We live in the golden age of travel. Flights are cheap, you can rent a local’s house for your stay, and as a bonus, everything can be booked without getting off the lounge. The only downside is everyone’s on the move as a result, so a lot of places are getting busy and none more so than the world’s most popular airports.

With some experts predicting up to three times more air traffic in the near future, the lack of capacity at major airports in cities like New York, London and Sydney – and even smaller ports elsewhere – is looming as a big problem. But how do you fix that dilemma when land is scarce and there are only so many aircraft you can land safely on existing runways? Enter The Endless Runway.

the lack of capacity at major airports is looming as a big problem

Surprisingly, the main problem with airports today isn’t space, it’s that they can’t use any runway that has a strong crosswind. So while locations like Mascot and Heathrow have multiple strips, only one might be open, due to local wind conditions. But thanks to the shape and the banked angle of The Endless Runway, it becomes independent of the wind, so planes can theoretically enter and exit, regardless of its strength or direction.

We say theoretically, because there’s still a lot of tarmac left between the concept drawings of The Endless Runway and the day when you’ll actually be coming into land on one. While there were some military tests of a circular runway in the 1960s, a commercial version is yet to be built anywhere.

Image: A concept drawing of The Endless Runway, courtesy of NLR.

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