Which are the international airports in China

China's mega-projects: 216 new airports in 15 years

The discussion about the construction of a third runway for Vienna Airport is still remembered by many - it was also broad and emotional because the runway influences the lives of residents and has massive consequences for air quality and the environment. If one of the six Austrian airports grows like this, it is at least a significant infrastructure project for the local size. The third runway is now expected to go into operation by 2030.

216 new airports

In China, the second largest economy in the world, such plans would hardly be worth a marginal note in the newspapers. In a comparable time frame, namely until 2035, no less than 216 new airports are to be built in China. The civil aviation authority of the People's Republic announced last November. This would almost double the number of airports on Chinese soil to 450.

One of the new airports is Beijing-Daxing, around 50 kilometers south of the capital city center. It is scheduled to be completed in September 2019 and, with eight runways, will have as many as all Austrian airports put together - once the third runway at Vienna Airport has been completed. At full capacity, Beijing-Daxing is estimated to transport more than 130 million people a year, making it the largest transport hub in the world.

8,000 workers are currently working on the 700,000 square meter main terminal, which will be the second largest in the world after the Istanbul Airport terminal. The speed of construction is also extreme: more than a million cubic meters of concrete and 200,000 tons of steel were used in the construction work, which lasted only four years.

Underwater tunnel

But China is not only planning big things in the air, also underground and in the water: It has evidently found pleasure in networking its parts of the country more and more closely. Last October, the world's longest overwater bridge, at around 30 kilometers, was opened in the Pearl River Delta - it connects the special administrative areas of Hong Kong and Macau.

While 6.7 kilometers have already been tunneled under for this bridge so as not to disrupt the busy shipping traffic, the planned Bohai railway tunnel east of Beijing should run as much as 90 of the 123 kilometers below the surface of the sea. The tunnel would be around two and a half times as long as the Eurotunnel between France and Great Britain. The Chinese central government has announced that it wants to begin the plan for this construction, which has been postponed several times, "as soon as possible". She is said to plan to build an underwater connection to South Korea several hundred kilometers away at some point. Currently, South Korea can only be reached from China by ship or plane.

In the speed frenzy

The hectic and driven atmosphere in Chinese cities is also reflected, so to speak, in the ambitions for new super-fast train connections: Almost 30,000 kilometers of high-speed connections are already on the soil of the People's Republic - that is around two thirds of the total length available globally.

China only started building high-speed trains in 2007 - the world's largest high-speed network was built within a few years. China wants to expand it to 38,000 kilometers by 2025 and even 45,000 kilometers by 2030. That would be significantly more than the circumference of the earth.

Renewable energies factor

But there are more mega-projects in China: the largest water diversion project of all time, the hydropower plant with the largest generator output (Three Gorges Dam) or the largest wind farm in the world (Gansu). Two of the three largest coal mines in the world are also located in China. At the same time, the country also leads in the production of wind and solar energy.

The Chinese are still relying primarily on fossil fuels to cope with the huge mega-projects and drive economic progress. Calculations assume that only 20 percent of the energy demand can be covered by renewable energies by 2030. But China has announced that it intends to use more environmentally friendly energy more often and more vehemently in the future. If a country can be trusted to carry out the mega-project to switch to alternative energies, it is China. (Fabian Sommavilla, May 15, 2019)