Although the world’s largest airport has been open already for a number of weeks, few travelers from outside of China have been able to experience the massive Zaha Hadid-designed complex that is Beijing Daxing International Airport.
But that all changed over the weekend when the airport welcomed its first international flights, living up to its name.
On Sunday, Oct. 27, Beijing Daxing International sent its first flight outside of China. A China Airways flight to Bangkok took off at 7:50 a.m local time. About 90 minutes later, a British Airways flight from London landed at the airport, making it the first international inbound flight.
However, it may still be some time before flights direct from the U.S. land at Beijing Daxing. Other international carriers set to begin service in the coming days include Royal Brunei Airlines, Himalaya Airlines, Lot Polish and Finnair, according to Business Traveller. Other international carriers may begin service in 2020.
Since the airport’s opening in late September, it’s been renowned for its technologically-driven approach to speed and security. Passengers travel through electronic security gates and can experience an entirely paperless boarding process. They can follow their luggage in real-time as it goes from check-in desk to plane. There are even plans for robots to park cars.
The airport has been nicknamed “the starfish” for its obvious resemblance to the creature. Passengers enter through a central point and then find their gate on one of the airport’s “arms.” The design insures that the walk from security to even the farthest gates will be no longer than eight minutes.
The airport plans to welcome 45 million annual passengers by 2022 and increase capacity to 72 million by 2025.