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Posts Tagged ‘airports’

Europe airports fight to clear Christmas backlog

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:30 am

LONDON, Dec 22, 2010 (AFP) – European airports fought to clear a backlog of thousands of stranded Christmas travellers on Wednesday as arctic conditions gripped the continent and sparked fresh delays and cancellations.

Weary passengers faced another day stuck in terminals amid fresh snowfalls and continued freezing temperatures which have hit airports in Britain, Germany, France and Ireland.

People skate on a rink in the western German city of Essen on December 21, 2010. AFP

Britain has offered to send in troops to end the disruption at London Heathrow, while Frankfurt and Dublin airports faced severe disruption.

Eurocontrol, the continent’s air traffic supervisory body, said about 3,000 flights had been cancelled across Europe on Tuesday, with similar numbers of cancellations for each of the past four days.

The cold snap chaos also hit Europe’s rail network with long queues snaking outside the London terminal for the Eurostar train link between Britain, France and Belgium.

There was a glimmer of hope for angry passengers who have spent four nights sleeping under foil blankets at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, as its second runway reopened late Tuesday.

But the huge backlog at one of the busiest times of year meant services will not immediately return to normal, and the airport planned to run about two-thirds of flights Wednesday.

“It is good news to see aircraft taking off and landing from two runways,” Colin Matthews, chief executive of airport operator BAA told Sky News.

“But it’s really important that passengers understand that doesn’t mean the full schedule is going to be restored instantly.”

Airport officials were under increasing pressure to resolve the crisis Wednesday after the EU lashed out at the “unacceptable” disruption caused by the heavy snows.

“I am extremely concerned about the level of disruption to travel across Europe caused by severe snow. It is unacceptable and should not happen again,” European transport commissioner Siim Kallas said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had offered to use the military to help BAA resolve the crisis at Heathrow, but this offer was refused.

“The people stuck there are having an incredibly difficult time, especially just a few days from Christmas, and everything must be done to either get them on holiday or get them home safely,” Cameron told a press conference.

Anger was meanwhile mounting among passengers queuing in the cold outside the terminal buildings at Heathrow.

“I think this hurts the reputation of the whole country. The airport is the first experience you have and this is not a good experience,” Gustaf Malmstrom, 23, told AFP as he tried for a fifth day to get a flight to Stockholm.

Most of Heathrow’s five terminals were only letting in people who were flying on Tuesday morning, mainly on flights to Asia, while others had to queue outside. Workers handed out silver foil blankets and set up two heated tents.

Eurostar said it was running a restricted service and asked all customers booked to travel before Christmas to refund or exchange their tickets free of charge if their journey was not essential.

The queue of passengers stretched for more than a kilometre around the imposing St Pancras station, and Eurostar warned the chaos looked set to continue.

“It’s too early at the moment to say when we will get back to normal,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

In Germany fresh snowfall caused gridlock at the country’s main airport Frankfurt with no flights taking off or landing for around three and a half hours in the morning.

Many internal flights were cancelled because of the arctic conditions, prompting German train company Deutsche Bahn to announce additional services on major routes across the country to help stranded travellers.

Dublin airport grounded all flights until 0800 GMT on Wednesday after Ireland was hit by more than 15 centimetres (six inches) of snow.

In France authorities allowed the two main airports in Paris, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, to remain open around the clock to clear the backlog of delayed flights.

Source: SGGP

Two major new airports planned

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Airports in southern provinces seek int’l flights

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Airports in southern provinces seek int’l flights

QĐND – Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 21:22 (GMT+7)

The Southern Airports Corporation (SAC) and Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) on July 27 held a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City to seek international flights to three new airports in the southern regions.

Representatives from travel and tourism businesses as well as domestic and international airlines were introduced to incentive policies reserved for Phu Quoc airport in the southern province of Kien Giang, Lien Khuong in the southern province of Lam Dong and Can Tho in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

Nguyen Nguyen Hung, General Director of SAC said that by 2012, a total of 8 trillion VND will be invested in the three airports.

The Lien Khuong international airport was put into operation last December and is forecast to be able to serve 580 domestic and 250 international passengers at peak hour by 2020.

Meanwhile, the Can Tho airport is scheduled to open in December this year and the Phu Quoc airport in 2012.

As part of the incentives, foreign visitors arrive at Phu Quoc airport will be given visa-exemption for a 15-day stay.

According to Lai Xuan Thanh, deputy head of CAAV, Vietnam has been working to facilitate the operation of international airlines in the country such as easing regulations through bilateral and multilateral agreements and offering 50 percent discount for airport services.

Source: VNA
Photo: hangkhonghanoi

Source: QDND

Britain, Germany, UAE airports ‘refuse fuel to Iran jets’

In Uncategorized on July 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Airports in Britain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates have refused to refuel Iranian passenger planes since Washington imposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran last week, ISNA news agency said Monday.

An Iran Air plane at Paris-Orly airport. Airports in Britain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates have refused to offer fuel to Iranian passenger jets after unilateral sanctions imposed by Washington, ISNA news agency said

IRNA, the official state news agency, said in a separate report that Kuwaiti airports have also turned down fuel for Iranian passenger planes.

“Since last week, after the passing of the unilateral law by America and the sanctions against Iran, airports in England, Germany, the UAE have refused to give fuel to Iranian planes,” ISNA quoted Mehdi Aliyari, secretary of Iranian Airlines Union, as saying.

The decision by the airports in these countries comes at a time when a large number of expatriate Iranians, especially those in Europe, travel to and from Iran for summer holidays.

Aliyari said their refusal has so far impacted Iran Air, the national carrier, and a leading private airline, Mahan Air, as both operate several flights to Europe.

Pervez Sorouri, a lawmaker and member of Iranian parliament’s committee on foreign policy and national security, warned of a retaliatory action by Tehran, especially towards the United Arab Emirates.

He said Iran was an important trade partner of the UAE which is emerging from a financial crisis and “this (UAE’s refusal) can have some reaction from Iran,” ISNA reported.

Last Thursday, US President Barack Obama signed into law the toughest ever US sanctions on Iran, which he said would strike at Tehran’s capacity to finance its nuclear programme and deepen its isolation.

The measures, on top of new United Nations and European sanctions, aim to choke off Iran’s access to imports of refined petroleum products like gasoline and jet fuel, and to curb its access to the international banking system.

“With these sanctions — along with others — we are striking at the heart of the Iranian government’s ability to fund and develop its nuclear programmes,” Obama said before signing the sanctions into law.

“There should be no doubt: the United States and the international community are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

World powers led by Washington suspect Tehran is making nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian atomic programme. Iran says its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes.

On June 9, the UN Security Council imposed a fourth set of sanctions against Iran, which was followed by unilateral punitive measures by the European Union and later by the United States.

Iran could lodge a complaint to the United Nations and the International Civil Aviation Organisation over the action of these airports, lawmaker Kazem Jalali was quoted as saying by the English-language Iran News.

“A special committee has been set up in the Iranian majlis (parliament) to study the US sanctions on jet fuel,” Jalali said. “The US president has done his best to isolate the Islamic republic of Iran but to no avail.”

On Monday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again dismissed the sanctions imposed on Iran.

“The sanctions that they have imposed do not strike a blow at Iran … They have imposed these sanctions to defend themselves and they know they cannot do anything,” the hardliner said in the northwestern city of Bonab.

All the four set of UN sanctions have been imposed on Iran under the presidency of Ahmadinejad who has defiantly pursued Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Source: SGGP

S.Korea airports introduce body scanners despite criticism

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2010 at 2:27 pm

SEOUL, July 1, 2010 (AFP) – South Korean airports Thursday began testing full body scanners to screen passengers, despite complaints from the state human rights watchdog that they violate personal privacy.

Six full body scanners made by British or US firms have been installed at four international airports at Incheon, Gimpo, Gimhae and Jeju, the transport ministry said.

“Airports will start using them probably in late July after a month-long test operation and education,” a ministry official in charge of airport security told AFP.

On Wednesday the National Human Rights Commission urged the ministry to cancel its plan to introduce the scanners, fearing they may violate privacy as they can generate images of the entire body.

The images can be leaked and used improperly, the watchdog said, citing a case in which a British airport official used the scanner to take pictures of his female colleague.

The ministry official, however, insisted South Korean airports would not give up what he called an effective way of preventing terrorism.

“As seen in many other countries, full body scanners are very effective. We will use them after working out measures to protect personal privacy,” he said.

“Passengers can opt to go through manual scanning, and controversial images created by scanners will be blurred,” he said, adding airport officials would be barred from storing or transmitting images.

The machines have proved controversial in several parts of the world but some European countries and the United States are introducing them.

Source: SGGP

London airports reopen after ash shutdowns

In Uncategorized on May 17, 2010 at 9:00 am

LONDON (AFP) – London’s main airports Heathrow and Gatwick reopened Monday after being forced to close by the volcanic ash cloud, but airports in Northern Ireland and others around Britain remained shut.

Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, reopened at 07:00 am (0600 GMT) as did Gatwick.

Staff hand out folding chairs to passengers as they wait for information at Manchester Airport. Heathrow and Gatwick reopened Monday after being forced to close by the volcanic ash cloud, but airports in Northern Ireland and others around the country remained shut. AFP photo

However restrictions remained on flights because of their proximity to a dense section of the shifting ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland.

Airports inside the no-fly zone were shut until 1200 GMT with all airports in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man to remain closed until then.

Scotland’s busiest airport, Edinburgh, plus Aberdeen and Inverness were closed while Wales’s main airport Cardiff was shut, as was Swansea.

In England, Bristol in the southwest and Farnborough, southwest of London, were also closed until 1200 GMT.

In the Netherlands meanwhile, the authorities announced the closure of the airports in Amsterdam and Rotterdam from 6:00 am (0400 GMT) to 2:00 pm Monday.

The latest ash closures came at the beginning of a week where air travel disruption was already expected due to a five-day strike by British Airways cabin crew set to kick off Tuesday.

Europe’s skies were partially closed for up to a week in April following the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, in the biggest shutdown of the continent’s airspace for more than 50 years.

Experts fear the volcanic ash can damage jet engines and create a serious risk of a crash.

“There is slightly increased activity for the past two days, there has been some ash fall around the glacier,” Bjoern Oddsson a University of Iceland vulcanologist told AFP.

“The column (of smoke) has increased and rises up to eight kilometres (five miles),” as opposed to six kilometres in previous days.

But its effect on European flights depended entirely on the winds, he added.

NATS also ordered the closure of several smaller airports around London and southeast England early Monday.

But they allowed restrictions to be lifted in northern and central England, from 0000 GMT after the ash cloud drifted south and away from their airspace.

That allowed Manchester Airport, the busiest outside London and among the 20 busiest in Europe, to reopen after several hours’ closure Sunday. Birmingham, Liverpool, and Leeds-Bradford also reopened.

In Scotland, as Prestwick prepared to reopen Aberdeen Airport, further northeast, was set to close. Airports in the Western Isles and along Scotland’s west coast remained shut.

Earlier, aviation regulators in the Republic of Ireland extended a closure of Dublin airport by three hours to at least 1100 GMT Monday. The airport closed at 1800 GMT Sunday.

The other two main airports, Cork and Shannon, remain open until further notice, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said.

Of the smaller hubs, Donegal was to remain closed until at least 1100 GMT, while Ireland West (Knock) and Sligo were to reopen at 0800 GMT.

Kerry is open until further notice, while Galway and Waterford would reopen at 0500 GMT Monday.

North Atlantic flights crossing Irish airspace would not be affected, said the IAA.

The latest shutdowns drew renewed attacks from the aviation industry, which has been hard hit by the ash cloud chaos.

The international airline industry body, IATA, has estimated last month’s shutdown cost carriers some 1.7 billion dollars (1.4 billion euros, 0.7 billion pounds).

Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson branded Sunday’s closure of Manchester Airport as “beyond a joke”.

“We need strong leadership to intervene to avoid doing further unnecessary damage to the UK economy and lives of travellers,” he said.

Eurostar, which runs high-speed rail services linking London with Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel, said it was laying on extra trains between the capitals Monday to answer an expected surge in demand.

Source: SGGP

Ash cloud shuts Spain, Morocco airports, reaches Turkey

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm

MADRID, May 11, 2010 (AFP) – A volcanic ash cloud from Iceland forced the shutdown Tuesday of airports for the first time in north Africa and in the Canaries and southern Spain, as it drifted as far as Turkish airspace.

While most European air travel was “close to normal” on Tuesday, the continent’s air traffic agency Eurocontrol said, restrictions and airport closings caused flight cancellations as winds pushed volcanic ash in the atmosphere into some new territory.

Passengers wait near information screens displaying cancelled flights at the Reina Sofial airport on the touristic Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife on May 11, 2010. AFP photo

Eight airports on Morocco’s north and west coasts, including Rabat and Casablanca, were shut down, the first time the cloud of ash that has caused air traffic chaos in Europe over the past month has affected north Africa’s airspace.

Casablanca — the hub of operations for Royal Air Maroc — was to cease operations until 1800 GMT, together with the smaller airport in the capital Rabat, the transportation ministry said in a statement.

Flights into and out of Tangiers, Tetouan, Essaouira, Agadir, Tan-Tan and Guelmin were also halted until 1800 GMT, the ministry said.

By mid-day in Spain, air traffic control agency Aena had given the all-clear to reopen four airports that were shut down earlier in the day on the Canary islands of Tenerife and La Gomera and at Badajoz in southwest Spain.

But the airports on the Canary Island of La Palma, and at Seville and Jerez in southern Spain remained closed.

In all, some 180 flights were cancelled in Spain as of 0900 GMT, Aena said.

Spain has also imposed overflight restrictions at altitudes between 20,000 and 35,000 feet (6,000 metres and 10,600 metres) in the skies over Seville, Madrid and Barcelona, Aena said.

The cloud of volcanic ash which affected Turkish airspace last month returned Tuesday forcing flight bans up to an altitude of 20,000 feet over the Dardanelles Strait and the country’s European corner for four hours from 1200 GMT, the General Directorate of State Airports said in a statement on its website.

The major international airport at Istanbul however remained open.

“At the moment, there is nothing affecting Istanbul. We do not have a critical situation in our hands,” a directorate spokesman told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Iceland’s volcanologists explained that the ash in Europe’s skies is left over from previous weeks and can travel around in the atmosphere due to winds.

“We really don’t know when it will settle down. So even if the volcano stops, we can look at this problem for a couple of weeks after,” said Bjoern Oddsson of the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Iceland University.

Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano began erupting on April 14, releasing ash that last month caused the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, affecting more than 100,000 flights and eight million passengers over a week.

Ash had continued off and on to plague Europe’s air travel and force flight cancellations for fear the ash could enter the plane’s engine with fatal results.

On Tuesday a Ryanair flight from Belfast to London was forced to turn back shortly after taking off Tuesday because of an “oily smell” in the cabin, the low-cost airline said.

Ryanair was unable to say whether the plane was one of two grounded on Sunday because of technical problems and later found to have volcanic ash in their engines.

Eurocontrol said in a statement it expected about 29,000 flights within Europe’s skies on Tuesday. It also gave an optimistic outlook for transatlantic flights which have faced major delays in recent days, saying high ash concentration was dispersing at high altitudes in the middle of the North Atlantic.

As for the ash cloud’s further direction, Eurocontrol said it could move across the Iberian peninsula into southeast France but that “these areas (of high ash concentration) are of high altitude and are not expected to impact airports.” 

Source: SGGP

Airports step up security after failed airliner attack

In World on December 27, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Air travellers worldwide faced tightened security Sunday as authorities ramped up efforts to prevent attacks in the wake of a failed bid to blow up an airplane over the United States.

Amsterdam-Schipol airport was also investigating how a 23-year-old Nigerian with reported links to Al-Qaeda could smuggle onboard explosives that he allegedly tried to detonate as the flight approached Detroit.

The United States quickly asked airlines worldwide to tighten security and airport authorities said they were complying with extra screening and strict baggage limits that heaped hours onto check-in times.

Passengers stand in line to go through a security screening at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Singapore Airlines moved quickly to announce strict new rules for flights to the United States from the busy Asian hub.

“One hour before the plane lands in a US airport, all passengers must be seated, and should not have any baggage near them or be covered with any blanket. The inflight entertainment system would also be turned off,” said a company spokesman.

Extra measures, including frisking of passengers and searching hand baggage came into force on Saturday morning in The Netherlands, which received a formal request from the US authorities soon after Friday’s botched attack. Related article: Nigerian charged with bid to blow up airliner

Within the United States, the Department of Homeland Security tightened security checks for passengers on all domestic and international flights, putting additional screening measures into place.

“These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere,” the department’s statement said.

In London a British Airways spokesman said new rules were coming into force.

“This includes additional screening of all US-bound passengers and hand luggage before they board their flights,” he said. “Passengers travelling to the US will only be allowed to carry one item of hand luggage.”

At Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport passengers were told that all hand baggage had to be checked into the hold, except for women’s handbags, one traveller told AFP.

Items required during the flight had to be put into special plastic bags and passengers were frisked again just before boarding when their remaining hand luggage was reexamined, he said.

Rome and Stockholm also announced more stringent security for planes to the United States.

Hong Kong carrier Cathay said it was banning US-bound passengers from using cabin phones at any time during the flight.

Elsewhere, in Asia, New Zealand said passengers flying to the United States were being separated from other international travellers following routine screening for additional baggage checks and body searches.

Authorities in Japan urged passengers to allow more time at the airport amid warnings that tightened security would lead to delays.

Canada announced “immediate action” and also warned that stricter security could cause delays.

Meanwhile, Afghan authorities said they would not be beefing up already-tight security at Kabul’s international airport.

“Our security arrangements at Kabul international airport were already serious and we have good measures,” said Zamary Bashari, interior ministry spokesman.

The European Commission in Brussels said it was investigating if proper security measures had been followed in Amsterdam where would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had boarded the Northwest Airlines flight.

“This incident shows once again that vigilance is necessary at all times in the fight against terror,” a commission vice president, Jacques Barrot, said in a statement.

Abdulmutallab had been able to pass what US authorities have determined was the high explosive PETN through checks at Schiphol.

Since Al-Qaeda’s suicide attacks with hijacked airliners on New York and Washington in September 2001 and an attempted “shoe-bombing” on a Christmas week flight a few months later, airline security has been increasing.

In 2003, airlines reinforced cockpit doors to prevent terrorists from taking control of planes and in 2006 many countries introduced strict restrictions on liquids allowed in luggage.

In 2008, the European Parliament authorised the presence of armed air marshals on commercial flights, following the US example.

But experts point out that 100 percent terrorism-proof airports simply do not exist, as reporters have shown by smuggling weapons and explosives onto flights.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Ten airports in Thailand to serve international flights

In Uncategorized on December 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Ten of Thailand’s domestic airports nationwide are now ready to serve international commercial flights, after thousands of anti-government protesters occupied the country’s two main airports, virtually crippling the country’s air transport services.

Protesters from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) besieged Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, halting all inbound and outbound flights and stranding thousands of foreign and Thai travellers since November 25.

Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Chaisak Angsuwan was quoted by Thailand’s news agency (TNA) as saying that apart from U-Tapao International Airport, all airlines were encouraged to use other airports nationwide, including Chiang Mai, Phuket, Phitsanulok, Khon Kaen, Surat Thani, Hat Yai and Krabi airports as replacements for the two Bangkok airports.

Meanwhile, Air Chief Marshal Narongsak added that there were some 6,000 passengers stranded by the Suvarnabhumi closure.-