After World City's discontinuation in 2004, it was replaced with City as System's primary town-life related theme in 2005. However, unlike its predecessor, it was not limited to sets involving rescue services like Police, Fire or Coast Guard, but also introduced the first new construction site related sets since the discontinuation of City Center in 2000. In 2006, the first new airport set that included the first jetway since 6597 Century Skyway (1994) was released, as well as the first new hospital since 6380 Emergency Treatment Center from 1987. These releases expanded City to a scope only comparable to the original Town theme, and in 2009 it even went slightly beyond that, by introducing the first farm-related System sets. Also, in that year, City followed this route to release more truly civilian town life sets such as 7641 City Corner and 7639 Camper. In 2010 City released more civilian sets including 8403 Family House and 8404 Public Transport. In 2011 City re-introduced the Space sub-theme along with some new Harbour sets. In the first wave of 2012, City had forest police and fire sets as well as some more commercial/civilian sets. The second wave of 2012 featured the introduction of the Mining theme and respective sets, as well as a hospital. In the winter of 2013, Police and Fire sets were once again focused on but, contrary to those released in the previous year, were set in the city. In the summer of 2013, the Coast Guard and Cargo subthemes were brought back.
The programmable Lego brick which is at the heart of these robotics sets has undergone several updates and redesigns, with the latest being called the 'EV3' brick, being sold under the name of Lego Mindstorms EV3. The set includes sensors that detect touch, light, sound and ultrasonic waves, with several others being sold separately, including an RFID reader.
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.
Unlike the City set, there is no control tower or truck that services the plane. Instead, there is a passenger check-in/baggage carousel, a rolling staircase to gain access to the plane, plus the airport entrance that includes a gift shop and a café (or, one could argue, something that is very much like many other Friends sets out there). There are only three mini-dolls in this set compared to the six in the City set.
The remainder of the build is the control tower and terminal building. First there is a metal detector screener leading to the waiting/secure area of the airport, which seems taller than it needs to be for the minifigures. I think the same effect could have been made with half the height, except that would not allow for an impressive height for the overall tower. However it does seem to be similar to many modern airports with the high ceilings. This area also seems to be someplace to check luggage as evidenced by the rather nifty conveyor belt that comes in a full part. The moving parts of the set include a revolving door (a very tall one, for the first floor) that leads from the secure area of the airport out to the tarmac, and of course the conveyor belt.