This set is designed for children aged 6+, and one of the ways that it is suitable for them is the inclusion of separate instruction booklets and numbered bags for the different parts of the set (see my post about LEGO age range suitability here). A younger modeller can build the plane or other item of their choice as soon as they open the box. It's not so much one big set as 5 different parts which make a whole scene. My 7 year old son chose to build a jet first of all...
The airport handles an average of more than two million passengers a year, and millions of pounds of cargo. The airport's main runway can handle airliners as large as the Boeing 747, although most passengers arrive on smaller aeroplanes, such as ATR-42s, Boeing 737s and Boeing 757s. Boeing 747 activity at this airport is almost exclusively limited to cargo flights.
I purchased this set the day it was released for my LEGO City, as an upgrade from my previous airport (10159 Airport from 2004). First off, the build is great and although it's not very challenging, it's exciting to see the plane come to life and the use of the big plane pieces (eg. the nose, the wings, the tail etc.) was new to me, though I know there have been a number of planes in the past that use these pieces. There are 4 instruction booklets (2 for the plane, one for the airport, and one for the luggage/fuel/stairs car), 8 numbered bags, and two separate bags with the bigger pieces in. This makes the build very easy to follow. The completed set is very grand (especially the plane) in scale, and great looking. It's nice to see that a different colour scheme been used for the plane as opposed to the usual red and white or blue and white colours as seen in previous sets. The plane is HUGE, with a wingspan of around 2 32-wide baseplates (bare this in mind if you want to make a runway). However, despite its huge size, the inside of the plane is very bare. There are 5 seats for the passengers, another one facing backwards which I presume is for the cabin crew (although there isn't a cabin crew minifigure, which would have been a nice addition), and two seats in the cockpit. There's a tiny bathroom at the back of the plane, and a small galley area at the front with a sink and cupboard. There's easily room for a sixth chair in the plane, which I think should have been included, and the space within the plane could've been arranged better to fully optimise the area. The airport terminal has a very nice modern look, and includes the revolving door, tower, waiting area, security scanner and check in desk with luggage conveyor. Although this sounds like a lot of features, the inside of the terminal is, again, very bare and the space could've been used better. There are only 4 seats in the waiting area, and a lot of the space is taken up by the revolving door. The operational conveyor belt for the luggage is a nice touch, though, and there is a fair bit of playability within. The service car is a nice addition to this set and gives it more playability. All the trailers (fuel, stairs and luggage) connect together and attach to the service car, which has a really cool "follow me" sign on the back. This is a really nice addition to the set. Overall, I really like this set because of how it looks and because there's plenty of opportunity for play, but I think a lot more thought could've gone into maximising the space within the plane and the airport. Some more minifigures would have been good, such as a member of the cabin crew, a check-in clerk and a security officer. The value for money is okay with this set, as you do get a lot of big pieces, but the bare interiors are a little disappointing for the price you pay.
Other than the planes, I do find it unfortunate that the Friends set focuses on shopping and food like so many Friends sets, and I also think it is unfortunate that the City terminal only has the basics of the airport structure in the control tower and service truck. Having a control tower for the Friends set would have been great. Having a gift shop/cafe for the City terminal would have been a worthwhile addition and not something we have seen in many City sets.
The final two minifigures are the Biplane Pilot and the intrepid Wing Walker. Both of these minifigures share the same white torso which is printed with a flight suit design overlaid with dark red and bright light orange flames plus a logo over the left breast. The torso design is superb and it can at present only be found in this set. Both minifigures are provided with a reddish brown aviator cap and dark bluish grey goggles, and the pilot (below left) also gets an alternative to this headgear in the form of medium dark flesh mid-length hair which has only ever appeared in five sets in this colour.