Unique landings, unique take-offs
An airport is the first thing we see when we visit a new country, and having a pleasant and comfortable experience there sets the tone of our impression of the country. An airport consists of at least one surface such as a runway, a helipad, or water for takeoffs and landings, and often includes buildings such as hangars and terminal buildings.
Airports are the great pyramids of the modern age: these grand architectural monuments express both the pinnacle of human engineering and the frenetic nature of our lives. And, several modern airports designed by the world’s leading architects fascinate people.
KING FAHD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (SAUDIA ARABIA)
King Fahd International Airport is located 20 kilometers (about 12 miles) northwest of Dammam (Saudi Arabia). It is the largest airport in the world in terms of land area (780 km²), thus making it larger than the nearby country of Bahrain. The airport’s basic infrastructure was complete by the end of 1990, which allowed the Allied forces engaged in the first Gulf War in early 1991 to use the field for the storage of military aircraft.
BEIJING CAPITAL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (CHINA)
Beijing Capital International Airport is the biggest airport of the world and has undergone a major renovation and expansion project before the 2008 Olympics. The airport was built in a record time — only four years. The designers, Sir Norman Foster and partners claim that it is the world’s largest and most advanced airport building.
The airport is very efficient in terms of operations, pessengers’ comfort, sustainability and access to natural light and even has a gigantic terminal built in the shape of the traditional Chinese dragon. It is 17 per cent bigger than London’s Heathrow Airtport, and has a total of five flours and three terminals.
HARTSFIELD-JACKSON ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (USA)
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest by passenger traffic as well as landings and take-offs. The airport is located seven miles south of the central business distrect of Atlanta, Georgia, United States. It accommodates 89.4 million passengers and 994,346 flights respectively.
INCHEON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, SEOUL (SOUTH KOREA)
This airport opened in 2001 and resemble a bird in flight when viewed from the air. Incheon International Airport is located 32 miles from Seoul, west of Incheon, on Yeongjong-Yeongyu Island in the Yellow Sea.
The stainless steel aerofoil roof and manicured garden conceal a hub of underground transport including trains, buses, car parking and more. Security facilities are state-of-the-art and medical inspection equipment is also very advanced, in response to terrorist threats and various epidemics in Southern Asia. As a result Incheon International Airport is considered Asia’s most technologically facilitated airport.
This airport is also currently Asia’s sixth busiest airport. The unique design and seamless operation has earned it recognition as second best airport in the world by aviation research company Skytrax.
SAMUI AIRPORT (THAILAND)
Samui Airport is a privately owned airport on the island of Ko Samui in Thailand. Regarded by many as one of the loveliest airports of the world, Samui Airport was built in a mood and style that is in perfect accordance with the cultural and natural environs of the tropical Island of Ko Samui.
Samui Airport is an unusual airport because there is no indoor area, except a gift shop. This garden airport is all open, with no walls, only sheltered with wooden/glass roofing. The palm-thatched roofs and well-maintained tropical gardens at Ko Samui Airport blend perfectly with the spectacular bays rimmed in white sand and forested with lush coconut groves.
COPENHAGEN AIRPORT (DENMARK)
Copenhagen Airport is the major airport serving Copenhagen, Denmark and the other cities. It is located 8 km south of Copenhagen city. The airport is unique in its design. The central portion of the airport is made almost entirely of wood. Wooden floors, wooden railings, wooden walls, and all of its beauty carved in a modern style. Even outside of the airport is nicely designed. The airport serves with three terminals.
MADEIRA AIRPORT (PORTUGAL)
Madeira Airport, also known as Funchal Airport and Santa Catarina airport is situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean — only three and a half hours away from the UK — on the Portuguese island of Madeira near Funchal. The airport controls national and international air traffic off the island of Madeira.
The total length of the runway is 2,781 metres, (approx 1,000 metres of which is the new extension). Until recently Madeira Airport had a very short runway surrounded by high mountains and ocean, which made it a difficult airport for pilots. The airport also received outstanding structual award for being ‘a unique runway expansion project of supported concrete over reclaimed land, sensitive to environmental and aesthetic considerations’.
HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok on Lantau Island is one of the world’s best and most modern airports; it has won several notable international “Best Airport” awards during the 10 years of its operations. The airport offers a comprehensive range of facilities and services to the travelling public. It is the main entry point to Hong Kong, as well as the traveller’s gateway to China and to the rest of Asia.
It is one of the most accessible airports in operation today. A simple layout and effective signage, moving walkways, and the automated people mover allow quick and easy movement throughout the building. The airport also features a driverless people mover system consisting of three stations to provide fast transportation from check-in area to gates.
BARRA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (SCOTLAND)
Barra Airport is the only airport in the world where planes land on the beach. The airport is situated on the wide beach of Traigh Mhor, on Barra Island, in the outer Hebrides, Scotland.
The beach is set out with three runways, marked by wooden poles at their ends. At high tide these runways are under the sea — flight times vary with the tide. The airport is literally washed away by the tide once a day. Emergency flights occassionally operate at night with vehicle lights which indicate the centre line of the runway and reflective strips laid on the beach.