Airports are really shopping centres

Posted: September 7th, 2005 | Author: antoin | No Comments »


Thomas Crampton writes in today’s International Herald Tribune about the design of the new Satellite Terminal at Charles De Gaulle. It’s supposed to be designed to facilitate the new A380 superjumbos.

In fact, as the headline on the story makes clear, it’s really designed to facilitate shops and shoppers.

Like I said in my comment: Airports are basically designed to make you walk as far as possible past as many shops and ads as possible between check-in and the gate.

Comfort and logistics are afterthoughts.

If the operators concentrated more on moving people through the airport quickly and shortening the walking distances, they’d provide a better service (and probably make more money, as a result of operational efficiency and reduced floorspace requirements).

I once designed a layout for a passenger-friendly airport with short walking distances that could be scaled to any size. The trick is pretty simple: don’t pack up the space between the check-ins and the gates with shops. Put the shops, cafes, massage parlours and whatever else on the level overhead if necessary and make them accessible via escalators.



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