Beijing’s huge new airport, Daxing International, was formally opened by President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
The starfish-shaped airport, located in the south of the capital, will help relieve pressure on the existing Capital International Airport in Beijing’s northeast, where capacity constraints often cause flight delays.
The maiden flight from the airport is scheduled at 3.30pm Beijing time, according to Chinese flight tracking app Umetrip.
The airport, abbreviated PKX, was hailed as “a new powerful source of national development” at a ceremony overseen by Xi and which top government officials, including He Lifeng, the head of the state planner and a vice premier, Han Zheng, participated.
Rising out of farmland, Daxing airport is about 46km away from Tiananmen Square, almost twice the distance from the Capital airport to central Beijing.
The new airport will operate at full capacity in 2025, with four runways and the potential to receive 72 million passengers per year.