Chinese authorities intend to allocate Beijing’s much-delayed second airport to SkyTeam alliance airlines, which include China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, the largest and third-largest carriers in China.

Under this plan, Beijing’s current airport, Beijing Capital International, and the planned facility at Daxing in the city’s south, will both be hubs. An alternative plan, adopted in many Asian cities, would have dedicated long-haul services to one airport and domestic operations to another, say two airline industry sources familiar with the plans.

With such a split, Star Alliance’s Air China will remain at Beijing Capital; Oneworld has no mainline Chinese members.

Under the latest plan, Daxing in its first stage will have a 700,000 square meter (7.5 million square ft.) terminal designed for 45 million passengers a year. Plausible assumptions on traffic growth suggest expansion work might have to get underway even as the first passengers arrive at the check-in desks.

Initial plans for Daxing projected nine runways, including one for military use, but these have since been scaled back to four runways. Some 40 sq. km (15.4 sq. mi.) has been allocated to the development. There will be places for 220 aircraft and runway capacity for 650,000 movements a year.

Total cost is forecast to reach 80.3 billion yuan ($12.7 billion).

Daxing airport has been planned for at least eight years, and while construction was scheduled to start in 2010, ground breaking has yet to occur. The latest target opening is 2017, and most airport projects take five years to complete.

Beijing Capital is designed to accommodate 85 million passengers a year, and in 2011 it recorded 79 million passenger movements.