Adele Chidakel Schwartz has been an aviation journalist for more than 40 years, and is ATW's airport specialist. She has previously worked on Aviation Daily, airport forum magazine and other industry publications.
Southwest Airlines yesterday announced it will launch service at the new Northwest Florida-Panama City International Airport next May, operating at least two daily flights to four undisclosed destinations. The airport, slated to open May 18, is being built on land donated by St. Joe Co., Florida's second-largest landowner and a major developer in northern Florida. Under a "strategic alliance" between the companies, St. Joe agreed to reimburse SWA on a quarterly basis if the airline incurs losses during the first three years.
By year end the City of New Orleans plans to issue a request for qualifications from organizations interested in leasing its Louis Armstrong International Airport and downtown heliport. It expects to ask for bids next spring and send a final application for privatization to FAA by the fall of 2010, a spokesperson for Armstrong International tells this newsletter.
Hanoi's Noi Ban International will get two new runways and other new facilities and its existing space will be renovated to handle 25 million annual passengers and 260,000 tons of cargo by 2020, the Vietnamese government said. The airport will be upgraded to A380 standards.
Tan Son Nhut International in Ho Chi Min City will be expanded and improved to handle 23.5 million passengers and 600,000 tons of cargo a year by 2015. Improvements also will be made to the airports serving Cam Rahn, Chu Lai, Cat Bi, Danang and Phu Bai.
Still years away from completion, the Chicago O'Hare Modernization Program already is reducing delays at the world's second-busiest airport. New Runway 9L-27R and the 3,000-ft. extension to runway 10L-27R, as well as the new north ATC tower, all opened last year, improved the airport's ontime arrival rate by 22%, according to the Chicago Dept. of Aviation.
In the final years of a $6.3 million airport redevelopment program, Miami International is looking at everything from a diversified shopping and services center to mineral extraction to gambling machines for the additional $500 million a year it will need to cover airport operations and debt service.
In the first six months of this year, MIA's passenger traffic was down 1.4% and aircraft movements off 9.3% compared with last year. It has lowered its landing fees 39% for the current fiscal year to help its airline tenants get through the recession.
Nearly half the proceeds--about $59.5 million--of St. Louis's new $125 million bond issue will pay for the next phase of Lambert Field's Airport Experience terminal and concourse modernization program, continuing through 2012.
After defeating an environmental challenge to building its main runway, the only new air carrier airport under construction in the US is aiming for a late May or early June opening next year. Panama City-Bay County International is being built along the northern Gulf Coast of Florida on 1,300 of the 4,000 acres donated for the project by the St. Joe Co., which will develop nearby commercial and industrial districts. A 41,000-acre conservation area adjoining the airport will protect the state's West Bay shoreline.
Vancouver International will open C$100 million ($91.9 million) worth of new C-Pier gates in July and a C$50 million apron and taxiway are being built for these gates, part of the airport's $1.4 billion, 10-year capital improvement plan that includes many projects designed to ease travel for the tens of thousands of visitors expected for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
US airport privatization appears to be another casualty of the worldwide recession as investors back away from facilities with falling traffic and revenue. Collapse of the deal to sell a 99-year lease on Chicago Midway for an up-front payment of $2.52 billion leaves US FAA's pilot privatization program without a major airport.
THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES IS COMMITTED to a $12 billion-plus program "to make a 1960s airport fit and accommodate the 21st century aircraft and the 21st century passenger. We're in a serious catch-up mode of construction," says Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's goal is to make Los Angeles the Western US's No. 1 international gateway.
AIRPORTS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA ARE designing, conserving and recycling their way into a greener future. Many of these environmental programs are producing savings that will help contain airport costs for their airline tenants.
The City of Chicago picked a consortium led by Vancouver Airport Services to operate Midway Airport under a 99-year lease.
The group's $2.5 billion bid was the highest offer for MDW, the first large US commercial airport to be privatized under an FAA pilot program. Other members of the winning consortium are Citi Infrastructure Investors and John Hancock Life Insurance Co. It is the first US contract for YVRAS, which operates 18 airports in seven countries.
FINALLY, THE END IS IN SIGHT FOR the biggest--and longest--airport
capital improvement program underway in the US. Miami International's new North Terminal, the last piece of the airport's $6 billion-plus modernization that began in 1992 and already has produced a 28-gate, 1.7-million-sq.-ft. South Terminal, a fourth runway and expanded cargo, parking and road facilities, is on track for completion in 2011. When this reporter last visited MIA in late 1999, the target date was 2007--and even that was four years later than previous estimates.
Shrinking airline costs and growing terminal facilities are attracting more airline service to Denver International Airport and making it the fastest-growing Continental Hub in North America, according to Arthur D. Little.
Thales is aiming to close its $400 million acquisition of JetBlue’s LiveTV subsidiary this summer, but Thales Avionics CEO Dominique Giannoni is remaining tight-lipped on other potential acquisitions....More
Airbus was unable to display its planned design for 11-abreast seating on its A380 at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, despite indicating that a cabin mock-up would be there as recently as last week....More