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Beautiful Airports

Everyone has experienced it, and no one enjoys it: the airport delay. Missed connections, weather cancellations, and equipment problems make travel a less-than-glamorous experience. But there are some airports where you might decide that a longer-than-expected layover is not such a bad thing. Take, for instance, the Marrakech Menara Airport, where mosaic-tiled ceilings and gleaming glass ornaments evoke Moroccan royalty. In recent years, some of the biggest names in architecture have proven that airport design can be both practical and innovative — and improving passengers' travel experience.

Regine Weston, an expert in airport planning and systems, says a city’s airport is important on multiple levels. "The most obvious is that they are a gateway to your community, the first impression a visitor arriving by air has,” she says.

That's why a growing number of cities are spending heavily on revamping their terminals and tower structures to demonstrate their affluence and technological mastery beyond transportation.

"[People] fall in love with a city through an airport....It's the front row to a city and region, the first and last impression," says John D. Kasarda, a professor of management and director of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina.

While it can be difficult to quantify what makes an aesthetically pleasing airport, our group of experts chose 10 airports they deemed outstanding in terms of design and functionality.

Click ahead to see the world's most beautiful airports.

By Jessica Naziri
Posted 11 November 2011

Photo: Ellen Jaskol