New terminal and runway construction are likely to exceed USD49 billion during the period from 2009 to 2025.
China and India, together, have planned to develop and construct at least 84 new airports in an effort to cater to the fast-growing air traffic demands in those two countries, with combined expected expenditures of over USD33.4 billion. Australia has plans to build new terminals at five of their international airports, with a total estimate value of USD6.1 billion from 2009 to 2015. Vietnam is also looking to develop at least three new airports and expand its existing seven airport terminals between 2010 and 2020, with ambitious plans to become the air traffic hub in Southeast Asia. In Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea are expected to spend approximately USD.9 billion from 2009 to 2020 in expanding the capacity handling of three major airports in that region.
The strongest factor motivating growth in both airport development and the industry in general, has been the increase in the amount of passengers and cargo traffic.
According to Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific Research Analyst of Aerospace & Defense Practice Nagib Ramli, the rising economic standards of countries in Asia Pacific has driven demand for air travel and logistics which has resulted in congestion at airports, necessitating the eventual upgrade requirement to accommodate larger numbers and sizes of aircrafts.
"Airports such as the Changi Airport in Singapore and the Senai Airport in Malaysia are engaged in numerous upgrade programs to adhere to their future plans of accommodating a larger capacity in terms of both cargo and passengers," says Nagib.
Changi Airport has positioned itself to be the entry point into Southeast Asia with incoming traffic from Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and North America with its latest development that comes in the form of the new state of the art Terminal 3, built to increase the airport's passenger handling capability by up to 22 million. The new Terminal 3 development included the entire airport structure from landside, screening, to airside, costing approximately USD1.24 billion.
"The development of Terminal 3 also has an added purpose, which is to be the first operational terminal with specifically built boarding gates to service the gigantic Airbus A380 aircraft, thus pushing Changi Airport into the limelight as the first airport to operate a commercial A380 flight. Oversized baggage handling equipment and carousels were put in place to ensure a fast passenger flow in addition to A380-specific ground handling equipment," he continues.
In addition to the Terminal 3, Changi Airport has also invested in a new runway surveillance system to detect foreign objects on the runway. The system, costing about USD8.5 million, is likely to be installed in the near future to underline the emphasis on safety, as Changi primes itself to become the leading airport in the region in terms of safety and traffic.
One future trend supporting airport development is point-to-point flying in commercial flights which supports the low-cost carrier (LCC) idea whereby point-to-point flights are preferred to hub-to-hub. Point-to-point commercial flights encourage the growth of even more airports, even in smaller cities, as flying between cities become more affordable for the masses.
"The Diosdado Macapagal International Airport or 'Clark' has always been positioned as a secondary airport, servicing the city of Manila, trailing behind the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in terms of traffic and revenues. The traffic yield for the airport has been mainly regional and domestic aircrafts from LCCs. However, the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) has underlined plans to turn Clark into the primary airport of Manila, and also to position it as a regional hub for incoming wide-body traffic from North America," Nagib adds.
Upgrade programs have been put in place in terms of landside, screening, and airside, in order to turn it into one of the largest airports in the world. Plans for three new runways, a series of taxiways, a new terminal building, and a new cargo complex terminal are being drawn up, taking the cost of the project to USD1.7 billion.
Nagib continues, "There are also plans to develop the area surrounding the airport to ensure population and infrastructure growth to support the largest airport in the country. Expansion programs such as this one shows how critical it is for airports to plan for the future positioning of the airport, taking into account future passenger and cargo traffic projections. Clark has foreseen the limitations of the Subic Bay International Airport and has rightly positioned itself to be the next cargo hub, capable of handling aircrafts as big as the A380F, although this plan suffered a small setback when FedEx cancelled its A380F orders due to design and manufacturing delays."
Other trends in the development and expansion of airports include having foreign partner investments. This form of partnership brings in external expertise in terms of consultancy and also financial injection. In terms of domestic partnerships, airports can leverage on this to create an understanding between airports in terms of capacity sharing, to ensure each partner grows at a relatively same rate. Apart from this, they can also leverage such partnerships to make bulk orders for supplies and equipment, where commonality would be a positive point in view for future need of maintenance and servicing.
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