Beijing approves US$11.2 billion international airport

Beijing approves US$11.2 billion international airport

Located in the capital's south, the airport will open in 2018 with six commercial runways
new beijing airport
The much-needed new airport will help service the expected 500 million trips taken by passengers in 2015.

China's State Council has approved plans for a much-needed new airport in Beijing, official Chinese media reported this week. 

Officials also approved a rail line connecting the airport to the city center. 

Located in Daxing, a suburban district in southern Beijing, the airport will reportedly cost approximately RMB 70 billion (US$11.2 billion) and is scheduled to open in 2018. 

Six runways will be for commercial use, while one will be reserved for military use, China Daily reported, quoting CAAC News, a media outlet affiliated with the local aviation administration. 

Beijing Capital International Airport, the city's current airport, has long been criticized for lack of infrastructure and constant delays in the context of China's rapidly growing air travel demand. 

With 81.8 million passenger trips in 2012, it was ranked the world's second-busiest airport for three years running, right after Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport's 90 million (domestic and international passengers). 

"There are constant delays and the international terminal is awful," Jeff Lee, a Hong Kong-based 31-year-old frequent business traveler to Beijing, told CNN.

"Literally, the best restaurant in the international terminal is Pizza Hut. I enjoy Pizza Hut as much as the next guy but not in the capital of China." 

In 2011, aviation officials in China announced plans to increase its total number of airports from 175 to 230 within five years, saying Beijing alone is expected to handle 450-500 million passenger trips by 2015. 

The new airport will have the capacity to handle 70 million passenger trips by 2025, reported local media. 

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