Recently Completed Airports by Cost

CountryAirportYear OpenedCost (USD Billion)
ChinaHong Kong (Chek Lap Kok)199820.1
JapanOsaka (Kansai International)199414.4
United Arab EmiratesDubai (Al Maktoum International Airport)20108.0
JapanNagoya (Centrair)20057.3
South KoreaSeoul (Incheon International)20015.8
GermanyMunich (Franz Strauss)19925.3
USADenver International19954.2
ChinaBeijing (Terminal 3)20083.6
MalaysiaKuala Lumpur International19983.2
ThailandBangkok (Suvarnabhumi)20063.3
ChinaGuangzhou (Baiyun)20042.5
ChinaShanghai (Pudong)19991.4

New airports rank among the most expensive infrastructure projects undertaken and have been likened to great cathedrals of the past in the ability to shape a city’s image. In recent decades, most new large airports have been built in Asia. One factor that has raised the cost of the airports at the top of the list is land reclamation. Kansai (Japan), Incheon (Korea), and Centrair (Japan) were all built on artificial islands, while Chek Lap Kok (Hong Kong) was built on a broad expanse of reclaimed land extending from the existing Lantau Island. Chek Lap Kok itself cost $9 billion, but the rail, road, and bridge network linking it to the rest of Hong Kong raised the cost to more than $20 billion. Meanwhile, the cost of expanding existing airports elsewhere in the world rivals the spending on new facilities. For instance, the cost of development projects at Washington-Dulles between 1999 and 2009 exceeded $6 billion.