The Future Of Airports

At PrivateFly, we love talking about new innovations when it comes to the future of aviation. But that doesn’t only include innovations in aircraft – even airport innovations can create some major unexpected trends for air travel.

With a few major projects scheduled for completion this year, it’s likely that 2015 will be a great year to see upgraded airport facilities and fascinating new features. And as these facilities come on line, passengers may begin to notice new trends emerging in airport design – in both major international hubs and small private jet airports.

Bringing the outdoors inside

Changi Airport Singapore offers a variety of "themed" gardens (Source: Changi Airport)

Many airports will begin to experiment with more ways to bring the outdoors into the picture with their designs. Changi Airport Singapore has been a leader in this area, with its butterfly garden and rooftop green spaces, while passengers with a stopover at Munich Airport can wander through an outdoor plaza hosting exhibits and performances, or visit an outdoor terrace.

Updated facilities are also incorporating glass facades to bring natural light inside, which not only meets passengers’ demands but also improves energy efficiency.

In Mexico City, construction of the anticipated Mexico City International Airport goes underway this year, which is designed to be the world’s most sustainable airport due to its vast canopies of glass, which requires fewer materials and less energy than the standard multi-building airport.

A sense of place

Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food offers a taste of London for Heathrow visitors. (Soure: Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food)

Airports increasingly understand that passengers want to get a feel of what’s local when they’re at an airport.

By fashioning an airport to better represent the city it serves, it allows an airport to become an important point of differentiation to other airports.

One of the easiest ways to do this is with food and big name chefs.

More and more airports are dishing out regional cuisine made by local chefs, such as Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food at London Heathrow and Carles Gaig’s Catalan-inspired Porta Gaig in Barcelona.

And it’s not just high-end eateries bringing local to the airport.

Hung’s Delicacies in Hong Kong International favors braised meats and regional dishes. Airbrau in Munich Airport Plaza is a Bavarian brewery that serves its own beer, along with time-honored dishes like schnitzel, suckling pig and sauerkraut.

Introducing national culture

Seoul's Incheon Airport allows passengers to experience Korean culture. (Source:

National culture is also making its way into airports. While many international airports have at least a little space devoted to displays of art, some are taking it up a notch.

At the Traditional Korean Cultural Experience Zone at Seoul’s Incheon Airport, passengers can learn about calligraphy or fan-making, or check out handcrafts while listening to live musicians. Workshops, demonstrations and performances are scheduled on a regular basis.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol was the first airport to house its own art museum beyond passport control. Currently under renovation, the pioneering Schiphol outpost of the Rijksmuseum provides a glimpse into local life through special exhibitions and the artworks of Dutch masters.