API magazine
October 1, 2020
Airport life
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Most countries consider their airports as a way to impress the world. Trendsetting achitects like Zaha Hadid and Santiago Calatrava reinvent the traditional terminal and take the design of airports to a higher altitude. We selected the 10 most beautiful airports in the world where you actually enjoy a long layover.

Beijing Daxing Airport

Beijing Daxing International Airport is a new airport in the Daxing district, 46 km south of the city center. It is the result of a collaboration with teams of professionals in China and around the world, resulting in a unique contempery building. The terminal is designed by a Joint Design Team/Architects Aaha Hadid Architects and ADP Ingeniérie (ADPI). With an appearance like a giant six-armed alien starfish squatting over the landscape, it is visually spectacular – inside and outside.


Changi Airport

Changi Airport is voted by air travelers as the World’s Best Airport 2018. This is the first time in the history of the Skytrax awards that an airport has won the title for six consecutive years. Changi Airport is renowned for its unrivalled passenger experiences, which have become synonymous with global connectivity, clockwork efficiency and unique, thoughtful services.

Dubai World Central

Built south of the city, close to the fast growing areas of “new Dubai”, DWC lies at the heart of an entire airport city.  This airport is the world’s largest global gateway with capacity for more than 160 million passengers per year. It will also serve as a multi-modal logistics hub for 12million tonnes of freight.


Incheon International Airport South Korea

Incheon International Airport is the largest airport in South Korea, the primary airport serving the Seoul Capital Area, and one of the largest and busiest airports in the world. Since 2005, it has been rated several times the best airport worldwide by Airports Council International. It has also received the full 5 stars in ranking from Skytrax. Incheon Airport offers a golf course, spa, private dorms, a casino, and indoor gardens.


Menara International Airport, Marrakech, Morocco

Although it is a very small airport, it’s one of the most beautiful airports of the world because of its elegant facade and terminal.


Bilbao Airport, Spain

Bilbao airport is one of the most outstanding expressions of the renewal and new strength of the city of Bilbao. It is located 7,5 miles from the capital of the Biscay province. The elegant airport, designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava, is built in the shape of a flying dove.


Carrasco International Airport, Montevideo, Uruguay

Carrasco International Airport serves Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay. With two million passengers per year, it is the only airport in the country that provides year-round international connections.The terminal is designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. After three and a half years of construction and an investment of 165 million dollars, the new terminal has become a symbol of pride for all Uruguayans, positioning itself as the country’s main gateway.

The gentle curve and low profile of the airport’s monolithic roof is inspired by the rolling dunes along Uruguay’s coastline.


Madrid-Barajas International Airport (Terminal 4), Madrid, Spain

Terminal 4

Madrid Airport, officially known as Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (IATA: MAD, ICAO: LEMD) is located in the district of Barajas, within the city limits of Madrid, 9 km from the financial district. The airport stands out because of the materials used in its construction (integrated steel and bamboo) and its elegant design.


Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan

Kansai International Airport is an international airport located on an completely man-made artificial island in the middle of Osaka Bay, 38 km southwest of Ōsaka Station.

KIX opened its doors in 1994, and has since become an important international hub for the country, providing one of the largest networks for both domestic and international routes with 24h operations. The airport is considered a gateway for the Kansai area, the Western part of Japan, receiving 25 million passengers every year.

The structure was designed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, who is famous for other award-winning architectural buildings. Its long and light structure was designed to withstand the violent earthquakes which often affect this region of Japan.

Unfortunately this beautiful piece of architecture sinks every year about 50 cm in the water. Even with a strong foundation design, engineers expected the island to sink an estimated 5.7 m (19ft). Looking back, engineers admitted this number was selected optimistically. Presently, the island has sunk 13.05 m (42 ft) at a rate of 50 cm/yr following construction. Through the implementation of stabilizing techniques engineer shave lowered that to a continually dropping rate of 6 cm/yr. Currently, engineers believe they have a grasp on this previously worrisome sinkin grate, and improvements to airport facilities are in the works.

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Denver International Airport

This beautiful airport is quite curious on a symbolic level which has led to many theories which together make up “The Denver Airport Conspiracy”. Nazi runways, remote locations, underground bunkers, aliens and artistic depictions of the apocalypse... Instead of  refuting these theories, they make it a marketing asset.