Beijing's new international airport is taking shape as the steel structure of its terminal buildings was completed Friday.
Authorities said the airport, currently known as Beijing Daxing International Airport although its official name has not yet been released, is expected to begin operations in 2019.
The airport's terminal buildings, covering an area of 313,000 square meters, will consist of a centerpiece and five arms resembling a phoenix spreading out its wings, according to sources with the contractor Beijing Construction Engineering Group.
The design of the five wings will use images from Chinese culture such as silk, tea, porcelain, farmland, and Chinese gardens, the sources said.
The distance from the far-end of each wing to the center building will be less then 600 meters, a design that distinguishes the airport from most large international airports that inevitably require commuters to walk long distances, they said.
The airport, located 46 km south of Beijing's city center, is being built to take pressure of the over-crowded Beijing Capital International Airport located in the northeastern suburbs.
The distance between two airports will be about 67 km.
The new airport has been designed to handle up to 72 million passengers and 2 million tonnes of cargo each year by 2025. It will have four runways and accommodate 620,000 flights per year.
After later expansions, the airport will be able to handle 100 million passengers and 4 million tonnes of cargo a year.
China Eastern Airlines, one of China's top three airlines, announced Thursday that it will build a 13.2-billion-yuan (1.9 billion U.S. dollars) base at the new airport, where its aircraft maintenance, catering, ground services, cargo handling, offices, and employee accommodation will be located.
The airline aims to operate between 150 and 200 flight routes from the new airport, serving its international destinations in America, Europe, Australia, southeast and northeast Asia, among others.