Asia tourist boom fuels airport binge

SINGAPORE, July 30, 2014 (AFP) – Faced with snaking queues at immigration, overflowing baggage carousels and expensive flight delays, Asian nations are rushing to build hundreds of new airports to cope with surging demand for air travel in the region. From China and India to the Philippines and Indonesia, the fast-growing middle classes are looking to spend their cash by spreading their wings, leading to a boom in the Asia-Pacific region’s tourism sector.

Airlines have responded by setting up several new budget carriers and flying new routes — but many airports are unable to cope, forcing governments to either expand or simply build new airports.

“Through the next 10 years, we see more than 350 new airports in the Asia-Pacific and the investment cost will be well over $100 billion,” said Chris De Lavigne, a global vice president at business consultancy Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific.

“China is building over 100 airports, India is building over 60 airports and Indonesia will also have to follow suit with investments in its infrastructure,” said De Lavigne, who closely tracks Asia’s aviation industry.

Upgrades of existing airports could cost an additional $25 billion, he told AFP by telephone from his office in Jakarta.

Internat