Airports in the news – Spring 2018

A snapshot of stories from around Europe.

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Stansted Airport

Had its busiest-ever January, handling 1.8m passengers (+3.3% on Jan 2017)
Stansted Airport has applied to increase the number of passengers it is allowed to handle each year by 8 million. It has sought permission to raise its annual passenger cap to 43 million, aiming to make better use of its runway capacity as part of a five-year, £600 million construction project to expand passenger facilities. About 26 million people travelled through Stansted last year and the airport is expected to hit the annual 35 million cap in the next four to five years. Chief Executive Ken O’Toole believes that this new plan to tackle the airport’s shrinking capacity would create an extra 5,000 jobs. The application will also seek permission for additional airfield infrastructure within the current airfield boundary, comprising two new links to the runway, six additional stands on the mid airfield and three additional stands at the north eastern end of the airport.

Toulouse-Blagnac Airport

Traffic increased by 8.6% to 680,000 in January, with international traffic up by 16.5% and domestic traffic by 2.7%
Passengers taking off from the runways of Toulouse-Blagnac are sure to notice that the roof of car park P2 is now covered with solar panels. These 3,633 panels will produce the equivalent of the building’s electricity consumption. The construction of the solar power plant is a continuation of older commitments to renewable energies: since 2015, the airport has used electricity from 100% renewable energy supplies. In 2018, the airport will conduct two other major energy transition projects, initiated last year: HyPort, launched by the Occitanie region (development of hydrogen power in the airport zone), and DEMETER, a project from Toulouse Métropole and Airbus to reduce carbon emissions from road congestion and modes of transport used by airport zone employees. The aim is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020, within the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.


Traffic across Aena’s airports grew by 8.7% to 15.5m passengers in January
Aena’s commitment to passenger experience continues. It has revamped its free Wi-Fi service to enable high-speed downloading and HD streaming. The new network, whose bandwidth has not been unveiled, will be deployed across 46 airports in the beginning of 2018. According to Aena, the service will be completely free, with the pay option being cancelled, and will have no advertising. Travellers will be able to use it after they register on the Aena website. The previous service, which has been available for the last two years, had a premium subscription that enabled speeds up to 10Mbps, depending on the airport. The free option delivered no more than 2Mbps, making it impossible to use any video streaming or over-the-top (OTT) services.

Keflavik Airport

Experienced 15.3% growth in January to 570,000 passengers
A tourist boom has caused traffic at Iceland’s Keflavik Airport to grow more than five-fold over the past nine years, with a predicted 10 million passengers this year. In a bid to accommodate this traffic surge, the airport expects to invest $1 billion over the next 7 to 8 years to make room for new airlines and routes. Surrounded by black, barren lava fields, there’s plenty of room for Keflavik and other operations to grow. Its vision of the future includes an “Aerotropolis” that would potentially stretch all the way to Reykjavik, some 30 kilometres away.

Oslo Airport

Traffic increased by 6.6% to 27.5m passengers in 2017
Oslo Airport saw a huge increase in air cargo in 2017, the biggest volumes of which were exports of fresh Norwegian seafood. According to airport operator, Avinor, the gateway handled 185,000 tonnes of air cargo last year – a whopping 35% increase on 2016. Norway generated just under 230,000 tonnes of seafood as air cargo in 2017. Of this volume, 39% flew directly out of Norway from Oslo Airport. This is good news for the Norwegian seafood industry, which during last year has increased its competitiveness further, thanks to better connectivity and capacity directly out of Norway.

Moscow Domodedovo

Saw passenger numbers increase by 7.6% to 30.7m in 2017
Travel Retail Domodedovo, a joint venture between Gebr Heinemann and its Russian partner Greenway, has won the tender to become the exclusive duty free operator for the new Terminal 2 facility at Moscow Domodedovo. The T2 duty-free plaza will cover a total area of 7,000sqm and will include a 4,000sqm walk-through store located directly behind the security checkpoint. The area is scheduled to open in June 2018 ahead of the FIFA World Cup soccer championships in Russia.

Vilnius Airport

Lithuanian Airports handled a record 5.2m passengers in 2017, across Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga
The constantly growing passenger traffic forced Vilnius Airport to increase its capacity again. After completing its runway reconstruction last summer, Vilnius Airport is moving inside with the reconstruction of its passenger terminal. The cost of the works is estimated at €60 million. The modernisation of the terminal will consist of several phases: reconstruction of the sterile area, of the apron and taxiway, of the airport’s public traffic infrastructure, and of the departure area. The last phase is scheduled to end in 2021.

Düsseldorf Airport

Last year, traffic rose by about 5% to over 24.5m passengers
Düsseldorf Airport will deploy next generation ECAC Standard 3 explosive detection systems screening technology from Smiths Detection. Awarded by the Procurement Office of the German Ministry of Interior, the contract includes installation of 14 advanced HI-SCAN 10080 XCT scanners. Smiths Detection has also signed an eight-year associated service agreement for the airport. Installation of systems is expected to begin this year and will be launched over the next four years.

Munich Airport

Traffic grew by 5.5% to an all-time high of 44.6m in 2017
In keeping with the city’s now well-established annual Munich Security Conference, Munich Airport has launched a new centre to defend it and the aviation industry against cyber-crime. The unit is called the Information Security Hub (ISH) and will house a team of IT specialists who will work together with experts from the European aviation industry to develop strategies in cyber-defence. The new competence centre has four training rooms and IT labs, a control room and an amphitheatre for presentations and briefings. According to the airport, there has been a massive increase in the number of cyber-attacks on its IT systems and those of companies and public authorities in Germany.

Naples Airport

Posted a 27% increase in traffic in 2017, making it Italy’s fastest-growing airport
Naples Airport is the first in Italy to implement a chatbot. This AI-driven technology is embedded in the airport’s Facebook page and enables passengers to receive answers to their questions almost instantly. While chatting with the bot through Facebook Messenger, travellers will be able to receive information on their flight, on the controls, on the safety rules, or discover the services available outside and inside the airport, with information on shops and restaurants, transport and parking. Unlike classic airport chatbots, it is also a real Tourist Assistant. Travellers can continue to engage with the chatbot while discovering the city and the region, thanks to its ability to provide tourist information through search and geo-location. The chatbot is currently only available on Facebook, but might soon be extended to other platforms. Available in Italian for now, the airport is working on adding an English language option, to meet the needs of international travellers.

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