The Government of China is planning to build a new airport in the southern region of Beijing with an investment of CNY86bn ($14bn).

The new airport will border on the Hebei province and will have the capacity to handle 72m passengers and about 2m tonnes of cargo a year, according to the documents posted on the Ministry of Environmental Protection website.

It is reported that the airport will have seven runways, including one reserved for military use, which is a rare feature in civilian airports.

Construction is likely to start in July and the airport is expected to be operational in 2018.

"The new airport is expected to address the congestion and delays due to the shortage of slots at Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai Airports."

The government aims to strengthen the development of related industries in the less-developed city, with this move representing part of its plan to better integrate cities around Beijing.

The new airport is expected to address the increasing congestion and delays due to a shortage of slots at Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA), as well as major airports in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

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Built in 1958, BCIA handled 83 million visitors in 2013, which is higher than its designed capacity of 80 million passengers a year.

Consistently ranked as the world’s second-busiest airport, BCIA has been criticised for its lack of infrastructure and constant delays.

According to official data, China’s airports collectively handled over 754 million passengers in 2013, an 11% increase compared with 2012 and 86% rise in the past five years.

Manufacturers forecast that one new plane will take off from China every other day for the next two decades.

They also predict that Beijing alone is expected to see an increase of 113m passengers by 2015, which would reach 142m passengers by 2020.