Industry News




Gatwick Airport opens new arrivals facility for domestic travellers

London’s Gatwick Airport has inaugurated a new South Terminal arrivals route for passengers travelling from other parts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The dedicated facility has been developed with a £24m investment and will allow passengers to use a jetty or aircraft steps to disembark from their flight and move straight into the terminal building.

The airport has also installed a dedicated baggage reclaim belt to facilitate the quick and convenient collection of luggage, while also freeing up capacity for international passengers.

Gatwick Airport said that the investment forms part of its £1.11bn Capital Investment Programme and VINCI Airports’ commitment to optimise the infrastructure of its airports.

Gatwick terminal operations head Andy Pule said: “We are always looking for ways to improve the experience of passengers who travel through Gatwick, and this is a great example of how we invest in existing infrastructure to facilitate growth while also improving service for all.

“UK and Republic of Ireland passengers are frequent visitors to Gatwick and use the airport as a transit point into London, or to connect with the rest of the world.”

The airport has also invested in e-gates and biometric technology, which has transformed the gate room process by using more efficient self-service.

Gatwick is using Iris recognition and reconciliation technology to differentiate UK and Republic of Ireland passengers from international travellers on the departure journey.

The investment will be beneficial for passengers arriving from locations such as Guernsey, Glasgow, Dublin, and Cork with airlines including British Airways, Aurigny, Aer Lingus, and Ryanair.

Gatwick is the UK’s second-largest airport, serving more than 230 destinations in 74 countries for 46 million passengers per annum.

The airport recently released its final master plan for optimising its capacity, which details how the airport will use its existing runways more effectively to meet growing demand over the next 15 years.




Staggered threshold approach could boost airport capacity

Busy airports could increase their capacity by around 10% by implementing staggered threshold approach procedures and other new tools.

The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) and Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) recently authenticated two new concepts based on Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport scenarios that are aimed at improving runway capacity and managing aircraft noise.

Known as ‘static pairwise separation for departures’, the first concept helps to deal with increasing departure traffic with optimised wake turbulence separation minima and improved separation delivery.

The second concept, dual-threshold, focuses on landing aircraft on closely-spaced dependent parallel runways using staggered thresholds to help reduce wake separation minima and increase production.

For aircraft landing on parallel runways with staggered thresholds, a decrease of the wake separation minima can be achieved by leveraging the height difference between the glideslopes.

Under this approach, heavy and super-heavy aircraft are assigned to the lower glideslope on the runway operated in mixed mode with departures.

With the staggered threshold, medium and light aircraft are allocated the upper glideslope on the adjacent parallel runway, helping them to avoid the wakes generated by heavy aircraft.

Tower controllers also use an optimised runway delivery (ORD) tool to manage the complex pairwise arrival separations. The ORD displays separation indicators on final approach segments.

The staggered threshold approach means the aircraft noise footprint can be moved closer to the airport area for aircraft flying on the upper glide, reducing noise impact on the population in the approach area.

This approach will also help reduce separation minima for some aircraft pairs, offering an increase in capacity throughput of up to 10%.

For departures, air traffic controllers leverage a dynamic departure indicator (DDI) tool to manage departure separations and applicable spacing constraints between outbound traffic in the terminal control area (TMA).

The tool calculates distance and time-spacing indicators and helps the tower controller to provide the required time or distance spacing between departing aircraft.

Based on aircraft performance models of speed and climb profiles, the DDI tool is calibrated on radar and Mode-S tracks, developed with machine-learning techniques.

Outcomes of the departure validation indicate that air traffic controllers using the decision support tool were able to safely reduce the time between departures.

The partners said that further work will be carried out to establish these concepts to support the development of safety, requirement, and guidance material for inclusion in the Eurocontrol runway throughput package by 2022.




USDOT awards grants to improve airport infrastructure

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded $478m in airport infrastructure grants to upgrade 232 airports in 43 states.

The grants also extend to airports in American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.

This is the fourth allocation of the total $3.18bn in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for airports across the US.

US Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao said: “Infrastructure projects funded by these grants will advance safety, improve travel, generate jobs and provide other economic benefits for local communities.”

Chao added that airport infrastructure in the US supports the country’s economic competitiveness and improves quality of life.

Selected airports will use the funds for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of runways, to build firefighting facilities, and for the maintenance of taxiways, aprons, and terminals.

The funds will also be used to improve safety and emergency response capabilities, as well as to increase capacity and promote further economic growth and development in the areas surrounding the airports.

Airports receiving the grants include Casper/Natrona County International Airport in Wyoming, which will be awarded $7.3m to perform apron repairs.

Gerald Ford International Airport in Michigan will also receive $11.1m for the same reason.

Juneau International Airport in Alaska has obtained $18.9m in grants to repair taxiways A and E, construct taxiway D1, and to acquire an emergency generator for harsh weather conditions.

Los Angeles International Airport in California has been awarded $2.4m to install sound insulation noise mitigation measures for local residents.

The FAA’s most recent economic analysis suggests that US civil aviation makes up for $1.6tn in total economic activity and supports approximately 11 million jobs.

In July, the USDOT awarded $477m in airport infrastructure grants to upgrade 264 airports in 44 states, the Pacific Islands, and the District of Columbia.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently confirmed plans to award grants worth $840m for infrastructure projects at several airports across the US.

In May, the US Government approved a $779m funding package to modernise 127 airports in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico.




GMR plans to double the capacity of Hyderabad Airport

GMR Hyderabad International Airport (GHIAL) is planning to invest around Rs85bn ($1.23bn) to upgrade various facilities at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad, India.

The investment is aimed at doubling the airport’s capacity from the existing 25 million passengers per annum (MPPA) to 50 MPPA, according to The Times of India.

GHIAL, which manages RGIA, has already submitted an application to the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF).

The application, which is currently pending before MoEF, has sought environmental clearance for the airport expansion.

Originally built to cater to the needs of around 12 MPPA, the airport’s existing Terminal 1 (T1) handled 21.4 million passengers in 2018-19, an increase of 17% from 18.3 million passengers in 2017-18.

GHIAL said that the airport does not require additional land for the proposed expansion of the facilities as it already has 5,495 acres of land.

If the expansion plan is approved, it would take up to six years for construction to be completed. The expansion work is likely to create direct employment for over 5,000 local residents, as well as double the number of indirect jobs.

The expansion includes building a second terminal (T2), upgrading the existing T1, and increasing the capacity of the cargo terminal and associated warehouses.

In April this year, GMR raised $300m through an international bond issue to expand the airport.

GMR Infrastructure recently agreed to offload around 44% of its airports business, GMR Airports, to Tata, GIC Singapore, and SSG Capital Management, to raise Rs80bn ($1.16bn).

GHIAL operates as a company promoted as a joint venture (JV), with GMR Group owning 63%, Airports Authority of India (AAI) 13%, and the Government of Telangana and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad holding 13% and 11%, respectively.




Indonesia plans to build new airport in north Bali

Indonesia is reportedly planning to build a secondary airport in Bali as part of its strategy to boost tourism in the country.

The airport will be constructed in the northern village of Kubutambahan, on the opposite side of the island to tourist hotspots such as Kuta and Seminyak, according to 9News.

The proposed international airport will be used to accommodate primarily low-cost carriers.

Indonesian Transport Minister Budi KaryaSumadi told 9News: “All the low-cost carrier in the north and the normal in the south.”

Construction on the airport is scheduled to commence next year.

The new airport will relieve pressure on the existing NgurahRai International Airport in Denpasar, which is struggling to meet surging demand.

To tackle this situation, the government is planning to develop a new tourism mecca in the island’s underdeveloped north region.

Once the new airport becomes operational, the government will ask low-cost carriers to move to the airport while Ngurah Rai undergoes further upgrades.

To support the new airport, the government has started upgrading roads to cut travel time from the north Bali city of Singaraja to Denpasar from two-and-half hours to an hour-and-a-half.

However, tourism advocates claim that the next part of the drive on congested roads to holiday hotspots would take an extra hour.

Experts said that it would create problems for Australians travelling to Bali as they could be sent to an airport hours away from tourist hotspots.

Under the plan, almost 70% of flights operated by low-cost carriers Jetstar, Air Asia, and Lion Air would land in north Bali.

To placate tourists, the Indonesian Transport Minister has also suggested the possibility of building Bali’s first railway to carry passengers south free of charge.




Auckland Airport launches project to upgrade roads

Auckland Airport in New Zealand has launched a NZ$100m ($66.54m) project to upgrade the roads leading to the airport’s terminal area with the aim of boosting capacity and supporting public transport.

Under the ‘Northern Network’ project, the main road leading to the George Bolt Drive terminal area will be widened.

The project also includes the construction of new roads around the core airport network.
Auckland Airport development and delivery general manager André Lovatt said: “Northern Network is about making access to the airport reliable, with the roading network resilient enough to cope with anticipated volumes in the years ahead.

“Northern Network is a key project for Auckland Airport in that it is providing the roading infrastructure backbone for a multi-billion investment programme to transform Auckland Airport over the next two decades.”

To manage the growing number of passengers, which is expected to double to over 40 million by 2044, the airport operator has started improving the infrastructure that will last over 20 years.

The airport said that George Bolt Memorial Drive will be widened to create high occupancy vehicle lanes, with shared pedestrian and cycle paths alongside.

As part of the programme, a new one-way loop road will be constructed, enabling traffic to flow efficiently through a pick-up/drop-off zone at the international terminal before connecting back into George Bolt Memorial Drive.

The new Altitude Drive will provide added roading capacity, allowing terminal bound traffic improved journey times.

Construction firm Downer has been awarded the contract for the road project.

Earthwork is scheduled to start next month with the roading improvements completed by the middle of 2021.

André added: “This project is one of a suite of transport and roading projects to take place, allowing the growth of the airport, which includes the second runway.”

“We know that any time there are roadworks on busy roads across Auckland it can affect traffic.

“We will be maintaining two sealed lanes in either direction on George Bolt Memorial Drive, just as there are today, but we need to keep our site workers safe and we will be asking road users to take care.”

The project is expected to be completed by mid­-2021.




Refuelling problems cripples service at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

Several airlines were forced to cancel around 180 flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport yesterday due to the malfunctioning of a fuel system operated by Aircraft Fuel Supply.

This led to thousands of passengers being stranded at Schiphol and other airports.

To avoid a chaotic situation, the airport reduced the number of incoming flights to a third of the normal capacity. By the time issue came into light, nearly 70 flights were in the queue for refuelling.

Schiphol Airport in a statement said: “Travellers who had planned to depart this evening are now advised to consult, the Schiphol app, or their airlines for the most up-to-date flight information prior to setting-off from their location to the airport.”

The airport said today that it has resolved the issue in collaboration with Aircraft Fuel Supply.

It added that the system that controls the supply of aircraft fuel is currently starting up cautiously and gradually.

Dutch airline KLM warned that flights could also be cancelled today due to the phased restart of operations at the airport.

Aircraft Fuel Supply said that the failure of the system was not due to the current heatwave in Europe.

Recently, the baggage system at Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in the UK failed, forcing passengers to fly without bags.

A Heathrow spokesperson told The Sun: “We apologise for disruption experienced as a result of an issue with our baggage system in Terminal 2 yesterday evening.

“This means passengers departing Terminal 2 may have travelled without their hold bags.

“We are working closely with our airline partners to reunite passengers with their luggage as soon as possible and those affected should contact their airlines for more information.”




Dublin Airport deploys new automatic aircraft parking system

Dublin Airport in Ireland has installed an automatic visual docking guidance system (A-VDGS) on all aircraft contact parking stands.

A-VDGS is an electronic display that provides real-time information to pilots as they park aircraft on arrival or prepare for departure.

It is equipped with an infrared high-definition camera that scans the aircraft parking area for any possible objects that could affect the safety of the aircraft.

The camera identifies any large obstacles on the ground, such as equipment or baggage, which may block the stand and cause knock-on delays.

The airport expects the new technology to ensure faster aircraft turn-around time and improve safety.

Dublin Airport said that the deployment of the new solution saves fuel and curbs carbon emissions from the airfield as the aircraft and its support vehicles will not have their engines running unnecessarily.

Dublin Airport managing director Vincent Harrison said: “AVDGS is another example of technology enhancing airport processes that deliver huge benefits for the airport, its airline customers and passengers.

“It is a tried and trusted system of improving airport safety and efficiencies and supports Dublin Airport’s continuing drive for sustainability.”

A-VDGS will also support airline marshals who guide aircraft onto and off the parking stand. The marshal will feed key information including the aircraft type and other flight data into the AVDGS.

The system will measure aircraft clearances, stopping distances, and record the exact on and off stand times.

These recorded times are sent directly into the Airport’s Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) system, which focuses on aircraft turnaround times and pre-departure sequencing processes to boost air traffic flow and operational efficiency.

A-VDGS has a low visibility functionality that enables aircraft to park in extremely poor visibility conditions.

The deployment of A-VDGS is a Europe-wide initiative under the supervision of Eurocontrol, the European organisation for the safety of air navigation.

In July 2016, Dublin Airport signed a framework agreement with ADB Safegate to supply and install A-VDGS units.

The design and delivery of these A-VDGS units was managed in-house by Dublin Airport.