Expansion plans for airports worldwide are gathering pace as the desire for travel continues to gear up into 2024. Here, we look at some of the plans:

Dubai World Airport, Dubai

One of the biggest plans to emerge in the last few weeks is to convert Al Maktoum International Airport, better known as Dubai World Airport, into the biggest operational airport and be five times the size of the current Dubai Airport.

When completed, it will have five parallel runways and will be able to handle 260 million passengers annually. Emirates said that "thanks to the visionary leadership of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Al Maktoum International Airport will ensure that Dubai continues to lead the global aviation sector for decades to come."

DWC was opened in 2010 as a secondary airport, mainly handling cargo services. Passenger flights were added in 2014. Phase two will see it become Dubai's primary hub.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, added: "Dubai's growth has always been hand in hand with the growth of its aviation infrastructure, and today, we see another bold step on that journey."

"The announcement of phase two of Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum International Airport's (DWC) expansion, representing a substantial investment of AED128 billion, marks the start of a huge investment of resources by our many stakeholders in designing and building a state-of-the-art airport that will provide a quick, convenient, and high-quality 21st-century experience for our customers."

He further revealed the concepts of the new airport, stating: "As we build an entire city around the airport in Dubai South, demand for housing for a million people will follow. It will host the world's leading companies in the logistics and air transport sectors."

Located in the desert 45km from DXB, the upgraded DWC will process up to 260 million passengers a year through new terminal facilities designed to recall the traditional Bedouin tents of the Arabian Peninsula.

U-Tapao Aviation City, Thailand

Thailand has announced it is to start construction of its $8.8 billion U-Tapao Aviation City later in 2024. This will see the Vietnam-war-era U-Tapao airport become the country's third main international airport.

A masterplan is currently being developed with stakeholders. The project will cover 1,040 hectares and is expected to create 15,600 jobs. Plans also include a ground transportation centre, logistics and cargo complex, and commercial centre.

Long Thanh International Airport, Vietnam

The building of Vietnam's most expensive infrastructure in the nation's history, at a cost of $16 billion, will see a new airport serving Ho Chi Minh City. Work began in 2022 and is set to be completed by 2025.

A new terminal and 4km-long runway are set to be completed by 2025 and will be able to handle 25 million passengers a year.

Changi Airport Terminal 5, Singapore

The project at one of the much-loved and highly popular airports in the world will add capacity for about 50 million passengers annually. It has been designed as an "airport as a city" concept, with a series of neighbourhoods" to reflect their own characters.

Construction, which will cost $20 billion, is slated to begin in 2025 and be operational in the mid-2030s.

Sangley Point International Airport, Philippines

An $11 billion airport in Manila Bay in the Philippines is starting to move along. Consortia states that construction of a first runway, due in four years time, will enable the airport to handle an annual capacity of 25 million passengers. A second runway will then be built, helping boost capacity to 75 million people.


Airport expansions and creation are back on the radar as the debilitating effects of the Cov-dera are beginning to wear off. However, these mega-investment programs will take years to come to fruition, so being patient is the keyword.

Andy Probert - The Wise TravellerAndy Probert is an experienced freelance business travel journalist and PR specialist.