BEIJING (AFP) - Amid farmlands on the outskirts of Beijing, a massive construction site rising above the horizon bustles with activity as 8,000 workers build a new mega airport.
Aimed at easing the passenger load of Beijing’s other two airports, Daxing International Airport is scheduled to become operational in June 2019, said Li Jianhua, vice chairman of Beijing City Planning New Airport Construction.
It will operate at full capacity by 2025 with eight runways expected to transport 72 million passengers annually.
China plans to further expand the airport to have a capacity of 100 million passengers a year, a civil aviation authority official told the China Newsweek in March which would make it one of the busiest in the world. The International Air Transport Association has forecast that by 2020, existing airports in Beijing, Manila and Singapore will have reached full capacity.
“All our projects have finished on time or ahead of schedule and our techniques are all in line with international standards,” Li told journalists on Thursday during a site visit.
Costing 63.9 billion yuan (US$9.35 billion), the new airport will use some 200,000 tonnes of steel, the same amount used in building China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier, Li said.
He added that builders have been working at a rate equivalent to putting up one 18-storey building a day. Inside the construction site, beams of light shine through the glass roof illuminating the dark insides of the building. A slew of propaganda banners encouraging occupational health and safety are strung up across the site with a giant Chinese flag hung up in the centre of the building.
Some 7.8 billion people are forecast to fly worldwide by 2036, with nearly half of passengers flying to, from, or within the Asia-Pacific region said IATA chief Alexandre de Juniac earlier this year.