Industry News




WSA Co awards contracts to build Western Sydney Airport

Australian Government-owned entity WSA Co has awarded two contracts for the construction of Western Sydney Airport.

WSA Co awarded the contracts to build Western Sydney Airport to a CPB Contractors Lendlease joint venture and Bechtel.

The joint venture’s bulldozers will start work on the site by the end of the year.

Approximately 1.8 million cubic metres of soil will be shifted to start levelling the land. The early earthworks contract also comprises building the access roads and drainage.

Bechtel will manage airport construction and ensure the project is completed with the highest safety and quality standards.

The company will also support WSA Co in airport design development work.

Australia’s Assistant Minister for Finance David Coleman said: “These contracts will deliver real economic benefits for Western Sydney and are further evidence of the tremendous progress being made on this once-in-a-generation project.

“Western Sydney Airport will be a catalyst for growth in the region and it’s great to see that starting now, generating more local jobs, even at this early stage in the project.”

The contracts are expected to create up to 300 jobs.

Western Sydney Airport is set to support more than 11,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction and over 27,000 during operation.

WSA Co was set up by the Australian Government to build and operate Western Sydney Airport at Badgery’s Creek.

The airport will be built with an investment of A$5.3bn ($3.9bn) and is scheduled to open in 2026.




Operations at Sweden’s Visby Airport become fossil fuel free

Airport operator Swedavia has announced that operations at Visby Airport, Sweden, have become entirely fossil fuel free. This target was achieved two years ahead of schedule.

The move follows years of focused works, which included the electrification of airport vehicles, as well as a switch in fuels and the implementation of new efficiency measures.

Aircraft emissions are currently accountable for between 2-6% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, with figures showing that if global aviation was a country, it would rank in the top ten emitters.

Swedavia, which owns and operates ten airports in Sweden, said that ditching fossil fuels is vital to create a sustainable transport sector. The company plans to have entirely fossil-free operations across all its hubs by 2020.

Visby Airport reported that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels have dropped from 300 metric tonnes to zero in the last ten years. The hub’s energy is now entirely provided by green or renewable electricity. Swedavia also currently buys biofuel for its employees’ trips on official business.

Visby Airport director Gunnar Jonasson said: “There is a great transformation underway in the transport sector right now, with reduced fossil carbon dioxide emissions being the top priority. Visby Airport is a large enterprise that uses many vehicles and equipment, as well as a lot of energy to enable air transport to and from the island of Gotland. It is a major achievement that our operations at the airport are now entirely fossil-free, and I am very proud.”

With the move, Swedavia hopes to influence other stakeholders in the industry and help them reduce their environmental footprints. This will mean a further commitment from the company to facilitate large-scale use of biofuel in aviation.

The company added that cooperation with other players in the aviation industry could lead the Swedish domestic air transport to become fossil-free by 2030, while the country’s international air transport could achieve this target by 2045.




GFIA unveils Master Plan for airport renovation and expansion

The Gerald R Ford International Airport (GFIA) in the US has released its 20-year ‘Master Plan’, which includes the provision of more covered parking options, concourse renovations and additions, and the opening a Federal Inspection Station (FIS).

Once approved by the GFIA Authority Board, the Master Plan will be submitted for review and approval to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

GFIA president and CEO Jim Gill said: “As we continue to grow it is imperative that our facilities, grounds, airside accessibility, and every facet of our airport keep up with the demand from passenger traffic.

“Our planning and engineering team and consultants look and plan five, ten, and even 20 years out to predict what the needs of our facility will be. We look forward to continued growth in the coming years and we are excited about the plans for our future development.

“Our growth opportunities do not only include the terminal building and airfield but areas around our airport property where we can expand and continue to be an economic catalyst for West Michigan’s overall advancement.”

Key highlights of the 2018 GFIA Master Plan include airside renovations such as relocation of the air traffic control tower and airfield improvements, including taxiway re-alignment.

The plan also focuses on landside improvements such as the expansion of terminal curbs, improvements to access roads, an increased cell phone lot, and mobile-app based rideshare lots.

Additionally, the terminal building improvements include the widening and expansion of the concourse, the addition of a new concourse, expansion of baggage claim areas and the opening of a FIS to deal with commercial international travel.

The plan is in line with the FAA’s requirement of updating its plan periodically to reflect community growth, expansion of facilities, and modification in federal rules.




Denver Airport rolls out emergency reporting app

Denver International Airport (DEN) in the US has introduced a new mobile app that passengers and staff can use to inform safety and security concerns directly to airport authorities.

The app, named ‘See Say Airport’, allows users to send real-time information about potential security threats to authorities.

DEN is said to be the first airport in the country to use ELERTS, a public safety communication app, to crowd-source the reporting of safety and security issues.

DEN CEO Kim Day said: “Safety is number one priority and by downloading and reporting issues through the ‘See Say Airport’ app, the public can take an active role in keeping the airport as safe as possible.

“We encourage anyone who visits the airport regularly to download the app and use it to communicate with airport authorities directly regarding safety and security concerns.”

Using the ‘See Say Airport’ app, passengers can send photos, videos, text messages and GPS location of any suspicious persons or activity, unattended baggage and even unclean restrooms to airport operations for assistance.

Reports submitted by users are sent directly and immediately to airport authorities, which are then investigated. Feedback on the response is shared with the person who submitted the report.

ELERTS CEO Ed English said: “The Department of Homeland Security’s See Something Say Something campaign brought attention to the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement, but was created before mobile phones were an everyday accessory for nearly everyone.

“Combining the campaign effort with our See Say Airport mobile app, which makes it easy for anyone in an airport to report suspicious behaviour or questionable activity, is a powerful combination bringing this security initiative into the 21st century.

“Denver is an innovative first mover that will pave the way for airport safety and security communications – empowering the ‘crowd’ – airport employees, contractors, vendors, drivers and the travelling public – to help combat both internal and external threats.”




ParkCloud to offer parking reservation at greek airports

Online parking reservation provider ParkCloud has started offering its services at Thessaloniki Airport and Kavala Airport in Greece.

Travellers flying from Thessaloniki Airport can now reserve their parking through ParkCloud across a number of the airport’s parking products.

ParkCloud managing director Mark Pegler said: “Southern Europe has always been a strong market for us, with demand for reserved parking in countries such as Italy and Spain increasing year-on-year.

“As demand across Greece also gains pace, it’s an exciting time to be establishing partnerships with like-minded operators and expanding our network throughout the country.”

ParkCloud is offering long-stay options P6, P7 and P8 comprising 750, 450 and 399 parking spaces respectively, at Thessaloniki Airport. It will give passengers numerous choices when pre-booking the parking option at the airport that best suits their travel needs.

To improve security, each car park is CCTV operated and is open 24/7. The parking space is conveniently situated just a short walk from the terminal building.

Travellers flying from Kavala Airport can also reserve a parking lot at the airport’s P1 car park through ParkCloud’s global database.

Located adjacent to the terminal, P1 provides enough spaces to park 197 cars.

Kavala Airport is spending nearly €10m to expand and upgrade its existing terminal. The airport will deploy a modern baggage handling system to improve capacity for passenger intake.

Both airports have joined Heraklion Airport as part of ParkCloud’s official Greek airport partner network.




Heathrow Airport expansion approval triggers controversy

Heathrow Airport has received backing from the UK Parliament to build a third runway in a controversial decision that has sparked division amid Conservative and Labour MPs.

The UK’s largest airport and the second busiest in the world, Heathrow Airport was given the green light with a majority of 296 votes in a Commons vote after receiving Cabinet approval earlier this month.

Despite the overall majority, dissent rose among Tory ranks when it was revealed the project’s loudest opponent, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, would miss the vote because he was abroad. Conservatives were under Prime Minister Theresa May’s orders to support the government by voting for the proposed expansion.

Labour MPs were given a free vote, although the party’s official position was against the construction of the third runway, while the SNP abstained.

The proposed expansion is forecast to cost about £14bn and could lead to hundreds of homes being demolished in the nearby towns of Longford, Harmondsworth and Sipson. Campaigners say it will also bring serious environmental damage and increase noise pollution.

A new runway would boost Heathrow’s capacity from 85.5 million passengers to 130 million, and the Department for Transport previously stated that no expansion would mean London’s five airports would reach full capacity by 2034. Officials expect the project to create 114,000 extra jobs in the area around the airport by 2030, with an extra 16 million long-haul seats by 2040.

Reaction to the vote was divided. Greenpeace UK said it is ready to join a cross-party group of London councils, together with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, in a legal challenge against the expansion.

Chairman of the London Assembly Tony Arbour said: “The London Assembly unanimously opposes the expansion of Heathrow Airport on the grounds of air pollution, noise and the health impact it will have on Londoners.

“Together with the Mayor, we shall seek to overturn this calamitous decision, which can only increase the environmental harm that the airport already creates.”

Engineering and design consultancy Ramboll welcomed the vote but said that the process highlights some issues with the way major infrastructure projects are dealt with in the UK.

Managing director Mathew Riley commented: “Whilst this is good news for the economy and our industry, the reality is that is has taken successive governments 20 years to make a decision, and we still have the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn saying he may reverse this decision if Labour forms the next government. This whole process serves to demonstrate why politics alone cannot be allowed to dictate the fundamental needs of critical infrastructure in the UK.”

Business group CBI described it as “a truly historic decision that will open the doors to a new era in the UK’s global trading relationships”.

Virgin Atlantic also expressed its backing to the vote, with CEO Craig Kreeger saying: “We firmly believe that Heathrow is the right choice for expansion and applaud this landmark parliamentary vote. As the country’s only hub airport, Heathrow is uniquely placed to support continued growth in UK trade and tourism, sending a strong signal to the world that we’re open for business. An expanded Heathrow must provide desperately needed and long overdue airline competition to deliver more international destinations, lower fares and better connectivity to UK regions.”




Abu Dhabi Airport launches new services

Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) has launched a number of services that include transit visas on arrival, modern passenger processing systems, flight updates via social media, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

As part of the enhancements, a new transit visa counter has been set up in association with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism, Etihad Airways and the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs in Abu Dhabi.

Located in the Terminal 3 transit area at AUH, the visa counter provides transit and arriving passenger visas to Abu Dhabi within 30 minutes.

The service supports activation of the new four-day or 96-hour transit visa for all nationalities travelling through the airport.

Abu Dhabi Airports CEO Abdul Majeed Al Khoori said: “Abu Dhabi Airports prioritises passenger safety above all else. We have worked hard to add the element of utmost convenience to this, to ensure that all passengers passing through Abu Dhabi International Airport have a truly world-class experience.

“We are indebted to the support of all our stakeholders and partners in making this possible and for contributing to our collective success.”

The airport also launched an automated flight information service known as BizTweet, which will enable incoming and outgoing travellers to receive real-time flight updates on topics such as gate departure and arrival times.

The airport also introduced a new service at the baggage wrapping facility that allows travellers to store their luggage at the departures level. Travellers can access a range of deals at Abu Dhabi duty-free.




NASA tests new technology to reduce aircraft noise

NASA has tested three new noise reduction technologies on a series of Acoustic Research Measurement (ARM) flights in a bid to reduce aircraft noise.

NASA combined three technologies, including landing gear noise reduction, landing gear cavity treatments, and the adaptive compliant trailing edge flexible wing flap, and successfully reduced airframe noise by more than 70%.

Airframe noise is produced by wind rushing past the frame of the aircraft during landing and not by the engines. The reduction technology will help to reduce this noise for communities that live near airports.

The ARM flights were flown last month at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, US.

NASA Langley Research Center aerospace scientist Mehdi Khorrami said: “The number one public complaint the Federal Aviation Administration receives is about aircraft noise.

“NASA’s goal here was to reduce aircraft noise substantially in order to improve the quality of life for communities near airports.”

During the test, three experimental designs were mounted on a Gulfstream III research aircraft, which was flown at an altitude of 350ft over an array of 185 microphones installed at the Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base.

NASA used landing gear with many tiny holes that allowed air to pass through the fairing and also deflect some of the airflow around the landing gear for maximum noise reduction without increasing aerodynamic drag.

The agency used two concepts to deal with noise caused by landing gear cavities.

A series of chevrons were placed near the front of the cavity with sound-absorbing foam at the trailing wall, and a net that stretched across the opening of the main landing gear cavity. This mechanism changed the airflow and reduced the noise.

To reduce wing flap noise, NASA used an experimental flexible flap. Built by FlexSys, the ACTE flap eliminated the gaps found in conventional wing flaps. Besides reducing noise, the new flap increased aerodynamic efficiency.