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News & Updates

Airport Industry News: Late September 2013

Sep 27, 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.


Sustainable Aviation

Aviation biofuels have become more important for Washington state in the U.S. after the FAA announced the creation of a national research centre in Richland, WA. The Centre of Excellence in Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment will be based at Washington State University (WSU) in Richland, WA, and will include the University of Washington among its 16 university partners. The FAA announcement deepens the state’s involvement in aviation biofuels development, which was formalized by the 2010 formation of Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest, a collaboration between Boeing, airport operators, environmental groups and WSU aimed at developing aviation fuels in Washington. That initiative cited Washington as a perfect place for aviation biofuels research, due to the state’s aerospace strengths, environmental leadership, research capabilities, and the large agricultural industry capable of growing plants for biofuels. The centre is to receive USD 80 million in funding over the next decade, half from the FAA and half from industry partners.


Airlines in Southeast Asia have begun to draw up plans to develop affordable and sustainable aviation biofuels. The Southeast Asia Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative (SEASAFI) recently gathered policymakers, regulators, industry stakeholders and non-government organizations for a workshop in Bangkok. The meeting was the region’s first collective action on the issue, said Martin Eran-Tasker, Technical Director of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). Amongst the key questions addressed was choosing the right feedstocks for renewable aviation fuel in the region. “Our region has many opportunities to develop biofuels from different types of feedstock, but nobody is really addressing the issues like preferred feedstock, commercial production and distribution,” Eran-Tasker said. Jatropha and algae are both seen as contenders, while fuels derived from coal or gas would not qualify. SEASAFI attracted participation from Asean as well as the world’s two major aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing.


Aéroports de Paris (AdP) is leading the way for European airports in its management of airport emissions. AdP’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were once again rewarded by ACI Europe, which has renewed Paris Orly and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airports’ level 3 Airport Carbon Accreditation, and the level 2 certification for Paris Le Bourget. “These certificates are testament to our ongoing efforts to reduce the emissions related to our own power consumption and also the fruition of the work we have been doing with our partners. We are fully in line with our commitments to reduce our CO2 emissions by 25% between 2009 and 2015,” said Didier Hamon, AdP Group Secretary General, with responsibility for the environment.

Several large scale projects, particularly involving renewable energy sources, have recently

contributed to the fight to reduce emissions including the commissioning in the 4th quarter of 2012 of a biomass plant that will ultimately generate 25% of the heating requirements at Paris CDG; the arrival of the first electric vehicles in October 2012 (Renault Kangoo Z.E and Peugeot Ion); and the commissioning in 2013 of a photovoltaic plant at Paris CDG. This 4000-m² solar power plant will make it possible to generate up to 157 MWh of electricity per year, leading to potential savings of 7 t of CO2 per year.


Airport Security

The use of bomb-detecting laser technology at airport security checkpoints can now become a reality, thanks to new laser technology developed by Marcos Dantus of Michigan State University (MSU) in the U.S. The new laser can detect micro traces of explosive chemicals in clothing and luggage. Dantus, an MSU chemistry professor, said that since this method uses a single beam and required no bulky spectrometers, it was quite practical and could scan many people and their belongings quickly. “Not only does it detect the explosive material, but it also provides an image of the chemical’s exact location, even if it’s merely a minute trace on a zipper,” he said. Dantus’ new bomb-detecting laser works as a single beam with two pulses. While the first pulse resonates with few chemical frequencies found in explosives, the second shadow pulse acts as a reference; a discrepancy between these two pulses shows the existence of explosive materials. Funding for the research project was provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate. An aerospace company has already expressed interest in developing the technology, with additional funding, a standalone prototype to be created in about a year.


A team from Embry-Riddle University has successfully tested a fully autonomous perimeter patrol system at Daytona Beach International Airport, FL, believed to be the first use in the U.S. of a self-guiding ground vehicle for airport security. Without remote control or other human involvement, a Ford Escape Hybrid vehicle, equipped with a GrayMatter Autonomous Vehicle System, used GPS and a scanner with 64 lasers to identify its position and its environment. The vehicle is designed to track a loop around an airport, creating and comparing high-resolution images and scanner data to detect airport incursions, wildlife, and damage to fences and airport grounds, and then to alert human security patrols of potential problems. Project co-director Dr Sergey Drakunov, Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Studies in Embry-Riddle’s College of Arts & Sciences, said: “While the test run at the airport was under tightly controlled conditions, we believe our work opens the door to many important applications of autonomous technology in support of airport operations.” This joint endeavour of the Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Physics departments is sponsored by Ignite, the university’s undergraduate research initiative.


JDA Aviation Solutions and FJD Inc have entered into a strategic partnership to help aviation organizations meet regulatory requirements, performance objectives and quality goals related to aviation safety and security. The staff of Chicago-based FJD comprises former senior level federal employees in law enforcement, security and safety professionals along with individuals who have similar track records in private industry. Bethesda, MD-based JDA is an international aviation service company. “This agreement provides a great opportunity for JDA and FJD to work together and offer the most comprehensive suite of services to the aviation industry worldwide. No other organization has the breadth of experience as JDA and FJD when it comes to aviation safety and security,” said Joe Del Balzo, President of JDA. The joint JDA/FJD team of aviation safety and security specialists will help commercial and government clients to perform independent safety and security reviews to identify and mitigate hazards and security shortcomings in flight operations, airport operations, and aircraft maintenance. In addition, they will work to uncover latent conditions, programme gaps, incomplete procedures and processes that can start the chain of events leading to an accident, incident or security issue. The partnership will also design safety and security programmes, procedures and protocols for all stakeholders from front-line employees to senior managers.


The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has awarded a sole source contract to L-3 Communications, the incumbent supplier of medium-speed explosives detection systems at the Portland International Airport in Portland, OR, for the supply of ancillary equipment items and services to support those detection systems. The TSA explained that “numerous ancillary equipment items are required to support the MSEDS [Medium Speed Explosives Detection System] unit and are specific to the contractor that manufactured the MSEDS unit.” TSA plans to purchase a wide range of items from L-3, including a primary and secondary viewing station, barcode reader, printer, multiplex network server, training simulator, uninterruptible power supply, and much more. The estimated value of all equipment and services will reach about USD 7.5 million.



Managers at Norwich International Airport in the U.K. have unveiled a major initiative to promote highly-skilled apprenticeships in the aviation industry. Norwich Airport has teamed up with KLM UK Engineering, its largest tenant operator, to develop its Aviation Academy to be based at the airport site, which would see up to 40 apprentices training at any given time. The academy is seen as crucial to the future expansion of the airport and comes on the back of the airport’s Aeropark project which could create up to 1400 new jobs. Backers of the plan include the University of East Anglia, the TEN Group, New Anglia local enterprise partnership, and EAGIT Partners, who hope that the academy will inspire individuals to become highly skilled in their chosen field and be ready to take on leadership and expert roles in the aviation community throughout the world.

Andrew Bell, CEO of Norwich International Airport, said: “One of the Airport’s core strategic objectives is to become a thriving centre of excellence in the aviation MRO business. To achieve this objective the airport must be able to offer the complete package to attract new business.”


The Biju Patnaik Airport authorities in India have decided to train their staff on how to tackle snakes. The decision was taken in the wake of repeated sighting of serpents in the airport area. Snake Helpline members recently rescued a 6-ft rat snake from the office of Global Helicopter Pvt Ltd, a private helicopter company inside the airport. “Over 100 airport staff, including security personnel, will be given training on how to handle snakes, so that they can protect themselves and also the visitors,” said Airport Director, Sharad Kumar. The airport campus covers an extremely large area which includes large patches of bush and small jungles, and snakes are frequently found in the locality. “In the last two years, we have captured about eight to 10 snakes from the airport campus. Even though about 90% snakes are non-venomous people generally get frightened at their sight and kill them. By learning how to handle them, we can save their lives,” said Subhendu Mallik of Snake Helpline. Airport employees will get lessons about how to distinguish between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. Then they will be taught what to do after spotting a snake, and finally how to overpower an angry snake, lift it  with a tong and bag it safely without hurting either party.


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