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belfast-airport-3iIt 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.

Corfu Amongst 14 regional Airports Sale | Airports NewsIt has been announced that the sale of 14 regional airports in Greece, first agreed in 2015, has now been finalised.

The €1.3 billion deal was agreed in the final quarter of 2015 to Fraport and Slentel Ltd, and was signed yesterday by the Greek ministers for finance, transport and defence. Part of the agreement includes the concession that the Fraport consortium will ‘use, operate and develop the airports over a 40-year period.’

Within the first four years, the consortium will upgrade the airports, which include the sites on the major tourist destination islands of Mykonos, Corfu and Santorini, and will ‘maintain and preserve service levels for the whole duration.’

Greece will retain ownership of the facilities and infrastructure, and the consortium will pay a yearly lease figure of €22.9 million.

The privatisation of the regional airports was originally agreed within the framework of the EU bailout in the summer of 2015. The €86 billion bailout also included the privatisation of ports and other Greek assets.

Airports around the globe are pushing forward with self-service solutions to make passenger experience better, and to allow greater flexibility for resource and personnel management within the airport environment.

In addition to self-service check-in and baggage handling, the future of aviation travel may involve complete automation using the next generation of biometrics to handle passenger security screening, passport control and data sharing with government departments and agencies.

Rockwell Collins is a major player in the airports infrastructure sector, and has been working on and thinking about innovations in biometrics and identity management for almost a decade.

The use of biometrics, and in particular facial recognition technology, is faced with challenges in the aviation industry, quite aside from the privacy and data sharing issues that continue to be hotly debated around the world.

According to the Director of Strategic Programs for Rockwell Collins’ Global Airports business, Mr Tony Chapman, ‘Everyone is looking for something more unique than facial features. It’s good, but you have to look at the camera.’

Although the idea of complete, biometrics-powered automation is still some years away, it is good to know that some of the biggest innovators in the world are working towards a solution.