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News & Updates

Airport Industry News: September 2013

Sep 12, 2013

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

Managing Editor / Publisher: Martin Lamprecht

The articles compiled for Brainseed and made available here represent only a very small sample of news from some of the 8 modules of the biweekly newsletter which includes the modules: Airport Development (DEV), Airport Operations (OPS), Ground Support Equipment (GSE), Air Traffic Services (ATC), Consultant & Contractor (CON), Airport Information Technology (AIT) and Maintenance Base (MRO). An extensive Calendar of Events (CAL) is part of every subscription.


Ground Handling News

Fraport AG, operator of Frankfurt airport, said it was working on returning its ground handling unit to profitability after three consecutive quarters of losses. “We’ll take different measures to bring the business back,” said Anke Giesen, the head of the division, at a recent press conference at the airport. She declined to specify a deadline or target figure, saying the plan was to make the check-in and baggage operation profitable “as soon as possible.” Fraport’s second-quarter earnings were held back as the ground-handling business at Frankfurt airport reported a loss because of a traffic decline and a new terminal’s higher depreciation costs. Holding back spending will be key to making the unit profitable again, Giesen said. Earnings growth at Fraport is also hampered by a ban on overnight takeoffs and landings at the German airport. Fraport handles the bulk of ground services at Frankfurt, with Spanish infrastructure operator Acciona SA as its main third-party competitor there. The unit, which last posted an operating profit in the third quarter of 2012, has a workforce of about 8900 employees, Giesen said.

Fraport forecast in its 2012 annual report that the ground-handling division would generate a “minor increase in revenue” in FY 2013, while earnings would remain unchanged at about EUR 4.7 million.  


John Menzies has landed in South America and strengthened in Australia as its aviation arm continues to offset weakness in its traditional print distribution market. Menzies has acquired Decasol, a Colombian ground and cargo handling business, for up to GBP 6.4 million and says it is a “bridgehead for further opportunities in other countries” in the region. Based in Bogota, Decasol handles 60 000 aircraft turnarounds and 50 000 t of cargo for existing Menzies customers. The group is also paying GBP 7.7 million to acquire Australian ground handling business Skystar, which operates at eight airports throughout Australia and New Zealand handling 17 000 turnarounds a year for 10 airlines including Jetstar and Qantas. Paula Bell, Menzies’s new finance director, commented: “Both businesses will bring around GBP 15 million of revenue into the group. We are quite excited about the growth potential going forward.”


Fuelstream Inc. has entered into an agreement with Calgary, AB-based Skyplan to provide flight planning, weather support and ground support, as well as permit processing and traffic rights requests. As part of the services offered by Fuelstream, and separate from the sale of aviation jet fuel, are various ground-related services such as ground handling, ground maintenance support, passenger and ramp services, and crew accommodations and transportation. Corporate customers often require complete flight planning including route planning and weather support and traffic rights. Skyplan is a respected industry leader in this field and this new partnership will allow Fuelstream to service its customers in a broader sense and offer a more complete package of services.


Airport Security

A new market report from Visiongain has indicated that the world aviation security market will reach a value of USD 18.71 billion in 2013, driven by the need for government authorities and airport operators to strengthen security measures to counter evolving threats. The aviation security market is forecast to record growth over the next 10 years as security programmes in mature markets are finalized, airports are upgraded and/or constructed, and a universal set of aviation security measures is adopted. The author of the ‘World Aviation Security Market 2013-2023’ report commented that “the importance of safety and security to passengers and staff at airport facilities and on aircraft is paramount. Consequently, there will continue to be considerable investment in this market as new legislation is adopted and new technologies are introduced with higher detection rates”.
The 156-page report contains 124 tables, charts and graphs that illustrate and explain developing trends within the aviation security market. Forecasts are provided for the period 2013-2023 detailing the value (USD) of the world aviation security market, as well as for four technology submarkets - passenger and baggage screening, access control, digital surveillance, and perimeter fencing - of the aviation security market. In addition, 10 leading national aviation security markets are forecast and analysed over the period 2013-2023. For more information on the ‘World Aviation Security Market 2013-2023’ report, go to


On 6 September 2013, on her last day in President Obama’s cabinet before leaving to head the University of California system, Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, warned that travellers should brace for more airport delays if Congress continued to cut spending. “You always hear that line: ‘you need to do more with less’, but sometimes you’re at the point where you can only do less with less,” Napolitano said. She said the Department of Homeland Security (DHA) was forced to move money around within agencies and draw down accounts in order to deal with across-the-board spending cuts that occurred during 2013. Agencies are still considering how to cope with cuts if they extend into the new fiscal year that starts on 1 October. Reductions in overtime spending have already lengthened waits at Customs and Border Protection checkpoints across the U.S. Average waits lines peaked above three hours during the summer at busy times at international airports such as Miami and New York’s JFK.

Congress must still settle on funding for the next fiscal year, with additional spending cuts – and even a temporary government shutdown – a possibility. Napolitano warned that further cuts would reduce the number of personnel who provide services that travellers rely upon. “If it’s continued into next year [FY 2014], that means issues about personnel and it also means then that people will experience longer lines, longer wait times, all those sorts of things,” Napolitano said.


Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Gemalto is equipping the Norwegian National Police Directorate with its Coesys eBorder solution, a self-service border control system for Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport. Based on sophisticated automatic passport verification and facial recognition technology, the solution offers Norwegian citizens travelling from non-Schengen countries a faster journey through Norway’s busiest airport. The eGate, an expedited border crossing system designed to streamline the immigration clearance process, features a highly secure, two-stage verification. At the first step, the passport is authenticated and if approved, the traveller is allowed to move on to a second gate for automatic facial recognition. The traveller can continue his or her journey when the system confirms that the picture matches the electronic portrait securely stored on the e-passport. By allowing Norwegian passengers to verify their identity themselves with their ePassports, the Coesys eBorder solution reduces queuing time and improves the travelling experience, without compromising security.

“This self-service border control project is a major step towards the EU 'Smart Borders' initiative, which aims at enabling smooth and swift border crossing to simplify life for citizens frequently travelling to the EU,” said Tommi Nordberg, Senior Vice President for Government Programmes at Gemalto. “Every year more than 700 million EU citizens cross the EU’s external borders, and by 2030 this number will nearly double.”


Senstar Corporation, a manufacturer of perimeter intrusion detection sensors (PIDS), is offering cost-effective solutions to address what is defined as “the weak links in the aviation security chain” by the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). Recent perimeter intrusions have led experts like Norm Mineta, the former U.S. Transportation Secretary, to state: “The ease with which anyone can penetrate an airport perimeter may shock those familiar with today’s elaborate security inside terminals.” Terry Atwood, Senstar’s General Manager, said: “Airports are investing every day fortunes in screening passengers, yet neglecting to invest a fraction of these expenses on perimeter protection leave many airports with an open backdoor.” He added that the reason might be the perception that airport site perimeters were too costly to protect. “However, since most airports have an existing ‘dumb’ fence, Senstar offers a cost effective, onetime investment to add on to the existing infrastructure,” Atwood said.
Senstar’s range of PIDS solutions for airports includes: FlexPS™ -  a fence-mounted sensor that provides assured detection of any attempt to cut, climb or otherwise break through the fence; OmniTrax® - a covert outdoor perimeter security intrusion detection sensor that generates an invisible radar detection field around buried sensor cables; FiberLR - a fibre optic cable-based perimeter intrusion detection system that supports mixed applications of buried or fence-mounted sensing fibre in a single system; and µltraWave™ - a microwave perimeter intrusion detection system consisting of a digital transmitter and receiver that create an invisible detection zone that alerts when unwanted intrusions occur.   



Micro Nav has been awarded a contract to supply Brussels Airport Company in Belgium with the latest technology Airside Driver Training (ADT) simulator. Micro Nav will supply Brussels Airport with an ADT simulator system and a 3D model of Brussels Airport along with 50 aircraft and vehicle models, which will be due for completion in November 2013. The adoption of the ADT by Brussels Airport reflects a growing trend towards the implementation of competency-based training and validation for all ground personnel. This trend is reflected in the European Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Incursions (EAPPRI) by Eurocontrol, which is the principal guideline used by Brussels Airport Company and their LRST to prevent runway incursions.


Until the U.S. FAA implements a number of recommendations and establishes completion timeframes for its air traffic controller training programme, the FAA will continue to face significant challenges such as high training time and costs, according to a U.S. Transportation Department Inspector General audit report. Almost two years ago an independent review panel made 49 recommendations that could significantly improve the controller hiring and training processes, but auditors said that the FAA had yet to implement any of them or establish completion timeframes. The average training time for new controllers has risen by 41% over the past few years. Between now and fiscal year 2021, the FAA plans to hire and train more than 11 700 new air traffic controllers, a significant challenge given the fact that new controllers can require more than three years of training to become fully certified to work in one of FAA’s more than 300 air traffic control facilities.

To improve the FAA’s controller training programme and track the effectiveness of its new training initiatives, the IG report recommends that FAA re-establish a training initiatives section into the annual Controller Workforce Plan that introduces new initiatives and tracks the implementation of initiatives that are in progress; develop and implement a formal policy to identify and disseminate locally developed training initiatives for use as best practices nationwide; develop a policy that establishes how and when any national training initiatives would be measured for effectiveness; organize FAA controller training data into a single source that allows for detailed analysis of all training records for each controller; and evaluate the Operational Assessment Programme to determine if it can be used to improve staffing composition at all critical air traffic facilities.

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