Beijing will start construction of a new airport in the capital on Friday that will become operational in 2019.
The project, which was given final approval by the National Development and Reform Commission last week, will involve nearly 80 billion yuan (S$17 billion) of investment, making it the costliest project in China's civil aviation history.
The airport is planned to handle 72 million passengers, 2 million metric tons of cargo and 620,000 flights annually after 2025.
The new hub, which has not been officially named, will be in Daxing district, 46 km south of Tian'anmen Square. It will be 67 km from Beijing Capital International Airport.
It will include four runways, 150 parking aprons for passenger jets, 24 parking aprons for cargo aircraft, 14 maintenance areas and a terminal building with a floor area of 700,000 square metres.
A 66-km rapid transit line will be built to link northern areas of the city to the new airport.
Once completed, it will take passengers less than 30 minutes to get to the airport from the city center.
Top leaders, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, have given their attention to the project, said Liu Xuesong, general manager of Capital Airports Holding Co, the largest airport operator in China and owner of the new airport.
"President Xi has asked us to build the new airport as a landmark structure, while Premier Li asked us to economize on the designated land and to introduce more private investment to the project," Liu said.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China will provide 18 billion yuan from its civil aviation development fund for the project, while Capital Airports Holding Co will invest 6 billion yuan. The rest of the investment will rely on bank loans and private capital, the National Development and Reform Commission said.
The new airport is expected to handle 45 million passengers when it enters service in 2019.
Its management will consist of officials from the Civil Aviation Administration, the governments of Beijing municipality and Hebei province as well as executives from a new company operating the facility, said Zhou Laizhen, deputy director of the administration.
China Southern Airlines, one of the four biggest Chinese carriers, has decided to move its main operations base to the new airport from Beijing Capital, Zhou added.
"The compensation plan for those who will be relocated to make way for the new airport has been decided, although demolition work has yet to start," Zhou said. "About 70 percent of the villages affected are in Beijing, while the rest are in Hebei province."
Beijing has two airports handling civil aviation flights - Beijing Capital International and Nanyuan International.
Beijing Capital, located in northeast Beijing and which served 83.7 million passengers in 2013, was listed as the second-busiest airport in the world last year by passenger numbers.
Beijing Nanyuan, which is controlled by the Chinese air force, will be relocated within 5 years as the CAAC, the Beijing government and the air force have reached agreement on this, Zhou said, without disclosing the new location.
"After the new airport becomes operational, Beijing Capital will focus on international and long-distance domestic flights," he said.