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China to Build World's Largest, Highest Airports
January 9, 2012

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China is planning both the world's largest airport and the world's highest airport.

The Daxing airport, at a still undisclosed location, is due to be completed in 2015 and will be Beijing's third airport. It is expected to handle up to 200 million passengers a year, three times the capacity of London's Heathrow Airport, currently the world's busiest.

This new airport is in addition to the one built for the 2008 Olympics, which is already the largest in the world. That airport, the Beijing Capital International, has a capacity of 75 million passengers a year.

Meanwhile, in Tibet, the government will build an airport at Nagqu that will be 14,553 feet above sea level. The government says that it has already carried out safety testing on planes, passengers, and machinery at that height. China already has the world's three highest airports, in Qamdo Bamda, Ngari Gunsa, and Kangding, and all of those are nearly as high above sea level.

The new airport, expected to be nearly a square mile in size and completed in 2015, will be the sixth in Tibet and will be about 150 miles northeast of Lhasa, the provincial capital.

The Chinese government has many plans to continue to build airports to serve its still rapidly growing passenger numbers. A further 50 airports are planned around the country in the next five years, in response to a 16-percent increase in the number of air passengers in 2010. A total of 268 million people boarded Chinese planes that year. Figures for 2011 are expected soon.

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