London City Airport WWII Bomb Scare | Airports NewsLondon City Airport was forced to close earlier this week following the discovery of an unexploded WWII bomb at George V dock during planned airport works.

The bomb, a 500kg device, was discovered on Sunday and forced immediate closure of the airport and led to the evacuation of local residents while Metropolitan Police and the Royal Navy examined the device and attempted to remove it.

The airport remained closed on Monday, affecting as many as 16,000 passengers due to use the airport as flights were cancelled. The airport reopened for business as usual during the early hours of Tuesday morning, and affected passengers were urged to contact their airlines for further flight information.

According to local historians, it is believed that up to 10% of the bombs dropped on London during the Blitz did not detonate as planned. As the number of bombs dropped is estimated at around 20,000, there is little wonder that discoveries of WWII devices are still happening more than 70 years later.

The airport, the only one located in the City of London made a statement to affected passengers and local residents thanking them for their patience and understanding, and thanked Police and the Royal Navy for their efforts to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.

Flights are now operating as expected, and affected passengers should contact their individual airlines to find out more about their flight status.

Advertisements

ACI Europe concerns over Brexit and protectionism | Airport BlogACI Europe delivered an overview of its ‘burning issues’ last month in the annual New Year Reception in the European Parliament.

Although optimism remains high about traffic growth, and ACI Europe reaffirmed its support for more ‘Open Skies’, concerns remain in place about the potential impacts of Brexit and about airline protectionism.

Dr Michael Kerkloh, CEO of Munich Airport and President of ACI Europe, addressed the gathering to voice fresh warnings and concerns that also mentioned the ‘self-serving nature of [airline protectionism] the current campaign for more airport charges regulation.

Brexit concerns

Following the reception, ACI Europe’s board met with EC Task Force 50 to talk about Brexit impacts on the aviation industry across Europe. The first phase of Brexit negotiations have delivered a small sense of relief for UK and EU airports, who are glad that there appears to be some form of support of a transition period, but Dr Kerkloh remains concerned that the risk of a ‘no-deal’ scenario are still very real. He said, ‘For now, we still remain completely in the dark as to what will happen at the end of the transition. One thing is pretty clear though – the political dynamics shaping these negotiations are very much at odds with business interests.

Dr Kerkloh added that ACI Europe has repeatedly stressed, since the beginning of the Brexit negotiation process, that there is a ‘need to keep the most liberal aviation regime between the UK and the EU – to safeguard air connectivity.  Anything more restrictive than the current Single Aviation Market will come at a cost.  There is just no winning alternative.

Open Skies

ACI Europe has concerns over EU Regulation 868/2004 on unfair trading practices in European aviation. As staunch supporters of the Open Skies initiative, ACI Europe, according to Dr Kerkloh, ‘We are worried that some are trying to use the revision of Regulation 868 to advance a protectionist agenda.  Don’t get me wrong: Open Skies need to go hand in hand with fair competition and we do support the Commission proposal. But the rules must be crystal clear and specific – they should not be open to different interpretations.  Also, Regulation 868 should be triggered only when damage is demonstrated and only as a last resort – after all other applicable dispute resolution mechanisms have been exhausted.  These are essential safeguards to prevent abuses in the use of this Regulation and maintain trust with our trading partners internationally.

Airport charges

Currently, the European Commission is evaluating the EU Directive on airport charges, and Dr Kerkloh unequivocally defined what needs to be at the very heart of this evaluation. He said, ‘These new market dynamics need to be at the core of the evaluation.  That means that the evaluation must resolve the contradiction in policy approaches between airport charges and State aid.  The Commission’s own State aid rules and the European Court of Justice have already acknowledged the reality of airport competition.  So, I have a very simple question: How can we be told that airports compete when it comes to looking at State Aid, but that airports suddenly no longer compete when it comes to dealing with airport charges?

Hamburg Airport Launch Self Bag Drop Kiosks | Airports NewsPassengers flying out of Germany’s Hamburg Airport with KLM, Air France and easyJet, will now be able to enjoy an enhanced travel experience with the introduction of ten Self Bag Drop kiosks, unveiled officially for use last week.

The Director of Aviation at the airport, Johannes Scharnberg, notes that the kiosks, provided by a German supplier, have already been a success and said, ‘Already after just a short period of operation, we can see that our passengers are not having any problems with the new equipment.  And we are very happy with the system’s stability. Many of our passengers have already discovered the benefits of the kiosks for themselves and given us very positive feedback.’

Self service applications are growing in popularity for airports of all sizes around the world, increasing efficiency, improving passenger experience and moving towards a seamless airport passenger processing system.

The Self Bag Drop kiosks will eventually serve more airlines, with common-use technology and the added benefits of cost-sharing. Airport operators can also optimise resource management within the entire airport environment using self-service applications.

More than 80% of airport check-ins now happen away from the traditional terminal counter, as more and more passengers use the online check-in facility offered by most airlines. Travellers are gaining greater control of their journey and can arrive later at the airport terminal than ever before. The use of Self Bag Drop means that passengers can simply arrive with a pre-printed boarding pass, which can be scanned and used within the kiosks to produce a baggage tag that the passenger can attach themselves and send the baggage through for security screening and automated transfer to the aircraft.

Rockwell Collins’ ARINC Self Bag Drop solution – ARINC SelfDrop – can process tagged bags in as little as 10 seconds, making a clear case for enhanced efficiency and promising to transform airport terminals on a truly global scale.

Rockwell Collins Special Meeting Over Acquisition | Aviation NewsIt has been announced that Rockwell Collins shareowners voted overwhelmingly in favour of the UTC acquisition in the special meeting that took place earlier this month. More than 96% of the votes cast during the meeting were cast in support of the proposition, which represented over 72% of all shares of common stock.

Kelly Ortberg, President and CEO of Rockwell Collins said, ‘Shareowners have made clear their support for this acquisition, bringing it one step closer to reality. As Collins Aerospace, we’ll be a stronger company, with attractive aerospace product and service portfolios, and ultimately, better positioned for long-term success.

Now the proposed acquisition will require regulatory approval, and customary closing condition will need to be met, but the transaction to create the new UTC business, Collins Aerospace Systems, is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Queue in Airport Set to Reduce with Cashless System | American Airlines Go CashlessAmerican Airlines is moving towards a cashless transaction experience in airports all over the US, as it removed cash payment options at Miami Airport this week, making the total number now 50 airports.

The airline says that moving away from cash assists its customers more efficiently, and adds, ‘It also reduces the complexity of work for our agents who will no longer have to worry about handling cash, find exact change or close out a cash drawer at the end of the day. In general, our ticket counter agents support the transition to a cashless environment.

Beginning tomorrow at Miami International Airport, passengers will be advised to bring credit and debit cards only, although, having partnered with Ready Credit, American Airlines check-in desks will have ReadyStation kiosks nearby, providing prepaid Visa debit cards up to $1,000. There will be a $5 surcharge for this service.

American Airlines spokesperson, Aran Coello, has acknowledged that this new system may cause problems for foreign passengers, rather than native Americans, but also says, ‘we have noticed that many travellers who are returning to a country where [U.S. dollars] is not the accepted currency will often add more funds to their cards as it is a cost-effective method of converting [U.S. dollars] to other currencies.

With successful operation of the scheme in 50 other locations in the US, including JFK International Airport, LaGuardia, LAX and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, American Airlines believe that the move to a cashless environment is the right step to take in the modern airport.

Most travellers already use debit and credit cards for expenses such as excess baggage, additional flight upgrades and other necessary fees, but it is accepted that some travellers, particularly those from foreign countries, will have exchanged currency into dollars in cash for use on their journey, but the prepaid Visa debit cards will often give a much better rate of exchange for passengers.

Scotland Airports Record Busiest Year in 2017 | Airports News UKAccording to recent passenger figures, Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports have recorded that 2017 was their busiest year to date, with over 13 million people moving through Edinburgh Airport, and almost 10 million using Glasgow’s international hub.

Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport’s chief exec. is delighted by the announcement, and said ‘This is a fantastic achievement for Edinburgh Airport – to welcome more than 13 million passengers is a real triumph and one that we are delighted by.

December proved to be an outstanding month, despite adverse weather conditions in the north of the UK, which saw Edinburgh Airport process more than 900,000 passengers, and Glasgow over 600,000.

Glasgow’s MD, Amanda McMillan, said ‘2017 was a fantastic year for the airport. To carry more than 9.9 million passengers is a huge achievement and testament to the hard work put in by more than 5,000 people across the airport.

Ms McMillan also added that she was pleased to have ‘considerably’ increased connectivity for Glasgow Airport, with the addition of 30 more routes and services during 2017, particularly across Europe.

Aberdeen Airport also enjoyed a great year, although not reaching record-breaking numbers for them, but passenger traffic was up 1.8% on 2016 figures. December marked the eighth consecutive month of increasing numbers for them, which gave them a total for 2017 of just over 3 million passengers. Airport officials guess that there was a strong demand for winter sun for Scotland’s residents, with a growth recorded for the winter months of 4.6% for domestic service and 8.7% for international travel.

Interestingly, there was a drop in helicopter traffic out of Aberdeen Airport last year, the reason being, according to Carol Benzie, the MD of Aberdeen Airport, who said, ‘Domestic fixed-wing traffic has driven much of the total passenger increases which has, in part, been due to chartered services being used by offshore workers to reach destinations such as Sumburgh and Wick, to then connect offshore via helicopter. This has, as a result, contributed to the decrease in helicopter passengers travelling directly from Aberdeen.

Common Use Passenger Processing System in the Maldives | Airports NewsThe Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL) has announced that Velana International Airport and Gan International Airport (GAN) are now using Rockwell Collins’ ARINC vMUSE passenger processing platform in a bid to improve passenger experience and airport security in the region.

Velana renewed its existing contract with the aviation industry giant, and GAN has signed a brand-new agreement for the provision of the efficient, cost-effective check-in solution.

ARINC vMUSE is increasing check-in speeds and simplifying the entire process at airports of all sizes around the world. With the Maldives’ tourism industry growing even more busy, there has never been a better time to improve critical airport processes, and the Rockwell Collins Common Use Passenger Processing System (CUPPS) has a proven track record across the board, offering airlines cost-sharing applications, options for off-site check-in and more.

The M.D. of MACL, Mr Adil Moosa, said ‘We have embarked on the biggest project in the history of Maldives to develop MLE. More than a billion-dollar (U.S.) investment was made to improve the airport infrastructure. Tourism is the largest industry in the Maldives so our airports, and the experience our passengers have, is incredibly important to our overall economy.

Using Common Use airport innovations, airport operators can strengthen and consolidate infrastructure without making additional investments in this area. With web-based, proven platforms and robust system architecture, Rockwell Collins solutions offer access to next-generation technological solutions, using existing hardware, or off-the-shelf peripherals.