Beijing airport's Terminal 3 is a major expansion project for the preparation of the surge of passengers expected for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was designed by famous British architect Lord Foster and looks like a huge dragon from the sky. The construction began on March 28, 2004 and the terminal was officially opened in February 2008. The opening of the new terminal will enable the capital airport to handle 76 million passengers each year, as opposed to the airports 53 million passenger capacity in 2007. The Capital Airport is the first domestic airport in China with three terminals, two control towers, and three airstrips in simultaneous operation. The number of taxiways has been increased from 71 to 137 and the number of gates has been increased to 314, from the 164 previously. The airport now also features special bridges to handle Airbus’ giant double decked A-380 airliner.
Initially, six airlines will use Terminal 3, including Sichuan Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Qatar Airways, Qantas Airways, British Airways, and El Al Israel Airlines. The number of airlines using Terminal 3 will be increased on March 26 to include Air China, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and other Star Alliance members, as well as Emirates and Air Canada.