Beijing's 2nd int'l airport to begin trial operations in 2019

Updated 2017-10-17 15:01:54 CGTN
Beijing new airport.

Beijing new airport.

A modern, integrated transportation hub is going to inaugurate in Beijing in 2019, as China is on track to become the largest commercial aviation market in the world by 2030, surpassing the United States.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China says there were 487 million domestic and international journeys made in China in 2016, a 12 percent increase over last year.

A healthy chunk of those trips, about 90 million, came out of Beijing Capital International Airport which is running at full capacity. So it can't come soon enough for Beijing's second international airport, which is under construction south of the city in Daxing District, to open.

Still two years away from trial operations, CGTN's Rachael Ruble got a tour of the airport terminal and tells us how it will be more than just an airport, but a modern, integrated transportation hub.

Zhu Wenxin, the airport's head of construction, took us along for a tour as construction crews work to finish installing the terminal's roof and glass curtain before the end of the year.

"By the end of September 2017, over 90 percent of earthwork, dynamic compaction and impact rolling had been finished. Concreting work of runways and taxiways had been comprehensively carried forward," said Zhu.

"When it opens in 2019, the Beijing new airport terminal will be one of the largest in the world, at 7.5 million square feet, that's the equivalent area of 44 standard football fields," says Rachael Ruble.

"With such a large size, the new airport is facilitated with an integrated transportation network, which will make it more convenient for passengers to access both connecting flights and public transport," says Zhu.

Despite its daunting size, the longest walking distance from the center of the terminal to the farthest boarding bridge is just 600 meters, a walking time of fewer than eight minutes that make the airport far more efficient than others of similar size.

Efficiency is the key for this transportation hub which won't just accommodate air traffic, but see the integration of highway, subway, and high-speed rail lines from which passengers can directly enter the terminal to connect seamlessly from land transportation to air.

"Many metropolises have two airports. The new Beijing airport will expand passenger capacity of the city's aviation system," said Zhu.

With runways designed to lessen noise, ecological construction to reduce environmental impact, and an earthquake-safe design, this new, smart, first-class airport meant to showcase the image of China worldwide.

Trial operations begin in October 2019 with a long-term plan of serving up to 100 million passengers a year and a short-term goal to serve 72 million passengers by 2025. It won't be long now before the future of transportation is just an airplane, train, or subway ride away.

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