Where are we? The question pops up in the startling moment when an airplane’s wheels hit the runway and jolt dozing travelers awake. Flight attendants mention the arrival city, local time and temperature, but the words don’t quite register. As we deplane via an enclosed jetway, there’s no blast of fresh air to tell us where we’ve landed. Most airports all look the same, with little or no hint of the place that awaits.
But that’s not the case at the new terminal at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, which opened in January. Traditional Indian pavilions and the peacock, the country’s national bird, inform the design of the 4.4 million-square-foot complex, which is expected to eventually handle 40 million passengers annually.