Billund Airport had its beginning in 1961 when the son of the founder of the Lego Group, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, established a private 800-meter long runway and hangar north of his factory in Billund. With Christiansen as a key driver, more of the neighbouring municipalities were included in the group of owners, and it was planned that the airport should be expanded to a regular public airport.
The road distance is to Billund 3 kilometres (2 mi), to Vejle 28 kilometres (17 mi), to Kolding 41 kilometres (25 mi), to Esbjerg 61 kilometres (38 mi) and to Aarhus 98 kilometres (61 mi). There are airport buses to Horsens, Skanderborg and Aarhus. Eight additional bus services operate from the airport. There are six parking zones named after countries of the world, USA, Australia, Kenya, Spain, Egypt and Greenland. Three of the zones are connected by a shuttle bus, the other three being within walking distance.
The definitive shape of the Lego bricks, with the inner tubes, was patented by the Lego Group in 1958. Several competitors have attempted to take advantage of Lego's popularity by producing blocks of similar dimensions, and advertising them as being compatible with Lego bricks. In 2002, Lego sued the CoCo Toy Company in Beijing for copyright infringement over its "Coko bricks" product. CoCo was ordered to cease manufacture of the products, publish a formal apology and pay damages. Lego sued the English company Best-Lock Construction Toys in German courts in 2004 and 2009; the Federal Patent Court of Germany denied Lego trademark protection for the shape of its bricks for the latter case. In 2005, the Lego Company sued Canadian company Mega Bloks for trademark violation, but the Supreme Court of Canada upheld Mega Bloks' rights to sell their product. In 2010, the European Court of Justice ruled that the eight-peg design of the original Lego brick "merely performs a technical function [and] cannot be registered as a trademark."
A minifigure can comfortably fit seated inside the cockpit, and it is here that I found the first issue with the set. I had no issue inserting and removing the figure from his seated position, but my seven-year old struggled to get him out, deciding to leave him onboard instead of disembarking after she brought the jet back into the hangar. The physical connection between LEGO pieces in the cockpit and the pilot minifigure didn’t seem to present an issue, so whether or not this was just a one-off issue remains to be seen.
The design on the jet pilots’ outfits are very good, with a darker blue colour scheme offset with a red/white/yellow stripe pattern on the torso. The requisite wings and plane emblem complete the look, with the star-emblazoned helmet the icing on the cake. However, as good as those outfits are, I think the bi-plane pilots’ attire is even better, with a swish darker red colour on the legs and above the waist, culminating in a flame-effect design merging into a white torso. The old-fashioned flying helmets and goggles look great and really compliment the overall figure design.
In 2008, the entire runway was renovated and paved, and a new taxiway was built, nicknamed "Mike". This major task only took 14 hours. The runway was closed over night between the hours 23:00 and 06:00. This did not prevent a Boeing 737-800 from Ryanair landing at one end of the runway, while they worked at the other end. The same year was also a record year for the airport. 2,546,856 passengers passed through the terminals, an increase of 12.7 percent compared with 2007.
Stickers are used for decorations for the outside of the plane. I like how the stickers for the outside match colours with the piping on the plane. I found the sticker for the top of the door to be a little big; if you line up the orange on the bottom of the stickers with the orange on the plane the sticker overlaps a bit at the top. The stickers for the nose of the plane are not as difficult to apply as I thought they would be. They do seem a bit superfluous, though they do make the plane look nice. The plane is finished with the tail fin, that uses yet more stickers. It is interesting that this plane actually uses more stickers than the Friends plane does.
In 1997 they had an architectural competition for a new 430,000 ft² (40,000 m²) passenger terminal, designed to serve 3.5 million passengers a year, north of the original airport. KHR Architects won the assignment and completed the construction in co-operation with COWI, and at the end of May 2002 the new passenger terminal was put to use, as the first phase of the future expansion, which is scheduled to take place north of the start and runway, while air cargo services, business and private aviation will continue to be served from the existing buildings south of the runway. In connection with this expansion, the largest since the beginning of the airport, it was with effect from 1 January 1997 turned into a Joint-stock company, Billund Airport A/S, with the former members Vejle County and municipalities Vejle, Kolding, Grindsted, Billund, and Give as shareholders.
It’s always tough to sum up a set that has the sort of price tag that this one carries; because it doesn’t necessarily offer the collectors value that a Marvel or Star Wars set will offer, it can be a little harder to justify an outlay on, in this case, a few planes and a aircraft hangar. However, if you have a love for the City range, whether it be a nostalgic look back at your childhood, the general consistently-superior design of the range, or simply because your kids want an airport to build, this one has to be recommended. Once I finished building this, I set it up in my daughter’s bedroom, and the overjoyed expression on her face, followed by the extended time taken to play with the planes and flying them all over her room, made every single minute of the build worthwhile. Watching her swirl around her room – and later, the rest of house – clutching the planes and bringing them in for landings into the hangar, reminded me of why I fell in love with LEGO in the the first place; imagination.