China is building the world’s largest airport – too bad New York can’t do the same

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China’s upcoming Daxing District airport in Beijing is intended to eventually take the mantle of the world’s largest airport. While the completion date is still years away, airport officials are beginning to spill the beans on what makes the project so special. Here’s what we know so far:

It’s designed to look like a Phoenix. Iraq-born British architect Zaha Hadid chose the phoenix motif in part to contrast with Beijing’s current dragon-inspired Beijing Capital International Airport airport. The phoenix effect may be lost on those pulling up to the departures curb, but anyone coming in for a landing is sure to spot the firebird in all of its aerial glory.

Service will begin in 2019. According to china.org, 45 million passengers will be served by the airport’s first four runways to open in 2019. By 2025, another two runways will open, bringing the total annual passenger count up to 72 million.

Expansion will make it the world’s largest airport by 2040. Granted, similarly grandiose airport projects in the Middle East — or even London — may knock Beijing off of its perch before it ever stakes its claim to the world’s largest title, but current projections expect the phoenix to process 100 million annual passengers by 2040.

It will be seriously speedy. Customs-to-boarding gate times are set to take just 8 minutes. And the baggage claim process is promised to set travelers back only an additional 13 minutes. Zoom zoom!

It has already been called a Wonder of the Modern World. The Guardian has this “megastructure” on its global watch list, already bestowing the modern marvel title on the new airport.

This does not explain why New York’s La Guardia or JFK airport look and function like something out of the developing world.

Yan Baczkowski

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