Airports and Airport Security - International - April 2011
- In terms of freight, Hong Kong moved into the top-ranked spot in 2010 – ahead of FedEx’s hub, Memphis, which had been ranked number one since 1991.
- China is the fastest-growing major aviation market in the world. Passenger movements are forecasted to more than double from current levels by year-end 2015. It is estimated that 78 new airports will be built in China over the next ten years.
- In spite of fast-growing demand for air travel, most Chinese airports are currently loss-making. However, the deregulation of low-altitude airspace (between 1,000-4,000 metres) should trigger explosive growth in private aircraft and helicopters, which will boost airport utilisation, especially in outlying areas.
- Virtually all US airports are operated by public-sector entities, in contrast to much of Europe, where publicly quoted companies operate many of the regions’ largest airports, such as Ferrovial’s BAA, Fraport, Aéroports de Paris and Vienna International Airport. President Obama has called for cuts in construction grants to US airports of about one third, amounting to over US$1 billion.
- In order to finance major airport capacity upgrades and expansion, several large countries have been obliged to call on private-sector investment, including Brazil, India and Spain. In Brazil, where it is estimated that US$20 billion is needed for investment in airports, the government is preparing the country’s public sector airport operator, Infraero, for privatisation.
- In India, the six large airports serving gateway cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, which are operated by joint ventures with private-sector entities, already account for about 60% of passenger movements in the country.
- AENA (Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea), the large Spanish governmental airport operator, reputed to be the largest in the world, is being prepared for partial privatisation, due in part to Spain’s dire fiscal situation. A 49% interest will be sold to private interests and management of the nation’s two largest airports, Madrid Barajas and Barcelona El Prat, will be put out to tender to private operators under a 40-year licence system.
- New, less invasive body-scanning technology has been developed and is currently being tested in several US airports. The new advanced imaging technology (AIT) software enhances passenger privacy by eliminating passenger-specific images. The ban on carrying liquids in containers of more than 100ml in hand luggage is to be lifted in Europe following the approval of a bottle scanner developed by Kromek, a manufacturer of specialised semiconductor materials. By April 2011, liquid items bought in transit (ie duty-free purchases) will be allowed on board and by April 2013, the ban will be lifted completely, allowing the carriage of liquids on flights across Europe.
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