Sleeping in Airports
The new Istanbul Airport (Photo courtesy of a guest traveller / September 2019)

2019 in Review: New Airport and Terminal Openings

As frequent flyers, we’re always fascinated by the emerging trends that keep passengers happy, relaxed and entertained at airports and terminals across the globe.

Here we take a look back at 5 new airport and terminals that opened in 2019 – including futuristic designs, indoor gardens, hi-tech robots and entertainment – and how one airport included some thoughtful touches airport sleepers will appreciate.

Singapore Jewel Changi Airport

Probably the best passenger terminal experience on the planet, the Jewel Changi Airport is a nature-themed entertainment and retail complex. Located landside at Singapore’s Changi Airport, the centrepiece is linked to three terminals and features the Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

Situated in a forest setting, the Jewel features gardens and attractions such as Shiseido Forest Valley, an indoor garden spanning five storeys, with the Canopy Park at the topmost level featuring more gardens and leisure facilities.

Featuring a hotel, 300 retail and dining facilities, ample children’s facilities and an interactive game studio over, passengers will be left completely awed.

Istanbul Airport

For architecture alone, Istanbul Airport is a feast for the eyes. Having handled 40 million passengers in its first year alone, the airport is keen to offer the ultimate experience for travellers from rest zones to acres of duty-free shopping.

The airport, which will become the world’s biggest once work is complete, is fast becoming a favourite for passengers due to its sleek lines, easy information availability, and other special touches, such as a spa with massage packages and services for rest and rejuvenation.  A few things we’re sure airport sleepers will appreciate are the rest zone and the sprinkling of inviting padded seats throughout the terminal.

Istanbul also features a fleet of four humanoids wheeled robots to assist passengers in navigating the 1.4 million sqm hub. Passengers can approach the robots and scan their tickets to see their flight status and get directions in English and Turkish.

Beijing Daxing Airport

Opened in September 2019, Beijing’s super futuristic, alien starfish-designed Daxing airport is set to become the globe’s busiest. Passengers will be wowed by the structures, having been the brainchild of legendary Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.

Its centrally curved atrium is anchored by eight giant C-shaped columns reaching 350ft upward to a skylight. The five departure lounges are designed as traditional Chinese courtyards, while space efficiency has been applied, with security to the furthest gate just 600 metres away.

While it’s set to feature everything a passenger could crave – from 70 eateries to childcare facilities, and even a pet hotel, the airport has invested big on art. Beijing’s Central Academy of Art has been tasked to design high-tech art spaces for the courtyards to the VIP lounges.

New York City LaGuardia Airport

Often cited as one of the worst airports in our annual survey, LaGuardia, is undergoing a $4 billion renovation to make it fit for the 21st century.

One focus is a complete rebuild of Terminal B, or the Central Terminal Building, which handles the majority of the airport’s passengers. It will open in stages over several years. The first phase saw the opening of 16 gates, as well as dining and retail options, in the new eastern concourse.

2020 will see the opening of seven more gates, two glassy pedestrian bridges and two island concourses.

The plan includes a focus on indoor green space after New York City’s urban pocket parks. It will consist of landscaping and sculptural benches, with ample seating, spacious, modern restrooms, and rooms for mothers and infants. Work should conclude by 2022.

Terminal C is being operated and rebuilt by Delta as part of the overall revamp. The first concourse has been opened, offering views of Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. A key feature will be an electrical output in each seat at gate areas, enabling passengers to be fully changed to enjoy the free, unlimited wifi.

New Orleans Airport

Travellers will be happy to learn the new terminal complex at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) opened in November 2019.

A previously featured ‘worst airport’, the new $1 billion, 35-gate terminal provides improved passenger experiences highlighting the city’s spirit and restaurants evoking New Orleans’ distinct culture.

There is faster free wifi, water bottle refilling stations and a jazz garden where passengers can enjoy live music throughout the day.

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