The New Ulaanbaatar International Airport (NUBIA) is being constructed at Khushigt Valley in Tuv Province, about 60km south of Mongolia's capital city Ulaanbaatar. Construction of the new airport started in May 2013 and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016.
The airport will be capable of handling about three million passengers per year. The infrastructure and reserved land at the airport will enable future expansions to serve an estimated 12 million passengers per year.
The NUBIA is being constructed by a joint venture (JV) of Mitsubishi Corporation and Chiyoda Corporation, and will be operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia (CAAM). The airport will meet all the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Purpose of the new international airport at Ulaanbaatar
The existing Chinggis Khaan International Airport, also known as the Ulaanbaatar International Airport (UBIA), is the biggest airport Mongolia and serves eight international airlines. It has a short runway, which can be accessed only from one direction due to obstacles from mountains. Its existing terminal is inadequate to meet the anticipated passenger growth. Adverse conditions during the winter lead to flight delays and cancellations.
In order to meet the ICAO standards, the existing airport would require a major upgrade, which was considered highly uneconomical and would have adverse environmental impacts. All these problems prompted the Mongolian government to look for alternatives.
The government finally decided to construct a new airport for Mongolia in 2007. NUBIA will replace the UBIA airport, and will act as a hub for both international and domestic passengers.
Financing for Mongolia's new airport project
The NUBIA project is estimated to cost about ¥49.5bn ($488.96m). The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has provided a loan of ¥28.8bn ($284.55m) for the project in May 2008. The soft-loan will be paid back within the next 40 years by the Government of Mongolia, for which it has decided to set aside 10% of its annual budget.
Project and construction details
The NUBIA project will involve the construction of 30 buildings. The main components of construction include a three-storey passenger terminal building covering an area of 37,000m2, an Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower, an operations building, and a 3,600m long and 45m wide concrete based runway. The runway construction will involve the transfer of about three million cubic metres of earth.
A 3,339m long and 23m wide parallel taxiway, two rapid taxiways, and three exit taxiways will be also constructed.
The earthquake-resistant ATC tower will be 38m tall and will cover a site area of about 474m2 and floor area of 75m2. The tower will be capable of withstanding a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Its construction was started in September 2013.
The airport will be equipped with a variety of air navigation systems including aeronautical ground lighting, radio navigation, aeronautical telecommunication, and aviation meteorological systems.
The JV will also install IT systems, air traffic control systems and aircraft fuel hydrant systems at the airport. Other support facilities such as fire stations, water and sewage plants, substations, sheds and heating plants will also be constructed.
Powering the airport
A 110/10kV power substation, located at the Khushigiin Khundii valley, became operational in January 2014. It supplies power for the NUBIA project through a 110KW electricity distribution line connected to the National Electricity Transmission Grid, which was laid prior to the commissioning of the substation.
Another source of power supply for the airport will be another substation at the project site, which is expected to come online in 2014. The new power station will have access to the Songinyn Power Sub-Plant.
Contractors involved with the Mongolian airport project
Oriental Consultants and Azüsa Sekkei performed feasibility studies and detailed design studies for the project. Oriental Consultants is currently providing construction supervision and defect liability services for the project.
Samsung C&T Corporation is the general assistant executor for the project. In addition, 11 Mongolian companies are assisting in the construction works.
The new airport will be connected to the Ulaanbaatar city by a 37.7km long roadway system. A 13.7km-long highway will also be constructed between Yarmag Bridge and Nisekh Checkpoint using the Ulaanbaatar City Fund to provide easier access to the new airport.