Beijing Daxing International Airport began its first commercial flights on Wednesday. When it reaches full capacity, it is expected to become the largest airport in the world.
Construction was completed back in June, but the airport only passed final inspection on Sept. 15. China Southern christened the airport with a flight to Guangdong, CBS reported, followed by other flights to Shanghai and beyond.
The airport, designed by Zaha Hadid, measures more than 700,000 square meters, already making it the world’s largest airport in terms of surface area. It has been nicknamed the “starfish” by local media for its resemblance to the animal, with several wings shooting off of one central point. The airport includes separate passenger areas for domestic and international travel.
But despite its large size, the airport was designed to minimize how long passengers need to walk to get to their gate. According to CNN, it was designed so that passengers will not walk any longer than eight minutes to get from the security checkpoint to even the furthest gates.
Beijing Daxing will be capable of accommodating more than 100 million passengers per year once fully operational. However, it will take at least a few years to reach that capacity.
The airport is also expected to boast some high-tech features. Customer service robots will roam the terminal and provide passengers with up-to-the-minute updates on flight status and weather. The airport also hopes to become a transportation hub, complete with high-speed rail. Express trains will be able to get passengers from the airport to the city center in less than 20 minutes.
It is expected that the airport will have service to 112 destinations around the world by Spring 2020.
China has one of the fastest-growing travel markets in the world. Of the 20 fastest-growing airports in the world, 11 are located in China alone.