news updates between our biweekly newsletter editions
Virgin Australia's airport plans stall again
March 31, 2015
Virgin Australia's new $190 million showpiece terminal at Perth Airport has been delayed yet again and will not open until late this year, leaving the airline's executives exasperated.
The terminal, which had been due to open in June last year, has been plagued by problems that have cost Virgin Australia tens of millions in lost revenue and operational inefficiencies.
Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said yesterday it was "disappointing that the launch of the terminal has been delayed yet again".
Insiders say the airline's executive team is dismayed and perplexed by the delays.
And there is no guarantee that the latest delay will be the last, airport insiders say.
Perth Airport chief executive Brad Geatches said: "As the final phases of the construction proceed, the date for completion and commissioning for the first day of operations of the Terminal 1 Domestic Pier will change based on updates from the builder."
He added that "we believe that, following practical completion and commissioning, operations will commence in the second half of 2015.
"We have no further updates to advise the public at this stage."
Mr Geatches flew to Brisbane last week to deliver the bad news in person to Virgin chief operating officer Gary Hammes.
In May, Mr Borghetti lashed out at the airport, saying the delays were costing the airline money.
Virgin has been forced to operate out of two terminals on opposite sides of the airport since March 2013, creating problems for passengers transferring between flights.
The airport's other major project, upgrading the International Terminal (T1), is also running late.
Last year, Perth Airport terminated part of its contract with Broad Construction Services for the expansion of T1's departures area.
Broad had completed the international arrivals area but the revamped departures area, now being completed by another construction company, is still a work in progress.
New Madinah airport ready for testing
March 31, 2015
Saudi aviation authorities will begin testing the new airport at Madinah during April, Saudi Gazette reported.
Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport covers about 4m sqm and has a capacity to handle 8m passengers annually.
It is expected to be open to the public in time for this year’s Umrah and Haj pilgrimages, when millions of Muslims will travel to the religion’s two holiest city, Makkah and Madinah.
The airport includes 153,000 sqm for arrival and departure halls and 16 departure gates.
There will be 64 check-in counters, plus 24 self -service facilities. During the Haj season, 16 additional self-service counters will be installed.
The kingdom is building or upgrading 28 airports across the country as it modernises and expands is burgeoning air travel industry.
King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, about 400kms south of Madinah and the kingdom’s busiest airport, also is undergoing a three-stage redevelopment to increase annual capacity from 13m to 80m passengers. Started in 2006, it is not due for completion until 2035.
The new expansion plan for Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport aims at increasing its capacity from 12m to 35m.
Dufry to buy Italy’s World Duty Free
March 30, 2015
Switzerland’s Dufry has agreed to buy a majority stake in World Duty Free in a deal which values the Italian firm at €3.6 billion ($3.8 billion) and will make the combined group the world’s biggest travel retailer.
Edizione, the holding company owned by the Benetton family and controlling World Duty Free (WDF), said on Saturday it was selling its 50.1 percent stake in the group to Dufry for €10.25 per share.
It said proceeds from the sale would total €1.3 billion, valuing the whole group at just under 3.6 billion euros after taking account of debt, which stood at €970 million at the end of last year.
The deal is the second high-profile foreign takeover of an Italian company in less than a week after China National Chemical Corp agreed to buy a majority stake in tire maker Pirelli last Sunday.
The Benetton family had indicated that it was willing to give up control of WDF to help the company cope with the rising costs of airport concessions, and also give the retailer more bargaining power with suppliers.
Dufry in turn cements its position as the world’s leading travel retailer in a fragmented sector — the combined group will have a market share of 25 percent and projected annual sales of $9 billion. One analyst put the value of expected synergies from the merger at between €80 million and €120 million a year.
Total retail spending at airports around the world is expected to almost double to $59 billion in 2019 from $36.8 billion in 2014, analysts predict, driven by rapid growth in Asia, where more than 350 new airports are set to be built in the next eight years.
Turkish TAV acquires Houston's airport duty-free rights
March 30, 2015
TAV Airports Holding’s joint venture, ATU Duty Free, has acquired the right to operate duty free shops at the Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport for the next decade.
The tender enables ATU Duty Free to operate in 700 square meters of duty free area in the airport, which was visited by more than 41 million passengers last year, the company said in a statement March 27.
TAV Airports President and CEO Sani Sener said they won the tender “after fierce competition in the U.S.”
“The success we achieved is another indicator of our significant industrial growth,” he said. Sener said terminals at the airport, which is currently the 11th largest airport in the U.S. in terms of passenger numbers, would be expanded in the near future.
Mitsubishi, Chiyoda to build $91.6m airport in the Philippines
March 23, 2015
Car-maker Mitsubishi Corp and engineering firm Chiyoda Corp will be constructing a new airport in the Philippines after reaching an agreement with the country’s Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
The joint venture between the two Japanese companies is estimated at ¥11 billion ($91.6 million) with Chiyoda serving as prime contractor. It aims to replace the current Panglao International Airport in Panglao island in Bohol province.
Dubbed “New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project”, it will have funding under a Japanese ODA loan in full compliance with international safety standards.
“It will replace the current airport, and will be designed with adequate capacity to accommodate passenger increases in the future,” Mitsubishi said in a statement.
Among the facilities to be constructed at the new Bohol Airport are a 2000-meter runway, airport special equipment, and passenger terminal building which can accommodate one million passenger annually.
The facility will be built under the “Eco Airport” concept with the use of advanced Japanese technology. It will also be furnished with a photovoltaic power generation system and a filtering system to avoid polluting the surrounding environment by drainage during construction.
The Panglao airport project will be the second airport construction project jointly executed by Chiyoda and Mitsubishi. The first one was the new Ulaanbaatar International Airport project in Mongolia, which is still undergoing construction.
An archipelago with over 7,000 islands, the Philippines depends on air transportation for mobility. The Bohol province is one of the country’s popular tourist destinations well-known for its Chocolate Hills site. It’s an area of over 1,200 grass-covered hills that are uniform in shape, which turn into chocolate brown at the end of the dry season.
$787.4M in construction at Orlando airport
March 23, 2015
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority COO Stan Thornton described some of the construction taking place, and other projects planned as part of the airport’s $1.1 billion South Terminal expansion, during a board meeting on March 18.
Thornton highlighted about $853.1 million in work either already underway or set to begin this year, ranging from roads, parking and infrastructure improvements to the massive Intermodal Transportation Facility being built on the south side to accommodate commuter rail stations. That complex, which also includes an expansion of the airport’s Automated People Mover (APM) and a parking garage, is expected to be completed in summer 2017.
Hensel Phelps Construction Co. and Turner-Kiewit Joint Venture are the construction managers at risk for the South Airport APM Complex and Intermodal Transportation Facility.
Click through the slideshow for a closer look at some of the projects mentioned during Thornton’s presentation that were $20 million in value or higher.
A total of about 450 companies, both contractors and subcontractors, are currently working on these projects at the airport, creating thousands of jobs. Additionally, the work is being done to accommodate up to 40 million annual passengers and 2 million annual arriving international passengers.
The airport hit a record high for international traffic in 2014, accounting for 12.3 percent of all airport traffic, and reported 35.7 million passengers overall, an increase of 9.6 percent when compared with 2013.
The year also started out strong for the airport, with nearly 3 million domestic and international passengers in January.
New airport construction begins in Hainan's Bo'ao
March 23, 2015
Construction of a new airport in Bo'ao on China's southernmost tropical island province of Hainan began on March 19 (2015).
The new airport is expected to be operational before the 2017 Bo'ao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference.
The BFA is an annual gathering that brings together state leaders, government officials, businessmen and academics from across Asia.
The airport is located in Qionghai city, about 15 kilometers from the BFA conference center. The airport project was approved in 2011.
The airport has a projected cost of 1.13 billion yuan (US$184 million), and is designed to handle 4,950 flights, or 480,000 passengers and 1,440 tonnes of cargo, annually.
Langkawi International Airport Expansion To Begin In 2016
March 23, 2015
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) plans to begin expansion of the Langkawi International Airport (LIA) next year after it was voted the best airport in Asia Pacific in the under two million passengers per year category for the second year running.
MAHB Managing Director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said LIA has surpassed its handling capacity of 1.5 million and the plan to upgrade the airport has been included in the 11th Malaysia Plan.
"The project to upgrade the LIA will begin next year and I believe it is timely as it will boost tourist arrivals in Langkawi," he told Bernama at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition (LIMA'15). He said the upgrading project would be carried out in phases beginning with the expansion of the terminal halls. However, Badlisham did not reveal the cost of the upgrading works.
Last month, LIA was voted the best airport in Asia Pacific in the under two million passengers per year category for the second year running under the Airport Council International Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Award 2014. He also said 2.2 million passengers arrived at LIA last year and the bullish trend was expected to continue based on the number of tourist arrivals. "Langkawi is developing progressively and the upgrading of LIA will be in line with the completion of Hotel St Regis Langkawi and Langkawi International Convention Centre.
"Besides attracting tourists, we believe Langkawi will be more than capable of hosting international events once the upgrading project is completed," he said.
LIA is located at Padang Matsirat on the duty-free island and is about 25 minutes away from the town centre, Kuah.
Copenhagen Airport to close domestic terminal
March 20, 2015
Copenhagen Airport has revealed it will close its domestic Terminal 1 on April 1 and shift all domestic traffic to Terminals 2 and 3, which are currently used for international flights only.
According to the airport, the merging of international and domestic traffic will mean that Denmark will become better connected.
”We have held productive discussions with the four airlines involved about where it would make the most sense – for them, that is – to direct their aircraft,” Peter Krogsgaard, the chief commercial officer at Copenhagen Airport, said. ”The airlines know their customers best, and that's why it has been important to us that we accommodate their requests as much as possible under the new arrangements.” Krogsgaard said that some people may expect long walks from security in Terminal 2 to the gates in Pier A West that are currently used for domestic traffic, but airport analyses suggest this will not be the case.
Vietnam counts on private sector in airport projects
March 20, 2015
The chief of the Business Management Department at Vietnam's Ministry of Transport is pinning hopes that raising funds from the private sector for airport projects is feasible given high growth in the aviation market and profitability at a number of operational airports.
Vu Anh Minh said the local aviation industry is in dire need of hefty funds to grasp growth opportunities.
Minh told the Daily that local airlines have raised funds to develop their facilities and expand their fleet in recent years, and that VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Company (VietJetAir) is a case in point.
In the past years, Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has executed a series of aviation infrastructure projects using its capital and loans from different sources.
Airport developments in 2011-2014 required more than VND45 trillion (US$2.12 billion), but the State budget and the proceeds from the Government bond auctions accounted for only 13.7% of the total.
The ministry will look for more funds for airport projects, including the proceeds from the equitization of ACV and its subsidiaries, the sale of operation rights to airports and terminals, and private investments.
Minh said the ministry has prepared a list of projects and investment forms for investors to select in addition to plans to transfer the operation rights to Phu Quoc International Airport, Terminal 1 (T1) at Noi Bai International Airport, and Danang International Airport.
Investors will be offered priorities when they get involved in development of Long Thanh airport project in Dong Nai Province, expansion of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC, and construction of a new runway and terminal at Cam Ranh International Airport.