Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Forgotten Airport

Gander Airport is located in a fog free part of Newfoundland in Canada. Today, it is only visited by a few local and cargo flights, but 50 years ago, it was the busiest airport in the world.

At that time, every plane traveling between North America and Europe transited by Gander.

In 1959, when traffic was at its peak, the Canadian Government invested $3 million to create a flagship airport and show to the rest of the world how modern and elegant Canada was. Queen Elizabeth II herself inaugurated the new terminal.

It was, and still is a design masterpiece. The terrazo floor tiles are inspired by Mondrian, and most of the furniture was created by canadian designers of the '50s, like the Primasteel chairs created by Robin Bush for Herman Miller or the space age black sofas designed by Christen Sorensen.

If you manage to visit the airport president's office, you'll see orange leather seats created by Jacques Guillon that once were in the VIP suite that saw the Beatles, Churchill, Kruchtchev, Ingrid Bergman, Ronald Reagan, Marlene Dietrich and Mohammed Ali.

But, as John Lennon said: "Life is what happens while you're making other plans.", and the following year, the advent of kerosene and fuel efficient jet airplanes made the airport irrelevant.

Today, who remembers Gander International Airport?

Like my parachute instructor says: "If you don't succeed at first, well, so much for skydiving."

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