March’s top news stories

5 April 2018 (Last Updated April 4th, 2018 12:40)

NATS launched the world’s first fully systemised Optimised Runway Delivery (ORD) Tool to improve efficient and time management at London’s Heathrow Airport, and GFIA started work on an apron reconstruction project to repair the tarmac surrounding the terminal. Airport-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from March 2018.

Optimised runway tool to improve efficiency at Heathrow

NATS launched the world’s first fully systemised Optimised Runway Delivery (ORD) Tool to improve efficiency and time management at London’s Heathrow Airport.

The Time-Based Separation (eTBS) tool aims to improve landings in adverse headwinds by measuring the time, rather than the distance as is traditionally done, between aircraft that are landing and taking off.

This shift in emphasis reduces the ‘separation distance’, the distance needed to be maintained between two aircraft on a runway in order to be safe, allowing more aircraft to take off.

“This enhanced version of TBS is a cornerstone of our new Intelligent Approach air traffic control IT suite, jointly developed by NATS and Leidos,” said NATS operations director Juliet Kennedy.


Ford Airport commences apron reconstruction project

Gerald R Ford International Airport (GFIA) started work on an apron reconstruction project to repair the tarmac surrounding the terminal, an area used to park, unload or load, and refuel aircraft.

The $30m project is scheduled to be completed in seven phases over two years. It will provide adequate gate space for air carriers.

GFIA president and CEO Jim Gill said: “Our goal is to do this project with as minimal impact to the passengers and our airline partners as possible.

“We are due for an upgrade to our apron area and our staff have done a tremendous job of maintaining this pavement for years, but it is important to keep up on these repairs and excel in our operations.”


Smiths Detection secures ECAC approval for baggage scanner

German security solutions provider Smiths Detection’s HI-SCAN 10080 XCT secured European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) approval as a Standard 3.1 explosives detection system for hold baggage.

The company used a dual-view, dual-energy line scanner with high-resolution 3D Computed Tomography (CT) to provide improved data.

With this certification, airports that are currently upgrading to Standard 3 technology will have an option to increase detection levels even further to 3.1.


Irish Aviation Authority to build ATC tower at Dublin Airport

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) began construction of a new air traffic control (ATC) tower at Dublin Airport to support parallel runway operations by 2021.

Construction of the 86.9m-high tower is scheduled to be completed by 2019. Subsequently, IAA Technology and Operations will take over the structure for further installation, commissioning and testing of associated air traffic management equipment and systems.

IAA stated that the tower will be ready for single runway operation during the first half of 2020.


Huawei joins IATA to develop airports and airlines of future

Chinese ICT solutions provider Huawei joined the Strategic Partnerships Program of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to help develop future airports and airlines.

Through the IATA, the trade association of the world’s airlines, the company will use its advanced ICT innovations and expertise for the development of airports and airlines, as well as optimising air cargo operations.

IATA marketing and commercial services senior vice-president Mark Hubble said: “The IATA Strategic Partnerships Program is open to companies that add value and bring benefits to the air transport industry directly and indirectly by means of their services, products and solutions.”


LAS renews passenger processing solutions contract with Rockwell

Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) in the US renewed its passenger processing solutions contract with Rockwell Collins, adopting new technologies to meet future requirements.

Under the contract, 176 common-use self-service kiosks at the airport will be replaced with new units to support the Terminal 1 upgrade.

McCarran Aviation Over Information Systems assistant director Samuel Ingalls said: “Our team is constantly evaluating the airport’s infrastructure and operations seeking ways to enhance customer service, maximise efficiencies and increase flexibility.

“Over the past two decades we have had great success in managing our soaring passenger volume through the implementation of common use processes and other cutting-edge technologies such as those provided by Rockwell Collins.”


Beijing Capital Airport selects SITA’s self-service kiosks

Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) selected air transport IT provider SITA’s self-service kiosks for passenger check-in services on all Air China domestic flights leaving Terminal 3.

The new kiosks have been designed to support a range of travel documents typically used by travellers on these flights.

Under the contract, SITA will install up to 70 AirportConnect Kiosks to help Air China process passengers faster, while freeing up airport and airline staff to focus on other aspects of the passenger experience.


Chicago O’Hare Airport’s $8.5bn expansion plan gets approval

Chicago’s City Council approved an $8.5bn expansion plan to modernise the O’Hare International Airport in the US.

Following approval from the City Council, the City of Chicago signed an agreement with carriers United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Spirit Airlines for airport renovations that will be carried out over the next eight years.

To finance the project, the city also approved an initial $4bn of airport revenue bonds. The O’Hare 21 terminal modernisation plan is expected to create nearly 60,000 construction jobs.


Delta Air Lines launches biometrics programme

Delta Air Lines rolled out a secure biometrics programme that allows members of domestic Delta Sky Clubs to check-in using their fingerprints to access the airlines’ domestic lounges.

The check-in option, known as Delta Biometrics, is available at all 50 US domestic Delta Sky Clubs. It will enable eligible customers to avoid using a paper or mobile boarding pass, or a membership card to access the clubs.

To implement the new check-in, the airline is working with Clear, a biometric technology company. Delta Biometrics scanners powered by Clear’s technology will allow travellers to use their fingerprints to gain entry to sky lounges.


Irish airport operator and ESB install solar plant at Dublin Airport

Irish airport operator daa, in collaboration with ESB, installed a new solar farm at Dublin Airport to supply more than half of the annual energy requirements of its reservoir system.

A total of 268 solar panels have been installed on top of the airport’s reservoir system, which supplies 500 million litres of water to both passenger terminals.

The solar plant has been established as part of an energy agreement signed between daa and ESB. It will help to achieve an overall reduction of 33% energy consumption at the airport by 2020.