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Airport Industry News: March 2013

Mar 11, 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

Bangor International Airport, ME, and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, MA, are among 60 airports across the U.S. that could lose overnight air traffic control (ATC) capabilities unless the U.S. Congress and the White House reach a budget compromise soon, according to federal officials. The staffing cuts are in the FAA's plan to trim USD 600 million from its budget if the stalemate on Capitol Hill continues, triggering USD 85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts. While acknowledging that the potential cutbacks could affect operations, airport officials have insisted that air traffic will still be monitored and flight crews will be advised during landings and takeoffs, even with the loss of a late-night ATC shift. "The airport will certainly remain open 24/7," said Tony Caruso, Director of the Bangor International Airport.  "If the Bangor tower is closed during those hours, Boston [Logan International Airport] will continue to provide coverage." Airports without control towers are fairly common in rural areas. They rely on air traffic controllers at bigger airports. In addition to commercial carriers, aircraft carrying military personnel pass through Bangor at all hours because Bangor is a ‘port of entry' with 24-hr U.S. Customs and Immigration services.

One concern is how commercial airlines would respond to the loss of 24-hr, on-premises coverage. Some will not schedule flights into airports without around-the-clock air traffic control towers, although Caruso noted that the Portland International Jetport lacked late-night staffing and still received flights. "It is a valid concern and is a very big concern for us," Caruso said. "We will advocate to the FAA to continue tower coverage 24/7."


Narita International Airport Corp. in Japan will cut by 50% tonnage-based landing fees for new international service, starting in April 2013. The discount will remain in place until the end of March 2016. International landing charges are calculated based on an airline's cumulative landing weight and other factors. This means that when an airline offers new routes or adds flights on existing ones, its fees rise because of a heavier cumulative landing weight. With competition growing among airports in Asia, Narita seeks to become a major international hub by lowering its landing charges. "We want to encourage airline operators to utilize landing and departure slots that will be newly added from the end of March [2013], Narita International Airport Corp. President Makoto Natsume told a news conference.

Separately, the airport will cut landing fees for all international flights by an average of 5.5% from April 2013. An airline that uses mid-size aircraft on a newly launched route will see its fees reduced by JPY 240 000 (about USD 2500) per landing from what it would have paid otherwise, including the tonnage discount. This will bring Narita's fees closer in line with those charged by South Korea's Incheon Airport and Singapore's Changi Airport.


India's Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has approved the start of cargo operations at Mangalore International Airport (MIA). With five international flights leaving MIA each day, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) visualized an initial capacity of 10 t of belly cargo. J T Radhakrishna, Director of Mangalore International Airport, said that with the initial air cargo volumes likely to be low, AAI is exploring the possibility of using facilities at the air cargo complex to send out bonded trucks, sealed by customs officials at the complex to airports that have air-cargo operations. "We are in touch with representatives of the airlines and exporters concerned who would like to use MIA to export items through the air route," Radhakrishna said. AAI has set up a well-equipped air cargo complex; the old arrival hall of the airport at Bajpe has been converted for the purpose and provides 1200 m² of space for cargo operations. There is sufficient space to store goods, house office for customs and AAI, carry out bonding, and park trucks.


Ras Al Khaimah International Airport has signed a contract with SKA Energy to build, operate and manage an aviation fuel storage facility at the airport for a period of 10 years. SKA Energy has the expertise and experience to address the Emirate's growing demand for the supply of aviation fuel at the airport, a statement said. Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of Ras Al Khaimah International Airport, said: "SKA Energy are an industry leader in providing fuel solutions not only globally, but also specialise in providing their services in challenging environments like war torn areas." Mike Douglas, CEO of the SKA Group of Companies, said he expected the facility to be commercially operational in the third quarter of 2013. "The RAK International Airport and the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah are rapidly expanding, and SKA hopes to establish a long term relationship that adds value for the airport," he said.


Cavotec has won contracts with a combined value of approximately EUR 10 million to supply GSE to Phoenix International Airport, AZ, Newark International Airport, NJ, and Rome Fiumicino International Airport in Italy. "The scale of these orders represents a substantial success for Cavotec, and highlights the Group's proven track-record in supporting airlines and airports reduce operating costs and realize environmental goals," said Cavotec Inet's President, Gary Matthews.

In the largest of these deals, Cavotec Inet is to supply pre-conditioned air (PCA) central systems for installation on approximately 40 US Airways-operated passenger boarding bridges at Phoenix International Airport. The project includes the upgrading of existing PCA central systems and individual PCA systems for each gate. The units will enable flight crews to turn off their aircraft auxiliary engines shortly after arrival at the gate, and connect to airport infrastructure for heated and cooled air. Cavotec has also won an order for preconditioned air and electrical power supply system for installation in a hangar at Newark International Airport. The project includes PCA systems, in-ground pop-up systems, PCA units and associated piping, and 400 Hz pop-up units and related components.

At Rome Fiumicino, Cavotec is to supply and commission more than 100 complete Cla-Val hydrant valve and Cavotec under hydrant valve assemblies that will be installed inside existing fuel-pit systems. The units will safely and efficiently fuel all types of aircraft that use the airport, and will replace existing systems that require upgrading


Spain's Iberia has developed a new aircraft de-icing management system based on 3G technology. De-icing team operators may now enter real-time data about the progress of de-icing tasks on a PDA, and the data is received by supervisors on tablet PCs, enabling them to manage the operations remotely. The data can also be accessed in real time by the Madrid airport control tower, the airport and air navigation authority AENA, and Iberia's control hub from which all the airline's handling operations are coordinated. This allows traffic controllers to interact in real time with Iberia handling supervisors to improve the coordination of the entrance and exit of aircraft from de-icing stations, facilitating the use of best airport practices even under unfavourable weather conditions.

The supply of real-time de-icing data to Iberia will enable the company to optimize the de-icing service and its infrastructure, contributing to flight punctuality, and offering a better service to client airlines and their customers. The new system is part of Iberia's Ágora project, aimed at increasing the efficiency of its T4 hub, increasing punctuality ratings, and improving passengers' airport experience.


U.S. ground handling firm Airport Terminal Services (ATS) has started using a new bio-based de-icing fluid for commercial carriers operating at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, MO. Claimed to be more environmentally friendly and more cost-effective for commercial carriers, the Kilfrost DFSustain Type 1 bio-propanediol is derived from a renewable and sustainable source that generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions. ATS' Vice President of Operations & Customer Service, Brian Wood, said: "We have the ability to now blend the de-icing fluid specific to the local weather conditions, mitigating the impact to the environment, while using a more bio-friendly product." Additionally, ATS also deployed a new Type 1 Glycol Blending System at the airport, which would allow ATS crews to modify the de-icing mix on site according to weather conditions.


Airport Security

Copenhagen Airport (CPH) in Denmark has commissioned new automated boarding pass scanners to facilitate faster security screening and enhance passenger satisfaction and capacity. Prior to entering the security screening area, passengers currently have to pass through an e-gate that automatically scans boarding passes and only a valid travel credential will open the e-gate. The system would allow passengers to continue using the boarding passes in hardcopy and on mobile phones, which would reduce waiting times and trim costs. Copenhagen Airport security head Johnnie Müller said that airport passengers are satisfied with the new service and would like to have more self-service options. "Today, 75% of passengers check in online, at airport kiosks or by mobile phone," Müller said. "For this reason, we are convinced that passengers will welcome the new e-gates, which will make it even easier for them to make their way through the airport."

The airport plans to deploy two manned desks to assist passengers with young children and passengers with reduced mobility, as well as provide extra assistance to help passengers who are unfamiliar with the usage of new e-gates. In addition, the airport will also set-up a dedicated access point for passengers using ‘CPH Express', the airport's two express lanes through security.


On 8 February 2013, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) officially launched the Automated Border Clearance (ABC) program at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The program features 20 newly installed self-serve kiosks at the airport. "Our Government is committed to making our borders more secure and efficient. ABC technology is a secure and innovative service which demonstrates our Government's approach to smarter border management and making travel easier for Canadians," said Minister of State Bal Gosal. Smart border management includes border services that leverage technology to assist in reducing wait times and congestion at Canada's busiest airports. By the end of March 2013, travellers arriving at Terminal 1 should also be able to choose an ABC kiosk to streamline a portion of their border clearance process. The launch of ABC at Toronto Pearson is an important step in the continued expansion of this secure and innovative service. While this innovative technology is new to Toronto Pearson International Airport, it has already proven to be enormously successful in Vancouver and Montréal. 


Airport Training

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has appointed 34 Emirati employees to key roles across the airline's global network. Most of these appointments are part of the Airport Operations Management Program, a structured three-year training initiative that develops talented Emiratis who are carefully selected and trained in all aspects of airport operations. The program is underpinned by a recognized IATA diploma aimed at elevating the aviation knowledge and experience of the airport graduate managers and, as a result, helping them build their careers in the aviation industry. The appointments are based on the business needs of the airline and the capabilities of the staff. This means that high-performing employees are assigned to busy destinations where they can gain even more exposure and face more challenges.

Capt. Richard Hill, Etihad Airways' Chief Operations Officer, said: "The expertise of Emirati staff is crucial to the growth of our airline. These appointments are part of our strategy to attract and develop top Emirati talent for key roles in our expanding global network. These Emirati managers have shown exceptional aptitude and I am delighted to announce their international appointments. They will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on our business and further their careers in some of our most important markets worldwide."

The Etihad Airways' Emiratization program continues to grow with an increasing number of Emiratis working in senior roles at the airline within Abu Dhabi and across Etihad's expanding network. The program offers a wide range of training opportunities for UAE Nationals, including a cadet pilot scheme, a contact center development program, a technical engineering development program and a graduate management development program. Currently Etihad Airways has more than 1200 UAE nationals employed in various jobs spanning the spectrum of its operations.


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