Based on the consensus among popular rating publications and sites, Asia is home to some of the best airports in the world. According to Skytrax, Singapore's Changi International Airport has won its 2017 rating for the best airport in the world. Changi is usually followed by the likes of Tokyo's Haneda, Hong Kong, Seoul's Incheon, and Nagoya's Chubu Centrair. While Asia has been recognized for having some of the best airports in the world, the airport experience in Asia can vary depending on where you fly to. The real situation of the aviation infrastructure is one of varying experiences, both good and bad.

Development Boom

From Singapore to China, construction is ongoing for new terminals and runways. Governments and airports throughout the region are currently investing on either expanding existing airports, or building new ones. One of the most well known projects is Beijing's new Daxing Airport, which when completed could become the largest and busiest airport in the world. The USD $12 billion project is scheduled to be completed by 2019, and will help ease the air traffic at Beijing's Capital Airport. Daxing Airport is just one of the many airport projects ongoing in the Chinese mainland.

In other places, we can also see ground break and the opening of new terminals. The Philippines will also see some new airport developments. Ground was broken last December for a new passenger terminal at Clark International Airport, while Mactan-Cebu Airport is looking to develop a second runway in the year 2018. Cebu will also be opening up a new terminal in the summer of 2018. Other developments can be seen in Thailand and Taiwan.

The two largest developments we will see in the coming years will be between Hong Kong and Singapore. Fresh from opening Terminal 4, Changi Airport will embark on building a new Terminal 5 and a new runway to be open by the year 2025. Not to be outdone, Hong Kong's airport authority is scrambling to keep up, with plans for its own third runway and new terminal. For many travellers, an airport could make an impression on travellers so each country is putting its own efforts for improving and upgrading their airports.

Lingering Problems

While a construction race is ongoing, many of the lingering problems still persist for travellers in the region. It could be said that the rapid construction of new aviation infrastructure projects has been struggling to keep up with the rapidly increasing demands of air travel in Asia. It is not uncommon to still hear complaints about airports in Manila, Bangkok, and Jakarta where travellers are used to the experience of lengthy flight delays due to traffic congestion. Adding new capacity in a rapid time isn't much of a viable option, as issues of the availability of land and surrounding neighborhoods come to concern. Building new airports isn't also a short task either.

While airports take time to develop, regional air traffic controllers are having a more difficult time dealing with the vast amount of flights in the region. This point has been highlighted by complaints from the Indonesian Air Traffic Controllers Association towards a move by state-run air navigation company AirNav to increase hourly takeoffs and landings at Jakarta's main airport. Indonesian officials have also come under recent fire as reports of near-collisions surfaced in 2017. With talks ongoing to increase capacity, the human toll on individuals such as pilots and air traffic controllers dealing with the delays and safety concerns may come to play in the future.

Managing Growth

Growth is always a good thing for a businesses and economies. However, the rapid growth of Asia's aviation industry has increased the pressure and concerns the region may not be answer the question of how to handle the large volumes of flights expected while doing it safely. Aviation experts will need to address these issues which could impact the economies and lives of the 4.4 billion people living in Asia. This will be a key challenge for Asia's aviation community in the years ahead.


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