In this Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, photo, the new Beijing Daxing International Airport is seen from above in an aerial view in Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping presided Wednesday over the inauguration of a second international airport for Beijing…
In this Sept. 24, 2019, photo, the new Beijing Daxing International Airport is seen from above in an aerial view in Beijing.

China President Xi Jinping on Wednesday inaugurated Beijing's second international airport, which boasts the world's largest single-building terminal. 

Beijing Daxing International Airport (BCIA) opened for business just days ahead of the 70th anniversary of Communist rule in China on October 1.

At the start, only domestic flights will use the airport, but it will offer 112 international destinations by next spring.

The airport, shaped like a starfish, was built in less than five years at the cost of nearly $17 billion. 

Designed by British Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, it has four runways. There are plans to build as many as three additional runways in the future. 

Even though the airport's main terminal is 1 million square meters, or the size of 100 soccer fields, officials say travelers will have to walk no more than 600 meters to reach even the farthest gate. 

China is forecast to overtake the United States as the world’s largest air travel market by 2022. In preparation, Daxing is designed to accommodate up to 72 million passengers a year, eventually reaching 100 million.

Currently, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL) airport in Georgia is the world's largest, with more than 107 million passengers per year. The existing Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), the world's second-busiest aviation hub, is at full capacity with 101 million passengers per year.