Dubai’s ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is planning to invest $32 billion (around Rs 1.9 lakh crore) to build the biggest airport in the world. The airport, to be known as Al Maktoum International, will have the capacity to handle more than 200 million transit passengers every year. The airport, expected to be completed in six to ten years, will boast five parallel runways spaced far enough apart so they can be used at the same time. The airport is likely to be spread over 56 square kilometers (22 square miles) - about the size of Bermuda, according to state-backed airport operator Dubai Airports.
Boom News looks at the five biggest and busiest airports in the world today, in no particular order. We also talk about some fun things to do at the airports in case you are stuck due to delays or a long layover.
O'Hare International Airport, Chicago
The world’s fourth busiest and the second busiest in the U.S, O’ Hare is among the top five largest airports in terms of area. The airport complex is spread over 7,000 acre or 28 square kilometres with 189 gates and eight active runways.
Three fun things to do in case your flight gets delayed at O’ Hare Airport:
- Calm down your senses and visit the beautifully decorated yoga room.
- Not a yoga person? No problem. O’Hare has a 4,800 square foot (446 square meter) gym, complete with pool, sauna, steam room, lockers and showers and new equipment as of 2013. Day pass: $22.40.
- Have over four hours to spend? Visit the Fashion Outlets of Chicago, about 10 minute drive from the airport. The 130 stores take up two floors.
Haneda Airport, Tokyo
The Tokyo International Airport, also known as Haneda Airport, catered to over 90 million transit passengers after the Japanese transportation authority opened an international terminal. The airport is the main hub for Japan's two biggest airlines--Japan Airlines and Nippon Airways--as well as various low-cost airlines. It was the second busiest airport in Asia and the fourth busiest in the world. Haneda airport has three terminals. The main terminals, 1 and 2, are connected by an underground walkway; a free shuttle bus runs between the main terminals and the smaller international terminal every five minutes.
Fun things to do at Haneda Airport in case your flight gets delayed
- Relax with a good, nice massage at the numerous spas inside the airport.
- If you have more time, buy a day pass and visit the historical Kansai region.
- Worried that you might miss your next flight? Just relax in the beautiful airport lounges. Taste the amazing Japanese cuisine while listening to your favorite music and let your worries go away.
Heathrow Airport, London
One the most popular airports, Heathrow is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom. Heathrow is the third busiest airport in the world with 72,368,630 transit passengers in 2013. The total size of the airport is 12.27 square kilometers. The airport has two runways and the most popular destinations from here include New York, Dubai, Frankfurt, Dublin and Amsterdam.
Fun Things to do at Heathrow Airport
- Visit the award winning T5 gallery to have an experience of the artistic culture of UK. Also, if you plan to purchase any of the pieces, there are a variety of shipping and delivery options.
- Stop at a spa specialist. Relax in satellite terminal 5B to be able to enjoy beauty and well-being treatments.
- Go people-watching: With flights to everywhere from Algiers to Zürich, there's nowhere like Heathrow for literally watching the world go by. Just find a prime spot and study the crowd over a cappuccino!
Beijing Capital International Airport
Ranked the second largest airport in the world, Beijing Capital International Airport is the largest/busiest airport in Asia with 83,712,355 passengers in 2013. The airport is the hub for several large airlines including Air China, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines. The airport has been expanding in the past decade and plans are on to increase the size of the airport to 55 square kilometers by 2017.
Fun Things to do at Beijing Airport
- Visit the HuaXiangYuan Tea Shop that offers a variety of Chinese tea. Take home a variety of boxed sets of teapots, cups, and samples of tea in China.
- How else can one reflect the true spirit of China than a silk panda-motif necktie? Spend extra currency and buy a giant scarf embroidered with traditional Chinese designs. Trust us, it is beautiful and your spouse will love it!
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Georgia, USA
The world's busiest and also the biggest airport earned that title with 94,430,785 passengers last year. Chances are that you or someone you know has passed through Hartsfield–Jackson as it is the largest connection hub in North America. The airport is the epitome of world-class and is considered a model for airports around the world.
Things to do at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport:
- The airport has eight major art spaces including an exhibit of western art on concourse T, a dramatic exhibit of contemporary Zimbabwean sculptures and photography in the transportation mall corridor between concourse A and concourse T, and a towering 33-foot dinosaur skeleton in the atrium.
- The airport also features a youth art exhibit at concourse D that exhibits artwork from schools throughout Georgia. The exhibit features art completed by students in grades K-12 and rotates every three months.
- Sojourner’s Café on concourse E across from Gate E-29 features a live jazz keyboardist. Sweet Georgia’s juke joint, located on concourse D, also features jazz, pop and R&B music played through a real jukebox as well as a full bar and vintage album covers lining the walls. Periodically, live music, including jazz, R&B, Latin, blues, is featured in the atrium and at Houhilhan’s in the evenings.