President Xi Jinping on Wednesday inaugurated a second international airport for the Chinese capital with the world's biggest terminal ahead of celebrations of the Communist Party's 70th anniversary in power. Beijing Daxing International Airport is designed to handle 72 million passengers a year. Located on the capital's south side about 30 miles from downtown, it was built in less than five years at a cost of $17 billion; CBS News notes the true cost was more like $63 billion, as new roads and rail systems needed to be created to connect it with the capital. Designed by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, the vast, star-shaped airport includes a terminal billed as the world's biggest at 11 million square feet.
Despite that, its builders say travelers will need to walk no more than 2,000 feet to reach any boarding gate, reports the AP. Daxing has four runways, with plans for as many as three more. The main Beijing airport, located in the city's northeast, is the world's second-busiest after Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (which saw 107 million passengers in 2018, per CNN) and is nearing capacity. Carriers including British Airways and state-owned China Southern, the country's biggest airline by passengers, plan to move to Daxing from Beijing Capital International Airport. The capital has a third airport, Nanyuan, for domestic flights, but the government says that will close once Daxing is in operation.
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