Flying into the future
Beijing's new Daxing International Airport, a marvel of logistical planning, architecture and economic integration, will open later this month
On the southern border of Beijing, spilling into Hebei province, is a gigantic field occupied by a massive starfishlike structure with six arms. This starfish is the world's largest airport terminal, and the surrounding field is for flight operations. All together, it's nothing short of an engineering and logistical marvel.
About 46 kilometers south of the city's downtown district, the Beijing Daxing International Airport is expected to open before the end of this month.
The barren land on which the airport was built was once a hinterland that few ever had reason to visit. But the announcement of the new airport, along with a plan to relocate some government administrative functions there, drove development of Daxing district into the fast lane.
Cui Xiaohao, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, said the airport, through its five years of construction, had become an important economic pillar in the development of southern Beijing, as it will help rebalance the city's southern area with the crowded central one.
"The Daxing airport opened the south gate of the capital and will help gradually to shift Beijing's noncapital functions to neighboring locations and upgrade the region's transportation network, especially in the south," Cui said. "It's also a good way to boost coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area."
As construction of the airport progressed, an international airport zone sprang up adjacent to it this year. In an area of 50 square kilometers, nearly 260,000 residents will live and support themselves with the 200,000 jobs there.