This 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.
An energy agreement between DAA, the Irish airports operator, and ESB energy provider has resulted in the opening of a 268-panel-strong solar farm at Dublin Airport.
The solar farm has been installed on top of a reservoir system, which provides 500 million litres of water to the passenger terminals, offices and businesses located on the airport grounds. The new solar farm is expected to deliver over half the airport’s energy requirements of the water system.
The agreement was put in place to attempt to achieve energy targets of a 33% reduction in consumption for the airport by 2020, and the partners have been working closely together to determine the opportunities to implement low carbon technologies.
This achievement will also build on Dublin Airport’s current reputation in a European carbon management certification program, under which it is already Airport Carbon Accredited.
Dalton Phillips, DAA’s Chief Executive, said, ‘Over the past three years Dublin Airport succeeded in reducing its carbon footprint by 5,000 tonnes, which is equivalent to a 10% reduction in carbon emissions under its control.’
‘We are looking forward to building on this performance and making even more energy savings that will also benefit the travelling public through sustainable environmental performance and annual cost savings.’
Frankfurt Airport’s new Departures Hall B within Terminal One has been completed and opened in time to give passengers a new departure experience over the Christmas holiday season.
Travellers will now be able to enjoy freshly-baked bread and pizzas around the clock in the new Airport Bistro, in addition to new, comfortable waiting areas, concept lighting and brand new information desk.
Airport operators, Fraport, are delighted with the new facility, and hope that passengers will enjoy the new meeting, waiting, eating and passenger information areas.
The new departure hall has the addition of careful planting, and the new areas have been created with an enhanced passenger experience in mind. Frankfurt Airport already offers an exclusive shopping experience, with many top designer stores on site, such as Versace and Pfueller, superb duty-free areas and a personal shopper service.
Find out more about Frankfurt Airport here.
It has been announced this week that 3i, the international investment management company, has taken ownership of Belfast City Airport in a deal that was originally announced at the end of last year.
3i are acting as fund managers for the deal, which is a part of a larger project for the acquisition of assets owned by the EISER Global Infrastructure Fund, including the airport.
Before the deal could go ahead, approval was required from the European Commission under the guidance of terms set out in the EU Merger Regulation. Approval has now been realised, and the deal for the Belfast City Airport finalised.
The identity of the new owners has not yet been made public.
Ireland’s Shannon Airport has welcomed the news from Norwegian Air International this week, as they announced two new US services to be launched this year.
The new flights will be twice-weekly to Stewart International Airport (90 minutes from New York), and Providence Green Airport (New England).
Matthew Thomas, CEO of Shannon Group said, ‘This is a very significant announcement for Shannon, for the wider region we serve and for transatlantic aviation generally. It not only brings another new carrier to Shannon, giving us our largest number of US services in over 17 years, but it’s introduces a new model of low cost flying for transatlantic aviation. Shannon has been at the forefront of so many major global breakthroughs in aviation and this is another. It supports the government’s objectives on balanced regional development. We look forward to working closely with Norwegian Air International in making these services a success.’
Bjorn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian Air is delighted to finally unveil their plans, ‘It has long been our ambition to grow our Irish operation with new transatlantic routes but these plans simply wouldn’t have been possible without the significant support we have received throughout Ireland over the last 3 years. We are hugely grateful for this continued support and are delighted to finally unveil our plans to shake up transatlantic travel with ground-breaking fares and never before seen routes in Ireland. The cost of transatlantic travel has been too high for too long so by connecting Irish cities with smaller US airports, we can offer some truly affordable fares, allowing as many people as possible to fly.’
Within the next few years, travellers to Java, Indonesia, can expect to enjoy greater flexibility with the advent of a planned new international airport, which will replace the Java-Bali regions’ fourth busiest airport, Yogyakarta Adisutjipto, currently located in the Sleman Regency.
The airport no longer meets the needs of the region, with a handling capacity designed to originally handle just 2.1 million passengers. Last year the airport saw almost 5 million additional passengers pass through its gates, prompting further discussion surrounding the urgent need for improvement.
The new airport, currently underway in the Kulon Progo Regency, has been designed to accommodate 50 million passengers per year, and the first phase is expected to be completed during spring 2019. It will also serve long-haul flights, and will include a 3250-metre runway, which will be extended during phase two by an additional 350 metres.
A ceremony to break ground on the new airport was held last week, and was attended by President Joko Widodo.