The best airports (and Istanbul is high on that list) are magnificent amphitheatres that house not only people but emotions (sadness, excitement, anticipation, joy) and are therefore ripe for great experiences.
Just like Uncle Chu, this workload sometimes causes me to paws for thought and look up with a sad face for sympathy. That’s what comes from being an old newshound, I suppose.
As I write, two members of my team are suffering from COVID, caught in the maelstrom of the pandemic as it rages once again through the UK, where some 9.3 million people have suffered from the disease and almost 142,000 people have died.
It might not feel like it when you’re sat down bleary-eyed and cold inside a giant repurposed air terminal hoping like heck you haven’t caught COVID but the whole system is hugely impressive.
In the world of international airports, you could make a very good case that this is the leading hotspot in our business.
Visiting Hamad International Airport and Qatar Duty Free is like taking an elixir for those COVID blues.
Checking in is not as simple a process at it was in those halcyon pre-COVID days. PCR test results need to be checked along with all other details. Do NOT – as we had been forced to – turn up at the last minute.
As the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open takes place, even with limited numbers and with all of the necessary safety measures, it also offers an important sense of normality returning to Irish life.
I’m going to focus on the soon-to-be-opened rather than the temporarily shuttered here as I think the real story is now one of future renaissance not bleak recent past.
The closest I have come to an overseas trip in ten months is via my regular ferry rides between Discovery Bay and Central. Now I can experience the real thing again at last.
Better times are coming at this magnificent gateway and the Airport Authority Hong Kong team is more than prepared for them.
Now, as with so many others around the globe, my plans are – unlike me – up in the air. It sucks but to stay with that not particularly attractive verb, one just has to suck it up.
The whole concept is the best example I have seen yet of an airport adapting to crisis and one that has the added benefit of permanently underlining the allure of Changi as a destination in its own right.