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Airport News | Trends in Aviation for 2019While passenger traffic numbers will continue to grow at a stable rate, some industry experts are looking at what could be trending next year, such as how many airports are looking at expansion projects all over the world, how the competitive framework will create opportunities and how disruptive the UKs departure from the EU will be.

Biometrics and integration

Intensified competition driven by passenger growth is already encouraging greater investment in airports infrastructure. This is most commonly seen in the introduction of biometrics, and the drive towards the single-token airport journey. Biometrics are creating opportunities, but are also creating disparate data, so integration is becoming the focus of airports on a global scale.

Brexit

Across Europe, traffic is increasing, and industry analysts conclude that the rise in line with GDP could spell airport revenue increases of 2-4%. The uncertainty still surrounding Brexit and the UKs access to the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) following March 2019 is creating concern about reduced passage of passengers and freight through the UK.

Although many experts agree that the likelihood of a standstill of EU-UK traffic is slim, in the short-term, traffic could be affected, particularly when another area of uncertainty surrounds the right of movement of passengers between the two areas and whether visa arrangements will be made. Airport operators and airlines with a reliance upon EU-UK traffic may face a period of disruption which could result in revenues being affected.

Merging airports and acquisition

Airports across the world, and notably in the Asia-Pacific region are looking towards the consolidation of assets as competitive positioning increases. Opportunities for mergers and acquisitions are popping up all over Europe due to the expansion of favourable conditions such as low interest rates, for example.

This trend is likely to increase, according to industry analysts, and additional opportunities look favourable in regions such as Latin America, where in 2019, 12 airports in Brazil are being scheduled for investment and privatisation. This is expected to attract global interest.

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baggage-handling-trials-rotterdamIt has been announced that Rotterdam The Hague Airport will soon begin testing a new, automated baggage handling solution that promises to improve baggage processes through the use of automated vehicles.

The new system trials will run over three months and will give a real view of the effectivity of this level of automation in a live airport environment. Most interestingly, the vehicles will carry just a single item of baggage, and will use a system intelligence, or awareness, to determine the best route through the airport. Some industry experts are cautiously hailing the new technology as a solution for the future of airport baggage handling, while expressing an interest in the trials in terms of the cost-efficiency and security aspects of the system.

Another bonus feature of the system is its ability to power itself through the use of stored electricity generated by solar panels, and a further green benefit is that the vehicles are fully recyclable.

All over the world in airports of all sizes, baggage handling processes are being closely examined, particularly with the introduction of the latest mandate for seamless tracking of luggage – IATA’s Resolution 753. Within the mandatory regulations, airlines must now provide tracking information at certain points during the baggage journey.

The aim of the resolution is to significantly reduce instances of lost or mishandled baggage, a problem that costs the industry millions of euros every year. Through automation, and smart technologies, baggage handling systems suppliers across the globe are developing and introducing ever-evolving solutions to tackle these issues and contribute to raising passenger satisfaction.

Although many industry professionals believe that the future of all successful airport operations will lie in the use of biometrics technology, automation of core, critical systems such as baggage handling and reconciliation helps to streamline and increase operational productivity.

We will be following the Rotterdam airport baggage handling trials with interest over the next few months.

Rockwell Collins Award for Customer Service Support from Airbus | Aviation NewsRockwell Collins, leading aviation and high-integrity solutions provider, reached the top five of 43 aviation companies with the recognition of customer services by Airbus last month for the 11th consecutive year.

Airbus and its customer airlines presented the industry-respected Rockwell Collins with a Customer Services Award for its avionics service at the Farnborough Airshow on 18th July during a special ceremony.

The Rockwell Collins team is honoured by the award

Scott Gunnufson, vice president of Sales, Marketing and Customer Support, Commercial Systems for Rockwell Collins, said ‘Our long-standing relationship with Airbus and its airline customers is one that we are very proud of. The Rockwell Collins team is honoured by the recognition and we remain focused on continuously improving support for Airbus and its customers. I commend our dedicated team around the world on their ongoing efforts and dedication.

The recognition was awarded based on several factors from more than 165 global Airbus customers, including in-service feedback, cost, service and customer support.

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.

Budapest Airport Achieves Carbon Neutral Status | Airports NewsBudapest Airport has happily flexed its green muscles this week, by achieving the coveted Carbon Neutral status in ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation program.

Hungary’s major airport worked hard to meet the criteria, implementing a range of energy-saving features throughout the terminals and making changes to critical services over the last ten years – and they’re still not done with the carbon-saving initiatives!

Budapest Airport’s environmental director, Gabor Szarvas, is delighted to receive this accreditation, particularly as they are the first airport in the Central-Eastern European region to qualify. ‘In Europe, only thirty airports are in the elite club of carbon-neutral operations, and in Central-Eastern Europe we are the first to receive this accreditation,’ he said.

The airport has reduced the CO2 emission per passenger by as much as 44% over the last five years, and is determined to go even further. Szarvas continued, ‘Since passenger traffic has been increasing significantly, we are continuously working on making the airport operation greener, in the framework of our Greenairport programme.’

The Greenairport program was launched just three years ago, and its aim was to make the operation of the gateway airport ‘sustainable via joint environmental actions.’

Still in the pipeline of improvements yet to come at Budapest Airport include:

  • Increase the number of electric vehicles at the airport
  • Commission charging stations
  • Completion of heating and cooling technologies in Terminal 2B

The installation of LED-based lighting systems, and the refurbishment of district heating pipes and water supply pumps has all contributed to the milestone achievement for the airport and it continues to work towards even greater carbon reductions.

In addition to achieving this coveted status, Budapest airport is also working to encourage its partners to adopt similar sustainable practices, and is promoting its success to show other organisations and authorities what can be achieved with determination, investment, commitment and a firm strategy in place.

Istanbul New Airport | Airport NewsIt has been announced that Yotel, the London-based hotel group, have been commissioned to build one of the largest airport hotels in the world at the almost-completed Istanbul New Airport.

The 451-roomed hotel will be located within the main airport terminal building and will have access from both air-and land-side, which will make it ideal for travellers and airline crew.

The airport operator, iGA, hopes that the new airport will ‘accelerate the growth of Turkish Airlines’, and has a focus to ‘bring an unprecedented passenger experience’ with the implementation of passenger technologies.

Kadri Samsunlu, CEO of iGA said, ‘Over the past 16 years, Turkey has visibly undergone a significant growth, development and reforms in its economy, tourism, infrastructure and standards of living and INA is a crucial part of this vision aimed at setting the bar higher and improving the quality of life for our citizens and visitors alike, l feel fortunate and privileged to be a part of this monumental project.

Yotel’s CEO, Hubert Viriot is delighted to be a part of the Istanbul New Airport project and believes that the ambitious vision to make INA the largest transit hub in the world is a great aspiration for success. He said, ‘Istanbul New Airport will only further increase Istanbul’s ever-expanding popularity and economy and YOTEL is delighted to be a part of it. The prevailing ambitious vision to make Istanbul New Airport the largest transit hub in the world made it very attractive for us to be there, and we are extremely honoured to be chosen for this exciting project. This city aspires to high growth success, just like YOTEL, so we are a perfect match.

Yotel operates four hotels in Europe at Gatwick Airport, London Heathrow, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. This new development will be the largest. INA is expected to be able to handle up to 200 million passengers per year when it opens in the autumn of this year and will have three terminals and six runways.

Frankfurt Airport Roof Terrace Opens T1 | Airport Industry NewsPassengers will get a different view of Frankfurt Airport this summer, as the German operator opens a new roof terrace in Terminal 1’s transit zone.

The roof terrace, or Open Air Deck, as the largest airport in Germany has called it, overlooks the busy airside of Terminal 1, giving passengers a great view of the ‘back-end’ workings of the airport, such as the ground handling aspects, in addition to the take-offs and landings.

There is a weather monitor on the 1382-meter deck, in addition to comfortable seating and a free-to-use telescope if travellers want a closer look at their aircraft. Open between 5am and 11pm, the €1.5 million open air deck can be accessed by all passengers in the non-Schengen zone.

There has been a terrace for airport visitors at the airport for some time, accessible from Terminal 2 on Level 4, but this new addition is already garnering positive attention from flight passengers, who feel that some fresh air and a fresh view of the airport is a welcome change from waiting inside to board or arriving at the terminal after a long flight.