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Your ticket to Asia's new airport plans

It seems that at any given point we know of someone - family, friend, work colleague, business associate - who has just arrived, just departed, planned their latest flight or has talked about going away.

Flying is now big business and as the boom in south east Asia for travel continues afoot, here at the Wise Traveller,  we thought it would be great to give you the inside edge on what is developing in the field of airlines and airports.

It's a given that everyone hates queuing and delays at any airport, but you'll be surprised at countries who are now looking to cash in on the airport boom, not only now, but within the next five years.

Asian AirportsIndia

New government, new routes, new business strategies, new thinking,  and, in that, a new re-birth of a great nation that seems to be shaping up under the leadership of Narendra Modi. The country having sagged under the last regime has been invigorated to the point that the new government is talking up massive investments in the airport sector.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has stepped forward and outlined plans to build 50 new airports in non-metro cities at a cost of $249.5 million US Dollars. The aim is to provide outlying cities with greater transportation links.

Over the next few years, the government envisages building no-frills airports in cities like Pune, Juhu, Navi Mumbai, Goa, Kannur, Sriperumbudur, and Bellary by 2017. These are the first to reach the drawing board as part of India's ten-year grand plan to build up to 200 new airports.

Interestingly, if all these do come to fruition, the tourism and business markets will benefit from massive secondary investment as travellers are able to get to places that they couldn't previously without a long road or rail connection.

India will also upgrade a few select airports to international status, again opening up the potential for little explored travel and tourism markets.

The plans will ramp up the airport capacity in the world's biggest democracy from 121 million domestic fliers and 41 million international travellers, to 336 million domestic and 85 million international passengers by 2020.


While India is playing catch up in the airports sector, one giant that continues to leap forward  in innovation is its great rival, China.

China has announced plans to woo airlines from North Asia to service some of its underused regional airports.

Its Civil Aviation Authority has announced heavy discounts on landing and parking charges, with a criteria of airlines having to fly at least three times a week to its allocated regional base.

Some of the airports that will be on the 'underused' list include Nanchang Changbei International Airport, Harbin Taiping International Airport (Heilongjiang) and Haikou Meilan International Airport in Hainan province.

Asian AirportsMeanwhile Beijing, which services 80 million people, is set to get a second airport at a cost of $11 billion dollars. Set to open by 2018, it will handle a staggering 40 million passengers.

The government is also building 100 airports to cope with the spike in air travel from its new middle classes that have money and want new adventures since the economy boom years.


For one of the emerging hubs of south east Asia, Indonesia is starting to realise its potential by outlining plans for an incredible 62 new airports through to 2019.

The Soekarno-Hatta in Jakarta is looking to increase its capacity after hitting 60 million passengers in 2013. The improvements will offer greater ease for travellers at an airport that is already handling triple its capacity.


One of the most unpopular airports, Manilla's Ninoy Aquino, is now slated to get a long overdue replacement. Ninoy, often quoted as one of the worst airports to fly into, is noted for its overcrowding and desperate facilities.

The main thrust will be a complete overhaul for the 1980s built Terminal 1. This handled some 30 million passengers last year, five times its original carrying capacity.


Seen as one of the main passenger hubs serving the Asian continent, Kuala Lumpur's airport will also be getting in on the act with aims to extend facilities and cater for new flight routes to enable it to handle 100 million passengers within six years.


Changi, highly rated and highly loved by all business travellers, will also be soaring into the stratosphere with expansion plans to open a fourth terminal, at a cost of $1 billion US dollars in 2017.

Asian AirportsThailand

As one of the longest established tourism hubs in Asia, Thailand is looking at expanding Don Mueang Airport to handle a 30 million capacity, while a planned expansion for the country' main Suvarnabhumi Airport has been suspended by the ruling Army junta for further cost analysis.

Myanmar (Burma)

Despite spending what seemed to be the latter half of the last century in relative isolation, Myanmar is now catching up with an enviable list of plans to upgrade 40 airports, given predictions that the country could be handling 30 million travellers by 2030.

One noted highlight will be a new airport, costing $1.5 billion US dollars at Hanthawaddy International Airport to serve as Yangon’s second airport.


One of the emerging tourism markets, Bangladesh, is also getting in on the act, with the building of a new $7.2 billion US dollars airport located close the capital, Dhaka


As big as the continent is, the desire and appetite to fly remains big business in Australia. So much so, Adelaide is looking to invest $1 billion US dollars by 2019 to handle greater passenger numbers.

With passenger growth, internationally and domestically, still in the rise, the airport has drafted a major strategy to expand and help sustain an extra 3,500 jobs.

Spin offs

With airport construction set to hit fifth gear, related sectors, such as hotels, duty free shops and services, will also experience a massive uplift.

In Cambodia, Axis Residences, a Singapore-based condominium developer, has announced plans for a $70 million US dollar development close to Phnom Penh International. Erring on the side of luxury, it is expected to offer the best for travellers, business and pleasure, and all within walking distance of the airport.

Even North Korea, considered a pariah state by most of the world, is emerging from its slumbers, with big plans for a $200 million airport in Wonsan, with an underwater hotel, among other things being planned. Finance does, however, seem to be an issue, compared to the rest of the region where investors can't get enough of the airport sector.

In fact, it may well be for some time to come, that we will soon know someone actually in the sky as any given point in time, if the spurt and hunger for travel continues unabated for the next 10 years.

Andy Probert  | July 31, 2014
Categories : Travel
Tags : Stay Relaxed, Airports, Flying, Business Travel, Asia
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