MPs Back Third Runway Project at Heathrow | Airports NewsThis week, UK MPs have debated and returned with a thumbs-up for the controversial third runway project at London’s Heathrow Airport.

In a vote in the House of Commons, 415 aye’s had it against 119 nay’s, and the majority of 296 votes will move the project closer to reality. However, MPs are already coming out in support of Sadiq Khan’s plan to mount a legal challenge to the decision.

Construction industry professionals have also cautiously applauded the result, noting that the debate has been ongoing for almost 20 years through successive governments, and that the next government could easily overturn the decision. Open criticism of the vote itself has been given, with a point made that ‘the whole process serves to demonstrate why politics alone cannot be allowed to dictate the fundamental needs of critical infrastructure in the UK.

There is strong support too, within the aviation industry. Luton Airport’s CEO, Mr Nick Barton said, ‘The House of Commons’ approval of the Heathrow third runway is a welcome sign of the government’s commitment to providing much needed aviation capacity in the South East.’ Karen Dee of the UK’s Airport Operators Association is also pleased with the result, saying ‘A global Britain requires connectivity to both established and emerging markets right across the country and thus needs both world-class hub and point-to-point capacity. Parliament has today recognised the importance of aviation connectivity and its approval of the Airports NPS for a north-west runway at Heathrow is an important step towards delivering that connectivity.’

Thoughts are now turning to the aviation industry in the near future, with Ms Dee voicing her concerns about the next steps, ‘It is now vital that the government delivers an Aviation Strategy which sets out a clear and positive framework for aviation growth across the UK.’

Executives at Heathrow Airport are understandably delighted with the vote result, and now plan to apply for development consent.

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Automated Immigration | Airports NewsInteresting reading this week from Rockwell Collins, as we reviewed an article about how baggage systems must keep up with the latest advancements in automated immigration systems.

Rockwell Collins’ Tony Chapman spoke about some of the challenges faced by airport operators with the enhanced performance of systems such as the US’ Automated Passport Control, ‘APC allows travellers to use self-service kiosks to speed the immigration process,’ he said. ‘For airports, driving the pre-clearance process to other countries eliminates immigration queues on arrival to the U.S., as passengers have gone through the process before landing.

This means that baggage handling systems must be able to keep up with the latest expedited clearance solutions, or risk severe ground delays and queues as passengers wait for their luggage.

This challenge is added to an already-growing pile of challenges airport operators are facing. With strict regulations across the entire operational environment, airports already have to maintain compliance, meet bottom-line budgets and increase passenger experience.

The introduction of automated baggage handling solutions is aiming to create a seamless passenger journey through the airport environment, and Rockwell Collins do know what they are talking about.

Read the full article here to find out more.

Belfast City Airport win prestigious award | Airports NewsBelfast City Airport is delighted to announce that is has become the first UK airport to win the Gold Level CORE award at the recent Business in the Community Responsible Business Awards.

The CORE accreditation looks at corporate responsibility, both activity and in performance, and Belfast’s George Best Airport has won this year, following last year’s success as being named Northern Ireland’s Most Responsible Business.

Belfast City Airport has been judged on its contributions to people, planet and places, and the airport has felt this has been a key part of its endeavours.

Michelle Hatfield, corporate services director at Belfast City Airport, said, ‘Corporate Responsibility is central to our business and it is a real credit to our employees who have worked hard to ensure we are playing our part, as a major employer, in our local community.’

‘We are constantly striving to improve our standards and to be recognised with a Gold Level CORE award is a testament to the efforts of all our employees.’

The airport has a commitment to education, the environment and the local community and is involved with initiatives such as the Community Fund, supporting 120 local projects. Another contributory initiative is its role in the High Flyer’s apprenticeship scheme, an adopted school and other environmental projects.

Congratulations to the ten organisations that achieved CORE this year – the Standard is extremely high and you should all be very proud of your commitment to responsible business,’ said Kieran Harding, MD of Business in the Community. ‘CORE strategically supports companies to develop and improve their approach to corporate responsibility. By completing the Standard, companies gain a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, providing a baseline for next steps and further improvements.’

IATA Resolution 753 White Paper | Download your copy todayThere are just weeks left before IATA Resolution 753 comes into force, and around the aviation industry, there are still some who are not prepared for the most stringent regulations yet in the area of baggage handling.

It is hoped that the new baggage tracking regulations will dramatically reduce instances of baggage mishandling, yet will provide greater opportunities for reuniting baggage that does still get mishandled.

Rockwell Collins has produced a White Paper this month, which is available for free download here.

The paper outlines key points that airport operators may want to consider, such as:

  • The impact on airport operations
  • Challenges to face with implementation
  • Who is ultimately responsible
  • How to prepare operations to ensure compliance

Rockwell Collins is able to assist operators with solutions to help them remain fully compliant with IATA Resolution 753, while making sure that a cost-efficient solution is in place.

Baggage handling is an area of aviation travel that has suffered over recent years, and this has led IATA to review best practices and introduce a standard that is designed to track each piece of passenger baggage at multiple checkpoints throughout the journey.

Montreal Airport Green Airport Transport | Airports NewsCanada’s Aeroports de Montreal (ADM) has taken another important step in its bid to become more environmentally aware this month, as it received its first electric vehicle conversion as a part of the Quebec government initiative – Ride & Drive.

The new truck, which is 100% electric, will be used primarily by ground handling personnel in a maintenance role, as they inspect runways, and supervise outdoor maintenance and emergency tasks.

The reusable electric drive motor is said to have an incredible lifespan of a million kilometres and should lower greenhouse gasses by up to nine tonnes per year. This system is also expected to reduce vehicle operating costs for the airport by 80% and maintenance costs by half.

The environmentally-friendly airport has done much over the past year to improve its vehicle record, including an initiative to make airport taxis friendlier. Since November last year, 70% of taxis working out of the airport have a hybrid engine, which in itself has an estimated impact of reducing C02 by 8,700 tonnes.

There has also been an effort to encourage users of hybrid and fully-electric vehicles with the installation of additional charging stations at the airport site. By Autumn 2018, there is a plan in place to double the current figure of 28 stations. The airport has plans to introduce a bus service for passengers to and from the terminals, which will be eco-friendly.

Investment in the projects has been healthy, and the airport announced it has spent more than $2.8 million in just eco-friendly solutions just last year. The airport operators feel that this initiative is super-important, and is really making a difference.

Sustainable development has become an essential condition for the success of organizations and Aéroports de Montréal is committed to this new reality,’ said Martin Massé, ADM’s vice president of public affairs.

In this regard, ADM’s commitment is resulting in concrete actions. In 2017, we invested more than $2.8 million in environmental protection projects which, like this initiative, are making a difference in our day-to-day operations.

Angela Gittens at the ACI Conference | Aviation BlogThe 28th ACI Europe/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition is approaching fast, and there are just a few weeks left before some of the airport industry’s biggest names and leaders join the leadership panel in Brussels to discuss some of the most important issues facing the aviation industry.

The leaders panel has now been finalised, and attendees can look forward to hearing keynote speakers over three full days:

  • Bongani Maseko, CEO, Airports Company South Africa and chair of ACI World
  • Arnaud Feist, CEO, Brussels Airport Company
  • Dr Michael Kerkloh, CEO, Munich International Airport and president, ACI Europe
  • Thomas Woldbye, CEO, Copenhagen Airport
  • Joseph Lopano, CEO, Tampa International Airport
  • Martin Eurnekian, Executive Director, Corporacion America, and vice-chair, ACI World
  • Fred Lam, CEO, Airport Authority Hong Kong.

The theme this year is ‘Airports as Brands and Businesses’ and the conference will be looking at the evolution of the airport into a business building a brand relationship with its customers.

The conference and exhibition will also be focussed around the ever-increasing challenge of airport capacity as passenger numbers continue to grow year-on-year. How do airports ensure that they maintain mandatory compliance, keep passengers moving, look after baggage, maintain watertight security and at the same time make sure that passengers stay happy and bottom line operational budgets stay intact?

Attendees at the conference will find out what the biggest names in the industry think about these challenges, and how the industry itself is working to meet these demands while keeping systems and processes efficient and cost-effective.

ACI World director-general, Angela Gittens said, ‘Our assembly provides a unique opportunity for industry leaders from all regions of the world to share their expertise and experience and debate and explore ways we can continue to adapt and grow. ACI is the only truly global voice for the airports industry and our assembly is the perfect venue to foster dialogue among airports as well as with stakeholders in the aviation industry as a whole.

The exhibition promises to deliver a wealth of networking opportunities, and will showcase a wide range of airport solutions, including, but not limited to:

  • IT solutions
  • Bag drop systems
  • FIDS
  • Passenger boarding bridges
  • Duty free retailers
  • Commercial technology
  • And much more.

To find out more about the conference and exhibition, and to register for your place, please click here.

Stansted Airport Opens New Check In Area | Airports NewsFlight passengers using London Stansted Airport this month will experience a new section of check-in area, opened earlier this month as a part of its £600 million transformation project.

The latest milestone marks success for London Stansted’s transformation programme, as passenger numbers increase steadily. The eight new check-in desks are hi-tech and ready to meet the growing numbers of travellers using Stansted. Eventually, plans are for a total of 30 new counters to help create an improved passenger experience and enhance the operational productivity of the airport.

Paul Willis, London Stansted’s transformation director said, ‘We’ve been working hard since the end of last year and it’s been fantastic to watch the project move away from the planning stage and come to life. We’re delighted to reach this major milestone in our transformation programme.’

Other plans included in the first phase of the transformation programme are:

  • Upgrades to the airfield
  • Upgrades to the car parks
  • New upper deck seating areas

Airports of all sizes around the world are turning to the latest passenger check-in innovations to improve operations and increase the experience for passengers moving through the airport environment.

There is a passenger processing revolution occurring in the world’s busiest airports, and the addition of self-service kiosks and biometrics technology is helping to strengthen airport security – meeting increasing mandatory requirements, while reducing queues and helping airports manage costs.

What’s next for Stansted’s transformation project?

Phase two of the project will be focussed on the construction of a new arrivals building, which is expected to open in 2020 at a cost of £130 million. The new building will include enhanced baggage reclamation points and immigration department, improved access and a new retail shopping area, in addition to a larger public forecourt for passengers arriving at the airport.

The project is expected to be fully completed in 2022.