of Beijing's new airport is under construction (WEI YAO)

On December 15, 2014, the National Development and Reform Commission approved the construction of Beijing's new airport, to be located on the border between the capital's southern Daxing District and Guangyang District of Langfang City in Hebei Province. Positioned at the southern tip of Beijing's central axis, the new facility lies 46 km from Tiananmen Square.

Construction work on the project commenced at the end of 2014. With four runways and terminal space of 1 million square meters, the airport is designed to initially handle 72 million passengers, 2 million tons of cargo and 620,000 flights annually. Further expansion, to seven runways, will enable the airport to handle 100 million passengers annually. Its planned investment is 80 billion yuan ($11.9 billion), and the new facility is expected to go into operation in 2019. Upon completion, it will be the world's largest airport.

A worker accomplishes his taks at the consruction site (WEI YAO)

Well-connected transport links have been designed to support the new airport, making it accessible from the city center by a new highway and subway. The railway between Beijing and Xiongan New Area in Hebei, where Beijing's non-essential functions will be relocated, will also include a station at the airport. When this supporting transportation infrastructure is completed in 2019, a fresh transit hub for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region will be in place.

Copyedited by Chris Surtees

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