Friday, March 29, 2013

PHOTOS: Inside the futuristic new airport terminal in Jordan

The new passenger terminal at Queen Alia International Airport, Jordan
New passenger terminal at Queen Alia Airport, Jordan

When it comes to airport developments in the Middle East, most people will think of the multi-billion dollar projects in Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai. However, even outside of oil-rich GCC countries, the region has a lot of exciting developments in the making.

Only last week, for example, the brand new passenger terminal at Queen Alia International Airport was opened. The facility is being marketed as the ‘spectacular new gateway to Jordan’ – a description that is reinforced by various photos of the terminal that have been issued to the media.

I’ve included one of them on this page and the rest have been uploaded as a photo album on my Facebook page – click here to view them!

Located in the capital city of Amman, the airport’s design has been inspired by local traditions and is based on a flexible modular solution that allows for future expansion. In fact, the design allows the airport to grow by 6 per cent per annum for the next twenty-five years, increasing capacity from 3.5 million to 12 million passengers per annum by 2030.

To celebrate the opening, here are 10 interesting design facts about the airport terminal, courtesy of its designer Foster + Partners.


  1. In response to Amman’s climate (where summer temperatures vary markedly between day and night time), the building is constructed largely from concrete, which offers passive environmental control due to its high thermal mass. 
  2. The terminal’s tessellated roof canopy includes a series of shallow concrete domes, which extend to shade the facades. 
  3. The domes branch out from the supporting columns like the leaves of a desert palm and daylight floods the concourse through split beams at the column junctions. 
  4. Echoing the veins of a leaf, a special pattern based on traditional Islamic forms is applied to each exposed soffit. The complex geometry of the roof shells and fabrication strategy was developed in conjunction with Foster + Partners’ in-house geometry specialists.
  5. Two piers of departure gates run along either side of the central building, which contains the main processing areas, in addition to shops, lounges and restaurants. 
  6. Open-air courtyards can be found between these volumes, which contribute to the terminal’s environmental strategy. For instance, plants and trees help to filter pollution and pre-condition the air before it is drawn into the air handling system, while reflecting pools bounce indirect natural light into the airport.
  7. The terminal is glazed on all sides to allow views of the aircraft on the apron and to aid orientation. Horizontal louvres shade the facades from direct sunlight – to eliminate glare, the louvres become concentrated in more exposed areas close to the columns. 
  8. The concrete structure incorporates local gravel to reduce maintenance requirements and harmonise with the natural shades of local sand.
  9. Amman is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world – the airport’s design resonates with a sense of place and local architecture, particularly in the domed roof, which from the air echoes the black flowing fabric of a Bedouin tent. 
  10. There are also references to the Jordanian tradition of hospitality – in celebration of the custom for family groups to congregate at the airport, the forecourt has been enlarged to create a landscaped plaza with seating, shaded by trees, where people can gather to bid farewell or welcome returning travellers.

What are your thoughts on the new terminal? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!


  1. Well done... wishing a bright future for Jordan and its aviation activities.

  2. I like Jordan. I visited more than 10 times, it is my second country. Congratulations, please keep on going.

  3. Good job, it is a very modern airport, hopefully it will increase air traffic to Jordan.

  4. So is that a vague impression of Star Treks Enterprise I see there? Look, it's seeing it from the back, the round disk at the far end, while the 2 engines are at either side!

  5. Dear James, appreciate your visualization as a Spaceship. Congratulations to all the particpants who have designed and made it possible to serve the travellers and aviation community in Jordan.

  6. Glad to see that it has now opened - the old terminal was certainly showing its age!

  7. Really stunning and a very welcome addition to brand new terminals. Thanks for sharing & Best Regards.

  8. It is about time the new Amman Airport is ready ! Better late than never and it sure makes its mark.

  9. Juditha-Jade PARKINSONApril 1, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    It's nice to know that it's not only the aesthetic that was considered when this was built but also the practical side (i.e. the climate, the culture of the people living in the country, etc...).

  10. A long overdue development. I hope they have made it a non smoking environment!


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