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Airport Industry News: February 2013

Feb 8, 2013

Published biweekly –  available by annual subscription only (at a discounted rate through Brainseed) –

Managing Editor / Publisher: Martin Lamprecht


This information is provided by Momberger Airport Information as part of its partnership with Brainseed Global. Read about the partnership here.

Airport Operations

The U.S. FAA said that it had "boosted overall efficiency" at Memphis Airport by more than 15% by reducing separation between most of FedEx's aircraft. The new standards, in place at Memphis since 1 November 2012, will be introduced to other airports in the U.S. which have concentrations of heavy, widebody aircraft, including San Francisco, Louisville and Atlanta, over the next couple years. "FedEx really sought us out and advocated the programme," said David Grizzle, COO of the FAA's air traffic organization. "They were among the airlines which were most vocal in articulating the benefit that they thought could be obtained [by implementing the new standards]." The FAA has estimated that the change would increase efficiency by an average 7% at other airports. The new standards stem from a decade-long collaboration between the FAA, the Department of Transportation's Volpe National Transportation System Centre, and Eurocontrol. Minimum spacing between departing aircraft was reduced to 2.5 to 3 miles from 4 miles, for most aircraft used by FedEx. Spacing was increased for some smaller aircraft that were following larger aircraft. The rules, called wake turbulence separation standards, are designed to ensure that a trailing aircraft avoids dangerous turbulence created by the aircraft ahead of it.

FedEx, with a fleet dominated by McDonnell Douglas MD-11s, Boeing 767s and Airbus A300 series aircraft, has shaved an average three minutes off taxi time by going directly from gate to runway, a 16% gain.


Budapest Airport has reported that its Fast Track service, which is now available to all passengers utilizing the Central European hub, is rapidly gaining in popularity. The airport has welcomed Hungary's largest airline Wizzair as its first low-cost carrier subscriber to Fast Track, together with Finnair, Air France and KLM. The new subscribers now complement previous users of the Fast Track service including Aegean, Air Baltic, Alitalia, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.

Fast Track features an express security channel and is designed to bypass airport security queues to ease and shorten the travel process for passengers, reducing the time taken to get in to the airside departure hall to shop, relax or catch their flight without delay. Initially introduced in July 2012, Fast Track is available at no extra charge to all first class/premium passengers from their participating airlines when booking a flight.

Kam Jandu, Director of Aviation at Budapest Airport commented: "We are very pleased to see that more and more airlines are choosing to subscribe to the Fast Track service for the benefit of their passengers. The Wizzair subscription is particularly good news as it represents the first of the low-cost airlines to participate in delivering a better product for their eligible passengers."


The first phase of Qatar's Hamad International Airport (formerly known as New Doha International Airport) is scheduled to open on 1 April 2013, according to the airport's operator, Qatar Airways. The first phase of the USD 15.5 billion project involves 12 international passenger airlines, including budget carriers, who will begin operations at the new facility from the start of April. Details of the soft launch opening were unveiled recently to an audience of more than 100 airport officials and airline executives at an event jointly organized by Qatar Airways, the Hamad International Airport's Operational Readiness and Airport Transition (ORAT) team, and Qatar's Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA). Qatar Airways said it would move its entire operations to Hamad International Airport in the second half of 2013. With the phased approach, Doha will have a dual airport operation until full operations begin at Hamad International in the second half of 2013.

Abdul Aziz Al Noami, QCAA Chairman, said that cargo operations and catering facilities would be ready for operation "within weeks".

From March 2013, freight forwarders and agents in Qatar will process import and export consignments at Hamad International Airport. Cargo uplift and arrivals will remain at Doha International Airport from where shipments will be transported by road to the new facility. Cargo flights operated by Qatar Airways and other freighter companies are expected to begin to and from Hamad International from the summer. Al Noami said that the next few months would see the new catering facility open in phases at Hamad International, initially handling meals for airlines operating from the new airport. Starting in the summer the catering facility, capable of handling almost 100 000 meals a day, will supply meals for all flights operating from both airports.


A special task force for the removal of abandoned aircraft at airports across Nigeria has commenced the dismantling of a Douglas DC-8 aircraft originally used by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) which will be taken away as scrap aluminium for recycling into roofing sheets. This initiative came a week after FAAN issued an ultimatum to owners of abandoned aircraft at the apron of the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos to remove them. FAAN said that the scrap metal would be sent to rolling plants in Ogun and Lagos States, for conversion into corrugated aluminium roofing sheets, sliding doors, windows and other small-scale industrial use.

The removal exercise began from the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, and was expected to move to Abuja airport next. The abandoned aircraft, some 13 in all at the Lagos airport, were expected to have been dismantled by the end of February 2013. One of the contractors handling the project at the Lagos airport, AAYU Steel Mills, said the aircraft would be recycled in Lagos before being transported to the company in Kebbi State. The Logistics Officer of the company, Bashir Haruna, said that out of the 13 abandoned aircraft at Lagos, eight were Boeing 737-200s.

Yakubu Dati, General Manager Corporate Communications at FAAN said that the exercise was part of the transformation agenda of the Federal Government for the industry. He said that airports were not "dumping grounds for any operator," adding "We are more concerned about the safety and security implications of these aircraft at the airports. For instance, reptiles may hide inside of any of these aircraft."


Airport Security

General Dynamics has received a USD 27.3 million contract to upgrade the closed circuit television (CCTV) and video management and storage system deployed at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Under the three-year contract from Los Angeles World Airports, General Dynamics' business unit, General Dynamics Information Technology, will be responsible for the design, installation, configuration and integration of a CCTV, video management and storage system at the airport. The project also involves the installation of about 2500 interior and exterior cameras, in addition to 120 workstations through the airport.

General Dynamics Information Technology Network and Mission Systems sector general manager, Edward Hudson, said that the company has been involved in several critical projects at the Los Angeles Airport over the past five years. Earlier projects included relocation of the Los Angeles Airport IT hub, which involved incorporation of the existing video monitoring system into the Los Angeles World Airports systems and deploying video streams through the IP network of Los Angeles World Airports. -- The airport is currently undergoing a USD 1.5 billion project, which aims to increase the capacity of the existing Tom Bradley International Terminal by adding new gates to house passenger loads for larger new generation aircraft, as well as a great hall for dining and retail shopping. The expansion project is expected to be completed by spring 2013.


The Iscon Mini-Portal body scanner recently completed a successful live test at Bristol Airport in the U.K. The Iscon scanner was used alongside and in addition to pre-existing security screening processes.  The Mini-Portal trial test was organized by the ICTS VeriSys service and was conducted at a checkpoint at Bristol Airport with actual passengers. Five operators from the airport were selected by VeriSys to be trained and then to scan volunteer passengers. Following image training and a technology overview period, hundreds of passengers over a five-day period volunteered to be screened. The Bristol test is a significant milestone in the preparation for approval by the European Civil Aviation Commission (ECAC).

The Iscon Video Imaging Mini-Portal features state-of-the-art, thermo-conductive scanning technology and is claimed to produce superior images with the simplicity of a semi-automated scanner system. The Iscon Mini-Portal can locate a wide variety of contraband including weapons, pills and powdered substances, tobacco, precious metals, gemstones, and other articles of interest.  The Mini-Portal is less expensive than other whole body imaging systems, requires a smaller footprint and completes scans and detection in one minute without radiation or privacy issues.


Central Japan International Airport is testing electronic tags issued for bags at automated check-in counters to make it easier to locate and offload bags belonging to checked-in passengers who do not show up to board aircraft. Airport officials said that the system, jointly developed with All Nippon Airways Co. and others, would enable them to unload checked-in bags from the baggage compartment within 5 min instead of 10 to 20 min, typically required without such tags. Passengers are also issued with tablet devices that will prompt them with messages to board as well as help airline personnel locate passengers arriving late at the boarding gate.


ICAO should serve as the focal point for implementing global air cargo supply chain security standards, according to the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG). In its latest position paper on ‘Air Cargo Supply Chain Security Regimes for Regulators', the Group says it supported global standards and programmes with regulatory backing around the world in order to facilitate safe, secure and efficient air cargo operations. It called for ICAO, in collaboration with other international organizations, to take the lead role to continue improvements in the security of the global air cargo supply chain with the commitment of its member states.

GACAG welcomed ICAO's endorsement of air cargo supply chain security as a standard for its member states, which began in July 2011 (Amendment 12 of Annex 17), and recognized the efforts it was making to facilitate building the capacity of those states that planned to enhance or start air cargo supply chain security regulatory frameworks. In particular, GACAG highlighted the work being pursued by the U.K., European Community, Canada, Australia, and the U.S., along with other civil aviation authorities, to consider industry standards and guidelines as a way forward in building air cargo supply chain security capacity.

The Group said it supported international initiatives such as ISO 2800 and Secure Freight to offer assistance to regulators and industry in securing the air cargo supply chain. GACAG recommended that interested states utilized a recognized international standard template for air cargo security for the implementation of a Regulated Agent and a Known Consignor regime, among many other templates.

GACAG said it believed the following secure air cargo supply chain basic principles should be considered when developing national air cargo security programmes:

- Wherever possible, air cargo supply chain security programmes will use ICAO definitions to aid international harmonization and consistency, including those of Regulated Agent and Known Consignor;

- Any secure air cargo supply chain regime, including the Regulated Agent and Known Consignor programmes, is to be consistent with ICAO Annex 17 Standards and Recommended Practices, and associated ICAO documents;

- Validation and registration of trusted secure air cargo supply chain operators shall be undertaken by the regulating authority or an independent party recognized by that authority.     


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