In late July 2015, an application for minor enhancements to Air, including changes to its station as well as the addition of two theming features and a photo-opportunity kiosk, was submitted to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. More specifically, the plans showed the station area would be enclosed, with the addition of a pre-show on both sides.
Contrary to what the plans showed, the large theming feature, revealed to be a portal, which was proposed to surround the lift hill was instead constructed at the bottom of the first drop, while the smaller theming feature, which turned out to be a sign, was moved near to Galactica Shop and the Rollercoaster Restaurant.
Some of the biggest changes were set to be within the ride station itself. Plans indicated that walls would be constructed on either side of the station building (using materials which match those being used for the façade of the building above), along with partition walls between the queueline and ride area enclosing the final part of the queue. The new enclosed area was labelled as being a ‘pre-show platform’ with the entrance to the area being covered by strip curtains to help prevent light from entering. In the main ride area, the existing air gates were shown to be altered with the addition of 1.8m high internal partitions separating each row batching area – however, this wasn’t something that was completed as part of the retheme.
Also detailed were two new theming elements. The first was shown to be set at the exit to the first tunnel with a maximum height of 11.1 metre, with the ride set to interact with the new element as it ascended the lift hill. The second would be free standing and located by the existing seating area in the plaza with a height of 4 metres. The final addition would be a photo opportunity kiosk within the main queueline. Whilst the exact nature of the photo opportunity was not known at this stage, the plans submitted stated that the kiosk will feature a themed ‘corner finial’ of around 4.25 metres in height.
As part of the marketing activity surrounding Galactica, two official concept images were released. One showed the portal theming feature that would be installed at the bottom of the first drop (rather than around the lift, as the plans had indicated), while the other provided a look at the station interior. Separately, a Merlin Entertainments presentation featured additional concept and design images of the portal element and new signage that would be added around the ride, as well as some previews of the VR content itself.