February’s top stories: Chicago's $1.3bn runway, Dubai is 2015's busiest airport
Chicago airport will construct $1.3bn runway, Dubai airport is listed as the 2015 busiest airport and Raytheon to upgrade US airports' air traffic control systems. Airport-technology.com wraps up key headlines from February 2016.
Chicago's O'Hare International Airport announced a new $1.3bn runway would be built to reduce congestion at the airfield and avoid delays.
The announcement to build the infrastructure was made by the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, in the presence of the US Senators of Durbin and Kirk, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the representatives from United and American Airlines.
The scope of the new project includes the construction of a sixth runway (Runway 9C/27C), stretching from east to west, additional de-icing pads and new taxiways.
Dubai International Airport (DXB) topped the list as the world's busiest airport with over 78 million annual passenger traffic recorded in 2015 by its operator, Dubai Airports.
A major hub for international passengers, DXB enjoyed a 10.7% increase in passenger numbers in 2015 over 2014.
Last year, it announced that it had overtaken Heathrow as the world's busiest airport.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded a $135m contract to the US-based Raytheon Company to upgrade air traffic control systems at 22 airports across the country.
The standard terminal automation replacement system (STARS) will be implemented at these 22 airport sites.
The NextGen terminal automation of every major FAA National Air Space (NAS) facility will be upgraded by December 2019.
Dubai International Airport opened its $1.2bn Concourse D, enhancing its annual passenger capacity from 75 million to 90 million.
The investment was made to improve the airport's service, as well as its capacity to operate 70 international airlines.
The first flight to arrive at Concourse D was British Airways' flight 105, travelling from London, UK.
England's Newquay Cornwall Airport expects to serve as part of a worldwide network of intercontinental airports if it wins the bid to become the UK's only spaceport.
If the bid is successful, passengers could potentially fly from England to Australia via space in a few hours.
The project, if made possible, will see the first home-grown spaceplane in England.
IT specialist CACI International's anti-drone detection system, SkyTracker, was successfully tested for the first time in a commercial airport at Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) from 25 January to 2 February.
CACI COO and president of the US Operations John Mengucci said: "The results of testing under our PathFinder agreement with the FAA at Atlantic City International Airport demonstrate that CACI's proprietary system - SkyTracker - performed as designed.
"SkyTracker successfully identified, detected, and tracked UAS in flight, and precisely located drone ground operators - all without interfering with airport ground operations."
UK-based air navigation service provider NATS selected the global security and aerospace company, Lockheed Martin, as its system integration partner for a technology transformation programme.
The programme will help NATS provide improved and efficient services to its airport and airline customers.
NATS Director Supply Chain Tim Bullock said: "This is one of the most ambitious programmes NATS has ever undertaken and will transform how we manage air traffic in the UK, enabled by building a robust multi party collaborative supply chain.
Phuket International Airport in the Phuket province of Thailand saw its long-awaited $60m (B2.45bn) new international terminal go through its first trial run.
The four-storey terminal, which is a part of the $140m (B5.14bn) airport expansion project, was tested on 14 February.
The test at the new terminal was taken by a Thai Airways International flight, TG 609, from Hong Kong.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) partnered with the information technology provider, Harris Corporation to set up a new tool to enhance air traffic management (ATM) efficiency.
IATA and the American company collaborated on a new cloud-based tool called SkyFusion.
SkyFusion enables airports, air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and airlines to share operational information across flight information regions.
Gatwick Airport achieved a milestone in its £2bn transformation programme with the opening of Pier 5, in which the airport had invested £80m for redevelopment.
The new facility was inaugurated by Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate and MP Caroline Ansell.
The airport now offers separate arrival and departure routes, thereby creating a flexible and efficient operation for passengers and airlines.