Airports in the news: Spring 2021

A snapshot of stories from around Europe. Compiled by Agata Lyznik

Helsinki Airport

Helsinki Airport has been selected as the best European airport in its size category in 2020, winning Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Award. The airport also received recognition for the hygiene measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since January 2020, Finavia has taken measures to further improve communication and health security at its airports so that passengers can feel safe at the airport. Helsinki Airport has also introduced new innovative practices, such as the COVID-19 sniffer dogs that have received worldwide attention and the UVC disinfection of security control trays.

Budapest Airport

The ‘long-running’ Budapest Runway Run partnership has been recognised as the Organisational Fundraiser of the Year by cancer charity Anthony Nolan, for which it has raised over €110,000. Established in 2013, the Budapest Runway Run has become the pre-eminent charity-sporting event for the worldwide air transport community, regularly drawing over 1,100 airline and airport runners to compete in a unique 10km race on the Tarmac of Budapest Airport’s Runway 13R-31L. The prestigious Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards recognise outstanding achievement by volunteers, fundraisers, clinical supporters and donors who help the pioneering blood cancer charity save lives. The event has so far raised a cumulative €220,000, shared between Anthony Nolan and Hungarian disability group SUHANJ! Foundation – and, even in the past difficult year of sealed borders, it still managed to amass over €9,500 for Anthony Nolan.

Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport, Turkey’s gateway to the world, has been accredited following its efforts to manage and reduce its carbon footprint as part of its comprehensive environmental and sustainability programme. The Greenhouse Gas Emission Management System applications were audited by inspectors approved by ACI, in line with the requirements of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme and Istanbul Airport obtained accreditation at Level 1 ‘Mapping’. Upon fulfilling the requirement of three years of data history, Istanbul Airport aims to progress to the Level 3 ‘Optimisation’ certification process, reduce total carbon footprint after the three-year period, and take a step towards the Level 4 ‘Neutrality’ certification process.

London Stansted Airport

London Stansted has marked the 30th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen officially opening the iconic terminal building on 15 March 1991 and the first flights to operate from the ‘new’ airport. The milestone comes as the airport faces one of the biggest challenges in its history, with the COVID-19 pandemic grounding all but essential flights and the aviation sector facing continuing uncertainty over when travel might resume. Before the pandemic, the airport would welcome around 28 million passengers a year flying to almost 200 destinations. This compares to fewer than 50 routes and just over one million passengers when the terminal opened in 1991. However, in the last 12 months the number of passengers passing through its doors is now similar to levels last seen in 1994.

Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Moscow-Domodedovo and Moscow-Vnukovo

Three Russian airports (Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Moscow-Domodedovo and Moscow-Vnukovo) were among the top 5 performing European hubs. The 5 hubs listed as Majors in 2019 – London-Heathrow, Paris-CDG, Amsterdam-Schiphol, Frankfurt and Istanbul – lost 250 million passengers in 2020. Frankfurt (-73.4%) posted the largest decrease, closely followed by London-Heathrow (-72.7%), Amsterdam-Schiphol (-70.9%), Paris-CDG (-70.8%) and Istanbul (-59.6%). EU airports (-73% & 1.32 billion passengers lost) were significantly more impacted than those in the non-EU bloc (-61.9% & 400 million passengers lost). This is mainly due to the size and relative resilience of domestic markets primarily in Russia but also Turkey, combined with less stringent lockdowns and travel restrictions compared to the EU market.

Riga Airport

Riga Airport is set to begin construction of a regional DHL complex, hosting the most advanced express logistics and handling centre in the Baltics. The agreements provide that in cooperation between the airport, logistics company ‘DHL Latvia’ and real estate development and construction company SIA ‘Castor Construction’, a regional DHL shipment processing and logistics centre in an area of 4,500sqm will be built at Riga Airport. The total planned investments account for €12 million.

Frankfurt Airport and Munich Airport

A touchless customer experience has been implemented at Frankfurt and Munich airports. Star Alliance has completed development of an interoperable biometric identity and identification platform designed to significantly improve the travel experience for frequent flyer programme customers of member airlines. The Star Alliance Biometrics platform advances the vision of delivering a seamless customer journey, while strengthening the loyalty value proposition within its travel ecosystem. Lufthansa Group airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS, will be the first to use Star Alliance Biometrics for selected flights starting in November 2020. Specific infrastructure is being installed at the hub airports of Frankfurt and Munich. 

Groupe ADP

Paris Region, Groupe ADP, Air France-KLM and Airbus are launching a call for expressions of interest to explore the opportunities generated by hydrogen in Paris airports with the aim of decarbonising air transport activities. This worldwide call for expressions of interest complies with the French Government’s energy transition strategy and is supported by the European Commission, which strives for zero-emission aircraft by 2035. Aware that the advent of hydrogen will revolutionise the way airport infrastructure is designed and operated, the partners want to anticipate and support developments that should help transform the Paris airports into true “hydrogen hubs”.

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