Doha’s date with destiny
Dubai opens new A380 concourse
Dubai International Airport (DXB) has successfully completed the opening of Concourse A, the world’s first purpose-built facility for the A380. “Concourse A is a vital element of our $7.8 billion investment in the continued expansion of DXB which will see it become the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic by the end of 2015,” enthuses Dubai Airports CEO, Paul Griffiths.
The first phase of Qatar’s new $15.5 billion Hamad International Airport is set to open on April 1. Qatar Airways will operate the gateway, which will initially serve 12 legacy and low-cost carriers, before Qatar’s national flag carrier moves its entire operation to the gateway in the second half of the year. As a result, Doha will have a dual airport operation until full operations begin at Hamad International in the second half of 2013. Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) chairman, Abdul Aziz Al Noaimi, said: “Hamad International Airport will truly be a global showpiece that the State of Qatar will justifiably be proud of.” The HOK designed 600,000sqm, three-level passenger terminal, will initially be equipped to handle up to 28mppa. Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said: “This is an historic year for the State of Qatar, Qatar Airways and the country’s young aviation industry.”
Ambitious Vinci eyes more assets
Vinci is reportedly looking for more airport concessions after beating off rival bids from Latin American, German and Swiss-led groups to win the tender for Portuguese airport operator, ANA. Vinci Airports, which operates Cambodia’s three international gateways and 10 regional airports in France, successfully bid €3 billion for a 95% stake in ANA late last year. In return for its outlay – ANA employees hold a 5% shareholding – Vinci has been awarded a 50-year concession to run Portugal’s airports, which include Lisbon, Porto and Faro as well as gateways in the Azores and Madeira. And it appears as if the French-based group is eager for more. Vinci’s chairman and CEO, Xavier Huillard, recently admitted that it would consider bidding for more airport concessions with an investment partner. “We will continue to look at other platforms, but not alone because we need to pay attention to our debt level,” Xavier Huillard told reporters. With the acquisition of ANA, Vinci expects that the airport business will boost its annual revenue to €600 million with operating profits of around €270 million.
Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited has agreed to sell its 100% interest in Stansted Airport to Manchester Airports Group for €1.8 billion. Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow, said: “We wish the new owners every success and are confident the airport will flourish. We will continue to focus on improving Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports.” The deal effectively completes the break-up of BAA, which was ordered to sell Stansted, Gatwick and a Scottish gateway (Edinburgh) by the UK’s Competition Commission to end its perceived airport monopoly in the UK. Its remaining airports now operate under individual brands.
London Stansted sale confirmed
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A new economic impact study conducted by the Arizona State University WP Carey School of Business found that the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport system had a $28.7 billion impact on the Phoenix area economy in 2011. It states that air travel and tourism supports nearly 250,000 jobs locally with a payroll of $10 billion. Copenhagen Airport’s loyalty programme has reached a quarter of a million members in just over a year. CPH Advantage now has 250,000 members after 13 months. The programme offers free Wi-Fi, bonus points and special parking offers. Carsten Nørland, VP, sales and marketing for Copenhagen Airport, said: “The programme has given us an opportunity to get to know our passengers even better and thereby give our core customers products and services tailored to their needs.” A consortium comprising TAV Airports and Aéroports de Paris (ADP) has declared an interest in running New York LaGuardia’s (LGA) planned new $3.6 billion Central Terminal Building (CTB). The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in October last year for construction and operation of the planned new terminal. The TSA has revealed that more than 1,500 firearms were discovered by screeners at security points at US airports last year. The figure is up on its 2011 total, when 1,320 firearms were found. Many of the weapons were loaded, and some even had rounds in the chamber, the TSA said. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport found the most, with 80 guns being found in the first 11 months of the year.
AIRPORT WORLD/FEBRUARY-MARCH 2013