Industry News




Vietnam inaugurates Van Don International Airport

Vietnam’s Van Don International Airport has opened for operations in order to gain private funding to develop further national infrastructure projects.

The facility is the first privately owned airport in Vietnam.

Located in the north-eastern coastal province of Quang Ninh, the airport has been built with an investment of $310m.

Van Don Airport is capable of handling large aircraft, including Boeing 777s and Airbus A350s.

Covering 290ha, the new airport is wholly owned by Sun Group and was built in collaboration with Netherlands Airport Consultants. It will be operated based on the build, operate and transfer model.

NACO project manager and architect Romy Berntsen said: “It is the most modern airport in Vietnam. It will have positive influences on the passengers’ experience here in the airport.”

The airport is equipped with the latest technologies in the main terminal and a new runway. It is estimated to serve up to 2.5 million passengers a year for the next two years and five million per annum by 2030.

The company hopes to recover the investment over the next 45 years.

Investors that include Korea Airports pulled out of the project in 2015 when they learned that the airport would focus mainly on domestic flights.

Sun Group then entered as a new investor and the project began in March 2016.

However, it was later decided that Van Don would be an international airport, which supports the government’s plan to operate 13 international and 15 domestic airports by 2023.

There are currently 21 airports across Vietnam.

Vietnam plans to invest at least $3bn to build six new airports over the next five years, alongside modernising existing facilities.




Israel set to open Ramon Airport

The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) has announced that Ramon Airport near the Red Sea is scheduled to open later this month.

Ramon Airport was built with an investment of $500m and will initially start operations on 22 January with domestic flights, before extending to international operations in March.

The facility is the country’s newest international airport.

Initially, the Arkia and Israir carriers will operate the domestic flights.

IAA spokeswoman Liza Dvir told Reuters that the opening of the airstrip took slightly longer than planned due to the need to extend parking spaces for 60 aircraft. Minor delays were also caused by the need to increase the runway length to 3.6km so that larger aircraft can land at the site.

Dvir told the news agency that ‘Israel didn’t have a second international airport’, referring to the 2014 conflict when militants targeted Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport.

Israel is expecting the new airport to strengthen tourism to Eilat.

Initially, Ramon Airport will be able to accommodate more than two million passengers per annum, with plans to expand the capacity to 4.5 million by 2030.

The new airport will replace Ovda airport and be able to serve as an alternative to Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv during emergencies.

Ramon Airport has been named in memory of Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut who died when the space shuttle Columbia broke apart on re-entry in 2003.

Located 18km north of Eilat, the airport has a longer runway than the one in Eilat.




VINCI Airports to buy 50.01% stake in London Gatwick for $3.68bn

VINCI Airports is to acquire a 50.01% stake in London Gatwick Airport from Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) for $3.68bn.

The remaining 49.99% will be managed by GIP.

Under the deal, VINCI will gain access to one of the largest metropolitan aviation markets in the world. The company already operates 45 airports in 12 countries.

Gatwick Airport links to 228 destinations in 74 countries and welcomes more than 46 million travellers per annum.

VINCI Airports said that the transaction fits with VINCI Concessions’ long-term investment plans.

VINCI Concessions CEO and VINCI Airports president Nicolas Notebaert said: “Creating synergies and sharing best practices being at the core of our values, the whole VINCI Airports network will benefit from Gatwick Airport’s world-class management and operational excellence, which has allowed it to deliver strong and steady growth in a very constrained environment.

“As Gatwick’s new industrial partner, VINCI Airports will support and encourage growth of traffic, operational efficiency and leverage its international expertise in the development of commercial activities to further improve passenger satisfaction and experience.”

The transaction is scheduled to complete in the first half of this year.

In the year ending 31 March 2018, Gatwick Airport Group recorded total revenue of £764.2m, with EBITDA of £411.2m.

VINCI Airports manages the development and operations of 45 airports across France, Portugal, the UK, Sweden, Serbia, Cambodia, Japan, the US, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Chile, and Brazil.




South Korea’s Incheon Airport plans to invest $3.72bn in fourth runway

South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corp (IIAC) has started construction on the KRW4.2trn ($3.72bn) fourth runway at Incheon Airport.

The latest investment in the fourth stage expansion will enable the Korean airport to support its growth plan and meet the increasing demand for air travel in the country, reported

IIAC said that investment forms part of the fourth stage expansion of the airport. It will also cover expansion of the second terminal, mooring and commuting facilities.

Once the fourth runway becomes operational by 2023, the airport will be able to manage 100 aircraft movements an hour, according to the publication.

The facility was built to replace Gimpo International Airport. It has been steadily increasing its facilities and capacities. Under the second stage of expansion, IIAC launched a new concourse in 2008, while a second terminal was constructed in 2018 as part of the third stage expansion plan.

Currently, Incheon Airport manages 72 million passengers per annum. The airport will be able to welcome approximately 100 million travellers when the fourth stage of expansion is complete.

The state-controlled airport operator noted that the expansion project will create 50,000 new jobs and contribute KRW11tn ($9.79bn) in economic benefit to South Korea.

The Incheon Airport officially started operations in 2001, five years after the start of construction on the terminal building.

According to the airport’s official website, the Incheon Airport is the world’s third busiest international cargo handler, with plans being finalised to increase its annual freight volume to three million tonnes by 2020.

Incheon hosts 90 airlines, serving 186 destinations worldwide.




London Southend Airport to start runway maintenance project

The UK’s London Southend Airport is set to start a maintenance project to upgrade the durability and performance of the facility’s runway.

Work on the project will involve an investment of £10m is scheduled to begin on 7 January next year.

Runway maintenance is needed to enable the airport to continue serving the increasing passenger traffic, which has grown to 1.5 million travellers over the past few years and this trend is expected to continue further into 2019.

The upgrade will enable more flights at London Southend Airport.

In addition, the development will help create more jobs, including the 750 ‘on-site’ jobs annually created with the opening of a new Ryanair base at London Southend in mid-2019.

Stobart Aviation CEO Glyn Jones said: “It is essential to maintain a safe runway. The last set of major runway works were in 2011 and were part of the runway extension development.

“Previous to that, maintenance was carried out in 1994. As part of the strategic plan for continued investment to cater for the growth of the airport, within our existing S106 planning agreement, we are enhancing the durability and performance of the runway.”

To avoid any disruption to flights operations, the airport will carry out the majority of the works during night hours.

The runway will be shutdown between the hours 23.30-06.30 to all aircraft so that the contractors can complete the planned work in a safe environment.

The runway maintenance work is likely to complete in almost three months.




Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Nigeria to open new terminal

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has announced that a new international terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja will be inaugurated on 20 December.

Once operational, the facility is expected to double the airport’s annual passenger handling capacity to 15 million travellers from 7.5 million.

China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) is building the new terminal, which will be equipped with modern check-in, baggage handling and security facilities.

The CCECC has also set up temporary parking facilities at the site, which will be upgraded to a multi-storey car park in future with the capacity to accommodate 1,300 cars.

Two boarding bridges and equipment such as scanners, escalators, security cameras and checking counters are already in place.

FAAN’s managing director Saleh Dunoma told media sources that the terminal building was designed to provide a hassle-free travel experience.

She said: “It is essentially designed for passengers, it is not the kind of terminal where you have several offices and aviances, it is just designed for passenger purposes and duty offices only.

“So, most of the offices are going to remain in the old facility and then we will provide posts for the agencies that will participate in the processing of passengers.”

Passengers will be offered free trolleys and Wi-Fi services in the new terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport, which will help attract more passengers and support from additional airlines.




New device to enhance airport security cameras

A team of scientists led by the Australian National University (ANU) has invented a new device with advanced sensing functions that can help improve airport security.

Produced using ultra-compact structures known as metasurfaces, the device is capable of controlling the direction of electromagnetic waves.

The new device can be equipped to airport security cameras to expedite passenger processing at airports and help reduce waiting times.

Lead researcher at the ANU’s Research School of Physics and Engineering Nonlinear Physics Centre Dr Mingkai Liu said: “This device can sense the entire environment surrounding it with unprecedented precision. Previously, multiple fixed sensors pointing towards different directions would be required to achieve this.

“These future cameras could identify hazardous devices or dangerous chemicals in people’s carry-on baggage when they walk through an airport without needing them to queue up and go through the various procedures that are necessary now.”

The research has already led to a proof-of-concept prototype device and provisional patent.

As well as applications in airport security, the new concept can be used to develop compact sensors for driverless cars and other vehicles to help overcome safety challenges.

The research team will continue to develop the device so that it is ready to be commercialised and manufactured on a larger scale.

A team of researchers from the School of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, were also involved in the project.




Luton Airport opens new terminal after £160m upgrade

Luton Airport has re-opened its terminal following the latest phase of a renovation project that aims to double passenger handling capacity by 2020.

The £160m three-year redevelopment aims to make journeys easier, quicker and more comfortable.

The number of passengers has already increased by 35% since the modernisation work started. More than 16.5 million passengers are expected to fly in 2018, which is an increase of 5% in comparison with 2017.

The UK’s Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said: “Luton’s investment firmly puts passengers at the heart of development and will improve the experience of those using the airport for business or holidays.

“Supporting thriving airports such as Luton will form a part of the government’s Aviation 2050 consultation, ensuring the benefits of transformation are felt across the local area.”

The upgraded terminal features seating areas, free Wi-Fi and 30 new stores, as well as a new boarding pier with eight additional boarding gates and an expanded security area.

The upgrade also includes a new dual carriageway, a bus interchange and a multi-storey car park.

The Bedfordshire Chambers of Commerce’s chief executive Justin Richardson said: “The culmination of Luton Airport’s redevelopment marks a significant moment for the local community, which is set to benefit from the creation of 10,000 new jobs.

“The redevelopment will also increase the airport’s economic contribution to the local economy to £1.4bn by 2030, allowing local residents to share in the benefits of a fast-growing and successful international airport.”

Owned by Luton Borough Council, the airport is set to undergo further expansion to attract 38 million passengers per annum by 2050.

The airport first opened in July 1938.