Industry News




UK aviation authority rejects Edinburgh Airport’s flight path plan 

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has rejected the application filed by Edinburgh Airport for changing flight paths.

Airport management intended to change the flight path in a bid to modernise the airspace in view of increasing passenger traffic.

Existing airspace was designed in the 1970s when the airport handled approximately one million passengers annually, but now it handles more than 13.4 million passengers a year with flights to over 150 destinations.

The proposed change would have allowed aircraft to fly towards the west of the Cramond district and along the Firth of Forth after making a 20° turn at the end of the runway.

The plan faced stiff opposition from locals concerned about potential noise pollution and environmental impacts.

Following consultations with the local community, Edinburgh Airport submitted its application to the authority. However, the CAA rejected the plan due to ‘significant’ variation between the final plan and the proposal provided during the consultation exercise.

Edinburgh Airport communications director Gordon Robertson said: “We are disappointed with the CAA’s decision as we believe that it is important that airspace change is addressed for Scotland, allowing the country to continue to benefit from growth in air travel.

“We note that the CAA has based its decision on a view that we submitted a proposal, which does not accord with the material that was provided to stakeholders in consultation, which in the CAA’s opinion could have made people respond differently to the questions asked.

“Specifically, the CAA has noted that by the time the proposal was made, there had been further amendments to the projected levels of traffic for some of the routes that meant further consultation was necessary.”

Robertson added that the airport will restart the consultation process and work towards securing approval for the airspace change programme.




Emirates to introduce a ‘biometric path’ passenger system

Emirates Airline is set to launch its fully integrated ‘biometric path’ service at Dubai International Airport to more quickly process passengers using biometric technology such as facial and eye recognition.

The latest biometric passenger system, known as Smart Tunnel, has been deployed at Emirates Terminal 3 at Dubai International for a trial.

The implementation, which is said to be the world’s first, will enable the airline’s passengers to complete check-in for their flight, immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge and board their flights simply by walking across the airport.

Travellers will have to walk through a tunnel where they will be ‘cleared’ by immigration authorities without human intervention or the need for a physical passport stamp.

All biometric data will be stored with General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), and passengers invited to participate in the trials will be asked for their consent.

Emirates executive vice-president and chief operations officer Adel Al Redha said: “These groundbreaking initiatives are a result of close collaboration with our stakeholders – particularly GDRFA who have been instrumental in the programme to bring the biometric path to fruition.

“The recent launch of the Smart Tunnel trial by GDRFA is a great achievement and clearly demonstrates the unique and collaborative nature of innovation at Dubai airport. All systems will eventually be linked with each other resulting in better service to our customers and a happier journey whether arriving, departing or transiting in Dubai.

“This is very much in line with Emirates’ ‘Fly Better’ brand promise. We will soon invite customers to participate in the trials for our biometric path, and we look forward to their feedback.”

Besides select check-in counters, the equipment has been installed at the Emirates Lounge in Concourse B for premium passengers and at select boarding gates.

As soon as the internal trial is finished, Emirates will roll out trials for biometric processing at the other points at the airport such as check-in, lounge, and boarding gate.




Mexico to scrap $13.3bn Mexico City airport project

Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced that his government will cancel a partially built $13.3bn new airport for Mexico City.

The latest announcement follows a four-day public referendum launched by López Obrador to gauge public opinion about the construction of the airport.

During the referendum, the majority of the Mexican people voted down the project, which is nearly one-third complete.

They supported López Obrador’s plan to keep the existing airport and construct a terminal and two runways to a military base north of Mexico City.

It is estimated that scrapping the project may cost approximately $5bn.

During his election campaign, López Obrador repeatedly criticised the airport project and alleged that the project is riddled with corruption and it would be expensive to maintain the new airport due to the geological complexity of the terrain.

However, recently he promised to rope in business leaders to complete the new international airport at Mexico City at a lower cost.

However, the decision to scrap the Mexico City Airport project has not gone down well with the country’s business leaders and investors, who said the decision is a portentous sign of López Obrador’s incoming government’s respect to contracts.

It was estimated that the new airport would create up to 450,000 jobs while providing a new facility to decongest Mexico City’s ageing main airport.




Turkey’s Istanbul New Airport to become ‘world’s largest’ airport

Turkey is set to officially open the Istanbul New Airport, which the government claims will eventually become the world’s largest airport.

The timing of the opening has been set to coincide with the 95th anniversary of Turkey’s establishment as a republic.

Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend the opening ceremony. Also in attendance will be more than 50 foreign leaders, ministers and high-level officials.

During the first phase, Istanbul New Airport, which is located on the shores of the Black Sea, will serve 90 million passengers annually. The new airport will replace the existing Ataturk Airport, which now handles 64 million people per year, towards the end of this year.

When the airport will become fully functional in ten years, it will occupy nearly 19,000 acres and will have six runways.

The airport will offer flights to more than 300 destinations and serve up to 200 million travellers per year, a figure which is nearly double that of the world’s current biggest airport, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport located in the US state of Atlanta.

Istanbul Grand Airport (İGA) Airport Operation CEO and general manager Kadri Samsunlu was quoted by as saying: “Everything is contained in a single terminal which itself makes an important architectural contribution to the great city of Istanbul.

“Besides its modern facilities, comforts, and unrivalled connectivity, İstanbul New Airport has the capacity and security to keep growing, and growing in a sustainable way, far into the future.

“Myself, all the staff of İGA, and all our partners and stakeholders, all look forward with pride to warmly welcoming the world to İstanbul New Airport, from where everyone truly will have a great flight.”

The new airport’s interiors have been designed to reflect Turkish and Islamic cultures, including mosques, baths, domes and historic structures. The design of the ATC tower resembles a tulip, Turkey’s national flower.




Gatwick Airport plans to bring emergency runway into daily use

The UK’s Gatwick Airport has released its draft master plan, which includes a proposal to bring its emergency runway into routine use to increase flight capacity.

As per the existing planning agreement, which is set to expire next year, the standby runway can be used when the main runway is closed for maintenance or emergencies.

The draft master plan proposes to bring the standby runway into routine use for departing flights, alongside its main runway, by the mid-2020s.

“This innovative development, which would meet all international safety requirements, would be delivered without increasing the airport’s noise footprint and provide greater operational resilience,” the airport said in its press statement.

Additionally, the draft master plan also includes proposals to deploy new technology on the main runway in order to further increase its capacity.

London Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate Stewart Wingate said: “Our draft master plan marks the start of a new phase for Gatwick, building on what has made the airport the success it is today and pioneering again to take advantage of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.

“From using new technologies on our main runway, to the innovative proposal to bring our existing standby runway into routine use, our draft master plan offers agile, productive and low-impact ways of unlocking much-needed new capacity and increased resilience from within our existing infrastructure.”

The airport has launched a 12-week public consultation to gather feedback and views on the draft master plan.

“All responses will be reviewed before a final version of the master plan is agreed early next year,” the airport noted.

UK Member of Parliament Henry Smith said: “Crawley’s prosperity depends on the success of Gatwick Airport and the publication of this new draft master plan goes a long way to securing future growth in the town.

“I have always supported the airport growing within its existing boundaries and welcome their exciting new vision for incremental growth that will support more jobs and opportunity in Crawley.”




Heathrow airport biometrics will be largest deployment in world

Heathrow airport has announced plans to roll out biometric services on a full scale from the summer of 2019, giving the airport the largest biometric deployment in the world.

This new technology, which includes facial recognition at check-in, bag drops, security lanes and boarding gates, is expected to streamline passenger journey from check-in to take-off.

It aims to reduce the average passenger’s journey time by up to a third.

Heathrow customer relations and service director Jonathan Coen said:  “As our passenger numbers continue to grow, we must look for innovative ways to make it easier and quicker for them to travel through Heathrow with choice, whilst keeping our airport secure.

“Biometrics are key to helping us do that and we are really excited about the biggest rollout of this equipment at any UK airport. ”

The £50m project is part of a bigger investment programme to streamline passenger journeys.

The aim of introducing this technology is to ensure passengers can walk through the airport without breaking their stride.

This new service has already been trialled by passengers in live operations this year, with passenger feedback being positive.

Manual authentication requires passengers to present different forms of ID such as boarding cards, booking reference numbers as well as their passports to different agents. By enabling the option of instant facial recognition technology, the entire process can be streamlined, reduce the amount of paper used when flying for passengers.

According to IATA research, 64% of passengers would opt to share their biometric data if it meant a better experience when travelling.

Facial biometrics have also been found to be more accurate than manual checks.




SITA to deploy smart technologies across Indonesian airports

IT and telecommunication services provider SITA has been selected by PT Angkasa Pura I Persero (AP1) to provide technology to help manage the growing number of flyers arriving in the country.

SITA has been offering AirportConnect Open to AP1 since 2014. This common-use platform allows airlines to manage their operations easily at AP1’s 13 airports, including at two of Indonesia’s busiest airports Denpasar (Bali) and Surabaya.

Additionally, the platform will support the launch of SITA’s self-service check-in kiosks, bag-drop and boarding gates and SITA ControlBridge, which integrates the command and control capability of an airport.

PT Angkasa Pura I Persero business development director Sardjono Jhony Tjitrokusumo said: “SITA has been a trusted partner to AP1 to help transform our two airports, I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar) in Bali and Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, to be among the most advanced in Indonesia today.

“Following this success, together with our subsidiary, PT Angkasa Pura Supports, we now look forward to partner with SITA and introducing its innovative range of smart airport technologies, which will allow us to have world-class operations and double the total capacity of the airports we manage.”

With more than 110 million passengers last year, Indonesia emerged as the biggest aviation market in Southeast Asia. It is likely to become one of the top four markets globally with a forecasted 355 million travellers by 2036.

SITA noted that its airport technology will enable AP1 to manage these increasing numbers while delivering an improved passenger experience.

SITA Asia Pacific president Sumesh Patel said: “SITA has been a major player here for over a decade and we look forward to continuing this strategic partnership with AP1 to future-proof its group of airports.

“The innovative airport technology, which we have successfully deployed at airports worldwide, will contribute to further air transport development in Indonesia.”

PT Angkasa Pura I operates 13 airports across Central and Eastern Indonesia.




Neste and Air BP support sustainable aviation fuel development

Finnish renewable energy firm Neste and global aviation fuel supplier Air BP have agreed to explore opportunities to increase the supply and availability of sustainable aviation fuel for airline customers.

The partnership aims to use Neste’s expertise and manufacturing solutions for producing and blending renewable jet fuel with Air BP’s customer network and knowledge in developing effective supply chains.

Both companies will cooperate on certification and product quality assurance capabilities for renewable jet fuel.

Under the agreement, Neste and Air BP will work to roll out a co-branded sustainable aviation fuel to market at airports across Air BP’s global network.

Neste renewable products executive vice-president Kaisa Hietala said: “Working together, we can find the best ways of developing robust supply chains to ensure that renewable jet fuel is more widely accessible.

“We expect our collaboration will not only be able to provide a solution to better matching supply to increased demand for renewable jet fuel, but also delivers distinct advantages to airlines by significantly decreasing their environmental footprint.”

Sustainable aviation fuel is produced by mixing conventional fossil-based kerosene with renewable hydrocarbons produced from recycled cooking oil. It can be used in aircraft without the need for any technical modifications.

Aircraft running on sustainable aviation fuel help cut crude oil consumption and emit lower carbon compared to conventional jet fuel.

Air BP CEO Jon Platt: “The aviation industry’s carbon reduction targets can only be achieved with support from across the entire supply chain and, by bringing our experience and expertise together, we are looking to drive change by promoting and securing the supply of sustainable aviation fuel.”

The aviation industry aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions from air transportation, including carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and beyond, as well as a 50% cut in net aviation carbon emissions by 2050.

Air BP has delivered BP biojet to ten airports in Nordic countries since 2014, including Oslo Airport.