Cover Photo: Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Take a look inside what will be the biggest and most expensive airport ever built

Set to open its doors on September 30, 2019, the new Beijing Daxing International Airport has been completed at a cost of US$12 billion in preparation to operate as the capital’s second international airport—to alleviate existing pressure on Beijing Capital International Airport.

At 7.5 million square feet, the new airport is expected to accommodate 72 million passengers by 2025 and 100 million passengers by 2040, surpassing Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the US to become the world’s biggest and busiest by passenger traffic.

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Despite the scale of the US$12 billion construction project, Daxing International Airport is designed to keep walking to a minimum. The distance from the security checkpoint to the farthest boarding gate is only 600 meters, which is less than an eight-minute walk.

As one of the last outstanding projects by the late Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid, the starfish-shaped mega airport reflects her unique aesthetics and functions with optimal convenience for travellers. 

"It's more efficient for the passengers than any other large airport terminal of the same size in the world," said Guo Yanchi, Chief Engineer of Beijing Daxing International Airport. "The airport is also the world's first to be designed with double-deck departure and double-deck arrival platforms." 


The main construction work, including airline bases, air traffic control tower, highway, intercity railway, high-speed subway line are already in place, and the new airport will eventually boast seven runways in total.

Prior to the opening, we take a look at some of the world's most expensive airports that are on par with Beijing's newest airport:

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Heathrow Airport

Initial cost: US$10.5 billion

With plans to add a third runway billed at $18.5 billion, London's Heathrow Airport is currently the "busiest two-runway airport in the world". 

Hong Kong International Airport

Initial cost: US$20 billion

The award-winning international airport is undergoing a US$18.1 billion expansion project to construct a third runway, a new passenger concourse, an expanded terminal building, a new airport train and bagagge system, to be completed by 2024. 

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Al Maktoum International Airport

Initial cost: US$32 billion

Originally built with an aim to be one of the world’s biggest and the new base of Emirates airline, the $36 billion Al Maktoum airport expansion to accommodate 120 million passengers a year by 2025 has been put on hold. It handles a fraction of Dubai’s passenger traffic since its opening in 2013.

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