On paper, an airport is a humdrum place. Countless travelers pass through airports each and every day. While some of these crossroads on the map are as one would expect, others are much more than containers of grouchy passengers, bad food and countless magazine stands. From out-there runways to terminals just for royalty, here are a few of the world’s most unique airports.
Princess Juliana International Airport: Located on the island of St. Maarten, Princess Juliana International Airport is unique mostly for its landings. The airport sits right on the edge of the coastline of Simpson Bay. Planes must fly low over Maho Beach, below many tourists often snapping photographs of the aircraft up close and personal. Plane landings at Princess Juliana International Airport must clear the small beach, a fence and a road before hitting the runway. As one of the busiest airports in the region with an average of 1.6 million passengers a year, you can expect to see plenty of planes making the daring landing if you choose to be a daredevil yourself and stand beneath them on the beach.
Denver International Airport: As you fly over Denver International Airport, you will quickly realize this is not your average cement block airport. Denver International Airport is the design of architect Curtis Fentress. It features what looks like several white tents grouped together as its main terminal building. The idea was to use a Teflon-coated stretchy fabric roof to create a building that would resemble the peaks of the Rockies behind it. In addition to its unique architecture, Denver International Airport also boasts unusual art greeting or saying goodbye to those who have touched down. Called Mesteño, a 32-foot tall blue stallion with flaming red eyes is certainly out of the ordinary, perched at the beginning of the terminal along Peña Boulevard.
Gibraltar International Airport: It’s not every day that planes stop traffic on your morning commute. However, in Gibraltar, this is a regular occurrence. Located in between Morocco and Spain, the tiny territory boasts an international airport with a decidedly unique runway. The airport’s runway sits along the busiest road in the city center, Winston Churchill Avenue. Like a railroad crossing, cars must wait when planes are landing and departing. Gibraltar International Airport sits just 400 meters from the city center.
Incheon International Airport: Seoul, South Korea makes certain that travelers passing through its airport know what Korean culture is all about. Incheon International Airport frequently makes lists of the top airports in the world. One of the reasons for its acclaim is due to its “Korean Cultural Street.” Set up on the fourth floor of the Passenger Terminal, you can experience a great deal of Korean culture from Korean craft workshops, traditional clothing dress-up opportunities and even concerts throughout the year. Even the roof of the airport has been made to look like a traditional Korean temple.
Dammam King Fahd International Airport: Located just 22 kilometers west of Dammam, Dammam King Fahd International Airport is unique mostly due to its size. Spanning over 300 square miles, the airport is the largest in the world. The airport is so massive that it is even bigger than the country Bahrain. Serving the entire Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia, the airport features a mosque that can accommodate thousands and a royal terminal for the royal family.
Photo: TVL 1970
I was just recently at the Denver International Airport and I had a 3 hour layover. I was glad to come across this post because I was curious about the reasoning behind its unique architecture. I had no idea as to why the unique structure but now after coming across this post and reading the reasoning makes complete sense. Very informative post, thanks for sharing!
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