Airports in the USA
- Pamela H. Simpson
From the time of the Wright brothers’ first efforts at Kitty Hawk to the wide-body jets of the 21st century, aviation technology has developed rapidly, and along with it has come a demand for a new architectural form, the airport. It is a distinctly 20th century building type. Soon after World War I, the American government began using planes for mail delivery, but it was not until 1925 that private contractors were allowed to bid on these routes. Once they did, they began to add passenger service as a means to further income. Before this, early airports were called airfields because that is largely what they were—grassy fields with a gas tank and a hangar. The presence of passengers meant the need for spaces to accommodate them: ticket counters, waiting lounges, and baggage handling areas. At first these were modest since the normal seating capacity of the planes was limited to about a dozen or so people, but the history of airports, like the history of planes, is one of rapid growth and quickly changing technologies....