Les terminaux du bout du monde

BEIJING – Depuis sa récente ouverture, le Terminal 5 de l’aéroport Heathrow de Londres a subi de nombreux revers. De l’autre côté du monde, le Terminal 3 de Beijing, dont l’ouverture complète a eu lieu juste un jour avant celle du Terminal 5, fonctionne quasiment sans anicroche. Comme on pouvait s’y attendre, les médias ont fait leurs choux gras des échecs du T5 de Londres tout en négligeant la réussite du T3 de Beijing.

Le T3 de Beijing surpasse le T5 de Londres à tous les points de vue. Alors que le T5 ne peut traiter que 12 000 bagages à l’heure (quand il y arrive) et 30 millions de passagers par an, le T3 peut traiter 20 000 bagages à l’heure et 50 millions de passagers. Alors que le T5 servira principalement à British Airways, le T3 servira à Air China et à deux douzaines d’autres compagnies aériennes.

Avec un million de mètres carrés, le T3 de Beijing est le plus grand terminal du monde, mais sa construction a pourtant été bien moins coûteuse que celle du T5 de Londres. Selon les taux de change les plus récents, le T3 n’a coûté que 3,86 milliards de dollars, comparé aux 8,6 milliards de dollars du T5 du Londres. En outre, la construction du T3 a demandé moins de quatre années, alors qu’il a fallu presque 20 ans pour achever le T5.

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