2013: The year's biggest Airport Technology stories

UK needs additional runway capacity in south-east

UK must build new runways image

The UK must build new runways in the south-east of England in the coming years in order to address the growing aviation demand, according to Airports Commission chair Sir Howard Davies.

The Airports Commission, which was established by the UK Government in 2012, has been looking into airport capacity in southern England and is set to publish potential schemes.

The final report covers the UK’s international connectivity needs, recommendations for the optimum approach to meeting any needs, as well as ensuring that the need is met as expeditiously as practicable within the required timescale.

New bomb-detecting laser technology to improve airport security

The use of bomb-detecting laser technology at airport security checkpoints can now become a reality, thanks to a new technology developed by Marcos Dantus of Michigan State University (MSU), in the US.

The new laser can detect micro traces of explosive chemicals in clothing and luggage quicker and more efficiently.

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Dantus, MSU chemistry professor, said that since this method uses a single beam and requires no bulky spectrometers, it is quite practical and could scan many people and their belongings quickly.

Scotland acquires Glasgow Prestwick Airport for £1

Glasgow Prestwick Airport image

The Scottish Government has acquired Glasgow Prestwick Airport from New Zealand-based Infratil for a nominal consideration of £1, bringing the airport into public ownership.

Infratil sold the airport to TS Prestwick Holdco Limited, which is wholly government-owned.

Infratil chief executive Marko Bogoievski said: "Recognising the importance of the airport to the local communities and regional and national economy, Infratil’s preference has always been to secure a new owner with the capacity to support the future success of Glasgow Prestwick Airport."

Airports to invest $6bn in information technology in 2013

Airports around the world are boosting their investment on information technology (IT) to $6bn in 2013, according to the 2013 SITA/ACI/Airline business airport IT trends survey.

Nearly 90% of the airports surveyed see their IT spending increase or remaining stable in 2013, with a particular focus on improving the passenger experience.

In the past three years, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in IT investment was 12%, which outpaced airports’ 2.83% CAGR in revenue.

Global passenger traffic increased by 3.2% in the first half of 2013

Airports Council International (ACI) image

Airports Council International (ACI) has reported a 3.2% increase in worldwide passenger traffic in the first half of 2013.

During the last 12 months passenger traffic growth remained positive, though growth slowed to 2.9% on an annualised basis, due to the weakening of domestic markets in North America and Europe.

In the period from July 2012 to June 2013, a flat growth in domestic passenger traffic was recorded in North America and a decline of 3.1% in domestic traffic in European airports.

UAE air traffic will double in the next decade

The number of aircraft movements in the UAE’s airspace is expected to almost double in the next ten years, according to a new report from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

In 2012, the country registered a 6.7% increase in aircraft movements to 741,450, and the number is expected to reach 895,468 in 2015, more than 1.13 million by 2020 and 1.63 million by 2030, the UAE Flight Information Region (FIR) reported.

In regards to growing congestion across the country’s airspace, the UAE is carrying out a large-scale expansion of its airports, including those at Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Philippines signs deal with Sumitomo-Thales JV

Philippines signs deal with Sumitomo-Thales JV

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) in the Philippines has signed a deal with Sumitomo-Thales Joint Venture to deliver CNS/ATM (communications, navigation and surveillance/air traffic management) systems.

Under a new contract, the JV will construct an air traffic management building and supply various components, such as automation equipment and terminal radars, which will facilitate use of the satellite technology-based system.

The new CNS/ATM Systems to be installed in the next two-and-a-half years to modernise the country’s aviation safety and security capabilities.

ThalesRaytheonSystems introduces cyber attack prevention system

ThalesRaytheonSystems has introduced CybAIR RadBox to safeguard air surveillance radars against cyber threats at the Paris Air Show in France.

Designed for both civil and military airspace surveillance, the new system will be co-located with the radar and be used to detect intrusions capable of disturbing air operations.

Monitoring operational data, the new CybAIR RadBox alerts the client of any abnormal radar behaviour and carries out technical and operational supervision roles, while allowing operators to visualise the operational consequences of a cyber attack.

HRS deploys facial recognition system at Edinburgh Airport

HRS image

Human Recognition Systems (HRS) has installed its MFlow Journey facial recognition system at Edinburgh Airport in Scotland, which will help to speed up passenger processing.

The queue measurement solution undertakes a detailed performance review of passenger traffic via security screening and assists the airport in reducing queuing times at peak hours.

Edinburgh Airport IT head Graeme Agnew said the introduction of MFlow Journey will help the airport in operational planning and improve the customer experience.

Airports Authority of India to deploy Comsoft Quadrant Sensor ADS-B stations

Airports Authority of India (AAI) has awarded a contract to Comsoft for the delivery and installation of an additional 14 of its Quadrant Sensor Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) ground stations.

Comsoft has received the follow-up contract after the completion of the phase one project roll out.

The dual-redundant Quadrant Sensor systems offer long-range surveillance solutions and replace Mode S radar as the main surveillance technique for monitoring aircraft operations.

VINCI signs €3.08bn agreement to buy Portuguese airport operator ANA

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VINCI has signed a €3.08bn agreement with the Portuguese Government to acquire the shares of state-owned airport operator ANA.

ANA holds a 50-year concession for ten Portugal airports, including Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Beja, Ponta Delgada, Horta, Flores, Santa Maria, Funchal and Porto Santo.

The acquisition follows the Portuguese Government’s selection of VINCI in December 2012 under a privatisation tender, in which VINCI held off three international consortia led by Germany’s Fraport, Switzerland’s Flughafen Zurich and Argentina’s Corporacion America.

UK researchers explore ways to use TV signals to track aircraft

The UK Technology Strategy Board has funded a two-year research project by Thales UK, NATS and Roke Manor Research to explore the use of existing digital TV signals to track aircraft.

The multistatic primary surveillance radar, uses TV transmitters installed in the UK. Ground stations receive a TV signal at a slightly different time because of the reflections and interactions with aircraft flying in their vicinity.

The received signals are then compared to the original broadcast, and the difference is used to triangulate the position of the aircraft.

Manchester Airports acquires Stansted Airport for £1.5bn

Manchester Airports acquires Stansted Airport for £1.5bn

Manchester Airports (MAG) has completed the acquisition of London Stansted Airport for £1.5bn.

As part of the deal, Australian investment group Industry Funds Management (IFM) will be an investor in MAG and acquire a 35.5% stake in the expanded group.

Upon completion by the end of February 2013, Heathrow Airport, formerly known as BAA, will own four airports in the UK.

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