Airports in Asia swing into expansion mode as passenger numbers soar

An artist’s impression of Changi Airport’s upcoming Project Jewel complex.
PHOTO: Changi Airport Group

SINGAPORE - Surging air travel in Asia is spurring major airports to build up capacity.

The rise of budget carriers has dramatically boosted the number of passengers coming through the region's hubs. Left unchecked, congestion could put a drag on economic development. So aviation authorities and airport operators are scurrying to build new airports, add runways and expand terminals.

New airport projects underway in the Asia-Pacific region have drawn US$91.2 billion (S$126.33 billion) worth of investment, according to Australia's CAPA Center for Aviation. Investment in airport expansion projects totals US$135.6 billion. The combined amount of US$226.8 billion accounts for 37 per cent of global investment in ongoing airport projects, which comes to US$606.9 billion.

By region, CAPA says the Asia-Pacific is generating the most airport investment -- more than double the US$107.7 billion for North America.

China, in particular, is ramping up airport capacity. In Beijing, a second airport is currently under construction in the south of the city. The new facility is estimated to cost 84 billion yuan (US$13.5 billion) and is scheduled to open in 2019.

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