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Beijing Getting New Airport

The number of Chinese taking a trip on an airplane has increased so much, Beijing’s Capital International Airport – built only 11 years ago in time to open for the 2008 Summer Olympics – is already at capacity.

Now a second airport is on the verge of opening that could become the world’s busiest.

The $12 billion Beijing Daxing International Airport is set to open in September to alleviate what has become incredible growth and strain on the aviation system in the city.

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According to the Washington Post, annual airline passenger traffic in China reached 1.26 billion people in 2018, up 10.2 percent from the previous year and prompting the International Air Transport Association to predict that China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest aviation market by 2022, two years earlier than previously estimated.

Beijing’s Capital International Airport served 100 million passengers last year, second only to the 107 million served by the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson.

“It’s heavily overloaded,” said Yi Wei, deputy manager of the new Daxing airport’s planning department. “We estimate, basically, that about 400 flights every day are held up because of air traffic control approval.”

Nickname ‘Starfish’ for its main terminal and five tentacles, Daxing International is approximately 30 miles south of Beijing. A new rail system is being built concurrently. The new airport is to serve passengers from 28 cities, who would be able to reach the airport within three hours via high-speed rail.

Cao Yunchun, a professor from the Institute of Airport Economics at the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin, told the Post that the new airport will stimulate development in the relatively poor south of Beijing and nearby Hebei province.

“In the future, the area will be a hub for the flow of people, the flow of travels, the flow of physical goods, the flow of capital and the flow of technology,” he said.

Officials estimate Daxing could eventually overtake Atlanta for the number of passengers processed per year.

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