The January edition of US-based Travel + Leisure magazine has scoured the globe to find the 13 most beautiful airports, proving that Asia does indeed host the best airports in the world.
Korea's Incheon airport, winner of the SkyTrax Best Airport Award 2009, makes an appearance, as does the 3.2 km long, $3.5 billion (€2.45 billion) dragon-shaped Terminal 3 at Beijing International. Hong Kong International Airport is praised for its "billowing roofs," and Kansai International Airport at Osaka is described as a "thing of wonder." In fact, five of the 13 most beautiful airports are in Asia, three are in Europe, two are in the US, a further two in South America and one in Africa.
In some cases, the airports are a product of their locations. The timber-framed Malvinas Argentinas Airport for instance, the world's southernmost international airport, is noted for its natural setting and the fact that arriving aircraft must fly over the stunning Andes Mountains to land. Similarly, the white fabric roof of Denver International Airport is an interesting concept by itself, but breathtaking when silhouetted against the Rocky Mountains.
One retired airport even made the list - Berlin's Templehof International Airport, closed in 2008.The airport was ordered by Nazi architect Albert Speer as part of Hitler's Welthauptstadt (World Capital) Germania project, and the 1.2 km long curved terminal is still known as one of the largest built entities in history. After the commanding officer at the airport refused to destroy it in the final days of WWII, the airport was made famous during the Berlin Airlift when Allied forces flew food and supplies into it, 24 hours a day for almost a year. Templehof finally closed, despite protests, in 2008, and it is reported that it will be transformed into a park.
The World's Most Beautiful Airports
Selected by Travel + Leisure Magazine
Terminal 3, Beijing International Airport, China
Terminal 4, Barajas Airport, Madrid, Spain
TWA Terminal, John F. Kennedy Airport, New York City, USA
Carrasco International Airport, Montevideo, Uruguay
Sondika Airport, Bilbao, Spain
Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado, USA
Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea
Marrakech Menara Airport, Morocco
Chek Lap Kok (Hong Kong International) Airport, Hong Kong
Tempelhof International Airport, Berlin, Germany
Malvinas Argentinas Airport, Ushuaia, Argentina
Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan
Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia