Where Are The Busiest Airports In Asia?
Since the Wright Brothers took off in the early 20th century, transport by air has become the fastest and most populae form of international travel. Airports have grown over the years to become hubs through which millions of passengers and thousands of tons of freight pass through. Asia has grown to become a key player in the aviation industry, with five airports among the top ten busiest in the world.
Beijing Capital International Airport
The Beijing Capital International Airport is the primary airport serving Beijing in China and is known as the gateway to China. Located in the city of Beijing, the airport is the main hub for the Chinese national carrier, Air China, and a host of other Chinese airlines such as Hainan Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines. The airport is the busiest in Asia and in 2016 alone handled over 94 million passengers, the second busiest globally in terms of passenger traffic. Opened in 1958, the Beijing Capital International Airport initially consisted of a short runway and a small terminal building. However, the airport has seen gradual expansion with more terminals being added. Terminal 1, built in January 1980 was at the time the biggest of its kind in China and is currently used for domestic travel. Terminals 2 and 3 were later built to accommodate the increasing number of passengers and larger aircrafts. Terminal 3 which was completed in 2008 is one of the largest terminals in the world with an area covering 10.6 million square feet.
Dubai International Airport
Dubai International Airport is the main airport of Dubai and by extension the entire United Arab Emirates. The airport is considered as the busiest airport in the world regarding the handling of international passengers with passenger numbers reaching over 86 million in 2016. It is the second busiest airport overall in Asia behind Beijing Capital. The airport has a capacity of handling 90 million passengers per year. The Dubai International Airport acts as the hub for the largest airline in the Middle East, Air Emirates as well as the smaller low-cost FlyDubai. The airport was built by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and was opened in 1960. The Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 was built in 2008 and had the record of the largest building in the world based on floor space covering over 18.4 million square feet. The modern Terminal 3 boasts of having the largest baggage handling system in the world with a capacity of handling 8,000 bags per hour and is used exclusively by the local Emirates and Australian airline Qantas. The Dubai International Airport is one of the few airports in the world with facilities capable of handling the largest passenger aircraft such as the Airbus A380.
Future of airports in Asia
Asia is expected to have the biggest growth in the aviation industry in the next decade with increased passengers and freight. This fact is based on the increased growth in the economy of the Middle East nations such as Qatar and the UAE and the Far East nations of China and Singapore. Increasing traffic will bring congestion and delays and should be tackled through further expansion of airport facilities in Asia.