Tardiest Airline and Airport Announced | UK Airports NewsCivil Aviation Authority data on arriving and departing British and Irish aircraft for the past two years has been examined by the BBC Data Unit, and the results are in.

It has been noticed that during the traditionally busy months of June, July and August in 2015 and 2016, passengers using easyJet and Gatwick airport have experienced the most delays, with an average ‘tardy time’ rate of 24 and 27 minutes late (respectively) for both offenders.

Luton Airport only just escaped the award, at 24-minute average delay time, while British Airways managed to come in third place with 18 minutes.

Which airports and airlines performed best?

Aer Lingus were noted to have given the best performance of all the British and Irish airlines, with an average delay time of 12 minutes, rivalling Ryanair, coming in just three minutes later. Of the UK airlines, Flybe performed most efficiently, with just a 13-minute delay record, and Monarch airlines tied with the Irish Ryanair at 15 minutes.

Among the best performing airports were Leeds Bradford, who tied with the George Best Belfast City airport at just 10 minutes average delay. Birmingham International and Edinburgh did not fare too badly, sharing an average delay time of 18 minutes, but were narrowly beaten by Manchester, Glasgow and Stansted airports with 17 minutes.

French ATC strikes during the summers of 2015 and 2016 did not help easyJet or Gatwick airport’s position, as its location does attract French visitors and tourists moving in both directions.

easyJet released a statement in its defence, saying [of the air strikes], ‘Despite a number of adverse external factors like increasingly congested airspace, particularly in the London area, and record numbers of Air Traffic Control strikes, over the last year easyJet has actually reduced the proportion of flights delayed by more than 3 hours. We work hard to minimise disruption and fully comply with all relevant regulations.

A Gatwick airport representative also spoke to the BBC, and said, ‘Gatwick has made it a priority to address punctuality and, in partnership with our airlines and ground handlers, we are already seeing the benefits of a new wide range of measures that have been implemented to improve punctuality.’


LHR Breaks Traffic Records | Airport NewsLondon’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) is delighted to announce it has broken its own records for monthly, daily and annual passenger numbers passing through its terminals.

For the first time in its long history, LHR experienced record passenger numbers in June – 259,917 passengers flew through LHR on June 30th, making it the busiest day it has ever had. 6.76 million travellers flew during the month of June, which in turn broke LHR’s annual record, taking that figure to 77 million.

Heathrow released further increases as follows:

  • Long haul passenger growth increased by 10%
  • Middle East and East Asia travellers increased by more 5%

It is not only passenger numbers that increased last month for LHR. Cargo also increased in June by 13% compared to the same period last year, and freight exchanges between the airport and the Latin American region grew by 38% on last years’ figures. The biggest cargo market for the airport is in North America, and this is still the largest market, with volume increasing by 15.8%, which prompted American Airlines to open a new facility for the transportation of pharmaceutical cargo.

LHR has also announced that airlines on the Middle East and East Asian routes are taking advantage of their slots to increase their loads on larger aircraft. This may spell further increases for Heathrow’s traffic for both passengers and freight cargo.

Self Service Bag Drop Trials Bristol Airport | Airports NewsPassengers flying with easyJet from Bristol Airport at the moment, are enjoying the new self-service bag drop kiosks on trial for the summer.

Twelve kiosks and four bag drop stations have been installed during the last month at the easyJet area of the airport, with airport personnel on hand to give assistance during the trial.

Phil Holder, Bristol Airport’s Head of Operations Support, is pleased to see that the trial is already making positive inroads into increasing efficiency and said, ‘The trial is already speeding up the process for passengers and the initial feedback has been very positive. We are always looking for ways to improve the passenger experience and this trial is an example of how the latest technology can enhance the airport journey.

The kiosks have been supplied by Rockwell Collins’ ARINC airports, and form a part of an initiative to improve passenger experience and increase efficiency within the airport. Passengers will scan their boarding passes to initiate baggage weigh facilities, before attaching printed bag tags, and proceeding to the bag drop desks.

EasyJet’s UK Country Manager, Ali Gayward said, ‘We recognise that our customers’ airport experience is a hugely important part of their overall journey and so we are delighted to be part of Bristol Airport’s self-service bag drop trial. As we approach the summer, our busiest time of the year, we want our customers to have a seamless journey through the airport, enabling their summer holidays to get off to the best of starts.

Paul Hickox, Head of Airport Systems Sales at Rockwell Collins recognises that airport experience for passengers is high on the list of requirements for a growing number of airports, regardless of size. He said, ‘There is no ‘one-size fits all’ bag-drop solution because different airlines have different passenger processing models. We were able to create the best solution for Bristol Airport because of our deep understanding of airports and bag drop technology. We look forward to seeing the new self-bag drop solution from Rockwell Collins have a positive impact for passengers as it has done in all other deployments in recent months.’

Bristol Airport passengers travelling with easyJet this summer will be greeted at the arrivals area by members of staff, who will first verify travellers with airline lists, before guiding them to the new self-bag drop kiosks.

Biometric Airport Technology | Airports NewsSince biometrics were introduced to the US airports market more than a decade ago, the uptake has still been pretty slow in adopting broad biometric measures.

Recently however, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been making sounds in favour of the introduction of greater levels of biometric technology across the country, particularly facial recognition.

How does facial biometric recognition work?

Facial biometric recognition technology can process information quickly – near real-time – and unobtrusively within the airport environment.

In simple terms, the way the system works places a camera within the airport, typically at passport control or other security area, and compares a live image of the travellers’ face with their travel documentation to determine an exact feature match. Using an automated biometric facial matching identification system, the process can be completed in seconds, speeding up the system of passenger processing significantly.

This increased efficiency is key to improving airport operations, particularly when integration with other airport systems can take place.

The trouble is that in the US, governments and departments cannot decide whether investment into biometric technology, both financial and resources, is for the public or the private sector. However, inroads are being built, as the CBP has announced the intention to use biometrics for foreign nationals leaving the US.

There is little doubt across the aviation industry, particularly within the commercial airlines sector, that biometric technology is the way forward for airport security and borders management. One of the key factors in favour of biometrics, aside from the efficiency factor, is the elimination of potential human error in checking travel documentation.

Travellers, according to the experts, could expect to be using their faces as boarding passes within the next three to five years, once infrastructural and operational challenges and investments can be shaken out within the industry. As passenger experience seems to be high on the agenda for the major players in the industry, biometric technology could be a real possibility.

Stansted Airport Community Events | Airports NewsAs a part of Stansted Airport’s bid to extend flight and passenger limits, it has announced plans to hold a series of community consultation events to gain valuable insights into the views of local residents.

A new website will also be launched to support and share information about the project, and for residents who cannot attend the live events to remain involved.

Further consultations between residents, community leaders and local businesses and Uttlesford District Council will follow the eight events, planned throughout the month of July in local towns and villages, and subsequent planning application submission by the airport.

Stansted is amongst the fastest-growing airports in the UK, and handles almost 25 million passengers annually. It has a current ‘cap’ on the annual number of passengers at 35 million, but the runway has capacity to deliver services for more than 44 million.

The CEO of Stansted Airport, Mr Andrew Cowan said, ‘By lifting the current planning caps, Stansted will be able to serve around 44 million passengers a year on its existing runway by 2030.  Making use of Stansted’s spare capacity will benefit not only the dynamic and fast growing east of England region, but also London and the UK.  It will support the creation of thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds in additional economic activity, and will ensure the UK succeeds as an outward-facing trading nation as we leave the EU.

Understanding that the issues surrounding airport environments cause concern for local residents has prompted the airport to bring the community closer. It is important to the airport that information-sharing and listening to local concerns remains a high priority throughout the planning processes.

Mr Cowan continued, ‘We know that growth is a sensitive and important issue for people living close to airports and we are committed to engaging, listening and sharing as much information as possible as we develop our plans.” He went on to say: “We take our responsibilities to the communities around the airport seriously, and as part of our growth plan we will focus on operating in cleaner, quieter and smarter ways.  Our airlines have invested heavily in quieter and cleaner fleets helping to reduce our noise footprint and we are committed to going further to minimise the impact of noise disturbance. We will remain focused on providing employment opportunities for local people, building on the fantastic education, jobs and training schemes we have in place.  The hugely successful Aerozone education centre and our commitment together with Harlow College to invest in a new technical college at the airport demonstrates our ambition to go further in this area. Last year alone, we helped 800 local people access jobs.

US Tightens Airport Security | Additional Passenger Screening and Mobile DevicesThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced further measures to tighten airport security across the country, with plans for additional screening of passengers and their personal devices.

Proposals have not included an expansion of the laptop ban, as expected, but will require the additional security measures to be carried out at 280 global airports in 105 countries carrying passengers bound for the US.

John Kelly, the secretary of DHS, said, ‘Our enemies are adaptive and we have to adapt as well.

The additional measures will be applied to more than 180 airlines, including those of US origin, and will be phased in over the next few months. Airlines face a blanket ban on electronic devices carried on direct, non-stop flights, if they do not comply with the new standards. Currently, the laptop ban is in place for travellers from just 10 cities operating direct flights to the US.

It was suggested by the US government, that the laptop ban be extended to include European city airports, but according to Mr Kelly, the government are ‘looking at alternatives.’

Although the details of the additional measures have not yet been officially clarified, officials have said that precise requirements will vary from airline to airline, with some only needing to make small changes according to their current security levels, and that a range of new systems, including new passenger screening technology installation, may be needed.

Lufthansa to Add Five A380s at Munich Airport | Airlines and Airports NewsMunich Airport has welcomed Lufthansa’s decision to base five Airbus A380s at the airport, which it says will boost capacity for long-haul routes and is a ‘future-defining move.’

Dr Michael Kerkloh, CEO at Munich Airport said, ‘This is a big day for Munich’s competitiveness in the aviation industry. This now firmly anchors our status as one of the major hubs in Europe.’ Speaking about the collaborative benefits of working with Lufthansa, he added, ‘We are now reaping the rewards of the very successful partnership of Lufthansa and Munich Airport in the joint operation of Terminal 2 and the new satellite facility.’

The move, which expands on the previous announcement from Lufthansa to station 15 Airbus A350s at the airport, is expected to improve premium services for passengers using the European hub, and will begin during the 2nd quarter of 2018.