Dienstag, 19. Mai 2009

More on Airports: Too much of a good thing...?

I recently wrote about the - in my view - unnecessary expansion of Frankfurt Airport. Here's some international perspective:

According to this BBC news report, Korea hast lots of "ghost airports", i.e. shiny new international airports that see hardly any passengers. Two examples:

- Yangyang International Airport was built 7 years ago at a cost of 400 m $ and can handle 3 million passengers per year. In 2008, only 9,500 passengers actually used the airport. From November 2008, commercial flights have been stopped altogether.

- Muan International Airport opened 2 years ago, and now operates at 3 % of capacity, handling 2 outgoing flights per day.

(According to the article, Korea has 14 major airports, 11 of which are losing money. Construction of a 15th was recently suspended shortly before completion due to lack of immediate demand. And a 16th airport is in the planning stage.)

I also recently wrote about China's increasing demand for planes.

Well, not only planes, apparently: According to this news report, China is going on an airport construction frenzy. Two examples:

- Chongqing wants to expand airport capacity from the current 10 million passengers to 60 million. (To achieve this, they want to spend 20 bn RMB, and build three additional runways. I assume the airport has one runway right now)

For comparison: China's biggest airport (Beijing Capital Airport) handled only 56 million passengers last year.

- Talking about Beijing: Next year, construction will start on a second Beijing International Airport. Why? Well, Beijing Capital Airport only has a capacity of 78 million passengers, and the second airport will add another 60 million. That's a total passenger capacity of 138 million. For Beijing alone.

For comparison: New York's airports (JFK, La Guardia and Newark) handled 109 million passengers in 2007. New York's metro population is larger than Beijing's. Hmmmm.


  1. Beijing's terminals have seemed sometimes hauntingly empty during the times I've been there - especially the one seperated from the main hub by a bus ride.

  2. A backwater like Chongqing wants an airport bigger than JFK? That's simply ridiculous!