Beijing Daxing International Airport, the World’s New Biggest Airport, Opens Sept. 30

If you’ve traveled to Beijing at least once, you’d be familiar with all the woes travelers face at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK). The delayed flights, the horrendous traffic in and out of the airport, the crowding—you name it and PEK’s got it.

But the Chinese government is about to open this Monday, September 30, 2019 its magnificent solution to all the headaches PEK gives travelers. That solution is none other than the new Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX), touted as the world’s biggest airport. Here’s what we know about PKX thus far.

Beijing Daxing International Airport will be the gateway to Northern China

beijing daxing international airport
Beijing Daxing International Airport | MA Long/Wikimedia Commons

The Chinese government carefully selected the location of Beijing Daxing International Airport so it will serve the needs of the greater areas of Beijing, Hebei, and Tianjin. PKX is at the border between the cities of Beijing and Langfang—28 miles south of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and 16 miles west of downtown Langfang. It’s also 40 miles from PEK.

When it opens on September 30, PKX will have four runways and will be capable of serving 45 million passengers by 2021. It will also handle two million tons of cargo. It’s built with room for expansion, however, as its master plan allows for seven runways. It’s also expected to serve around 100 million passengers by 2040. With a total area of 18 square miles, including the runways and the terminal building, PKX is indeed the largest airport in the world.

Beijing Daxing International Airport’s design is the work of various agencies

Beijing Daxing International Airport is the fruit of the combined creativity of various design companies. Its masterplan was the brainchild of China Airport Construction Corporation (CACC). CACC additionally worked with other parties to map out the ground transportation serving PKX.

The soon-to-be iconic starfish design of PKX’s terminal building, on the other hand, was the joint project of Britain’s Zaha Hadid Architects, France’s Groupe ADP, and the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD). The integrated service building is the work of Hong Kong’s Lead 8.

Inspired by traditional Chinese architecture, where interconnected spaces lead to a central courtyard, the PKX terminal building has six arms leading to a central hub. The starfish building will have spaces for luxury retail and duty-free shopping, dining, family areas with nurseries and daycare, and first-class passenger lounges. There are plans to build hotels within the airport itself.

Beijing Daxing International Airport will be the hub of China’s state airlines

The Civil Aviation Administration of China has allotted 40% of Beijing Daxing International Airport’s terminal space each to China Eastern Group and China Southern Group. The remaining 20% will be allocated to smaller mainland Chinese airlines and to international airlines. However, China Eastern Group gave up 10% of its allotment to Air China so it can continue to operate from PEK.

When PKX opens, it will start operating with flights by China United Airlines. By October 2019, the following airlines will begin operations from PKX: Air China, Beijing Capital Airlines, China Southern Airlines, British Airways, Himalaya Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, and Royal Brunei Airlines. Opening operations by the end of the year are: Finnair, Royal Air Maroc, and Malaysia Airlines.

Beijing Daxing International Airport will have an extensive ground transport service

As mentioned earlier, CACC has included laying out Beijing Daxing International Airport’s ground transport service in its masterplan. The intention is to provide quick connections between PKX and nearby cities, particularly Beijing and Langfang.

Among these ground transport services are three separate intercity rail lines: the Beijing-Xiong’an, the Tianjin-PKX, and the Intercity Railway Connector.

  • The Beijing-Xiong’an intercity rail will run from Beijing to PKX and then from PKX to Xiong’an. The Beijing arm of this railway is expected to open along with PKX, while the Xiong’an arm will begin operations in 2020.
  • The Tianjin-PKX is currently under construction and is expected to open in 2022. This railway will connect PKX to Tianjin West Railway Station.
  • The Intercity Railway Connector will run between Langfang, Yizhuang, Beijing, PEK, and PKX. It will also begin operations in 2022.

There will also be a subway service to and from PKX. Line 10 of the Beijing Subway system is currently being extended to include a terminal at the airport. This extension, named the Daxing Airport Express, will run from PKX to Caoqiao Station in Beijing.

Beijing Daxing International Airport is sure to have a massive effect on worldwide travel. Whether it will effectively address Greater Beijing’s transport needs, only time will tell.

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