By 2030, the number of people taking planes will double. Double. And it’s supposed to rise exponentially from there.
It’s highly doubtful that our aged airports will be able to deal with the demand. Sure, they were hot and new in the late ’80s and ’90s, but many airports are in need of a serious makeover.
Enter Alex Sutton, a recent architecture graduate from The Bartlett School of Architecture in London, who redesigned Stockholm’s airport for a final-year project. Only 25-years old, Sutton has created designs that look like visions from the (hopefully not-too-distant) future.
In them, you can see the plane runways are actually in the city, along with an extensive series of tracks that’ll serve to move the planes from their take-off and landing points. Because the planes are moved by this track system, they won’t have to turn on their engines until they’re just about to depart.
His design showcases a fully integrated urban airport, with airport systems joining city systems as part of the infrastructure; imagine grabbing a coffee from your favourite cafe and then just hopping on a plane. “Micro termini” and shorter runways will, in theory, take up as little space as possible (though, realistically, it’s not like planes are ever small). It also professes to be more environmentally friendly than your usual modern-day airport.
In perhaps the coolest aspect, pods would transport passengers to their terminals and gates, as well as to luggage collection points. Called the PRT (Personal Rapid Transit), it removes the need for private cars, thus lessening the damage to the environment and making the airport surroundings less chaotic.
And, of course, the system would be compatible with mobile technology (by the time this is implemented, mobile phones will probably be obsolete and just chips in our heads, but whatever), so passengers will be able to use their phones to make sure their luggage comes directly to them, as opposed to wasting time and effort walking to it themselves. Our lazy selves love that concept.
Who knows? Soon we might have airplanes taking off right next to us, or right above our heads.