Beijing Daxing International Airport is a structure of superlatives. It boasts the world’s largest single-building terminal and the longest moving walk ever built by our team in China.
Designed by the renowned and late architect Zaha Hadid, Beijing’s Daxing International Airport, which covers an area equivalent to almost 100 football pitches, has been nicknamed the "Starfish", with its five concourses spreading out and stretching over one kilometer from end to end.
We supplied 293 smart mobility solutions for the airport and associated facilities, including 206 elevators, 35 escalators and 52 moving walks – one of which stretches over 93 meters, the longest moving walk our team has ever installed in China.
The airport has been designed to accelerate passenger travel throughout the building, allowing passengers to walk from the central courtyard of the terminal to any of the 79 gates within eight minutes. It’s expected to handle 72 million passengers by 2025 and up to 100 million passengers by 2040 upon further expansion.
Peng Zhong, in charge of operation and maintenance at Beijing Daxing International Airport, remembers being impressed by the elegant and human-focused design of the airport when he took up his new position there in 2020. He believes the importance of Daxing Airport as a symbol of China’s rise cannot be overstated. It’s after all the first impression travelers get of the country – and, as the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
Xu Han, who’s been with us for 13 years, served as a Project Leader for this project. "It was a huge challenge," he says, recalling the intensive work required to complete the adjustment tests for every single elevator, escalator and moving walk installed in the airport, the Metro Airport Line, and the parking facilities. "We coordinated all the resources to deliver the Daxing Airport project. This has been my largest project to date. I think that in the area of project management, it’s quite rare to have the opportunity to work on such a massive undertaking."
It was not only the installation that was an immense undertaking. The maintenance of all of our elevators, escalators and moving walks at the airport requires a special approach. Lee Wei, Sr. Specialist Existing Installations Support at our Beijing branch, explains: "Passengers usually only stop using our installations at around 2:00 am, so the maintenance work has to begin immediately thereafter, and they need to be operational again by 4:30 am for the next round of arrivals and departures."
Peng Zhong’s role includes overseeing inspections and maintenance work of elevators, escalators, and moving walks at the airport. His team’s focus is on identifying potential issues before problems occur, which means it’s vital for maintenance work to be performed in advance. "If any technical issues arise, the team immediately remedies them to avoid any disruption to passenger flows," says Peng Zhong. "This requires our maintenance providers to have higher qualifications and greater technical expertise, as well as rapid response and troubleshooting skills and maintenance capabilities". And this is where we come in. "Schindler is synonymous with performance and reliability," he says. His words, not ours.
Meanwhile, passengers have been enjoying the custom-made solutions at the airport. Xu Han says he is especially proud of the 14 custom-made Schindler 5500 elevators installed at the entrance: "We worked with the customer to create a lot of tailor-made products to meet the very high specifications of the designers," says Xu Han. These panoramic elevators, complete with sophisticated touchscreen displays, even became a social media sensation in the country for a while, drawing bloggers from near and far.
It’s not only our service technicians and the airport’s passengers that love the new terminal. The Beijing Daxing Airport was duly named “Elevator Project of the Year” by the the Global Elevator Industry Summit in 2020.
First impressions aren’t always reliable – but sometimes it seems they are.