news updates between our biweekly newsletter editions
Singapore Swoops In £1bn UK Airports Deal
October 7, 2014
Sky News has learnt that the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore (GIC) is expected to take a slice of the equity in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, alongside Ferrovial, the Spanish infrastructure giant, and Macquarie, the Australian bank.
GIC's involvement is understood to be in the process of being finalised although it may not be publicly named as an investor when the deal is announced early next week, according to insiders.
The three airports, which collectively handle approximately 13 million passengers annually, are being sold by Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH), the parent company of Britain's busiest airport.
Sky News revealed Ferrovial's interest in buying the three airports nearly ten months ago, with HAH's board keen to offload the regional sites as it concentrates on securing backing for a third runway.
The debate about Britain's aviation policy will reach a crucial stage next year, when Sir Howard Davies's commission makes a recommendation about the most appropriate location for new runway capacity.
The Commission's verdict will be made after the general election, and is effectively now a two-way fight between Heathrow and Gatwick, with the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, having seen his concept of a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary rejected by Sir Howard.
The three regional airports owned by HAH are the last remnants of the former BAA's monopoly over the UK's aviation infrastructure.
Next week's deal has been held up because of the complexity of HAH's own shareholder structure, with Ferrovial, which took over BAA in 2006, having steadily reduced its investment in Heathrow in recent years by selling small chunks of shares to sovereign wealth funds in China, Qatar and Singapore, including GIC.
Dnata plans new cargo terminal at DWC
October 7, 2014
Dnata will begin construction on a new cargo terminal at Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) in the second quarter of 2015, said a top official.
The terminal is in the final design stage and is likely to have an annual capacity of between 1 and 1.6 million tonnes, Jon Conway, senior vice president — UAE airport operations, was quoted as saying in a Gulf News report.
The terminal will have an initial capacity of 500,000 tonnes a year and the construction is targeted for completion by the end of 2016, he added.
Dnata will be spending around Dh20 million ($5.4 million) for ground support equipment and lounge development for Dubai International’s new Concourse D, Conway was quoted in the report.
The terminal will be used to handle cargo from other airlines landing at DWC, the report said.
Bidders seek fourth extension for Navi Mumbai airport
October 7, 2014
Even as the decks for the Navi Mumbai international airport have been cleared after all the project-affected villagers gave their consent for land acquisition last week, bidders are now asking for yet another extension.
This is the fourth time the bidders have sought extension from the implementing agency City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) for submission of bids.
The bidders include GVK Group which runs the current airport in the city and has the first right of refusal in the bidding process, Tata Realty & Infrastructure, among others.
In the February round of RFQs, leading companies like Zurich Airport, Ferrovial Aeropuertos, Tata Realty & Infrastructure, Mumbai International Airport (GVK), Srei Infra Finance, Samsung-C&T, IL&FS, GMR Group, Essel Infraprojects, Gensler of US, UK Trade & Investment, and Vinci Concessions India, among others had submitted their bids.
The Cidco had floated tenders for the over Rs 14,500-crore project this February and had fixed June 18 as the date of submission of RFQs. The deadline was, however, extended thrice to July 30, September 2 and October 31, as the bidders sought time to submit the tenders.
"Yes, they have asked for one more extension," Cidco vice-chairman and managing director Sanjay Bhatia told PTI, but refused to offer details as to why the bidders are seeking more time again. He, however, said that currently focus is land acquisition after getting the consent of the villagers, rehabilitation and relocation of power transmission lines.
According to another Cidco official, who did not wish to be named, the agency may not accept this demand of the bidders as it has already extended it thrice and the critical path of consent has been cleared.
Sky Harbor construction delay may cost $1.9 million
October 7, 2014
A mammoth construction project at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will be delayed for two weeks, which experts say could cost the city an additional $1.9 million.
The Phoenix City Council last week was set to approve a $103 million construction contract for the first phase of the planned $590 million Terminal 3 remodeling project.
But some members said they wanted more time to review the plan, which has been in the works for more than a year, while others said the delay would waste public money for no reason.
Maldives Offers Male international airport project to Chinese company
September 19, 2014
In what may be viewed as a setback to India's strategic clout in its neighbourhood, Maldives has offered the project to upgrade Male international airport to a Chinese firm during President Xi Jinping's visit, earlier contracted to Indian firm GMR but unilaterally terminated in 2012.
The contract to expand Male airport has been given to Beijing Urban Construction Group Company Limited, notwithstanding the fact that Maldives is yet to pay the GMR group damages after the international arbitration tribunal in Singapore ruled in favour of the GMR last June.
Construction Begins For Terminal 1 Modernization Project At LAX
September 19, 2014
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Councilman Mike Bonin, airport director Gina Marie Lindsay and others were in attendance at the 10 a.m. ceremony where the $508 million remodel of the Southwest Airlines terminal is scheduled to begin. Terminal 1, which also houses Southwest’s subsidiary, AirTran Airways, was built in 1984 and has 15 gates.
The remodel includes a new 12-lane security screening checkpoint, 24 new dining and retail options, a fully automated checked-baggage inspection and sortation system, refurbished arrival/baggage claim area and new lounge-style seating areas at gates.
The remodel also features a reconfiguration of the street access to the terminal, which has experienced some of the worst traffic congestion at LAX, particularly during peak travel times.
The money for the project comes from airport fees, rather than through tax money from Los Angeles residents.
“(The money) actually comes from rates and fees that are charged here at the airport, to the airlines, as well as all the other businesses that operate here at the airport,” LA World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey said. “No general tax dollars at all.”
2013 saw the completion of a multimillion dollar effort to renovate and modernize the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.
Construction on Terminal 1 is expected to be completed in 2018 and will be phased to minimize inconvenience to customers, employees, and guests.
“The Terminal 1 improvement project will bring a better passenger experience and 1,500 construction jobs to LAX,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “As part of our $7 billion investment in LAX, we’re remodeling every terminal and creating 40,000 jobs. Because Los Angeles deserves a world-class airport.”
Southwest Airlines serves 25 cities from LAX and is the airport’s eighth busiest airline with 117 daily departures.The terminal will remain open during construction.
Indonesia's Kuala Namu Airport to be made aerotropolis
September 19, 2014
State-run airport operator PT Angkasa Pura (AP) II plans to develop North Sumatra’s Kuala Namu International Airport as an aerotropolis to integrate the airport with Belawan Port, Kuala Tanjung Port and Batubara regency, to help spur the province’s economic growth.
An aerotropolis is a new urban concept placing airports in the center with cities growing around them, connecting workers, suppliers, goods and executives.
“This concept will support the development of the national strategic areas of Medan, Binjai, Deli Serdang, Karo and Mebidangro, as well as the Sei Mangke Special Economic Zone and its surrounding industrial areas,” AP II corporate secretary Daryanto told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
He said the company was holding a discussion with officials from the North Sumatra provincial administration in Medan on Thursday in order to determine how to take the plan forward.
“The discussion is very important for both parties so that we can develop the aerotropolis concept. We believe the project is feasible because Kuala Namu still has a lot of room for future developments,”
The airport, which is located about 42 kilometers from the city’s old Polonia airport, is equipped with a 3,750-meter runway and 33 aprons that are able to accommodate wide-body aircraft, such as the Airbus 330, A380 and Boeing 747.
Fraport to modernise Slovenia Ljubljana Airport
September 11, 2014
German operator Fraport, which purchased a 75.5% stake in Slovenia's Ljubljana Airport last Friday, and intends to acquire the remaining 24.5%, has promised a long term investment in Slovenia’s busiest airport. Fraport CEO Stefan Schulte says the airport will be upgraded and modernised but stopped short of committing to building a new terminal in the near future. According to Mr. Schulte, Fraport is a long-term investor who is not looking for short-term benefits. The new owner intends to develop both passenger and cargo traffic at the airport. Mr. Schulte expects that Ljubljana Jože Pucnik Airport will continue to record growth in both segments. Fraport’s first task will be to provide an even better service to passengers and the German operator has committed itself to modernising the current passenger terminal. Mr. Schulte also expects the number of employees to grow at the airport as business expands.
However, projects for the construction of a new terminal and a new runway will depend on passenger growth and are not planned in the near future. Last year, the airport‘s minority shareholders, which are about to sell their stake to Fraport, rejected a government plan to build a new terminal at the airport. The CEO of Jože Pucnik Airport, Zmago Skobir, believes the acquisition on behalf of Fraport is a major milestone in the airport’s development. Mr. Skobir expects new airlines and routes to come following the deal. The Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SDH), which handled the sales process, says, "We have achieved the highest price possible and exceeded our original expectations. It is a case of good practice and time will show that the selected buyer is capable of ensuring optimal development of the airport".
Meanwhile, Fraport has ruled out any further acquisitions in the former Yugoslavia following comments made by the Serbian government that the German operator had expressed interest in Belgrade Airport. “The company has no plans of acquiring some of the other airp