Major airport projects completed in the last five years or under way are reviewed below by country:

CHINA The government has been working hard to improve its airport infrastructure. A major focus has been on airports in less-developed regions, but the real money has been spent on gateway facilities.

At Beijing, a new terminal opened at the city's Capital International Airport in late 1999. The building cost more than $1 billion and was designed to handle 35 million passengers annually. A new runway and terminal are planned to open before Beijing hosts the summer Olympic Games in 2008.

In Shanghai, Pudong opened in September 1999 and the city is now the only one in China with two international airports, as authorities decided to keep the old Hongqiao airport in operation. Later this year, all international flights are expected to be shifted to Pudong, after which Hongqiao will become a domestic-only airport.

At Guangzhou - the third major hub - a new airport is under construction to replace existing Baiyun. The New Baiyun International Airport should open in 2003 or 2004, and will have annual capacity of 80 million passengers and 2.5 million tonnes of cargo.

HONG KONG Hong Kong opened its new airport at Chek Lap Kok in mid-1998 to replace the old Kai Tak, which was at capacity. CLK's operator is working to boost the facility's appeal and the Hong Kong government is promising to continue taking a more liberal view towards air services agreements. A number of expansion projects aimed at increasing shopping and office space, improving the arrivals hall and adding a new express cargo terminal are in the pipeline.

JAPAN Japan's major airports have suffered from chronic capacity constraints for years, but there have been recent developments aimed at easing this. Tokyo's Narita opened a long-awaited second runway in April, making available new slots and allowing international airlines to expand services. At Tokyo's domestic airport, Haneda - Asia's busiest in terms of annual passenger numbers - a third runway opened early in 2000. Still, the airport remains congested and slots are hard to come by, leading to talk of a fourth runway. Meanwhile in Osaka, where Kansai airport opened in 1994, a second runway is under construction, even though the facility has struggled to attract business. Near Nagoya in central Japan, Chubu airport is due to open in 2005.

MACAU The former Portuguese colony which came under the control of China in 1999, opened its first airport in 1995. Its primary role has been to serve as the second main transit airport for flights between Taiwan and China, since direct flights have been banned to and from the mainland for more than 50 years, forcing passengers and cargo to fly through third points. Until 1995 almost all this transit traffic went through Hong Kong.

MALAYSIA Airport authorities are aggressively promoting the four-year-old Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) as a South-East Asian hub and are focusing their competitive efforts on Singapore. They are seeking to lure airlines away from Singapore's Changi by offering incentives such as reduced or waived landing charges. KLIA opened with much fanfare but has suffered the embarrassing loss of several major customers in recent years. A new rail link to Kuala Lumpur and the impending closure of the city's old Subang airport to all but domestic turboprop services should help boost traffic.

PHILIPPINES Manila's Ninoy Aquino airport is undergoing an expansion, with a third terminal due to open later this year. Many expect the opening to be delayed, however, due to a controversy over funding in part involving Frankfurt airport operator Fraport, a shareholder in the project. National carrier Philippine Airlines also does not want to split its domestic and international operations, which the government says will be required when the new terminal opens. In 1999, the carrier moved into newly built Terminal Two and has claimed massive efficiency gains from having all operations under one roof.

SINGAPORE Singapore's Changi, South-East Asia's second-busiest airport after Bangkok's Don Muang, is building a third passenger terminal, the opening of which was recently delayed to 2006. Government officials say a further delay is possible, but not by more than a year. Singapore is constantly improving terminals one and two and the airport is far from at capacity. The third terminal is being designed to handle 20 million passengers annually, boosting overall capacity to 64 million passengers per year. In 2001, Changi handled around 28 million passengers.

SOUTH KOREA Seoul Incheon is being aggressively promoted as an alternative to Tokyo's Narita and Osaka's Kansai in the battle to be the North Asian hub of choice. The airport opened for business in March 2001 to replace Gimpo airport, which will remain for domestic traffic only, as the country's main international gateway. Built on reclaimed land 50km (30 miles) west of Seoul, it is able to handle 27 million passengers and 1.7 million tonnes of cargo annually in its first phase, rising to 100 million passengers and 7 million tonnes by 2020.

TAIWAN In mid-2000 a second passenger terminal opened at Taipei's Chiang Kai Shek International after years of construction and many delays. It allows for up to 17 million more passengers to be handled annually, representing a doubling of previous capacity.

THAILAND A major new airport known as Suvarnabhumi is now under construction outside Bangkok. It has been the subject of many delays and problems over the years, primarily covering terminal designs and government in-fighting. The airport is due to open in 2004, but may be delayed to as late as 2006. A major upgrade project is being carried out at the existing Don Muang airport, the busiest hub in South-East Asia. The government has not given a clear indication as to whether Don Muang will close after Suvarnabhumi opens.

Source: Airline Business