Industry News




BIAL unveils SOM’s design for garden terminal at Bengaluru airport

Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) has revealed the design of the new garden terminal (T2) for the Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru (BLR Airport) in Bengaluru, India.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the new terminal will feature trees, small gardens, and ponds with local species of plants. Upon completion, the terminal is expected to serve approximately 25 million passengers per annum.

The first phase of the terminal project will span across 255,000m² and is scheduled to be completed by March 2021. Design of the new terminal is inspired by Bengaluru’s history as a ‘Garden City’.

BIAL managing director and CEO Hari Marar said: “Terminal 2 is dedicated to the beautiful city of Bengaluru.

“Designed as a reflection of this city, it is founded on four pillars: technological leadership, the idea of a terminal in a garden, environmental and ecological stewardship, and a celebration of Karnataka’s rich heritage and culture.

“Together with SOM, we have created an iconic new terminal Bengaluru can truly be proud of.”

Every passageway throughout Terminal 2 will connect travellers with nature. Planted bells will be hanged from the ceiling at the entrance, check-in, and security.

A large indoor garden featuring rammed-earth walls and waterfalls will be developed to offer a gateway into the densely-landscaped retail space.

After that, the shopping area will connect to the gates through Terminal 2’s ‘forest belt’, which has been designed to provide an immersive, soothing outdoor experience to both departing and arriving passengers.

Terminal 2 uses its landscape design to support the project’s sustainability goals. The planned building enclosure will use high-performance glazing and calibrated shading to temper natural light.

SOM director Peter Lefkovits said: “Terminal 2 will stand apart from every other airport in the world.

“The orchestration of every component, both natural and man-made, creates a passenger experience that we hope will set a precedent for the future of airport design.”




Drones are endangering airport operations, says UK Airprox Board

A report published by the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) has warned that illegal drone intrusions in airport airspace have increased by more than a third in 2018, putting aircraft and passengers’ lives at risk.

The UKAB recorded 125 dangerous nearby encounters of drones with aircraft in 2018, a sharp rise from 93 and 71 violations recorded in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

UKAB, which investigates drone-related incidents, said that 39 of these encounters were recorded at London’s Heathrow Airport. Manchester Airport witnessed 10 incidents last year.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) flight safety head Rob Hunter was quoted by the Financial Times as saying the rise was “incredibly concerning”.

Hunter further added: “A drone coming into contact with an airliner or helicopter could prove disastrous.

Hunter told the publication that the actual number of drone sightings at all airports in 2018 could be much higher than 125.

In January, Heathrow temporarily halted all departing flights as a safety measure after a drone was spotted flying near the airfield.

After the incident, Heathrow said: “We have invested significantly over the years to enhance our capabilities to detect and deter drones at the airport.”

A similar drone sighting incident at Gatwick Airport in December 2018 led to the closure of the airport for nearly 36 hours. During the busy Christmas period, at least 100 flights were cancelled that affected around 110,000 passengers.

After the Gatwick and Heathrow incidents, the UK Government enacted a law that increased drone exclusion zones around airports to a maximum of 5km, from the previous 1km.

The government and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) also said that operators will have to obtain a permit before flying any drones in the restricted area and those violating this will now face a prison sentence of up to five years.




Thales wraps up acquisition of Dutch technology firm Gemalto

Commercial avionics and air traffic management specialist Thales has wrapped up the previously announced $5.39bn takeover of Dutch rival Gemalto.

The deal was originally announced in December 2017.

The acquisition will enable Thales to create a group that will have all the technologies supporting the critical decision chain for companies, organisations, and governments.

Thales will use Gemalto’s resources to develop secure solutions to address the major challenges in unmanned air traffic management, data, and network cybersecurity, airport security or financial transaction security.

The group has also decided to invest nearly €1bn per annum on a research and development initiative, aimed at further boosting its digital expertise in the internet of things, big data, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.

Thales chairman and CEO Patrice Caine said: “With Gemalto, a global leader in digital identification and data protection, Thales has acquired a set of highly complementary technologies and competencies with applications in all of our five vertical markets, which are now redefined as aerospace, space, ground transportation, digital identity and security, and defence and security.

“Together, we are creating a giant in digital identity and security with the capabilities to compete in the big leagues worldwide.”

With the completion of the acquisition, Gemalto will operate as one of Thales’s seven global divisions under the Digital Identity and Security (DIS) brand name.

As a result of the takeover, Thales will expand its operations in Latin America (2,500 staff, up from 600), triple its presence in Northern Asia (1,980 from 700), Southeast Asia (2,500 from 800) and India (1,150 from 400) and North America (6,660 from 4,600).

In 2018, Thales recorded revenues of €19bn and has a workforce of 80,000 employees working in 68 countries.

Thales was recently chosen to lead a SESAR Joint Undertaking public / private project aimed at preparing Europe for future increases in drone traffic.




Ryanair launches new base at London Southend Airport

Ryanair has officially opened its new base at London Southend Airport, the fourth busiest in Britain.

The Irish low-cost airline has deployed three aircraft with an investment of $300m in Southend, Essex. It will fly over 50 aircraft per week to 13 destinations in eight countries.

The opening of the new base has enabled the airline to support 750 ‘on-site’ jobs at London Southend Airport.

Stobart Group, which owns Southend Airport along with Stobart Air, is looking to capitalise on congestion at other airports in London.

Stobart Aviation CEO Glyn Jones, said: “We are delighted to welcome the first Ryanair flight to London Southend Airport today. Ryanair passengers can now fly to 14 new routes and enjoy a quick and easy airport with direct trains to London Liverpool Street in 51 minutes.

“This is an exciting time for London Southend Airport. We welcomed 1.5million passengers last year. With the arrival of Ryanair, we will be welcoming over 2.5 million.

“We are growing fast. We believe we can maintain this momentum with more airlines recognising that we represent an attracting destination for growth in London.”

In 2008, Stobart Group acquired London Southend Airport and applied to increase the runway by 300m and also upgrade navigation and lighting systems.

The airport operator opened a new art air traffic control tower and mainline railway station in 2011.




Sydney Airport launches new lifestyle precinct at T2

Sydney Airport has launched a new lifestyle precinct at T2 Domestic that includes new food and beverage concepts with the aim of offering a fresh and relaxing experience to passengers.

The area features a number of airport brands such as JB Hi-Fi, BONDS and LEGO, which are located between the recently modernised casual dining precinct and the Jetstar and Tigerair gates.

Sydney Airport chief commercial officer Vanessa Orth said: “We want our customers to feel relaxed before they board their flight, so we’re looking at the end-to-end journey more holistically from the time they start planning a trip to take-off, and how we can enhance every step along the way.

“We’ve partnered with strong, local Australian brands to deliver our new lifestyle precinct with concepts that should appeal to everyone including technology, apparel, news and books, toys, and most importantly, a chocolatier.

“We’re reimagining the travel experience for our customers and look forward to delivering so much more to ensure their time at Sydney Airport is seamless and relaxing.”

Apparel brand Bonds has opened its first airport store in Australia, while JB Hi-Fi opened its new store at Sydney Airport’s T1 International terminal.

A new bar concept, Fat Yak, has also set up its shop in the new lifestyle precinct.

Sydney Airport said that the new lifestyle precinct has been designed with customers’ feedback in mind and will soon unveil a relaxing dwell area with new furniture, fixtures, enhanced connectivity and upgraded wayfinding.

The new lifestyle precinct is situated at the T2 Domestic terminal beyond security towards Gate 49.

In September 2018, Sydney Airport stated that it will reduce announcements at T1 International Terminalas part of a new ‘quiet terminal’ initiative to offer a relaxing environment for passengers.




SITA to deploy management solution at Toronto City Airport

IT firm SITA has won a contract to deploy terminal management technology at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) to increase terminal operational efficiency and enhance travellers’ experience.

The contract was awarded by Nieuport Aviation Infrastructure Partners (Nieuport Aviation), which owns and operates the passenger terminal at YTZ Airport.

Deployment of SITA’s Airport Management software will enable terminal operator Nieuport Aviation to better monitor, measure, and predict daily airport operations.

Nieuport Aviation CEO Neil Pakey said: “Ensuring a seamless daily passenger experience in the terminal is a priority for Nieuport Aviation.

“We believe SITA will provide us with better situational awareness, enable more proactive planning and allow us to manage the many moving parts at the airport including terminal gating, employees, equipment and passengers.”

The technology vendor said that the cloud-based business intelligence software pools data from terminal operations, seasonal schedules, and real-time flight data, and then sends the relevant information to the flight information display system (FIDS).

The flow of information to the FIDS helps to improve flight and capacity management and reporting, along with stand and gate assignment monitoring and management.

SITA will start deploying the technology in the second quarter of 2019 in a phased manner.

SITA Americas president Diana Einterz said: “Our technology will provide better visibility of the terminal operations, using predictive analytics based on data feeds from across Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

“The result will be improved operations, such as reduced turnaround times, which will help the terminal, its airlines, and passengers.”

SITA recently reached a contract with Athens International Airport in Greece to trial its Smart Path biometric technology at security.

Earlier, airport operator Manchester Airports Group (MAG) teamed up with SITA to deploy further passenger self-service kiosks across the group’s three main airports.




Manchester Airport opens new pier at Terminal 2

Manchester Airport in the UK has opened a new pier connected to Terminal 2 (T2) as part of its £1bn transformation programme.

The new £216m pier will be used by all airlines currently operating out of T2, with more and more flights gradually moving over to the new pier once it becomes fully operational.

Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan said: “Over the coming years we will transform the airport for all of our customers, giving the North the world-class airport it deserves.

“The investment we are making and the range of destinations we connect to, in all corners of the world, underlines the vital role Manchester Airport plays in creating jobs and driving growth across the North of England.

“Having first put a spade in the ground in July 2017, a huge amount of work has gone into getting our new pier and multi-storey car park ready to open today and I would like to thank all of our colleagues and delivery partners for their efforts.”

Built using more than 300 individual panes of glass, the pier is equipped with 11 gates and airbridges, and more than 1,400 seats.

The next phase of the £1bn transformation will involve the extension to the existing T2, which will more than double its size.

Manchester Airport noted that the £1bn investment will provide major improvements, including new security halls and the latest technological advancements.

Once the T2 extension opens next year, the existing building will close for modernisation, with reopening expected in 2022. Further piers are set to open in 2022 and 2024.

The opening of the new pier comes as Manchester Airport continues to see an increase in passenger numbers as it attracts further long-haul routes to Addis Ababa and Seattle.




Pakistan breaks ground on Gwadar Airport project

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has broken ground on the construction of Gwadar International Airport in the country’s Balochistan province.

The proposed airport, which is being funded by China, will cover an area of 4,300 acres. It will be capable of accommodating narrow-body aircraft, as well as big aircraft such as the Airbus A380.

The airport is one of numerous projects in Gwadar being financed by the Chinese government as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.

In order to finance the airport, a grant agreement between Chain and Pakistan was signed in May 2017.

“The projects in Gwadar are conducted under a framework agreement with NDRC and a MoU with MOFCOM and the Exim Bank. Unlike many of the other China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in Gwadar, the New Gwadar International Airport is not financed by a loan from China but through a Chinese grant,” said in a statement.

Scheduled to become operational over the next three year, the new airport will be developed under the guidance of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Once commissioned, it will become the second largest airport in Pakistan.

Pakistan believes that the new international airport, which will operate under the open skies policy, will help Gwadar to emerge as a regional economic hub.

The soil testing on the land, which started in January last year, has been completed through 300 boreholes made on various locations.

The aviation authorities have already approved the design and work plan for the airport.