China Aims to Build World’s Largest Mega-Airport Near Beijing

Not content with the world’s longest bridge and the world’s most massive conglomerated urban area, China is now hard at work building an airport of epic proportions. The new travel hub, which will join Beijing’s existing two airports (Beijing Capital International and Beijing Nanyuan) is under construction now and expected to be operational by 2015.

The new air travel mecca — being built in Daxing, a southern suburb of Beijing — will span 21 square miles, making it a hair smaller than the island of Manhattan, which stretches out over 22.7 square miles. The massive airport will host a whopping nine runways. For comparison, London Heathrow — the third busiest airport in the world — operates only two runways.

Need a little more perspective on just how unbelievably huge the project is? Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport (which boasts only five runways) has been holding the record as the world’s busiest air travel stop since 1999 and serves an impressive 89 million passengers per year. The new Beijing area flight hub is planned to accomodate between 120 and 200 million passengers annually — more than doubling Hartsfield-Jackson’s numbers, even in the low-end estimate.

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