You start with a plot of land. From there, you create your airport, including runways, terminals, restaurants, and even retail stores. You strive to keep your customers both safe and happy, facing bad weather, problems with air traffic control, and overcrowded runways. You manage virtually every aspect of your airport business: including the creation of contracts for entertainment (casinos, retail stores), living (hotels, restaurants), and even gas stations.
This game has two main modes of play, scenario and new airport, as well as a tutorial mode. The tutorial mode is as the name implies, a mode in which you get to familiarize yourself with the game's interface and dynamics. Like SimCity, you start out by staring at a plot of land. A message near the bottom of the screen tells you what you absolutely need to build, such as a runway or control tower. The menu on the left has buttons for public services, air support, air navigation, storage facilities, transportation, emergency, external services, and demolish. Each of these open up sub-menus where various facilities are. For instance, runway is located under air navigation, where as fire and police are under emergency.
Once you're ready, you can delve into the scenario mode. Here, you start out in a designated city, a starting year, a game period (ie. 5 years) a set amount of money, and a goal (ie. obtain 4 flight contracts). Then you build away, keep customers happy, and try to fulfill your goal before running out of funds/time.
The new airport mode is almost identical, only you don't have a set goal or a time limit. You merely choose your city, such as Cairo, Russia, Atlanta, or Hawaii and build. Each city, of course, comes with different parameters, such as weather, population, airport area/size, and number of international and domestic flights.