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The subject of airport passenger terminal building must involve a discussion of transportation.

Transportation has remained one of the most vital factors that influence the development of a nation. The credibility of this statement has been proven over the centuries, that if one decides to take a critical look at earlier civilizations, from the time of early Egyptian civilization to the current civilized world, one will discover that many of the great feats achieved during these civilizations would have been impossible without one form of transportation or the other.

By way of definition; transportation (or transport) is the movement of people, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles and operations. Transportation is important since it enables trade between people, which in turn establishes civilizations.

Transport infrastructure consists of the fixed installations necessary for transport, including roads, railways, airways, waterways, canals and pipelines and terminals such as airports, railway stations, bus stations, warehouses, trucking terminals, refuelling depots (including fuelling docks and fuel stations) and seaports. Terminals may be used both for interchange of passengers and cargo and for maintenance.

Vehicles travelling on these networks may include automobiles, bicycles, buses, trains, trucks, people, helicopters and aircraft. Operations deal with the way the vehicles are operated, and the procedures set for this purpose including financing, legalities and policies. In the transport industry, operations and ownership of infrastructure can be either public or private, depending on the country and mode.

Transportation can be broadly classified under three broad groups thus:

Land transportation;

Water transportation; and Air transportation.

Land transportation is the most common and dates back to the beginning of civilization. Land transportation can take various forms, which are dependent on the sophistication, stage of civilization and development, and on the technical stratum of the society in question. It can be by the use of animals (camels, mules, horses, dogs, etc.) or by use of machines such as wheelbarrows, carts, cars etc.

Similarly, water transportation dates back a long time as humanity can recall. Water transportation, as land transportation, has also been developed in complexity, technical superiority, and usage.

Air transportation has its origin in the 20th century. The superiority of air transport over the rest can be attributed the reason behind its progressive growth and preference as the safest modern mode of transportation.


The airpot terminal is a building at an airport where passengers transfer between ground transportation and the facilities that allow them to board and disembark from the aircraft. Within the terminal, passengers purchase tickets, transfer their luggage, and go through security. The buildings that provide access to the airplanes (via gates) are typically called concoures. However, the terms terminals and concourses are used interchangably, depending on the configuration of the airport.

Smaller airports have one terminal while larger airports have several terminals and/or concourses. At small airports, the single terminal building typically serves all of the functions of a terminal and a concourse. Some larger airports have one terminal that is connected to multiple concourses via walkways, sky-bridges, or underground tunnels (such as Denver International Airport). Some larger airports have more than one terminal, each with one or more concourses (such as New York‟s John F. Kennedy Airport). Still other larger airports have multiple terminals each of which incorporate the functions of a concourse (such as Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport).

According to Frommers, most airport terminals are built in a plain style, with the concrete boxes of the 1960s and ‟70s generally gave way to glass boxes in the ‟90s and ‟00s, with the best terminals making a vague stab at incorporating ideas of light and air. However, some, such as

Baghdad International Airport, are monumental in stature, while others are considered architectural masterpieces, such as Terminal 1 at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris or Terminal 5 at New York‟s John F. Kennedy Airport. A few are designed to reflect the culture of a particular area, some examples being the terminal at Albuquerque International Sunport in New Mexico, which is designed in the Pueblo Revival Style popularized by architect John Gaw Meem, as well as the one at Bahiasde Huatulco International Airport in Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico, which features some palapas that are interconnected to form the airport terminal building.

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