Proposals for giant third airport could mean 120 million passengers pass through Chinese capital a year.

Beijing is moving to overtake London as the world’s busiest aviation hub with the construction of a third airport that could have as many as nine runways.

The new mega-project – part of a huge expansion of China‘s airline industry – has alarmed environmental groups, who warn aircraft will increasingly contribute to the country’s already dire pollution problems and high greenhouse gas emissions.

The government has yet to announce details of the project, but the Guardian has spoken to sources familiar with the initial designs and seen signs of construction in the rural district of Daxing, about 31 miles (50km) south-west of the city centre.

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