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Airport Industry News: Late April 2013

Apr 17, 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 Training

An air traffic control training facility purpose-built for international students has been officially opened by Airways New Zealand, to support growing global demand for Airways' world-class ATC training. The new facility, located opposite the Massey University campus in Palmerston North, is already being put to good use, with 32 students from Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) currently undertaking ab initio training there, and a group from Saudi Arabia National Guard about to start their ATC training at the centre in May 2013. With three aerodrome air traffic control simulators and six radar simulators the Palmerston North training centre is now set up to cater for increased demand from global air navigation service providers. -- Airways first began delivering training services in Palmerston North in mid-2011, when it opened a temporary facility on the Massey University campus to cater for increased numbers of overseas students looking to come to New Zealand to train. However by mid-2012 it was determined a larger facility would be needed to meet training demand in 2013.

The U.S. FAA has fined New York area airports a total of USD 3.5 million for failing to train fire-fighters and aircraft-rescue personnel. The settlement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANY&NJ) covers New York JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Airports. The problems documented in a 25-page agreement between the FAA and the Port Authority focused on how the authority instructed the agency's police department to oversee rescue and fire-fighting. Under the settlement, the Port Authority will create a separate chain of command and training for rescue and fire-fighters. The FAA said that every day during 2011 and the first half of 2012, JFK had failed to ensure that rescue and fire-fighting personnel were adequately trained, according to the settlement. For a month in May and June 2012, JFK had 77 police officers serving 357 rescue and fire-fighting shifts without proper training, according to the settlement. The Port Authority adopted new operating procedures and training after an FAA inspection revealed the training lapses. The Port Authority hired its first chief security officer, Joe Dunne, and recruited a former New York City fire commissioner, Tom Von Essen, to review rescue and fire-fighting operations, according to Lisa MacSpadden, a port spokeswoman. "We are also launching a nationwide search for a new fire chief and fire captains to lead a stand-alone fire-fighting force," MacSpadden said.

Under the agreement, the Port Authority will create a force of personnel for aircraft rescue and fire-fighting, without additional duties as police officers; assign to the force a fire chief, who reports directly to the Aviation Department, by 31 March 2014; and develop 75 hr of training to join the force and 40 hours of recurring training annually.


Airport Security

The Joint Committee of the European Union (EU) and ICAO recently met at the UN aviation body's Montréal Headquarters, to adopt a new aviation Security Annex to their recently-established Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC). "This new Security Annex formalizes important areas of deepening EU/ICAO cooperation, such as the exchange of relevant security information and available expertise, as well as the financing of specific security initiatives," said Raymond Benjamin, ICAO Secretary General. Benjamin served as co-chair of the meeting with Matthias Ruete, the EC Director-General for Energy and Transport. At its first meeting in 2011, the EU/ICAO Joint Committee adopted an aviation Safety Annex to their new MOC. It also established a working arrangement between the EU and ICAO in the field of accident and incident reporting. Based on discussions at this first meeting, as well as work undertaken in the interim period, EU and ICAO participants to the most recent gathering also agreed in principle on two draft working arrangements developed to consolidate EU/ICAO safety oversight auditing efforts. Though the Joint Committee's initial emphasis has been on formalizing the two organizations' aviation safety and security priorities, both sides expressed strong support for pursuing further collaboration in the other areas covered by their MOC, notably in Air Traffic Management (ATM).

L-3 Security & Detection Systems (SDS) has received an order for 12 eXaminer® XLB explosives detection systems (EDS) from London Heathrow Airport. With its ability to scan more than 1200 bags/hr, the eXaminer XLB is claimed to be the first dual-energy TSA-certified system to meet the industry's high-speed EDS classification and achieve EU Standard 3 approval under the Common Evaluation Programme (CEP) of Security Equipment. The eXaminer XLB generates high-resolution 3-D image data for explosives detection by combining helical CT with dual-energy imaging. With 3-D Continuous Flow CT technology, the system generates high-resolution, medical-quality images in real time. Advanced tools include 360-deg rotational views of entire bags and individual threat objects, allowing operators to quickly and confidently clear bags for flight or designate bags for search.

As they compete to become the new global travel hubs, the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are investing millions of dollars in airport technology and system upgrades in an effort to ensure seamless and safer passenger and freight movement. With Middle East airports expected to be handling nearly 400 million passengers per year by 2020, constant development and upgrades to the security system are needed to deliver a better travellers' experience, according to IATA. Mohammed Ahli, Director General of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), said: "Safety of passengers/ freight and infrastructure security is not, and should not be, of a transit nature, but a constantly evolving requirement. The authorities face the challenges of adopting effective safety measures whilst limiting the inconvenience to the passengers. An airport is always judged by its security and service standards. It's crucial to adopt innovative technology, improve security and streamline efficiencies to offer a seamless passenger travel experience." 

Maj. Gen. Ahmad Mohammad Bin Thani, Director of the General Department for Airport Security at Dubai Police, said: "It is a 24/7 challenge to ensure extensive and effective security. As Dubai Airport grows, we also grow in terms of safety and security facilities, benefitting from the latest technology and best practices from across the world. We are also developing the professional capabilities of our human resources through training. The region could become a global model for airports security through a perfect mix of technology and strategies." He said the safety and security infrastructure at Dubai International utilized about 7000 of the latest-generation cameras across various facilities at the world's third biggest airport for international passengers.

According to Hussein Dabbas, IATA's Regional Vice President, a pragmatic approach was the key to successful aviation security. "We need to balance the need to reduce risk with the need to preserve the speed and efficiency with which aviation transports 3 billion passengers and 50 million t of cargo worldwide each year," Dabbas said, adding that these numbers were set to grow, particularly in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.

Aircraft embarkation times and border security could be improved following the trial of a self-boarding system at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 1. In the trial, which ended on 25 March 2013, passengers travelling with South African Airways (SAA) were invited to use self-boarding through an e-gate controlled by the Passenger Authentication Scanning System (PASS). Developed by Atkins and HAL, PASS uses Aurora's infra-red facial recognition technology to capture passengers' biometric data, ensuring that the person who checked-in is the person who boards the aircraft. In use, passengers reaching the self-boarding gate pass through an automatic electronic barrier which takes an infrared scan of their face. This information is checked against the biometric data that was taken at the check-in stage. When the two sets of data scans are successfully matched, the barrier opens and the passenger can pass through and board their flight.

Atkins' project director, Dr Nick Whitehead explained that facial recognition has been perceived as more acceptable in terms of public perception, but that a previous iteration of the technology had been too variable in its capability due to the impact of changes in lighting conditions. Conversely, a biometric identification system based on finger printing was removed from Heathrow's Terminal 5 despite operating successfully for a short period of time. "The fingerprint system was deployed and withdrawn because the Data Commissioner decided - pretty much straight after T5 was opened - that it was a disproportionate requirement on the travelling public because of the fingerprint connotation with criminality," said Whitehead.

The Saudi Arabian foreign ministry has signed contracts with international companies to set up biometric centres for providing visa services to prospective visitors to the kingdom. The new system will help speed up entry procedures of visitors, especially for the millions of pilgrims, reducing their waiting times at airports and other entry points, according to the country's assistant foreign minister, Prince Khaled bin Saud.



The Red Deer Airport (YQF) in Alberta, Canada, has enhanced runway safety by using modern runway surface condition reporting to share local winter airfield conditions quickly and efficiently. In early March 2013, the successful transmission of the airport's surface condition report, which included important information regarding pavement conditions, temperature and snow accumulation, was completed electronically through a wireless connection to the NAV CANADA web-service known as ‘SNOWIZ'. R J Steenstra, Red Deer's CEO, said: "This system is improving our ability to communicate the status of our airport to the aviation community. This is very important to our growth and demonstrates our ability to play an important role in Canadian aviation and meet international standards." The WinterOpsTM system provides the capability to easily create graphic based surface condition reports from an airfield inspection vehicle and to send these reports wirelessly. The WinterOpsTM system from Team Eagle is part of a suite of products designed to assist airfield operations personnel with the safety, inspection and maintenance requirements unique to the airfield environment, and includes capabilities for surface condition reporting, airfield lighting/signage, chemical management, bird and wildlife, FOD, safety management systems, incursion management, and low visibility navigation.  

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