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The World’s Largest Megaprojects

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Before a megaproject gets the nod to go ahead, a very unique set of circumstances must first be considered.

There is no blueprint or shortcut for building a world-changing megaproject. In fact, each one must be designed and built from the ground up, often amidst considerable amounts of red tape and criticism. Builders of megaprojects embrace the unknown, even when faced with incredible amounts of risk and massive cost overruns.

At the same time, successful megaprojects can accomplish things that have never been done before. They can be pinnacles of human achievement, and spectacles such as the International Space Station and the U.S. Interstate Highway System have already changed the world.

The World’s Largest Megaprojects

This infographic from Futurism details nine of the world’s largest megaprojects currently in construction.

They range from giant $64 billion theme parks (Dubailand) to massive canals that will take 48 years to build (South-North Water Transfer Project in China).

The World's Largest Megaprojects

Here are the nine largest megaprojects in construction right now, in order from most to least expensive:

1. International Space Station – $150 billion (as of 2010)
The most expensive single item ever built. Expansions beyond 2020 are estimated to eventually cost $1 trillion.

2. Al Maktoum International Airport – $82 billion
This airport in Dubai will be fully operational by 2018. It will be the world’s largest in terms of size and passenger volume – so big that four jets will be able to land simultaneously.

3. South-to-North Water Transfer Project – $78 billion (as of 2014)
Thought the Three Gorges Dam was massive? This other Chinese megaproject is already nearly three times as expensive – it aims to divert water from the Yangtze River using three huge canals to bring it to the north of the country.

4. California High-Speed Rail – $70 billion
Spanning 1,300 km (808 mi), this will link San Francisco to Los Angeles.

5. Dubailand – $64 billion
This mega theme park project will open in 2025 in Dubai. It will also have the world’s largest hotel (6,500 rooms), sports venues, eco-tourism, science attractions, and a giant mall.

6. London Crossrail Project – $23 billion
London is expanding its underground system, with 42 km (26 mi) of new tunnels to connect 40 stations. Everything will be complete by 2020.

7. Beijing Daxing International Airport – $13 billion
Opening in 2025, this airport megaproject will have seven runways and the largest terminal in the world. It will help ease the load on nearby Beijing Capital International Airport.

8. Jubail II – $11 billion
The second phase of development of the Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia will add 100 industrial plants, an oil refinery, and one of the bigger desalination plants in the world.

9. Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge – $10.6 billion
A series of bridges and undersea tunnels to link the three major cities on the Pearl River Delta in China. Ultimately, it will be 50 km (31 mi) of links, opening sometime beyond 2021.

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Misc

Airline Incidents: How Do Boeing and Airbus Compare?

This graphic shows U.S. airline incidents across the two largest aircraft manufacturers in the world as Boeing faces increased scrutiny.

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This area chart shows airline incidents across Boeing and Airbus since 2014.

Airline Incidents: How Do Boeing and Airbus Compare?

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

For decades, the global airline manufacturing industry has been run by a duopoly, split between American titan Boeing and European manufacturer Airbus.

After years of safety issues, the American aircraft manufacturer has come under fire after a door flew off a Boeing 737 MAX 9 on an Alaska Air flight in January, which recently led its CEO to resign. This incident follows two fatal crashes of its aircraft in 2018 and 2019.

This graphic compares the number of U.S. aviation incidents between Boeing and Airbus, based on data from the National Transportation Safety Board.

A Closer Look at Airline Incidents

The U.S. stands as Boeing’s largest market, comprising 58% of annual revenues in 2023.

By contrast, North America was Airbus’s third-biggest market, making up 21% of annual revenues, following Europe and Asia. Below, we show the number of aviation incidents between the two giants since 2014 in the U.S. and international waters:

YearBoeing IncidentsAirbus Incidents
2024204
202313740
202211132
20219924
20205822
20198637
201811225
201710824
201610222
20157121
20146613

*Data for 2024 up to the end of February.

So far this year, Boeing has faced 20 incidents, with the Alaska Air flight as the most high-profile case due to missing bolts in the emergency door causing it to fly off the hinge.

One potential driver that has been identified by the company is that employee bonuses have been heavily tied to financial incentives. Prior to the incident, they accounted for 75% of annual bonuses in its commercial unit, with the remainder tied to operational targets that included safety and quality measures. Now, as the company overhauls its production process, the company is making safety and quality metrics 60% of the annual reward.

For many years, Boeing has faced safety concerns with its aircraft, leading regulators to ground its 737 MAX 8 planes for two years after a fatal crash in 2019. Making matters worse, aircraft regulators have faced sharp budget cuts since 2013, allowing manufacturers to “self-certify” their planes on safety requirements.

Yet quality issues are not exclusive to Boeing. In some of the latest deliveries for Airbus, customers have raised quality concerns along with complaints of delays. In January, for instance, an Airbus A319 plane on a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing due to a potential faulty door.

Leading up to this point, incidents for both Boeing and Airbus hit decade-highs in 2023 amid a record 16.3 million flights in America. The good news is that there were no reported fatal accidents across passenger jet aircraft in 2023. In fact, there have been no fatal crashes across U.S. airlines in almost 15 years.

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