China's president opens Beijing's massive new Daxing airport
China's president Xi Jinping has officially opened Beijing's massive new Daxing Airport, a facility that is expected to quickly become one of the busiest in the world.
Xi called the new airport a “powerful source of national development” in a ceremony on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Beijing Daxing (airport code PKX) is designed to handle 72 million passengers annually, or roughly the equivalent of the traffic that currently flies through Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), the world's 15th busiest. Last year, the Chinese capital's Beijing Capital (PEK) airport was the second busiest in the world with more than 100 million passengers, according to the Airport Council International's (ACI) annual ranking.
Related: Beijing’s Sprawling New Daxing Airport Finished
The centerpiece of the new Daxing airport is a star-shaped terminal designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The 7.5 million square foot terminal, plus the more than 860,000 square foot ground transportation center, has 79 contact gates and will boast hubs for both China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.
Air China will continue to operate its main hub from Beijing Capital.
U.S. carriers have yet to commit to Daxing. Both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are evaluating a possible move to the new airport to remain close to their partners, China Southern and China Eastern, respectively. United Airlines will remain at Beijing Capital with its partner Air China.
Delta spokeswoman Susannah Thurston said the Skyteam Alliance carrier is in discussions for slots at Daxing airport and hopes to make a decision soon.
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