In an age of increasing air travel, bigger airports are needed all the time by cities around the world. Every decade, major cities around the world require new airports, and the process continues today. Currently, the busiest airport in the world is Atlanta's airport, handling over 90 million passengers last year. With the increase in air travel in regions such as Asia, Africa, and South America, along with increased competition among airlines servicing strategically important regions of the world, the demand for new destinations and hubs becomes greater.
Airports contribute a lot to the economy of a city and a region. The constraints brought on by some airports limit the potential of cities and airports. New hub airports around the world need space to grow without impediment, ensuring the economy can remain healthy and vibrant. While some cities fall by the wayside, other airports need more room to grow for the sake of efficiency and meeting demand. Many current airports cannot handle the capacity that is required to keep them competitive in the air travel market.
Since the dawn of air travel, many cities have come to find themselves with this problem. Cities, like Singapore, Denver, and Guangzhou, to name a few, replaced their old airports completely, exchanging them for new travel hubs. Other cities, such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Seoul, supplemented their existing airports with new airports and now have two travel hubs in their metropolises.
Some of the cities listed are either replacements or supplements, but their purpose is the same, and that is to keep their economy moving. The following list is some of the new mega airports that are under construction or under planning around the world.
10 Istanbul New Airport
The existing Ataturk Airport on the European side of Istanbul is one of the busiest travel hubs in Europe. It has no more room to expand and plans have been put in place to build a new airport on the European side of Istanbul.
Turkish Airlines has tried aggressively to add new routes, and other airlines want to enter the market. The project is planned to start construction in 2014 and is expected to take 25 years to complete over four phases. The airport will have the capacity to handle up to 150 million people, making it the largest in the world.
9 Al Maktoum Dubal Central International Airport
Dubai World Central is one of the massive projects being developed in Dubai. At its center is one of the largest airport projects ever built. It will handle 160 million passengers and 12 million tons of cargo once built out fully. Right now, it handles a few passenger and cargo airlines, but it is currently under construction and is planned to be completed by 2027.
The airport is planned to have three terminals and five runways and is planned to be used in conjunction with the massive hub already in place at Dubai International Airport. That airport has constraint issues brought on by development on all sides, necessitating the construction of the airport to start with.
8 New Islamabad International Airport
The new Islamabad airport, also known as Gandhara International Airport, is expected to be complete and opened next year. The current airport is congested and in need of modern amenities.
Many environmentally-friendly features have been incorporated into the airport and is intended to be a national source of pride for the people of Pakistan.
7 Kertajati International Airport
This airport is currently under construction on the island of Java in the nation of Indonesia. The rapidly expanding southeast Asian region is expected to explode in air traffic, and the current airport in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia and a city of tens of millions of people, has an airport that is expected to strain under congestion problems.
The city is not expected to replace the main airport in Jakarta, but is expected to help ease some of the traffic concerns of this rapidly growing region.
6 Berlin Brandenburg International Airport
Berlin's new international airport should have opened in 2010, but has not opened yet and is not expected to open until at least 2017. It is expected to replace the current civilian airports in the city. The fact that there are three airports in the city that handle civilian traffic is a nod back to the days of a divided Berlin, and this airport is supposed to represent a unified city under a unified airport.
Air Berlin, Germanwings, and easyJet are expected to be the biggest carriers at the airport. Because of construction problems, the airport has to reconstruct operating systems, bringing the costs up and the time further than expected.
5 New Manila Airport
A new airport is planned to be built to serve the Manila region of the Philippines. The region has seen a massive increase in air traffic and population over the past ten years. The current airport, Ninoy Aquino, is surrounded by development and is expected to be at 100% capacity in the next ten years.
A new international airport to the north of the city, Clark International Airport, is planned to be built up to supplement traffic. Another international airport is planned to be built closer to the city center because of the decrease in popularity of Clark.
4 New Lisbon Airport
This airport is scheduled to replace the current airport in Lisbon, Portugal in 2017. The site has been selected to the west of the main part of the city. Lisbon has important strategic value for airlines and the current airport is surrounded by development and not able to expand.
The site for the new airport is located to the west of the city and away from the developed parts of the city.
3 Long Thanh International Airport
This airport site is located 25 miles or 40 kilometers to the northeast of Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam. The current airport was built during the Vietnam War and is located inside the city. The new airport is planned to handle about 5 million tons of cargo and 80-100 million passengers a year.
Tourism in the region increased over the past ten years, and the urban area of Ho Chi Minh City is planned to increase in population to 20-22 million people in the next ten years. Construction will start in 2015 and is expected to be complete ten years later.
2 Beijing Daxing International Airport
Beijing Daxing International Airport is planned to start construction in 2014 and open in 2017. This airport is planned to be the second international airport for the city of Beijing, whose airport is constrained by Beijing Capital International Airport. The airport is planned to have eight runways and handle up to 200 million people per year.
Skyteam and Oneworld airlines will move to the new airport once it is completed, with the Star Alliance carriers staying at the older capital airport. There has been difficulty with getting construction started because of the proximity to Nanyuan Airport and the military priority in the airspace.
1 New London Airport
London Heathrow airport and other area airports are at maximum capacity, and the city needs to make more room to compete with other international airports in Europe - like Paris and Amsterdam - in order to remain competitive. There are many advantages to having an airport to the east of the city that can be easily expanded, but downsides, including expense and environmental concerns, do exist.
Many plans have been put forward to build a new airport, but the politics of the city change dthe status of the airport over the years. The pros and cons have been weighed over replacing Heathrow Airport over the years, but the current plans involve building either an island or a floating airport on the south shore of the Thames Estuary to the east of London.