The airport of the future is being imagined and designed from different approaches and perspectives — both visibly, as well as behind-the-scenes.

Many of the technological, social, cultural and economic foundations and emerging trends that will coalesce into the airport of the future are already in place.

Today, an amazing 150,000 tons of cargo is shipped and more than 8 million people fly, on average, every 24 hours from airports worldwide. And the vast economic engine that is the global travel and tourism industry will continue to grow, innovate and adapt to address the burgeoning human thirst to connect with others, explore new horizons and bask in new experiences. A recent 20-year outlook from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has projected that by 2034, passenger numbers will reach 7.3 billion annually. This figure would more than double the approximately 3.3 billion travelers boarding aircraft in 2014 and represents 4.1 percent average annual demand growth.

In addition, the United Nations World Tourism Organization forecasts close to 2 billion international tourist arrivals (excluding business travelers) worldwide by 2030.

While all the members of the transportation value chain have critical roles to play, the airport plays a central and key role to the traveler, airline and other service providers.

Read the full story in Ascend.