Industry News




American Airlines to build $100m facility at Dallas airport

American Airlines is planning to build a new distribution facility with an investment of $100m at Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport in Texas, US.

The proposed facility will be used by the airline to deliver aircraft and hubs across its network.

American Airlines has placed a request with the airport authorities to lease a 30-acre site north of Terminal A, adjacent to the airlines’ air freight facility.

After approval from the airport board, the lease can cost the airlines around $875,000 annually or $52m over the 40-year term with yearly adjustments and escalations.

Construction is expected to start at the end of the year and will take around 12 to 18 months to complete.

Dallas News quoted American Airlines spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson saying: “This new facility will provide ample space to store parts, which enables us to select parts up to 75% faster than we currently can, minimizing any potential maintenance delays.”

DFW is the airlines’ largest flight hub and one of its largest maintenance bases. It also has its heavy maintenance base in Tulsa.

Around 27,000 American Airlines employees operate out of DFW International Airport and its corporate headquarters campus houses another 12,000.

Gipson added: “This facility also enables our tech ops team to receive parts quicker and therefore perform maintenance on our aircraft more efficiently, which improves operational reliability for our team members and customers.”

In May, DFW Airport and American Airlines announced plans to build a sixth passenger terminal and enhance Terminal C.

DFW invested $3bn to $3.5bn on the construction of Terminal F and enhancements to Terminal C.

Additionally, American Airlines has opened its Flagship Lounge at DFW International Airport to offer passengers a relaxing space to improve their journey experience.




Istanbul airport owners withdraw plans to sell stakes

The owners of Istanbul Airport in Turkey have dropped plans to sell stakes in the $11bn facility.

Turkish construction companies Cengiz Insaat, Limak Holding, Mapa Insaat, Kalyon Insaat and Kolin Insaat secured the rights to build and operate the airport. Each company originally held equal stakes.

In May, American investment bank Lazard was hired to offer a valuation of the airport and hold talks with potential buyers.

According to a Bloomberg media report, the construction firms have now cancelled the mandate awarded to Lazard.

Vinci, Ferrovial SA, Aeroports de Paris and its Turkish unit TAV Havaliamanlari Holding were reported to be among the interested parties.

One person with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg that it was too early to sell a stake in the consortium, IGA Havalimani Isletmeleri. The airport started operations in April this year.

Kalyon Insaat currently owns a 35% stake, while Cengiz Insaat has a 25% holding after Kolin Insaat divested its 20% stake this year. Limak and Mapa both have 20% stakes in the airport.

Lazard and IGA have not commented on the matter.

It is speculated that the owners have changed their plans due to uncertainty that the group could interest buyers, as the cost is estimated to be €22.1bn for the 25-year lease.

IGA has a large debt load in Turkey after it borrowed €5.7bn for the construction of the airport.

Istanbul Airport, also referred to as Istanbul Grand Airport, is located approximately 35km outside of Istanbul, between the residential areas of Yenikoy and Akpınar along the Black Sea coast.




Munich Airport climbs to fifth spot in global connectivity rankings

Munich International Airport has moved up to fifth place in the latest rankings of the world’s best-connected airports.

London Heathrow reached first place for the third consecutive year in Official Airline Guide’s (OAG) latest Megahubs Index.

Last year, Munich offered around 260 destinations. Its connectivity increased with the introduction of new routes to Osaka in Japan, Bogata in Colombia and Dallas in the US.

Munich International Airport was at 11th position in the previous edition of Megahubs Index.

Munich Airport CEO Michael Kerkloh said: “This outstanding placement in the OAG rankings impressively reaffirms that Munich Airport is now firmly established as an important hub within Europe’s transportation infrastructure.

“The beneficiaries of this development are above all travellers and businesses in Southern Germany, who profit from a wide selection of non-stop connections to important cities and markets all over the world.”

According to the OAG report, Heathrow handled around 65,000 international connections in six hours on its busiest day this year.

Frankfurt International Airport, which moved up one place, is ranked second in this year’s rankings.

Chicago O’Hare and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol reached third and fourth positions respectively. Chicago O’Hare handled around 83,580 domestic connections in six hours on the busiest day this year, which is a 2% increase since last year.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore was labelled the most connected airport and took ninth position in the overall global ranking.

Hong Kong is ranked tenth, Incheon 11th and Bangkok placed in 14th position.

The most connected airport for low-cost carriers is Kuala Lumpur.




China opens huge Beijing Daxing International Airport

China has formally opened the new multi-billion-dollar Beijing Daxing International Airport, which is nearly the size of 100 football fields.

The starfish-shaped airport was inaugurated at a ceremony attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Located 46km from the city, the airport is situated at the junction of the Daxing district and Langfang City, which is in the Hebei province of North China.

It is expected to provide much-needed airport capacity for the city, alleviating pressure from the overcrowded Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA).

Many foreign and domestic airlines such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines have decided to move part of their operations to the new airport.

Beijing Daxing International Airport has incurred an approximate expenditure of CNY120bn ($17.46bn), while the projects in its periphery received investments of CNY330bn ($48bn).

Designed by ADP Ingénierie and the notable British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, the airport is spread over 700,000m2 and features four runways.

Daxing International will reportedly have a capacity of 72 million passengers by 2025, which will eventually increase to 100 million.

The airport is connected to the neighbouring areas of Tianjin and Hebei by a network of high-speed trains, buses and metros.

According to Reuters, an express train from the airport to the south of Beijing will take 20 minutes.

In July this year, UAE-based real estate developer Emaar signed an agreement to execute a project worth around AED40.5bn ($11bn) at Beijing Daxing International Airport.

In June, Israeli company Xsight Systems installed its foreign object debris (FOD) detection solution on the East and North runways of the airport.




US DOT announces $986m in infrastructure grants to 354 airports

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced $986m in grants to execute infrastructure improvement projects at 354 airports.

The airports are located in 44 US states, as well as Puerto Rico and Micronesia.

This award is part of the total $3.18bn in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding.

US Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao said: “Infrastructure projects funded by these grants will advance safety, improve travel, generate jobs and provide other economic benefits for local communities.”

The infrastructure improvement projects will include runway renovation, the construction of firefighting facilities, the reduction of noise and emissions and the maintenance of taxiways, aprons and terminals.

These upgrades will improve safety, capacity and help to build economic growth and development at the airports.

Florida-based St Pete-Clearwater International Airport will receive $19.7m, the highest amount, to rehabilitate Runway 18/36.

Burlington International Airport in Vermont and Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia International Airport will receive $16m and $13.4m respectively. The funding will be used to reconstruct taxiways.

International Falls Airport in Minnesota will be awarded $15.9m to reconstruct Runway 13/31 and San Francisco International Airport in California will use the funding to deploy measures to reduce noise.

According to the FAA’s latest economic analysis, US civil aviation contributes $1.6trn in total economic activity and supports around 11 million jobs.

In July this year, US DOT awarded $478m in FAA AIP airport infrastructure grants to 232 airports in 43 states, including American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico.




ACI Europe announces net zero CO₂ emissions plans for 203 airports

Trade association ACI Europe has announced that more than 200 European airports have committed to delivering net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

The net-zero commitment update was provided by ACI Europe during the ongoing UN Global Climate Action Summit in New York.

A total of 203 airports that are managed by over 47 airport operators in 42 European countries have backed the NetZero2050 pledge.

Last year, these airports handled 64.3% of European air passenger traffic. In total, European airports served 2.34 billion passengers in 2018.

The pledge is part of ACI EUROPE’s Sustainability Strategy for Airports, which aims to tackle environmental, social and economic issues.

As of 2050, this commitment will help avoid 3.46 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec said: “Our NetZero2050 commitment builds on a strong record of carbon management and reduction by the European airport industry that has been well documented over the past decade.

Crucially, it means the European airport industry is aligning with the latest scientific evidence, the need to secure a +1.5°C future and the Paris Agreement.”

Jankovec added: “We are delighted to pass the mark of 200 airports individually and vocally committing to this goal, many thanks to the airports that have come on board over the past 3 months: Aberdeen, Glasgow, Liege, Luxembourg, Malta, Salzburg, Southampton, Turin and Toulouse-Blagnac. We expect more to join in the coming months.”




Smiths Detection wins $96.8m TSA contract

UK-based security solutions provider Smiths Detection has secured a $96.8m contract from the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to supply checkpoint CT systems.

According to the contract, the company will provide HI-SCAN 6040 CTiXs, Computed Tomography (CT) 3-D Scanners to the organisation.

This contract is a part of the TSA Advanced Technology X-ray programme to enhance security, aviation efficiencies and passenger experiences.

The CTiX is the company’s latest innovation that can automatically identify threats. It examines the contents of the baggage from all angles and generates 3D images to provide better visuals to the officers.

The technology vendor claims that CTiX can also be upgraded to support TSA’s vision for future procurements, which includes integration with automated screening lanes and advanced algorithm development.

Smith Detection president Shan Hood said: “Smiths Detection’s expertise and global strength enables us to deliver on regulator, airport and airline needs today while helping to position them for the future.”

In addition to CTiX, Smiths Detection’s advanced integrated and risk-based screening solutions include the iLane, a checkpoint lane that can automatically separate suspicious baggage.

Last month, Smiths Detection opened a new training and experience centre in India to serve airport clients.

Located in Gurugram, Haryana, the service centre has been set up with an investment of $1.5m.

In April, Smiths Detection’s distributor Dainippon secured an order to deliver a high-speed explosives detection system (EDS) to Argentina’s Ezeiza International Airport.

The HI-SCAN XCT 10080 EDS will be deployed at the airport’s new baggage handling system to boost the speed and efficiency of screening processes.




Suspected drone activity disrupts Dubai International Airport flights

Two flights were diverted to nearby airports due to suspected drone activity in the surroundings of Dubai International Airport.

The incident occurred on 22 September between 12:36 pm and 12:51 pm local time (GMT+0400).

Emirates flight EK433, from Brisbane to Dubai with a layover at Singapore, was diverted to Dubai World Central (DWC).

A second Emirates flight EK511, from Delhi to Dubai, was diverted to Sharjah International Airport.

Both flights later returned to the airport after the reopening of the airspace.

The incident occurred after repeated warnings from the authorities that such actions violate the airport’s unauthorised aerial activity regulations.

Emirates assisted the passengers with alternative booking options.

Emirates said that “it places the highest priority on the safety of its passengers and crew, and it will not compromise on this.”

Similar drone activity occurred at Dubai International Airport on 15 February, causing flights to halt between 10.13 am and 10.45 am as a precautionary measure to safeguard travellers.

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.

Last month, environmental activists planned to disrupt services at London’s Heathrow Airport to protest against the government’s decision to construct a third runway at the airport.

The activists planned to halt operations at the busiest UK airport by flying toy drones on 13 September. The plan failed as the activists faced technical difficulties.