Industry News




Istanbul Airport served 5.2 million passengers in May

Istanbul Airport served 5.2 million passengers in May and has welcomed ten million passengers since it became fully operational on 6 April.

According to airport operator IGA, the passenger and flight traffic report on its official Twitter account indicated that out of the 35,696 flights performed at the airport in May, 17,814 arrivals were arrivals and the remaining were departures.

In May, the airport processed 3.4 million items of baggage.

The new Istanbul Airport began receiving air traffic from the former main Atatürk Airport in April.

Following the completion of all four phases with six runways by 2028, the airport will have a complete handling capacity of 200 million passengers annually.

It will then serve more than 100 airlines and flights to over 300 destinations around the world.

From January to April, the airport served 4.7 million passengers and 29,492 aircraft, according to the General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMİ).

Last week, it was reported that the owners of the new airport in Istanbul, Turkey, have US investment bank Lazard to divest their stake in the $11bn facility.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that Lazard is working with some members of the IGA consortium to offer a valuation of the airport and to hold talks with potential buyers.

According to sources, Vinci, Ferrovial SA, as well as Aeroports de Paris and its Turkish unit TAV Havaliamanlari Holding, are among the interested parties.
IGA has a debt load in Turkey of $6.4bn.

Payments over the 25-year lease period to operate the world’s biggest airport will total €22.1bn.

Buyers are likely to be deterred by the cost of leasing the airport, Bloomberg reported.




IATA says harmonised approach required in allocating airport slots

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said governments need to take a harmonised approach in allocating airport slots according to the principles of certainty, transparency and flexibility.

At the 75th annual general meeting held yesterday in South Korea, IATA passed a resolution on this issue.

IATA has been exploring ways to address the slot problems and capacity constraints faced by airlines.

Carriers have been struggling with slots issues at various airports.

More than 200 airports across the world are Level-3 slot coordinated, implying that they do not have enough capacity to meet the current demand.

This is expected to expand substantially over the coming decades, given that airport construction is not keeping pace with growing demand for aircraft movements.

Therefore, globally applied rules for the use of available capacity at constrained airports will be an important aspect.

The resolution endorsed a statement of objectives for the WSG, which consists of facilitating consumer choice and improved global connectivity, providing convenient schedules that meet consumer demand, allocating slots in a transparent non-discriminatory way by an independent slot coordinator, and realising the complete capacity potential of airport infrastructure, through regular capacity reviews.

IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “The Worldwide Slot Guidelines have successfully allocated increasingly scarce airport capacity in ways, which have enormously helped consumers.

“Passengers, businesses and airlines are benefitting from consistent and reliable schedules. Choice, moreover, is increasing year-on-year. In Europe, which is home to more than half of all the slot-constrained airports, low-cost carrier (LCC) market penetration has risen to 40% over the last decade.”

The resolution also stated that the WSG is not a replacement for the provision of more airport capacity.

Alexandre de Juniac added: “Globally harmonised slot rules make the best use of the infrastructure we have. But they cannot create capacity when the physical infrastructure – runways and terminals – is insufficient. Governments need to act today to avoid a crisis of vital connectivity as demand grows.”




Finnair offers biometric boarding at Los Angeles International Airport

Finnair has begun offering biometric boarding with Vision-Box technology at Los Angeles International Airport. The technology allows passengers to fly out of the country without showing their boarding passes or passport.

With a simple glance at a high-resolution face capture camera at the eGate, passengers can be recognised biometrically in a few seconds.

The image is securely sent to the CBP Traveler Verification Service (TVS), which then carries out a matching process with the stored digital facial token captured at the initial immigration process.

In a few seconds, the system reconciles the passenger and his flight, recognises the passenger as eligible to enter that flight, and then accordingly opens the eGate door for the passenger to board the aircraft.

Finnair ground experience manager Sami Suokas said: “Biometrics have great potential in enhancing both customer experience, speed and security.

“Customer feedback was very positive and we are looking forward to having more stations to utilise biometrics in the future, including our home hub Helsinki Airport, where we plan to start biometrics tests with the airport operator Finavia and Vision-Box.”

A Finnair flight from LAX to Helsinki Airport on 9 April was the first to use the biometric eGates.

The biometric self-boarding solution has been operational since 2017 under the scope of the US Biometric Exit trial programme, after a partnership was formed between Vision-Box, Los Angeles World Airports Authority (LAWA) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The solution is based on the Vision-Box Traveler flow orchestration platform.

Vision-Box CEO and founder Miguel Leitmann said: “This comprehensive platform connects passengers and all other journey actors together, within a productive trusted identity ecosystem. It relies on and is an enabler of unprecedented quality of biometric data and facial recognition matching performance. That’s what makes it so fast, accurate and secure at the same time.

“The result is a hassle-free experience for passengers at boarding, or possibly at any other checkpoint. Having Finnair on board was a straightforward process and one more confirmation that biometrics is becoming the new normal.”




Vanderlande secures contract to upgrade Belgium airport

Vanderlande has received a contract to upgrade the baggage handling system (BHS) at Brussels Airport in Belgium.

The contract is a part of a 20-year framework agreement signed between Vanderlande and Brussels Airport Company (BAC), operator of the Brussels Airport, in March.

The value of the contract has not been disclosed.

Upgrades will allow the airport to cater to its future requirements. The airport expects the annual passenger traffic to grow from the present 25 million to 40 million within the next 25 years.

Brussels Airport has introduced a significant investment programme for a compliant airport operation.

Under this investment programme, the airport will replace the existing conventional BHS with Vanderlande’s TUBTRAX technology, upgrade high-level controls and deploy new hold baggage screening (HBS) machines.

These initiatives are being undertaken by the airport to comply with the latest EU Standard 3 regulations.

The new BHS system will link the current check-in and transfer areas with the new HBS systems besides the existing make-up carousels, the sortation area and sorters in Pier A.

With the movement of one item of baggage per tote, TUBTRAX technology will be able to track and trace every item of luggage at any time, irrespective of its location.

Vanderlande will closely collaborate with ENGIE Fabricom Airport Solutions, a key provider of BHS-related activities at the airport.

Given that the new system will be integrated during the live operations at the airport, a high level of brownfield experience is required in terms of both hardware and software.




Indian state of Uttar Pradesh to float global tender for Noida airport

The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) has announced its plans to float a global tender for the proposed Noida International Greenfield Airport project at Jewar, Greater Noida.

This project is estimated to cost nearly Rs160bn ($2.2bn), reported Business Standard.

The state cabinet has given its approval to float a global tender for the airport project.

This project is expected to decongest the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi.

UP Health Minister and spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh was quoted by Business Standard as saying: “The global tender would be floated on May 30 and, within the next six months, the bidding process would be completed. By January 2020, the contract is likely to be awarded to the selected companies.”

The airport will be constructed on a public-private partnership (PPP) model.

The government plans to acquire 1,426ha for the project.

Almost 1,200ha of private land spanning six villages in Gautam Buddha Nagar district will be acquired.

The cabinet also gave its approval for prospective disbursal of Rs8.95bn for the rehabilitation of the impacted private landowners.

On 6 July 2017, the Central Government gave site clearance for the airport.
In October 2017, the Union Home Ministry granted it’s no objection certificate (NoC), while in December 2017, Rs18bn was allocated by the UP Government for land acquisition.

Last year, the Airports Authority of India gave its in-principle approval for the project.

The project was conceived in 2000 but had to be postponed due to regulatory and clearance issues.




Murtala Muhammed International Airport to undergo rehabilitation

Nigeria has plans to invest $38m in revamping Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

Minister of State for Aviation Hadii Sirika said that the airport required a rehabilitation as it was in poor condition.

When the airport was built in 1979, it had an annual handling capacity of 300,000 passengers, but in the last three years, the number of passengers has grown to eight million.

Sirika was quoted by Construction Review Online as saying: “We require to spend $38m as palliative on the refurbishment of the international terminal in Lagos. This airport was built in 1979 and intended to carry just 200,000 passengers annually, but it now does over eight million yearly. With the continuous over-use of its facilities, the amenities will not last for long.”

Sirika further added: “We want the new terminal to come on stream before we commence any work on the old terminal. As it is, we can’t close it totally because it is the only international terminal we have in the state, but a part of it would be shut once the new terminal comes on board.”

The government plans to close down the airport terminal, but this will be done only once the construction of the second international terminal is concluded before the end of this year.

After rehabilitation, the airport will feature modernised services, as well as a permanent plumber to look after its bathroom facilities.

The second terminal is being constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). Its construction began in 2013.




India’s Tata Group, SSG and GIC to invest $1.14bn in GMR Airports

A consortium of Tata Group, SSG Capital Management and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC has agreed to invest Rs80bn ($1.14bn) to buy a stake in India’s GMR Airports.

The deal will provide Rs10bn ($143.4m) for GMR Airports.  About Rs70bn ($1bn) of the airport unit’s equity shares will be purchased by the consortium from the parent GMR Infrastructure.

Following this deal, GIC will receive a 15% stake, SSG will own 10% and Tata will hold a 20% stake in GMR Airports.

GMR Infrastructure and its units will hold a 54% stake in the airport business following this transaction.

This deal takes the valuation of GMR Airports to Rs180bn ($2.58bn).

Through this transaction, Tata will enter the airport business. This move comes as the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged companies to build airfields in remote villages and towns.

GMR infrastructure has been selling assets to pay off its sizeable debts, which amounted to $2.9bn as of December 2018.

GMR operates airports in Cebu and Hyderabad and is also developing airports in Goa and Crete.

Tata has investments in two airlines – AirAsia India and Vistara, while Adani Group secured bids last month to operate six local airports.

Tata Sons, the group’s holding company, spokesperson told LiveMint: “This is a minority stake for Tata Sons and a strategic stake in a fast-growing infrastructure sector. There is a rule that if you are in the aviation sector, then you cannot have majority stake in an airport.

“We’re still working out which Tata entity will own this stake.”

Tata may own the stake in GMR Airports through Tata Realty and Infrastructure (TRIL), which is a completely owned unit of Tata Sons, LiveMint reported citing two industry experts.




Ontario Airport and California DMV join for REAL ID outreach

Ontario International Airport (ONT) has partnered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to share information with airport travellers about new REAL ID driver licenses and identification card requirements that will take effect in 2020.

DMV representatives will be stationed at information-only booths beyond the TSA checkpoint every second and fourth week of the month.

The focus of this partnership is to provide customers with more time to ask questions and speak to DMV employees as they wait for their flights.

DMV acting director Kathleen Webb said: “We are bringing information directly to air travellers to explain their identification options to fly domestically.

“Our partnership with Ontario International Airport is a win-win for both of us in ensuring passengers are adequately prepared to pass through airport security when the new federal ID requirements take effect October 2020.”

Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) CEO Mark Thorpe said: “We’re pleased to partner with DMV in raising awareness of REAL ID and how important it is going to be for the travelling public to update their driver license or identification card.

“These information booths are one more example of our commitment to making travel as convenient as possible for our customers.”

Starting on 1 October 2020, the Department of Homeland Security will need passengers to show a valid passport or other federally approved document, such as a REAL ID driver license or identification card, before they can board flights within the US.

In addition to providing information, DMV employees will save information for customers intending to visit a DMV field office to secure a REAL ID.