Foam and debris blown off Terminal 3’s roof, from December 10th of last year.
Beijing Airport’s Terminal 3, which opened to great fanfare as a national Olympics-related showpiece project in February of 2008, had its roof slightly torn open on Tuesday night, contributing to 200 delayed flights and 28 canceled flights.
The airport authorities claim that the wind, moving at 24 meters per second (53.7 mph), lifted metal plates from the D section of Terminal 3, with passengers at the airport’s third terminal also reportedly witnessing white and yellow foam composites drifting outside. Some foam reportedly even reached the runway.
It is the second incidence of Terminal 3’s roof-fail in a year, when similar winds tore open two sections of the building’s roof on December 10th last year, damaging an area of 200 square meters and also delaying over 200 flights.
This latest case has led to questions concerning the construction quality of the second largest airport terminal in the world. Comparisons are being made with Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport, regularly cited as one of the best airports in the world, since both Terminal 3 and Hong Kong’s hub were designed by British architect Norman Foster (Terminal 3 was co-designed by the Beijing Architectural Design and Research Institute).
China Daily reports that netizens need no help in making the easy connection:
“How could Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport, also designed by Norman Foster, withstand typhoons so well throughout the past decade?” asked a netizen from Shenzhen at Weibo.com.
The roof, which was apparently designed to withstand speeds up to 28.3 meters per second (albeit tested only under simulated conditions), was fixed by noon on Wednesday, with regular flight schedules then resuming.
Quite incredulously, the airport authorities refused to comment further on the accident, by stressing how they were only using the building, and weren’t the ones who built it. Now that’s how you cover your ass.