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Shrinking airports to serve more passengers? Perhaps!


If the headline seems to be a paradox, it should. As air traffic grows by 5-7% a year overall, airports get bigger, baggage carousels get bigger, the distance between your plane and the exit gets bigger...are you really being served?

Those are some of the problems highlighted in a Gumbo blog on April 30th on the race to build the biggest and newest airports. And with predictions that commercial air fleets and passengers may double in the next few decades, it could get even worse.

An interesting viewpoint on this from an industry expert is presented in an interview posted on travel industry newssite Skift. Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports suggests that the answer is "scalable hubs."

Griffiths is working on a new airport with a capacity of 240 million passengers a year, and is thinking that "instead of  building...a massive airport for 240 million people, we're actually going to build twelve airports, each of 20 million capacity." They wouldn't all need to be built at once, also a possible benefit. The picture at top suggests what it might look like.

He argues that by reducing the maximum distance you have to travel in the airport to 400 meters, thereby shortening transfer times, a given facility can serve more people without growing huge. The article makes interesting reading; it's available HERE

Illustration: Dubai Airports

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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