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Schindler worldwide

Xiamen Xiang’an International Airport

Currently under construction on the south-eastern coast of China, the spectacular Xiang’an International Airport will provide the city of Xiamen with its second airport. With a 550,000-square-meter main terminal, almost 200 aircraft parking bays, it’s estimated to serve up to 85 million passengers by 2040.


When they build new projects in China, they often build big projects. This is certainly the case with Xiamen Xiang’an International Airport, one of the most modern and passenger friendly airports in Asia. To help ensure travellers and cargo can move quickly and efficiently throughout the airport, our team in China is installing no fewer than 338 elevators, escalators, and moving walkways – a staggering number by global standards.

For our team in China, the size of the job is a challenge – but not a unique one.

"Actually, the size of the project is quite normal for us," says Chengyun Zhu, Director Sales, with a calm and confident smile while sitting in our Shanghai headquarters. "There are many mega airports in China, and this is one of the bigger ones. It’s not the biggest we've worked on. But this project is unique in many other ways." 

Escalators at the Xiamen Xiang'an International Airport
Escalators at the Xiamen Xiang'an International Airport
Moving walks at the Xiamen Xiang'an International Airport

A stunning design for a beautiful city

Famed as one of China’s "garden cities," Xiamen – in the south-eastern province of Fujian – is known for its beautiful parks, tree-lined streets, and sandy beaches. The city has a long history of connecting East and West and being a cultural and commercial gateway into China.  

The new airport – built on Dadeng Island, which had to be doubled in size to accommodate the project – will act as a regional airline hub and an airline portal for cross-strait exchange with Taiwan. The new venture is recognized as an important piece of the jigsaw in Beijing's giant Belt and Road Initiative and a way to promote integrated development in the region. 

The airport is projected to serve 62 million passengers and one million tons of cargo annually by 2030, and it will be expanded to serve 85 million passengers and two million tons of cargo annually by 2040, according to its operator. 

The exterior of the airport is designed by star architect Cui Kai, honorary president and chief architect of the award-winning Beijing-based China Architecture Design & Research Group (CADG), and his team. The roof of the building, which has an upward-curving ridge like the tail of a swallow, was inspired by local Hokkien architecture, which holds traditional roots in the Fujian region and the neighbouring island of Taiwan. It’s a refreshing design that bursts with vitality.

Xiamen Xiang'an International Airport from the outside

Excellent passenger experience

The interior is equally impressive, not least in terms of its attention to efficiency and improving passenger experience. In fact, the furthest boarding gate is only 640 meters from the security zone, a blessing for any traveller in a hurry. 

"Our layout engineers worked closely with the design architects, to make sure everything integrated, flows smoothly, and is fine-tuned," says Zejiang Lin, our Project Manager at Xiamen Airport. "Our elevators, escalators, and moving walks will help make the airport efficient and passenger-friendly."

The terminal is connected to surrounding buildings via corridors and overlapping floors, allowing passengers to walk to hotels, transport links, and nearby business infrastructure. To ensure convenient pedestrian circulation throughout the entire airport, we’re installing 176 passenger and freight elevators, 100 escalators, and 62 moving walks. 

"Airport projects can be challenging because they cover such a huge area," says Zejiang. "It’s only two or three floors, but unlike high-rise buildings there's no specific ‘rush-hour’ – it’s a constant flow of a huge number of people." Additionally, there are many more "paths" that people can take in airports, so more options must be considered. "The requirements are quite different to other kind of buildings," adds Zejiang. 

One of the main challenges, he adds, is coordinating with the hundreds of subcontractors involved in the project – from electricians and carpenters to interior designers and the management. Every morning starts with a planning meeting between the developer, Xiamen Iport Group, and the multiple subcontractors. 

To make the collaboration run smoothly, our project team – and those of most of the other firms involved – lives on-site during the week.

"The site is very close to the sea and the area is very nice," Zejiang explains. "It’s like a little village, with temporary buildings and canteens. The site’s offices are nicely decorated. It’s not bad at all."

A new project built on a long-term partnership 

Intriguingly, the Xiamen Xiang’an International Airport is not the first airport project we’ve worked on in the city – 30 years ago, we provided all the elevators, escalators, and moving walks for the first phase of Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, which is still in operation today. While there are no plans to close it any time soon, when the new Xiang’an airport is completed in 2026 it will take over the mantel of the city’s main airport.

A lot has changed since the first airport opened for business in 1983. "Thirty years ago, most of the equipment was imported from Switzerland, while installation and execution was done by the local team here," says Chengyun. "Now we have a complete supply chain for elevators, escalators, and moving walks in China. So, for the new airport, we’re able to supply all the units that are needed domestically." 

Thirty years after the start of our partnership, to be chosen to provide the mobility solutions for the new airport is a sign of the trust and confidence placed in our long-term commitment to delivering excellence.

"There really is no better endorsement a client can give our products and our services," reflects Chengyun.