February’s top news stories

5 March 2019 (Last Updated March 7th, 2019 13:52)

Airport operator Malaysia Airports (MAHB) has set aside MYR300m ($73.72m) to upgrade baggage handling system (BHS) at the main terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA); and India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has announced that flight operations at all nine airports across North India have resumed. Airport-technology.com wraps up key headlines from February 2019.

February’s top news stories
MAHB allocates $73.72m to upgrade baggage handling system at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Credit: Morio.

MAHB to upgrade baggage handling system at Kuala Lumpur Airport

Airport operator Malaysia Airports (MAHB) set aside MYR300m ($73.72m) to upgrade baggage handling system (BHS) at the main terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

KLIA managed 28.1 million passengers in 2018 and requires an upgrade to handle a growing number of travellers.

MAHB corporate communications general manager Nik Anis Nik Zakaria was quoted by themalaysianreserve.com as saying that the tender process to acquire a new upgraded baggage handling system will start this year.

Operations resume at nine airports across North India

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced that flight operations at all nine airports across North India have resumed.

Airports in the region were closed for civilian traffic amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan.

The airports at Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Pathankot, Kangra, Kullu Manali, Amritsar, Shimla, and Pithoragarh were closed on the morning of 27 February, but flight operations have now resumed.

Automated passport checks double passenger happiness, says SITA

A report by IT and air transport communications firm SITA revealed that the use of automated passport checking technology at airports boosted passenger satisfaction twofold in 2018.

The report titled ‘SITA 2019 Passenger IT Insights’ said that 44% of passengers used automated passport control in 2018, up from 21% in 2017.

Travellers were 3.85% more satisfied when they used self-scanning gates to verify their ID at passport control, compared to those using agent-assisted controls.

Frequentis to set up digital ATC tower at Invercargill Airport

Air navigation services provider Airways awarded a contract to Austria-based technology company Frequentis to develop a digital air traffic control (ATC) system for Invercargill Airport in New Zealand.

The new remotely operated digital ATC tower will provide improved aviation safety and weather resiliency, as well as the option to deliver extended levels of services in the country.

Airways air traffic services general manager Tim Boyle said: “A digital tower at Invercargill Airport is the first step in our journey to modernise the way we provide air traffic services at airports.

“We’re excited about the safety and efficiency advantages the technology offers to the airport, airlines, and ultimately travellers.”

Manchester Airport to become UK’s first 5G connected airport

“Manchester Airport has become the UK’s first 5G connected airport through its collaboration with Vodafone.”

British telecom major Vodafone partnered with Manchester Airport to test 5G mobile technology services to enable passengers to download their favourite content in super quick time.

Manchester Airport has become the UK’s first 5G connected airport through the collaboration.

The trial will see holidaymakers and business travellers at Terminal One invited to participate in a test and download content.

Heathrow strikes deal with airlines to increase passenger numbers

London’s Heathrow Airport 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.

ACAA unveils design for terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport

Allegheny County Airport Authority (ACAA) in Pennsylvania, US, 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.

UK to extend drones exclusion zone to 5km around airport

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.

The government and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) aim to avoid re-occurrence of security breach recently committed by illegal drones flying near Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport.

Once the rule becomes effective from 13 March, those violating the ‘no-fly zone’ will face a prison sentence of up to five years.

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.

Strike forces Belgian airports to cancel several flights

Hundreds of flights to and from Belgium were cancelled due to a strike called by air traffic controllers in support of pay demands.

The strike began at 10pm on the evening of 12 February and continued until 10pm the following day.

Belgian air navigation service provider Skeyes said in a statement: “Despite all the efforts made by the skeyes management, six hours before the start of the national strike, the company does not have sufficient insight into the staffing levels during the industrial action that will start tonight.”