I think I have worked out that I had a coffee at the airport coffee shop on the very last day before it closed. It has been closed since 7th of May. In addition, barriers have now been put up to prevent non-travelers from swarming around the entrance and exit doors, which just leaves the old coffee shop area as the only protection from rain. And there now is an operational TV screen showing the 2 or 3 civil flight movements per day. It has all made the airport a bit less attractive and not the low-key “see your mates off” gathering at the coffee shop.
If you haven’t had the AirNorth check-in guy come out and tell you (and all other passengers) personally that you should move on in to the departure area (I am reluctant to use the term “lounge”), you have missed something.
Confession time : When I saw some mates (L & C) off earlier in the year, they challenged me to see just how far I could get as a non-traveler (ie no ticket, passport or any special pass). I took them on and wandered past the security check, wandered past immigration but did get scanned through the 2nd passenger-only security check. I called it a day in the departure lounge but know I could have gone all the way to the plane door.
If you think that sounds bold, you shouldn’t. People once wandered all over the place but I doubt you could do it now.
Tip if you are a non-traveller and really need to pass the security checks (but for which reason?): fake you are looking for Mr. Emil (that really works in the control tower) and hang around in almost ANY place and office in the airport.