Keep out: social media photographers told to stay away from Beijing’s new Daxing airport

Laurie Chen

Police are telling camera-happy social media snappers to stay away from the newly opened Beijing Daxing International Airport because they are a safety risk to travellers, state broadcaster CCTV said on Thursday.

The airport, which was officially opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, has become a magnet for thousands of people wanting to take photos inside and outside the huge star-shaped building.

About 15,000 people on average had visited the airport each day since it opened to take photographs, the report said. The week-long National Day public holiday made matters worse for security staff.

While 5,667 travellers flew out of the airport on Tuesday, the start of “golden week”, 85,000 people entered it, the report said, citing airport figures. Police claimed that this surge of visitors could threaten travellers’ safety and that it had to stop immediately.

Security staff at Beijing Daxing International Airport are warning camera-happy visitors they could pose a danger to themselves, road users and travellers. Photo: CCTV

“The first category of this phenomenon is tourists spending a long time taking photos in the passenger drop-off area in front of the airport entrance,” deputy traffic police manager Lin Chanyou was quoted as saying. “This way, they take up car parking space.

“The second category is tourists taking photos while walking on the east-west elevated bridge, where cars are sometimes parked in the moving vehicle lane. This could easily cause traffic accidents and carries safety risks.”

The report said that many visitors ignored police advice to stay clear of busy areas. Some were taking photos, while others were making live-stream broadcasts from the vehicle lanes. Police also said that cars should not be parked in the moving vehicle lanes of the elevated bridge.

Beijing’s new 7-runway, star-shaped Daxing airport opened by Xi Jinping, with aviation industry ready for take-off

A quick search of Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, revealed that several users had posted photos from within the airport, but it was not clear if they were travellers or day trippers.

“Where has this National Day week-long holiday gone? Why not go to Daxing airport to have a look?” one user wrote. “But as I arrived, I didn’t expect people to be shuttling through the airport, it’s just like a tourist attraction.

“Old people are going there in groups to take photos as souvenirs; I bet those will be super popular on WeChat.”

Designed by late Iraq-born architect Zaha Hadid, the starfish-shaped airport took five years and more than 80 billion yuan (US$11 billion) to complete. It is the most expensive airport yet built, as well as the world’s biggest single-terminal facility.

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