The World’s Biggest Airport Construction Projects 2015; total value over USD500 billion. Part 1


In Feb-2013, CAPA introduced its Construction and Capital Expenditure Database, comprehensively listing:
(1) current projects and expenditure at existing airports,
(2) new airport projects under development and
(3) recently completed projects.

There are currently over 2300 airport construction projects worldwide captured in the database, varying from USD1 million to USD20 billion, and over 300 new (i.e. green or brown field, or General Aviation extension) airport developments.

In CAPA's Jan-2014 report, we identified over USD385 billion worth of projects indicated globally, led by Asia with just over USD115 billion of projects either in progress or planned for and with a good chance of completion. Today they exceed USD500 billion.

This is Part 1 of a two part report.

For the Jan-2014 report, see:
Inside the world's biggest airport construction projects in 2013/14

In the year since that online report on airport construction and capital expenditure was published (Jan-2014) we have added considerably more data to the CAPA airport construction and Cap Ex database. 

As of Jan-2015 we are aware of airport construction projects to the value of USD543 billion globally, either new ones or continuations of existing ones previously listed. Some of these can be for very long periods of time - for example in the case of multi-decade schemes dictated by lengthy master plans. (The longest, for example, stretch to 2069 [Mexico], 2044 [Rome] and 2043 [Stockholm]).

That increase is not driven by a big increase in construction activity in the last year alone; some are additions which were not at that stage sufficiently publicised  to appear on the radar.

Total project numbers actually fell in Dec-2014 as 95 reached completion

There has clearly been an upswing in activity; at the end of Dec-2014 over 180 airports reached their actual or anticipated project completion dates, out of which only 85 were carried forward to a new end date in the database, so there has recently been a net reduction in the number projects of which we have been aware throughout 2014.

(While most of these projects are precise in their nature we also include more generalised statements by national or regional governments concerning, for example, their intentions to build multiple secondary level airports at various cities over a period of time and within a broad set of financial parameters. Hence the database provides specific ‘country’ sections as well as the individual airport profiles. India is a prime example of a country where such sweeping statements are often made, as well as Russia and several countries in Latin America.

The first chart, below, details construction investment totals, by world regions.

1 Total airport construction investment (existing airport) by region known to us as of Jan-2015

The actual figures by region (all USD, billions) are as follows:


Investment amount USD billion

Asia Pac




N America


Middle East




Latin Am




(Please note that the precise figure is shown in the onscreen database by pointing at the appropriate bar).

The second chart demonstrates how this investment is apportioned globally.

2 Total airport construction investment by regional percentage Jan-2015

Charts 3 and 4 deal with the number of projects and their global distribution.

3 Total airport construction projects (existing airport) by region as of Jan-2015

Again, the actual figures are as follows:


Number of projects

Asia Pac




N America


Middle East




Latin Am




4 Total airport construction projects by regional percentage Jan-2015

Even a quick glance at these charts reveals that there is a discrepancy between investment amounts and number of projects by region. One of the main reasons for this is that ‘project’ can mean anything from a simple runway/apron resurface or small terminal upgrade to a series of new runways and big terminals or even an airport city. The majority of the big expensive projects are in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, especially compared to Europe.

As can be observed, the majority of projects (charts 3/4) that are known to us are in Europe, with the Middle East bringing up the rear. But the investment (charts 1/2) figure is quite different, with the greatest amount of expenditure in Asia Pacific where projects tend to be bigger and with the Middle East leaping up the chart, again because of large projects across the Gulf region in particular.

Project numbers and costs are not at such variance in the US while Latin America’s relationship of Cap Ex to projects is low mainly because of the recent completion of much of the work that was done on big airport infrastructure projects for the World Cup (some of it too late for the start of that competition, occasioning heavy fines on the concessionaires).

We commence our regional review in Asia Pacific, where most of the investment (35.1%) is, along with the second highest ratio of projects (23.4%).

Asia Pacific

Beijing Daxing is the world’s largest green field airport construction project, closely followed by Chengdu

China once again leads the field in airport construction. The CAPA Airport Construction & Cap Ex Database currently lists 56 airports that have ongoing projects, with an investment total of close to USD60 billion, including Beijing’s second airport at Daxing (USD13.1 billion), where construction work is now under way. China’s National Development and Reform Commission approved the construction of Beijing Daxing Airport on 15-Dec-2014. The airport will have four runways and a terminal building covering 700,000sqm. It will have the annual capacity to handle 45 million passengers in 2020, 72 million passengers by 2025 and 100 million in the longer term.

As we mentioned last year there are other large projects under way in China, including those at Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Haikou, Lanzhou, and Zhengzhou airports; each with a price tag of between USD2 billion and USD5 billion.

Other than Beijing, the biggest of them all is at Chengdu where, in Jan-2015, Jan-2015, regulatory approval was granted to build what is now a CNY69.3 billion (USD11.2 billion) airport. The new Chengdu facility will have three runways, capable of handling 40 million passengers upon its completion in 2025.

And that is not to mention the myriad of projects to develop small regional airports, for which there seems to be a new initiative at least every month, for example the construction of five new airports in the provinces of Qinghai, Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, Guizhou and Jilin that was announced in Oct-2014 and the scheme to construct new airports along the Yangtze River as part of the government’s wider 'golden waterway' programme to develop new transportation systems and boost the region's economy (Jun-2014).

Chinese airport construction is a seemingly never ending process. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) estimated at the end of Dec-2014 that China will have completed 100 new airports and carried out expansion works on another 120, with a total investment of CNY360 billion (USD58.2 billion), by the end of 2015.

But it is only ‘seemingly’ never ending. The Chinese economy is not performing as strongly as it has been and as we point out in airport privatisation reports that are being published concurrently (e.g. https://centreforaviation.com/analysis/reports/global-airport-finance-and-privatisation-capa-review-2014-the-big-funds-dominate-transactions-202694), lack of profitability remains a critical factor for China’s airports with only around 25% of airports making a profit. While the construction of airports is a necessary boost to regional economies there is not as much finance available to the sector these days and some foreign companies are wary of China’s ownership rules.

So it will be left to CAAC to subsidise small civilian airports, from the Civil Aviation Development Fund, to the tune of Around USD187 million in 2015 with a new Civil Aviation Investment Management Company expected to raise CNY20 billion (USD3.1 billion) in its first phase of ‘social capital’ fund raising, with 80% of the funds to come from private sector.

Hong Kong is heading towards completion of its midfield terminal development by the end of 2015. The more pressing issue is approval of the proposed third runway, which is held up by environmental and other considerations. Existing construction works are to the value of USD1.9 billion.

Macau’s passenger terminal is being extended; the first part of a four-phase expansion with an investment of USD750 million and which will last through to 2030.


Multiple low cost airports to be built across India

CAPA India will convene a major conference in Mumbai on 3/4-Feb-2015; See, for more information:
India’s airport sector vibrant, with tenders for six PPP concessions: CAPA Mumbai Summit, 3/4 Feb

There is greater emphasis on secondary and ‘low cost’ airports in India, where USD1.6 billion is being made available to develop between 50 and 100 airports in smaller cities. (The actual number has varied, according to different ministerial statements). The objective is to undertake a rapid expansion of airports in small cities to meet demand from the 70% of India's population that currently lacks air connectivity. India has up to 250 airfields some of which could be developed into commercial airports.

At present new airports cannot be constructed within 150km of an existing facility, a regulation which is preventing the development of a new airport in Greater Noida, approximately 70km from Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Projects at the primary airports include USD1.8 billion worth of ongoing work at Delhi airport where there are plans to construct a fourth runway to provide capacity to increase traffic from around 40 million currently to 110 million passengers per annum by 2036. At Mumbai Airport the new integrated Terminal 2 started handling international services in Feb-2014, giving the airport the ability to handle 40 million passengers per annum. The first domestic services have started operating at T2 with the launch of the new airline Vistara on 09-Jan-2015. Other domestic carriers will transition across in the next few months. The total value of completed and ongoing work there runs close to USD3 billion.

The investment total for India is in the region of USD8.5 billion across 44 live projects but that does not include Navi Mumbai, the USD2.4 billion airport PPP project that has been delayed by land acquisition and environmental issues. As of Jan-2015 the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) intends to finalise selection of a candidate to undertake pre-development works by the first week of Mar-2015. CIDCO expects to complete land acquisition for the project in mid Jan-2015.

The deadline for submission of requests for qualification (RFQs) has been extended five times now since the original date in Jun-2014, with the latest deadline being 28-Jan-2015. Pre-qualified applicants for the contract are scheduled to be announced on 31-Mar-2015. The submission deadline has been extended five times from the original date in Jun-2014.

This is the photograph we used last year to identify the airport site. It is still appropriate.

The site for Navi Mumbai airport


Pakistan also has a general airport improvement programme in place, worth roughly USD1 billion through to the end of 2015 and including upgrades to runways and passenger terminals at Quetta, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Nawabshah and Faisalabad airports.

Pakistan is interested in developing the Gwadar peninsula as a major port and trading area, particularly trade between Pakistan and China. The development of an international airport on the Gwadar peninsula should provide a catalyst for economic growth and development in the region. It is now expected to be complete by the end of 2018, at a cost of USD250 million with China and Oman providing some of the financing. This is, though, a much-delayed project already.

The New Islamabad International Airport is reported to be 90% to 95% complete and is expected to be operational in Oct-2016. The estimated cost of the project has increased from PKR38 billion (USD368.8 million) to more than PKR85 billion (USD824.9 million) due to continuing delays.

Southeast Asia


Work continues at Singapore’s Changi Airport on the fourth terminal and associated works that will last through to 2017 at least with a price tag of around USD2.2 billion. Included in this figure is the ‘Jewel’ development outside of T1, which is aimed at expanding the terminal's handling capacity from 17.7 million to 24 million passengers per annum.


‘Low cost’ terminal KLIA2 (which had a USD216 million cost over-run to in excess of USD800 million) opened in May-2014 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It has since experienced ground stability issues. The government is still ploughing money into Malaysian airports generally. MYR1 billion (USD310 million) was allocated to upgrade airports across the country in Jun-2014, of which MYR700 million (USD217.5 million) will be dedicated to enhancing capacity at KLIA.


Airports of Thailand (AoT) reduced its budget for second phase expansion works at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport in Oct-2014 from THB62.5 billion (USD1.94 billion) to THB61.6 billion (USD1.90 billion) following a new feasibility study. Under the revised budget, AoT allocated THB19 billion (USD589 million) to construct a new runway, THB11 billion (USD340 million) for road works and THB29 billion (USD900 million) to construct a new terminal complex featuring a built-in car park and monorail station.

Meanwhile, at the city’s fast-growing Don Mueang airport, which has become AirAsia Group’s largest hub by passenger numbers, having been written off only five years ago, the second terminal will re-open in Aug- or Sep-2015, part of a USD760 million investment through to the end of 2016. Phuket Airport will open its new international terminal by Feb-2016 with further redevelopment works scheduled for completion by 2017, valued at over USD300 million in total.

Two developers vie for the rights to build a new airport for Manila

Philippines (new airport)

There is in the order of USD2.5 billion of upgrades at 49 airports in place throughout the Philippines over the next five years, much of it intended to be financed through PPPs. But the big story is the new Manila Airport, which the Japanese International Cooperation Agency or the San Miguel Corporation intend to construct at a cost of USD10 billion at a disused naval base at Sangley Point.

It is not yet clear what effect this will have on the Clark International Airport where the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) is continuing with its PHP1.2 billion (USD27 million) new terminal project, while a PHP7.2 billion (USD126 million) low-cost carrier terminal proposal is currently under a government review. The final decision on Sangley Point is expected to be made in mid 2015.


Indonesia’s National Development Planning Agency (NDPA) advised in Apr-2014 that Indonesian airports will face certain limited capacity issues between 2015 and 2020 as the airline industry continues to grow by 20% per annum. The NDPA calculated the country requires approximately USD15.3 billion to construct and develop airports to meet passenger traffic demand and manage capacity together with urgent infrastructure development programmes like the PPP to assist in project funding. Collectively about USD12.2 billion has been found or is still sought through to 2020 for a wide variety of projects. Of the main cities, Jakarta will have a third terminal at the capacity constrained Soekarno Hatta airport by mid 2015 and it seeks USD1.7 billion to construct a third runway and another passenger terminal. The private sector could be involved here; there is no government budget for more works.


Vietnam is another country seeking domestic and foreign investors to participate in airport PPPs. The biggest project there is the proposed Long Thanh airport, intended to alleviate traffic congestion at Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat Airport, but which is under discussion against a backdrop of concerns over the country's public debt issues.

It would appear there is no immediate future for Long Thanh unless a big and committed foreign investor can be found. The government, through the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), committed itself to more than VND170 trillion (USD8.1 billion) in aviation infrastructure projects in Oct-2013, of which Long Thanh would have accounted for USD7.2 billion.

Several of Vietnam’s relatively under-served provinces are eager to attract more LCC services to boost local economies and domestic tourism. In consequence, Vietnam is also constructing new, smaller regional airports. For example there was a groundbreaking ceremony in Jan-2015 for an airport in the south-central resort town of Phan Thiet which is expected to become operational in 2018.

New gateway airport for Myanmar anticipates up to 30 million ppa


Myanmar's Department of Civil Aviation expects the new Hanthawaddy International Airport will be operational by the end of 2019 and that it will be the premier gateway for entry into Myanmar. The privately operated airport will be designed to have a handling capacity of 12 million passengers per annum initially, rising to 30 million and will be constructed at a cost in the order of USD1.5 billion.

South Pacific


Melbourne Airport remains in the midst of a USD8 billion ‘transformation’ that will carry on through to 2024 in one way or another, while there are large projects at Brisbane and Perth airports as well (in fact a country total of USD18.6 billion). But as with The Philippines all attention is focused on Sydney’s new (second) airport, which it was finally decided in 2014 would be constructed at Badgerys Creek.

The AUD2 billion (USD1.6 billion) airport will be built in stages according to demand. Works will theoretically begin in 2015 and are anticipated to take 7-10 years to complete in total. Surface transport, environmental protection and other works are expected to raise cost to as much as USD8 billion.

This is Part 1 of a very small sample of the thousands of profiles in CAPA's  Construction and Capital Expenditure Database, covering ongoing, new and recently completed construction projects at existing and new-build airports. This is the world's only comprehensive listing of all airport construction projects.
Part 2 will be posted on 22-Jan-2015.
It will cover extracts for North Asia, Middle East, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, Latin America and Africa.

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