JUST LANDED: Five new airport terminals

12 Aug 2009


When did it open? February 2008, in time for the Beijing Olympic Games.

Where is it? Located 32km northeast of Beijing’s city centre in Chaoyang District. Passengers can make use of a fast light rail connecting the airport and the Dongzhimen station in less than 20 minutes.

Fast facts: Beijing’s T3 is a complex of three buildings, costing about US$3 billion, and is a joint venture between UK architect Foster + Partners (the designers of Hongkong International Airport), Arup (an international engineering firm) and NACO (Netherlands Airport Consultants BV). At the time of completion (which took four years), this was the world’s biggest airport terminal at 1 million square metres until it was superseded in October 2008 by the 1.5-million-square-metre T3 of Dubai International Airport.

Beijing’s T3 is environmentally sustainable and designed to withstand harsh climate changes. It features a dragon-like form with a gold roof and an interior palette of red, orange and yellow. Other highlights include a US$240 million luggage-transfer system (handling 19,200 pieces of luggage per hour), a 3,800m by 60m runway to accommodate the Airbus A380, a 2km automatic people mover linking the north and south terminals, and a sky-lit roof among others. The terminal alone has 66 aerobridges and 120 gates including eight gates at the satellite building.


When did it open? October 2008.

Where is it? 4km southeast of Dubai in the Al Garhoud district. Terminals 3 and 1 are connected by the automated, underground Dubai Metro on the Red Line linking the airport to the city centre. The Red Line is scheduled to start operations in September.

More metro lines have been planned. When completed, the Green Line will also serve passengers in the airport area while the Purple Line will link Dubai Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport at Jebel Ali, due to be ready by 2017.

Fast facts: One of the gateways to the Middle East, DIA made headlines last year when it unveiled Emirates T3 as the world’s largest airport terminal (at 1.5 million square metres). A second concourse was also added. The A380-dedicated Concourse 3 is scheduled for completion at the end of 2011.

Dubai’s T3 can accommodate up to 43 million passengers annually, bringing the airport’s total annual capacity to 60 million.

The swanky six-storey terminal features a 51ha departure area, 157 elevators, 97 escalators, 82 moving walkways and eight Skytrains ferrying people around the complex, as well as two Zen gardens and three spas, not to mention dining outlets and duty-free shops.


When did it open? June 2008.

Where is it? 70km from Seoul, in the west of Incheon, connected to the mainland via an airport expressway.

Fast facts: Incheon International’s second phase, costing US$4 billion, features the New Passenger Concourse, a third runway (measuring 4km and catering for the A380), a cargo terminal, an unmanned underground train between the main passenger building and boarding areas in the newly constructed concourse, a state-of-the-art baggage handling system and an advanced navigational safety network among others. On the fourth floor of the Transfer/Departure Hall is a museum showcasing artefacts of the royal court, Buddhist art and literature on the origins of Korean typography and alphabet.

Also available is an advanced self check-in system and “U-immigration” system applying the latest biometric techniques. Business-friendly facilities include an internet lounge for complimentary email access.

The award-winning airport has bigger plans for the coming years. Target dates have been set for the completion of phase three in 2015 and the fourth phase in 2020.


When did it open? July 2008, after an almost six-year delay due to a lengthy legal battle between the Philippine government and the project’s main contractor, Philippine International Air Terminals Company. NAIA T3 was to have opened in 2002.

Where is it? The terminal is located on Andrews Avenue, Pasay City and next to Villamor Air Base. It is an entirely separate building from NAIA T1 and T2, so keep this in mind should the cabbie drop you here when your flight actually departs from T1 or T2, or vice-versa. No shuttle service is currently available between terminals.

Fast facts: Used by low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific Airlines for both its local and international flights as well as domestic carriers PAL Express and Air Philippines. It has 34 air bridges, 20 contact gates able to service 28 aircraft at any given time. There are 70 flight information terminals. Baggage claim has seven large carousels, each with its own flight display monitor.

Amenities are still somewhat basic in this cavernous building, but include a number of food and coffee stalls, a foreign exchange counter and a duty-free store. Wi-Fi access is still not available. The AC is always turned on at full blast, be warned.

The terminal is capable of processing 33,000 passengers daily at peak times.


When did it open? March 2008.

Where is it? About an hour’s drive from the city centre. The high-speed Maglev Train links T2 and T1 to downtown Pudong in less than eight minutes.

Fast facts: Shaped like a flying seagull, T2 consists of three floors, with domestic departure and arrival on level one. Together with T1, both terminals offer three parallel runways.

The second terminal boasts the airport’s annual capacity by 40 million passengers, bringing the total to 60 million. More expansion is underway, with planned projects including the fourth and fifth runways, a satellite concourse and additional cargo terminals, all to be ready by 2015.

(Photo credit: ImagineChina)

Compiled by Julian Tan Margie T Logarta

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