Industry News




American Airlines and British Airways to start work on JFK Terminal 8

American Airlines and British Airways have announced the construction of New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) Terminal 8 with an investment of $344m.

According to American Airlines president Robert Isom, the firm’s investment will enable the 14 daily flights from JFK to London that are offered in partnership with British Airways to be handled at the same terminal.

The JFK Terminal 8 investment aims to provide customers with a premium check-in space, new joint lounges and a wider range of retail and dining options.

Isom added: “We will be adding more than 70,000ft² to customer and operational spaces to create a truly world-class experience at JFK.”

Airline personnel responsible for the terminal operations will benefit from closer, faster and easier connections to American Airlines’ joint business partner British Airways due to co-located long-haul aircraft gates and an enhanced baggage system.

American Airlines and British Airways will become the first airlines representing the transformation of JFK into a global hub.

Upgrades at JFK Terminal 8 will include the addition of five widebody gates and four adjacent widebody hardstands, an enhanced baggage system, new lounges, premium check-in space and upgraded concessions and retail options.

Passengers arriving at the New York airport will be able to conveniently connect onto other American Airlines flights, while customers departing the city will have the flexibility of 14 daily flights to London all departing from the same terminal.

The terminal’s construction is expected to be completed in 2022.

British Airways chairman and CEO Alex Cruz said: “This is an exciting development in our move to Terminal 8, alongside American Airlines, our Atlantic joint-business partner.

“We are one step closer to offering an even better customer experience for passengers travelling to, from and through JFK. We look forward to our continued work with the Port Authority and American Airlines in order to build a world-class transatlantic travel experience.”




Hamad International Airport reports YoY passenger growth of 12.44%

Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) served 38.79 million passengers last year, which is the highest number of passengers since its operations began in 2014.

The airport recorded a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 12.44% in terms of passenger numbers from 2018.

HIA added eight new passenger destinations to its global network last year. These were Davao in the Philippines, Rabat in Morocco, Izmir in Turkey, Gaborone in Botswana, Langkawi in Malaysia, Mogadishu in Somalia, Lisbon in Portugal and Malta.

Three cargo destinations were also added to the network at Istanbul in Turkey, New York in the US and Almaty in Kazakhstan.

Fifteen airlines, including Kuwait Airways, Salam Air, Philippine Airlines, Oman Air and Air India Express, increased their weekly flight services from the airport.

With Hamad International Airport welcoming two new airline partners, Air India and Tarco Aviation, it handled a total of 232,917 aircraft movements in 2019, which is an increase of 5.57% from 2018.

Hamad International Airport chief operating officer Badr Mohammed Al Meer said: “2019 has been a spectacular year for HIA, having broken our record for the most number of passengers ever served since commencing our operations.

“It was also an exciting year for the airport as the gateway to some of the world’s biggest sporting events, including the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 and the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019, which were successfully hosted by the State of Qatar.”

Last year, HIA announced its multi-phased airport expansion plan, which aims to increase the airport’s operational capacity as Qatar prepares to hold the 2022 World Cup.

Phase A will see a central concourse connecting concourses D and E and will increase the airport’s annual passenger handling capacity to more than 53 million by 2022.

Phase B will be completed after 2022 and will see the extension of concourses D and E, which will boost the airport’s annual passenger handling capacity to higher than 60 million.

In addition, the expansion project will feature a 10,000m² indoor tropical garden, a 268m² water feature, 11,720m² of landscaped retail and F&B space and 9,000m² of Al Mourjan lounge.

As well as self-check-in and self-bag-drop kiosks, the airport recently introduced ten automated security gates at the pre-immigration area, which enables passengers to scan their own boarding cards and proceed to immigration.




Biman Bangladesh Airlines launches flights to Manchester Airport

Biman Bangladesh Airlines has launched three weekly flight services from Dhaka and Sylhet airports in Bangladesh to Manchester Airport in the UK.

The launch of direct air routes between Manchester and Bangladesh is expected to result in a ‘new era of collaboration between the two locations’, according to Manchester Airport.

The coming months will see delegations from Dhaka and Sylhet visiting Manchester to explore opportunities in a wide of range of business, cultural and educational fields.

Representatives from Greater Manchester will travel to Bangladesh to share expertise in areas such as infrastructure and waste management.

Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan said: “We know there is a significant Bangladeshi community across our catchment area and this Biman Bangladesh service will be hugely popular with friends, family and business contacts travelling in both directions.

“We are confident it will also open up a wide range of fresh collaboration opportunities between Greater Manchester and both Dhaka and Sylhet.”

Biman Bangladesh Airline will run the flight services from Manchester to Dhaka and Sylhet on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with each flight taking around ten hours.

The national airline will use two new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which come with a seating capacity of 24 in business class and 247 in economy class.

Economy fares will begin from £580 return while business class return fares are around £1,500.

Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, has more than 20 million people living in its urban area and contributes to approximately 35% of the country’s economy. Sylhet is a large city in Bangladesh, with 800,000 people living in its urban area.

There are around 300,000 people of Bangladeshi origin living in northern parts of the UK and this service from Manchester Airport is expected to provide them the closest direct route to Bangladesh.

Biman regional manager Debabrota Mallick said: “A direct flight from Manchester to Sylhet and Manchester to Dhaka has been on our radar for quite some time. As part of our business strategy, our main focus has been to connect Manchester to both these thriving parts of Bangladesh.

“Not only was this due to high demand from the Bangladeshi community in the north, but we also saw a good opportunity to increase tourism and business potential, which has been increasing year-on-year.”

Last November, Manchester Airport announced flights between Manchester and Shanghai with Juneyao Air. The flight service will start at the end of March and will operate three times a week.




Malaysia Airports opens refurbished immigration arrivals hall at klia2

Malaysia Airports has opened the newly refurbished immigration arrivals hall at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2).

Opened in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020), the arrivals hall can now accommodate twice the number of passengers than before.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) is a mega terminal that replaced the airport’s older, low-cost terminal.

It features the world’s tallest air traffic control (ATC) tower, which stands at a height of 133.8m (438ft).

Spread over 1,400m², the renovated immigration arrivals hall can now accommodate around 1,000 people. It is expected to contain the immigration queue and avoid extending it into the corridor area during peak hours.

The immigration counters have been relocated and a snake queue system was adopted to offer a better experience. The queue system allows passengers to assemble in a common line rather than different lines for each counter.

Priority lanes were also introduced for disabled passengers and families with small children.

Meanwhile, Malaysian passport holders can access the ten auto-gates for quicker clearances.

Malaysia Airports Group CEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin said: “As the custodian of the main gateway into the country, our aim is to provide a joyful experience for our guests, more so with VM2020. We know that passengers are generally tired upon their arrival and congestion at any of the critical touchpoints would just add to their stress.”

He added: “The passenger flow is now smoother and congestion at the area is expected to be a thing of the past.”

In 2018, SITA signed an agreement with Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB) to install a further 15 Scan&Fly self-bag drop units at klia2.




Los Angeles Airport to test wireless emergency alerts system

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the US is planning to test its wireless emergency alerts (WEA) system on 15 January.

The WEA system sends emergency text messages and an alert tone to all compatible mobile devices located in a predetermined area.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), which operates LAX, is one of the US Government agencies with authorisation from the Communications Commission (FCC) to use the system.

WEA will be used to alert nearby people about any imminent safety threats in their area. It is also used to send presidential alerts, AMBER alerts and extreme weather warnings by the National Weather Service.

The test will take place at 10am local time (GMT -8000) on 15 January. The test message will read: “This is a test of the LAX wireless emergency alert system. No action is required.”

This message will be transmitted to devices located in the area surrounded by La Cienega Boulevard in the east, Imperial Highway in the south, Pershing Drive in the west and Westchester Parkway / Arbor Vitae Street in the north.

LAWA Emergency Management director Justin Pierce said: “Safety is the number one priority at Los Angeles World Airports, and the WEA system provides us with another way to send critical information during an emergency directly to airport guests.

“While we hope that we will never need to use this system, conducting a full-scale test of the system will ensure that we have the capability to reach tens of thousands of airport employees and passengers with potentially lifesaving information.”

In 2018, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) secured approval from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to use their WEA system.




SDRPY to rehabilitate Aden Airport in Yemen

The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has commenced the first phase of Yemen’s Aden International Airport rehabilitation project.

Under the project, Aden Airport will be fully modernised and expanded to accommodate growth. The airport is expected to transform into a hub for domestic and international flights.

The General Authority for Civil Aviation and Meteorology president Captain Saleh Salim Bin Nahid was quoted as saying: “Laying down the first building blocks of development and strategic projects for Aden International Airport will contribute significantly to raising the standards of the airport and the quality of services available to the travellers and airlines.”

SDRPY Projects and Studies director engineer Hassan Alattas added: “The objective of this project is to bring Aden Airport up to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards as quickly as possible, connect Aden directly to the countries in the region and increase the airport’s capacity to handle much greater numbers of flights and passengers.”

SDRPY will carry out the project in three phases. The first phase will provide electricity, safety measures and transportation to the airport.

The work will include the study and redesign of the external main gates and roads, along with the provision of passenger transport buses.

Under the second phase, SDRPY will undertake work to construct and connect telecommunications, navigation, air traffic control and other vital service systems at the airport.

Runway and taxi areas, gates and tunnels will also be rehabilitated.

Phase III will be dedicated to aligning the airport facilities and operations to ICAO standards.

SDRPY has undertaken different projects in various sectors in Yemen, including education, electricity, water, health and transportation.




AfDB approves $272.12m loan for Tanzania’s new airport

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $272.12m loan for the construction of an international airport in Dodoma, Tanzania.

Msalato International Airport will be constructed in the Msalato district, 12km from the capital Dodoma.

Of the total loan amount, AfDB will provide $198.6m while African Development Fund (ADF) will contribute $23.52m.

In addition, $50m will be provided in co-financing with the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF).

The loan amount will be used to construct a high-capacity airport that can accommodate the future growth of Tanzania’s air transport.

Work will include the construction of a passenger terminal, a runway and air navigation equipment.

Other operational services for the project include water supply systems and electrical power distribution substations.

Construction is expected to take place over four years. The airport will be capable of handling around 50,000 flight movements and one million passengers annually.

AfDB Infrastructure and Urban Development Department director Amadou Oumarou said: “An expanded air transport network in Dodoma, together with the ongoing high-speed railway construction on the central corridor, are necessary infrastructure investments to help unlock and disperse spatial development in the countryside.

“This will strengthen the city’s potential as a strategic growth pole in keeping with Tanzania’s national development aspirations of fostering shared growth for all the regions.”

In 2017, AfDB approved a $160m loan to carry out the expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya.

The expansion involved the construction of a 4.9km runway in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Category II standards.




DHL expands partnership with Abu Dhabi Airports

Abu Dhabi Airports subsidiary Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone Authority has signed an agreement with Middle East General Enterprises (MGE) to support the expansion of DHL Express in the Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone (ADAFZ).

Valid for 27 years, the Musataha Agreement is a key step in the Express Integrator cluster development at the East Midfield Development Zone in the ADAFZ.

It also aligns with Abu Dhabi’s strategic logistics plan, which is the outcome of ADAFZ’s pledge to offer ‘world-class infrastructure’ to aid the expansion of cargo companies at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

DHL Express and MGE will provide an investment of around AED365m ($99.3m) for the new facility.

Spanning over 30,000m², the DHL facility is expected to begin operations by the final quarter of 2021.

Abu Dhabi Airports CEO Bryan Thompson said: “Abu Dhabi International Airport is not only a growing regional hub for business and leisure travellers but includes cutting-edge cargo and logistics infrastructure designed to facilitate express and e-commerce.

“We are delighted to be working with DHL as we continue to enhance Abu Dhabi’s position as an international transport and logistics centre, in line with our mission of becoming the world’s leading airports group.”

DHL Express MENA CEO Nour Suliman said: “The collaboration reiterates DHL’s strategic mission to strengthen our facilities and key positions across the UAE and the wider Middle East region. In line with our long-term objectives, the new facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport is our latest investment to support global trade to and from the capital of the UAE.”

Last month, Riga International Airport in Latvia signed an agreement with DHL Latvia and Castor Construction to build a modern shipment processing and logistics centre.