Five upcoming airport developments in Asia

29 Mar 2017 by Craig Bright
Changi Airport T4 building rendering - Credit: Changi Airport Group

Changi International Airport, Singapore

Singapore’s Changi Airport hit an all-time high of 58.7 million passengers in 2016, so it’s little wonder the world’s sixth busiest airport (for international traffic) is looking to increase its capacity.

Construction on Changi International Airport’s new Terminal 4 building was completed in December last year, with interior installations and operations preparations beginning shortly after. Construction began on the new two-storey building at the southern end of Changi Airport in early 2014, and when it opens in the second half of this year, the terminal is expected to be accompanied by two multistorey car parks, a two-storey taxi holding area and three vehicular and pedestrian bridges with direct access to the passenger terminal.

Terminal 4 will also see the introduction of fast and seamless travel (FAST) initiatives to Changi Airport, including self-service and automated options ranging from check-in and bag-drop facilities to immigration clearance and boarding.

Meanwhile, earlier this month Changi Airport Group launched a Master Architect tender for the development of a Terminal 5 building, part of a wider development plan to increase capacity at the airport to meet growing passenger and airfreight demand. The development includes the establishment of a three-runway system at Changi Airport, with the entire project scheduled to be completed in the late 2020s.

Incheon Airport Terminal 2

Incheon International Airport, South Korea

Opened in 2001 and serving as the main airport for South Korea’s capital Seoul, Incheon International Airport is already stretched thin. Last year, the airport handled 57.7 million passengers – 3.7 million more than the combined 54-million-passenger capacity of its Terminal 1 and Concourse.

With this figure expected to increase to 62 million this year, Incheon Airport is quickly looking to finish its new Terminal 2 building, which is expected to open towards the end of 2017. The new building will bring the airport’s total capacity up to 72 million passengers.

Along with the added capacity, Terminal 2 will also see the addition of new advanced technology, with Incheon Airport looking to introduce artificial intelligence and robotics, along with virtual and augmented reality to its systems and facilities.

Outside of the airport itself, a new golf course and an “airport city” mixed-use development are both also scheduled to open adjacent to the airport in the near future.

Beijing Daxing International Airport

Beijing Daxing International Airport, China

China’s aviation sector is growing fast and the Chinese government has already expressed its intention to capitalise on this growth with plans to develop an additional 20 airports across the country by 2020.

Costing approximately RMB80 billion (US$11.7 billion), Beijing’s third airport – Beijing Daxing International Airport – is arguably the most important. Much like Incheon Airport, Beijing’s existing major international airport (and second-largest airport in the world) Beijing Capital International Airport has already exceeded its capacity, handling a total of 90 million passengers in 2015 – seven million more than its 83 million-passenger capacity.

Expected to open in 2019, the new airport will be located closer to the city in Beijing’s southern Daxing district. Its initial 45 million capacity may seem small compared to its over-capacity counterpart, though this will be expanded to 72 million in 2025 before finally reaching 100 million in the future – larger than any other airport in the world currently operating.

Key among the new airport’s design is efficiency, with its farthest gate positioned just eight minutes’ walk from the security area. Meanwhile, the four initial (and seven eventual) runways are being designed in a manner so as to minimise delays by reducing aircraft taxiing durations.

Hong Kong International Airport SkyCity

Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong

Hong Kong International Airport’s (HKIA) three-runway system was under discussion for a long time, but is now set to come into effect around 2024. Meanwhile, the upcoming Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge currently scheduled to open this year as well as the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok underwater tunnel due to open in 2018 are anticipated to significantly increase and improve access to the airport.

All these tie into HKIA’s plan to transform the airport into a major destination in its own right, most notably with the announcement of a new 668,000 sqm mega integrated development called Skycity near its Terminal 2 building. Phase 1 of the development will comprise the opening of a 1,000-room Regal hotel in 2020 (Regal Hotels Group’s second airport hotel in Hong Kong) and some 195,000 sqm of retail, dining and entertainment space.

Beyond the first phase, Skycity aims to offer attractions across five different areas: cybertainment, gourmet, edutainment, action and excitement, and events.

Chengdu Tianfu International Airport

Chengdu Tianfu International Airport, China

Beijing isn’t the only major city in China getting a new airport. The new Chengdu Tianfu International Airport will be the Sichuan province capital’s second after Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, which currently has a maximum capacity of 50 million passengers.

The new RMB72 billion (US$10.5 billion) airport is set to have six runways and a capacity of 90 million when it begins operating in 2020. The airport is currently under construction in the city’s Yanghua district, about an hour’s drive from the city centre and also accessible from nearby Chongqing to the east once new road and rail link-ups are completed.

The airport is expected to become the city’s major international airport, with the existing Chengdu Shuangliu Airport likely to handle domestic flights.

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