Industry News




Turkish operator IGA to hire 16,000 staff for Istanbul Airport

Turkish airport operator IGA has unveiled plans to recruit an initial 16,000 employees for the newly opened Istanbul Airport.

The operator plans to hire 2,700 staff for operations, 3,522 security staff and approximately 2,000 people to manage duty-free and retail operations at the airport.

Ground handling firm Havas will hire 1,178 staff, while Çelebi will recruit 2,000 workers. An additional 2,532 people will be hired to work in the cleaning, valet and parking departments.

Nearly 1,300 people will be employed to manage the food court services, while 1,000 will work in other retail areas.

Turkish Airlines will also recruit additional staff to manage the expanded operations at the airport.

IGA CEO Kadri Samsunlu said: “In cooperation with our business partners, we will achieve a number of employees that by far exceeds that of Atatürk Airport.

“Considering the phases that will come into play in the future, the numbers we have achieved at our initial phase display the major employment potential at the airport.

“Obviously, the human resources policies of such a broad system should be managed through effective planning and great care.”

Of the 1,085 staff working in operations with IGA, almost 155 are blue collar, 930 are white collar, 30% are female and 70% are male.

IGA said that it will ensure high levels of diversity and equality among its workforce.

Samsunlu added: “We have a young and dynamic team. Considering the averages, we have set ourselves a goal to further increase the number of female employees in the upcoming period. Our goal is to hire young talents who will shape the world aviation sector.

“To that end, we have already initiated our internship and training programs. In 2018, 79 students interned in various departments of ours, and 18 of these students were able to get a job in those departments upon completion of their internship.”

Istanbul Airport is expected to create 225,000 jobs and contribute an additional household income of $4.4bn by 2025, according to a survey commissioned by IGA in 2016.




Heathrow strikes deal with airlines to increase passenger numbers

London’s Heathrow Airport has signed an agreement with airlines that will help increase passenger traffic, cut airport charges and drive investment and growth.

The new arrangement will extend the existing regulatory settlement to 2021 and includes an incentive by Heathrow for airlines to boost passenger numbers.

Heathrow said that the decision by airlines to fill their aircraft could facilitate further reduction in airport charges and help to deliver significant passenger benefits.

Airlines at Heathrow currently operate with average load factors below the IATA global average. Achieving global averages for filling aircraft is expected to reduce passenger charges by 10-20%.

With the arrival of more travellers, Heathrow can spread the development costs of expansion across a larger passenger base. It will enable the airport to keep charges close to 2016 levels in real terms throughout the expansion project.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has supported the commercial arrangement and is likely to commence a public consultation on the solution in the coming weeks.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “Over the past several months, we’ve been working hard with our airline partners to agree a deal on airport charges to 2021.

“We are delighted that the result is the first-ever commercial agreement at Heathrow, which will unlock hundreds of millions of pounds of potential investment for our passengers.

“We’ve shown that we can achieve more by working together and we will continue working to build on this momentum as we expand.”

International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus, recently lambasted the CAA for not negotiating a cut in passenger charges with London’s Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow Airport is home to more than 80 airlines and welcomes over 80 million travellers per annum.




Adani Group wins bid to manage five Indian airports

Adani Enterprises, the flagship company of Indian conglomerate Adani Group, has emerged as the highest bidder to manage, operate and develop facilities at five airports in the country.

Out of six airports, the Adani Group was the highest bidder for Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) and Lucknow.

The decision on the Guwahati Airport has been put on hold following a court order.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) invited bids for the six projects in December 2018 on the basis of a per-passenger fee.

Almost 32 technical bids were submitted by ten companies, including GMR Group, Adani Group, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), Fairfax India, AMP Group and PNC Infratech.

Adani Group quoted Rs168 per passenger for the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, Rs115 for Mangaluru Airport, Rs174 for Jaipur, Rs171 for Lucknow and Rs177 for the Ahmedabad Airport.

The competing bidders could not match the offers made by the Adani Group. The wins mark Adani Group’s foray into the Indian aviation sector.

A senior official of the AAI was quoted by Business Standard as saying: “Adani Group is the highest bidder for five airports. Since financial criteria was the only eligibility, the group will be awarded the airports as soon as formalities are cleared. After the award of bids, Adanis can take control of the airport.”

According to the AAI’s request for proposal document, the winning concessionaire shall be responsible for operations and management of the existing airport assets.

The company will also design, engineer, finance, construct and develop the additional air-side, terminal, city-side and land-side infrastructure.

Adani Group recently acquired a 23.5% stake in Mumbai Airport.




No-deal Brexit could result in five-hour queues at Spanish airports

British consumer group Which? has warned that British tourists may have to wait for five hours or more in queues at Spanish airports in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

The airports in Alicante, Tenerife, Lanzarote, and Malaga are likely to be most affected by extra border checks if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal.

Which? claimed that Alicante Airport in southern Spain will require the resources to manage an additional 201 hours of immigration checks on British passport holders per day.

According to estimates by the European Tourism Association, these checks will add 90 seconds for each UK passport holder.

This means it would take a single passport lane nearly five hours to process 189 travellers on a single Ryanair flight, if all of the passengers were UK passport holders.

Alicante Airport is expected to face serious problems as 43% of its arrivals are from the UK. Nearly 2.9 million British passengers travel through the airport each year.

The Government of Spain has not announced its plan to deal with the additional immigration requirements.

However, Portugal is planning to open special lanes at Faro Airport in the Algarve and Funchal, the capital of Madeira, to provide fast-track access for British passport holders.

Which? travel editor Rory Boland was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “Airports can be chaotic at the best of times but if additional checks at passport control are implemented in the event of a no-deal, it seems that very long queues are going to be an unwanted side effect.

“Until there is a deal or these airports announce simpler arrangements, you should consider what you may need if you have to fly to them, as it is very likely that you’ll be in a queue for several hours. Make sure you have food, water, and essentials for kids like nappies to hand,” Boland added.




Dublin Airport flights temporarily suspended after drone sighting

Dublin Airport in Ireland was forced to temporarily suspend operations on the morning of 21 February after a drone was sighted near the airfield.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) ordered the airport authorities to suspend operations for 30 minutes when a pilot reported a drone flight over the airfield at around 11.30am.

The airport authorities grounded all aircraft scheduled to take off, while three incoming flights were diverted.

Using its official Twitter account, the airport said: “For safety reasons we are temporarily suspending flight operations @DublinAirport due (to) the confirmed sighting of a drone over the airfield.”

It said that travellers should check with their airlines before leaving for the airport.

Operations resumed in less than hour after the situation returned to normal, the airport said.

Flying drones within 5km of an airport boundary is a criminal offence in Ireland. IAA registration is mandatory for drones weighing more than 1kg.

The airport authorities said that the Irish police service Garda launched an investigation into the illegal drone flights.

Dublin Airport is the latest to be affected by a series of recent drone sightings that have halted airport operations worldwide.

Dubai International Airport recently suspended operations on the morning of 15 February after suspected drone activity was reported near the airport.

In January, London’s Heathrow Airport temporarily halted all departing flights as a safety measure after a drone was spotted flying near the airfield, while Gatwick Airport was forced to suspend operations for 36 hours in January.

The UK Government is set to pass new legislation next month that will extend the ‘no-fly zone’ for drones and model aircraft around the UK airports to about 5km of runways.




ACAA unveils design for terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport

Allegheny County Airport Authority (ACAA) in Pennsylvania, US, has unveiled the design for a planned $1.1bn terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport.

The concept design of the new terminal was developed by Luis Vidal of luis vidal + architects in partnership with a joint venture of architectural and engineering firms Gensler and HDR. The ACAA awarded a contract for terminal design to Gensler and HDR in July last year.

The new facility is scheduled to become operational by 2023 and will incorporate two levels, one for departures and the other for arrivals. It will be constructed adjacent to the current Airside facility between Concourses C and D.

Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald said: “This is a facility that truly reflects the growing Pittsburgh region and the renaissance that is ongoing here, including at the airport.

“The story of this airport is really a story about moving our region forward, about creating new jobs, retaining ones that are already here and maximising our assets for the highest and best use for our citizens without saddling local taxpayers with the bill.”

Besides separate arrival and departures facilities, the concept design features additional space for an expanded TSA checkpoint, shorter walking distances for arriving and departing passengers, indoor and outdoor green plazas and gathering spaces.

It also includes extra space for concessions, artwork and other amenities, plan for technological improvements and more automated systems. The design elements are subject to change, however.

The construction of the new terminal will be funded by revenue from airlines, concessions and parking fees, along with natural gas drilling.

ACAA CEO Christina Cassotis said: “This new terminal, inspired by the beauty, tech renaissance and people of our region will integrate seamlessly into the great design of the existing Airside Terminal.

“In considering this design, we looked at function first, then form, to construct a building that will be both iconic, practical and affordable and that can be easily adapted as the technology and transportation needs of our community change.”

The ACAA oversees the management of Pittsburgh International Airport, as well as Allegheny County Airport.




Schiphol Airport and Vision-Box launch facial recognition trial

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in partnership with technology company Vision-Box has launched a pilot of facial recognition self-boarding technology for the passengers travelling with Cathay Pacific Airways.

The pilot forms part of the first phase of Seamless Flow, the programme that aims to make paperless travel possible in the long term.

Upon completion of the check-in process, passengers are asked to take part in the trial. They will be accompanied to one of the special registration kiosks.

The passengers’ passport and the boarding pass will then be scanned, while an image of the face will be captured to generate the traveller’s single token.

After that, passengers will undergo the security and passport control process as usual. At the boarding gate, the passenger’s face will be scanned and matched with the image clicked during registration process.

Once the face is recognised, the gate will open and the passenger will be able to board the flight.

Vision-Box CEO Miguel Leitmann said: “It’s all about the passenger. The whole idea of Seamless Flow is to modernise the airport landscape to improve the convenience, simplify the processes, propose modern interactions and deliver effective value to passengers.

“We’re very excited to continue working with our partners in this landmark program, offering Cathay Pacific customers with a pioneering seamless travel platform that will absolutely reshape how we travel.”

Schiphol Airport safety and security director Wilma van Dijk said: “For passengers, the journey from arrival at the airport to boarding becomes easier and more efficient.

“In the future, you can pass these control points more smoothly because you are recognized by your face. You can leave your passport and boarding pass in the bag.”

Scanning of the face, passport and boarding pass will be done during registration and boarding in the near future. Passport control will be included in the next phase of the trial.

To implement the programme, a consortium has been formed by the Dutch Government, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Cathay Pacific, KLM and Vision-Box, which developed the Seamless Flow technology platform.




Suspected drone activity forces Dubai Airport to suspend operations

Dubai International Airport in the UAE was forced to halt operations on the morning of 15 February after suspected drone activity was reported near the airport.

The airport said in a statement that flights were halted between 10:13am and 10:45am as a precautionary measure to safeguard travellers.

A Dubai Airports spokesperson said: “Dubai Airports has worked closely with the appropriate authorities to ensure that the safety of airport operations is maintained at all times and to minimise any inconvenience to our customers.”

Dubai Airport has previously suspend operations due to drone sightings. In 2015, the airport halted operations for around 55 minutes due to illegal drone flight, while the airport encountered three more incidents of drone flights in 2016.

In the last few months, drone sightings in the UK have disrupted operations at large airports.

London’s Gatwick Airport closed for approximately 36 hours in December 2018 due to threats posed by illegal drones flying near its runway. It caused widespread disruption and led to the cancellation of approximately 1,000 flights.

Heathrow Airport also had to temporarily halt all departing flights in January after a drone was spotted flying near the airfield.

Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports have subsequently announced that they will acquire military-grade anti-drone equipment to deal with illegal drone flights near airfields.