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Airports of the future…already exist

July 15, 2014 Airport No Comments Email Email

While there is no doubt modern design and interactive technology will dramatically change the airport experience for future travellers, leading global travel search site Skyscanner has revealed that these elements are already being used in some of the world’s busiest airports. Angeles Airport, Sinagpore Changi T3, Kuwait International, Korea Incheon, and San Diego International airport are all incorporating clever technology and design to make time spent at the airport a more relaxing and pleasant experience.

In its Future of Travel report Skyscanner predicts that airports of the future will be designed to create a sense of place during lay-overs, rather than just serving as a conduit for travellers to get to their next destination. Passengers will be able to attend virtual yoga classes, sit by the rooftop pool, or peruse art galleries.

Skyscanner’s Marketing Manager Australia and New Zealand, Dave Boyte said, “An airport of the future will be the place where your holiday begins, a place that is stress-free and enjoyable and puts you in the right mood. In the 2020s, such futuristic airports could even shape your decision on what destination to travel to. ”

Five airports of the future that already exist:

  1. Mixing media with everyday life: Los Angeles Airport 

LAX called upon the talents of Moment Factory to create seven digital ‘interventions’ throughout the airport. Their most noted creation is the 72 foot ‘Time Tower’, a haptic illusion wrapped around one of the terminal’s main lifts. The tower, which includes over four hours of video footage is also interactive.

Other interventions include a ‘Welcome Wall’ for arriving passengers, a ‘Bon Voyage’ wall for departing passengers, and two ‘Portals’ that display real-time flight information as well as the physical movements of individual travellers. In the future, Skyscanner predicts that the walls and floors of an airport departure lounge will become entirely interactive spaces.

  1. Bringing the outside in: Singapore Changi T3

The desire for expansive, open buildings is informing the design of the new and inspiring ‘aerovilles’, such as Singapore’s Changi Terminal 3 Airport, which has a butterfly roof, a five-story vertical garden, waterfalls and a rooftop swimming pool.

More airports are now building ventilation and outdoor systems that allow travellers access to open air. A recent survey by Skyscanner suggests that 43% of travellers would love to see an open-air park as part of the airport experience.

  1. Going green: Kuwait International Airport

State-of-the-art design that focusses on energy efficiency is a major influence on airport architecture of today. Designers of the new Kuwait International Airport are aiming for the building to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold status. To do this they will install glazed windows that will filter daylight and deflect the direct solar radiation, fit the roof with an expanse of photovoltaic panels to harvest the sun’s energy, and add a cooling indoor water feature which will surround the baggage claim area.

If their goal is achieved, Kuwait airport will be the first passenger terminal in the world to attain this level of environmental accreditation, paving the way for sustainable and energy efficient design of the future.

  1. For culture vultures: Korea Incheon

The inspiration for Korea’s new Incheon airport draws from various elements of Korean culture and life. The outside is designed with the Asian phoenix in mind, while the inside will have indoor gardens, koi ponds, and abundant natural light to create soothing environments for travellers to relax while taking in Korean cultural aesthetics.

The airport has already been described as an ‘aerotropolis’ – a destination within itself – as it also incorporates hundreds of shops, a hotel, a skating rink, a golf course and even a casino.

  1. Lounging around: San Diego International Airport

Departure lounges around the world will all seem pretty standard after San Diego’s New Media lounge officially opens. Rather than just having enough comfortable seating and power outlets to charge your plethora of mobile devices, the New Media lounge will become a digital world still very much connected to the local terrain. 

Once passengers have scanned their boarding pass they can sit back and interact with the room in a number of inventive ways. The theme for the room is ‘migration’ which will be represented in a series of projections which include flight times as well as aspects of the city such as landscape, cliffs and coastal surroundings.

Want to know more about the future of travel? Sign up for a notification when part three of their Future of Travel report will be revealed and to read or download parts one and two visit To contribute to the conversation use #FutureofTravel.

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