Expanding Airport Capacity in Large Urban Areas

image of Expanding Airport Capacity in Large Urban Areas

Expanding airport capacity in large metropolitan areas is difficult. Community agreements on noise constrain growth at existing airports. Land prices can be prohibitive for relocating airports. Most new sites require extensive investment in surface transport links to city centres. In multi-airport regions, options for expansion at the airports are to an extent interdependent, complicating assessment of whether to build new runways.

Many major airports are hubs for network carriers at the same time as serving a large local market. The complementarity between these functions may be a prerequisite for viable network operations, suggesting that distributing services over multiple airports instead of expanding the main hub would be costly. Hub airports and their network carriers often compete with hubs in neighbouring regions. The strategies of network carriers and potential new entrants to this part of the market need to be taken into account in assessing future demand for airport capacity. The requirements of low cost and other point-to-point carriers are equally important, but different.

This report reviews international experience in reconciling planning and environmental constraints with demand for airport capacity and the potential benefits in terms of productivity and growth from developing international airline services. Experience is compared in London, New York, Tokyo, Osaka, Sydney and in Germany’s main airports with particular attention to the dynamics of airline markets and implications for airport planning in multi-airport cities.



Evolution of metropolitan airports in Japan

airport development in Tokyo and Osaka

International Transport Forum

In Japan, the advent of air transport and rapid urbanisation had developed simultaneously at both Tokyo and Osaka in the 1960s. This made it difficult to plan proactively and, by the time the search for the location of a secondary airport had begun, the original airports, Haneda and Itami, were exasperated with the noise issue. As a consequence the location of the secondary airports, Narita and Kansai respectively, had to be situated far from the city centre. Nevertheless, Narita Airport has long suffered resistance from local residents and environmental groups. In Osaka, Kansai Airport had to be built by reclaiming an island in the bay area that inevitably led to high capital expenditure. Historical path dependence of airport development in large metropolitan area caused significant difficulty in capacity expansion. Simultaneous planning of airport infrastructure and air-space development through KAIZEN ? continuous improvement of existing system ? enabled step-by-step increase in landing slots at Haneda Airport and Narita Airport, although it has taken time. Institutional integration of Itami Airport and Kansai Airport in 2012 is also an important step in pooling resources of the two airports for financial stabilization and shifting towards private sector management to give more room for strategic airport operation. Stimulating local groups by competitive force among airports would potentially serve as catalyst to mobilize interests of various stakeholders leading to capacity increase. Improving access to/from airport and multi-modal planning are some of the remaining issues to be addressed.


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