MIAMI – Airports and air travel have always been at the forefront of technological advancements, as the industry has constantly strived for perfection.

The airports that exist today look nothing like the ones that were considered revolutionary fifty years ago. And the travel hubs will doubtlessly look worlds apart from how they are now in another half-decade.

People have always enjoyed speculating on how the future will look, and there are various ideas about what could happen to airports as more progressive technology comes about.

London Heathrow Airport. Photo:Ferrovial Airports

Speculative Visions of the Future Have Always Been Popular


You may be thinking, why is it exciting to imagine what airports will look like in the future? Shouldn’t we just wait and see what happens over the next few decades? That would be one option, but most people enjoy speculating on what the future holds. This has been shown time and time again in popular culture. Countless games, books, films, and television shows have all tried to envisage the world of tomorrow, and they have always appealed to mass audiences.

Visions of the future have perhaps been most prevalent in books, but may have reached the biggest audiences through films. Often, the movies have been adaptations of sci-fi novels and have sometimes drawn attention to the source material upon which they are based. Ridley Scott’s 1982 offering, Blade Runner, for example, is one of the best-known visions of the future ever made. That was loosely based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which was written by Philip K. Dick in 1968.

One of the most recent games to offer up a vision of the future is the Wild-O-Tron 3000 slot from Swedish developer NetEnt. This is a popular online casino game that combines Wild West and sci-fi themes. It imagines a world in which robots are ubiquitous, and the setting is a lab in which the AI machines are made. Swedish entertainment providers, such as online casino, have a history of providing excellent sci-fi content and titles that create exciting post-apocalyptic worlds, that have us second-guessing what our future might look like.

For example, Tales From the Loop is a tabletop RPG game, based on the art book of the same name by Simon Stålenhag, and features a group of friends battling machines in futuristic 1980’s Sweden. The game has even had calls to be made into a Netflix series, after people related it to pop culture smash-hit, Stranger Things.

Another highly engaging game released this year was Cyberpunk 2077 from CD Projekt Red. This ambitious title imagines a dystopian future in which humans and cyborgs live alongside one another. It takes place in Night City, which is reliant on robotics for handling the running of everything from sanitation to public transport. The ideas present in the game have been hugely popular in sci-fi, and many fiction writers believe that society could be headed in this direction.

Kansas City International Airport’s single terminal exterior view. Photo: City’s website Visit Kansas City.

Which Airports Already Have a Futuristic Design?


There are already a few airports in the world that could be considered way ahead of the times. By examining the planet’s best, it could provide a glimpse into how these places could look in the future. The fact that some are at the cutting edge also encourages other developers to follow suit and attempt to outdo the greatest airports already in existence.

One of the leading airports in the world when it comes to making use of technology is the Beijing Daxing International Airport, which has an incredible futuristic design. Indeed, it has been nicknamed the Starfish because of the way the building represents the ocean-dwelling creature.

The Beijing Daxing International Airport

The airport cost US$11.4 billion, took five years to construct, and opened in 2019. It is 700,000 square meters in size, making it the world’s largest single-building airport terminal. The airport is like a mini-city that can accommodate 100 million passengers every year. Despite its size, though, the unique design means that the walking times between gates are shorter than may be expected. There are customer service robots all over the place as well. These go around helping passengers and updating them on any important announcements.

Another example of what the future of air travel could look like is in Turkey. Istanbul Airport opened in 2018 and features a highly original design. It covers six times the area of London Heathrow, and parts of it are still under construction. Once it is fully completed, the airport is expected to be the busiest in the world by some margin. Istanbul Airport will also feature domestic robots, the first-ever airport data center, and the first virtual tower application in Turkey.

Istanbul Airport

How Will a Futuristic Airport Look?


The amazing airports listed above give a great idea about what developers are working towards when they create brand new airports. The design of some of the newest airports around suggests that there could be a move away from having multiple terminals. By making use of innovative design aspects, such as China’s star-shaped offering, there is less of a need to have separate buildings. This could lead to much smoother transitions between flights, and a more user-friendly airport experience.

The fact that these new airports have brought in robots is another intriguing sign. There are certainly numerous tasks that help towards the running of an airport that could easily be done by automated machines. Instead of having to look for the notice boards with all the flight times on, robots can be programmed to go around and give people the information they need. They could also direct passengers to where they need to go. This could be done through a simple scanning system that allows for the instant relaying of information. All of these things would contribute to a highly streamlined experience.

In airports of the future, advanced technology could help towards making the whole process of air travel much smoother. Travelers may be able to choose their preferences for various things before their journey. Once they get to the airport, they could scan their tickets at restaurants, bars, and other services in the airport to instantly receive the things they want. This tailor-made experience would add to the appeal of air travel in a big way.

It seems that the airports of the future are already here, and the advancements seen in the world’s most innovative travel hubs are likely to spread over the next few decades. All of the technology and innovations brought in will make the customer experience even more enjoyable than it already is.


Featured image: This photo taken on June 28, 2019 shows the terminal of the new Beijing Daxing International Airport. – Beijing is set to open an eye-catching multi-billion dollar airport resembling a massive shining starfish, to accommodate soaring air traffic in China and celebrate the Communist government’s 70th anniversary in power. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT / To go with China-Aviation, Focus by Patrick Baert Photo credit STR/AFP/Getty Images