The year of the airports: Travel to the hubs of the future
The year 2019 will be remembered as the year of the inaugurations of large and small strategic airports to satisfy an air demand that by 2035 will touch – according to IATA – 8.2 billion air travel passengers.
By the end of the year, at least seven airports will open their gates in various corners of the world.
Starting with the new Daxing Airport in Beijing, the airport signed by Zaha Hadid that should start operation between June and September, is placing itself at the top of the rankings of the world’s largest airports. From the initial 45 million passengers it will aim to handle in traffic, it will likely hit more than 72 million people in 2025.
The infrastructure cost is about $12 billion and was commissioned by President Xi Jinping in 2014 to lighten Beijing Capital International Airport. With seven tracks, it will be the hub of reference for domestic airlines Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.
The airport, located in the Hebei region, will be connected to a highway and a high-speed rail network to quickly reach Beijing. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the Asian giant will manage around 720 million passengers by 2020, the date by which 74 airports are expected to be built or expanded. Looking further ahead, by 2035, 216 new airports will be set up in China, for a total of 450 air infrastructure.
The Van Don International Airport was inaugurated at the beginning of the year in Vietnam, located 50 kilometers from Ha Long Bay in the province of Quang Ninh. The airport cost about 260 million euros and is the first private airport in the country, the result of a diversification of investments wanted by the communist government.
The two operational tracks, which will become five by 2030, can already guarantee a movement of around 2.5 million passengers. The Van Don will become the hub of reference for domestic airlines Vietnam Airlines and Viet Jet Air for connections in Southeast Asia.
Ramon Airport is operational this year and is a modern facility in the middle of the Negev desert, 18 kilometers from Eilat on the Red Sea.
The structure costing 500 million dollars intends to act as an alternative to the hub of Tel Aviv, the country’s main airport. The airport is named after Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, and was designed to withstand record temperatures of up to 46 degrees Celsius. Its capacity is currently 2 million passengers a year, but it will be able to accommodate up to 4.2 million by 2030.
By the autumn of 2019, the operation of the new Istanbul Airport in Turkey, located 35 kilometers from the city center, will be completed with the transfer of all flights operated by the two airports Atatürk and Sabiha Gokcen.
Delays and structural slowdowns have delayed the first opening scheduled for 2018 which was then postponed in early April 2019 with the passage of Turkish Airlines flights to the new airport.
With an initial capacity of 90 million people, the airport will be able to handle a movement of 200 million passengers a year at full capacity.
At the end of its evolution path, the new Turkish airport will have six runways available and will provide flight connections to 350 destinations worldwide. “As the main hub of exchange between Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, we will approach the different countries of the world,” said Kadri Samsunlu, chief executive officer of Iga Airport Operations, the company that has been building the infrastructure since 2013.
Beyond the ocean, an awaited opening is that of the Louis Armstrong Airport in New Orleans, Louisiana, scheduled for late May. Costing $1.3 billion, the terminal has 35 gates and a security check-point system with quick access to controls.
The airport will be the operational base for 21 companies with an average annual movement of over 13 million passengers. Also in the United States, work will continue on modernizing the La Guardia Airport in New York, one of the most chaotic and stressful airports in America.
Restructuring interventions are planned for $9 billion, part of which has already been completed with the opening of the new Terminal B at the end of last year.
By July, in the United Kingdom, the Carlisle Lake District Airport will be opened, destined for regional traffic for London, Dublin, and Belfast. The small but strategic airport aims to satisfy the tourist demand of Cumbria, a county in the northwest of England that hosts the Lake District National Park.
This area is among the most beautiful in the United Kingdom and was visited last year by 47 million people, mainly domestic traffic, generating a turnover of almost 3.5 billion euros.
Another strategic European airport inaugurated at the end of 2019 is the Corvera Airport in Spain costing 500 million euros, and being well connected to the bus network.