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July 25, 2008 9:40 AM

T3 - Beijing's dragon-inspired airport

Posted by Daniel Beekman

Beijing Capital Airport's monstrous Terminal 3 opened months ago, but these next two weeks will serve as its real debut. Most of the 200,000-plus foreigners expected to attend China's first-ever Olympic Games will touch down at 'T3.'

Designed by celebrity English architect Norman Foster, the 986,000 square meter structure resembles a 'flying dragon.' It rests on smooth crimson pillars and boasts a warped, scaly golden roof.

It just got easier for Seattleites to visit T3. On June 10, Hainan Airlines launched its new nonstop service between Seattle and Beijing.

So book a flight - check out East Asia's answer to London Heathrow and New York JFK.

Or, if a quick jaunt to China sounds infeasible, scroll through Blogging Beijing's photos of T3 below.


Beijing Capital Airport - Terminal 3

'T3' at night - 50,000 workers toiled nearly four years on the world's largest airport building.

Beijing's new terminal claims 300 check-in counters, 451 elevators and a system of luggage carriers able to move 20,000 bags per hour over 60 kilometers of track, at 7 meters per second.

Beijing's new terminal hosts 64 restaurants and 84 shops. Planners say it will accomadate 50 million passengers a year by 2020.

Why construct a US$4.6 billion airport terminal? For the Olympic Games!

T3's arrivals concourse in moonlight - Beijing's air traffic is growing 20 percent each year.

Night shift at T3 for a group of Beijing university students turned 2008 Olympic volunteers.

The terminal's biggest tenants: Air China, Oneworld and Star Alliance.

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