New address

Terminal Q is moving to Flight Global.


Frontier nixes Colorado Springs maintenance plans

A new heavy maintenance facility will not be built on the west side of Colorado Springs Airport.

Frontier Airlines decided against constructing a heavy maintenance facility in Colorado Springs as the low-cost carrier attempts to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Capacity cuts and fleet reductions eliminated the need for the facility, Frontier spokesman Steve Snyder says, noting the airline has been reviewing all projects as part of the bankruptcy process.

Instead of building its own facility, Frontier will continue to lease part of Continental Airlines’ hangar in Denver for heavy maintenance work.

Construction on the 100,000-square-foot hangar (30,480 square meters) had not started. The facility had been slated to open in or after April 2009.

The airline selected Colorado Springs because of the financial package offered by the airport and the ease of flying between Denver and Colorado Springs, roughly 100 miles (160 km) south, Snyder said when plans for the facility were first announced.

Incentives offered to Frontier and other airlines include a 100% rebate of personal business property taxes related to hangar construction materials, Colorado Springs airport director of aviation Mark Earle says.

The airline also received a combination of rebates and exemptions that equate to a 100% abatement of sales and use taxes for activity in the hangar for the life of the project, he says. Aircraft, aircraft parts, equipment solvents, materials, “anything used in the maintenance process” is included.

"Airport staff will continue to market the airport in an effort to attract successful airline maintenance projects such as the SkyWest maintenance facility which has been in operation since July 2007,” Earle says in a statement.


JetBlue's photo shoot

JetBlue's photos and blog for their new terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

And real-time updates here.

My earlier posts about the terminal: trial-run and gastronomic descriptions.


Quirky airport stories

Japan's New Chitose Airport is using stockpiled snow in its cooling system.

Singapore's Changi Airport is working on customer service with a smile. The effort somehow involves celebrities such as Tommy Lee. Sounds counterintuitive...

While this has nothing to do with airports, consider this your Friday bonus.


Panama Photo Shoot

Construction of Florida's new Panama City-Bay County International Airport is four months ahead of schedule, says Roy Willett, senior project manager for project/construction manager Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR).

Runway and taxiway paving begins this week. Pictured: The 10,000-foot, north-south commercial runway facing south.

By the time the new facility opens on May 31, 2010, some six million yards of material will have been moved at the airport, Willett says.

Eight gallons of fuel is used daily during construction, which began in January, he says.

The 105,000-square feet terminal will be built according to the US Green Building Council’s standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Pictured: The passenger parking lot.

Pictured: Airport executive director Randy Curtis.


The Northwest Florida office

I am flying to Panama City, Florida, today to check out the forthcoming Panama City-Bay County International airport. The replacement facility is set to open in 2010. See my earlier post here.

In other construction news, JetBlue Airways has postponed the opening of its new terminal at New York JFK until October 22. T5 was supposed to open October 1.

“All operational systems have been tested and are ready for customers, but the retail and dining elements needed a little more time to complete construction and inspections," JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin says in an email.

On the bright side, the project is still six months ahead of schedule.

Construction plans initially called for a February 2009 opening, Baldwin says.


Pink slips

Airlines aren't the only ones cutting staff.

Northeast Florida's Jacksonville Aviation Authority has laid off workers because of declining air traffic and is planning for additional cuts across Jacksonville International Airport and general aviation facilities Craig Airport, Herlong Airport and Cecil Field.

Jacksonville Business Journal reports the authority expects to trim roughly $809,000 worth of salary and benefits, which is about 1.2% of its $65.1 million operating budget.

The authority has not identified how many jobs will be lost because it is looking for other means to cut expenses and or raise revenues, authority director of external affairs Michael Stewart tells me.

"Everybody is hoping the industry will turn around quickly," he says.

Capacity is down 8% year over year in Jacksonville.

Lost service includes ExpressJet flights to North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham International Airport and twice weekly flights to Denver operated by Frontier Airlines.

Other carriers have reduced frequencies or cut seat capacity by down gauging aircraft, Stewart says.

As more of a business rather than leisure destination, Jacksonville will probably not experience as severe job losses as more vacation-oriented destinations, he says.

Other airports may not be as fortuitous.

The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) says airlines have already abandoned 60 communities and roughly 40 more communities will lose service this year. The airline group also says it is "not unrealistic" to expect as many as 200 communities could lose air service by early 2009.

In more upbeat Jacksonville news, authority executive director and CEO John Clark was elected chairman of Airport Council International–North America (ACI-NA) for 2009.


"Do you know that so-called volunteers don't even get paid?"

Looking for an easy entry in the airline industry?

Consider volunteering for Family Airlines. The Las Vegas startup needs people to work on US FAA manuals as the company maneuvers the regulatory process to fly widebody Boeing 747-400 aircraft from Las Vegas to major US cities.

Family Airlines founder and CEO Barry Michaels tells me he used craigslist to find executives and figured he would use it to locate volunteers as well.

Volunteers are reviewing completed Safety Attribute Inspection (SAI) manuals before documents are submitted the FAA, he says, adding materials will likely be turned in to FAA during the first week of October.


Read the complete craigslist posting.

If you're going to San Francisco

Acting FAA administrator Robert Sturgell will hold a press conference at San Francisco International Airport tomorrow to unveil environmental initiatives FAA is implementing in San Francisco, across the USA and in oceanic airspace.

Sturgell's announcement conveniently coincides with the arrival of “ASPIRE Flight 1,” an Air New Zealand flight between Auckland and San Fran that will use NextGen procedures and technologies.

The test flight "will demonstrate commercial aviation’s potential to reduce environmentally harmful emissions by millions of tons annually," FAA says in a statement.

San Fran mayor Gavin Newsome (pictured, swoon) is expected to attend, along with San Fran airport director John Martin and Air New Zealand


New Indian airport in the works

Plans for a new Indian airport in the in the western state of Maharashtra received approval from a central government committee, the Ministry of Civil Aviation says.

North of Goa, the forthcoming facility in Sindhudurg will cater to domestic traffic and "
could help in decongesting the Dabolim Airport in Goa," the committee says.

The state government of Maharashtra will seek bidders for airport construction.

Thanks to Nick Ionides in Flight's Singapore office for finding this story.


London shuffle

Does London Gatwick Airport have abandonment issues?

Yet another airline has announced it will leave Gatwick in favor of London Heathrow Airport this year.

Continental Airlines will end year-round service to Gatwick from Newark Liberty International and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental airports on October 25 to launch a third daily flight between Heathrow and Newark.

Is Heathrow cooler? Gatwick appears unpopular with passengers.

“Our customers have shown a clear preference for Heathrow, and our main competitors have focused their operations there. We regret the need to end year-round operations at Gatwick, but it is imperative that we remain competitive and continue to meet the needs of our customers,” Continental executive VP marketing Jim Compton says in a statement.

Airlines are willing to spend a lot on Heathrow. The Houston-based company paid millions on Heathrow slots--$116 million for summer slots last year and Continental has said it expects to pay $93 million for winter slots for New York and Houston flights this year.

Earlier in the year, American Airlines moved all its Gatwick operations to London Heathrow, ending a relationship that began in 1982.

Oneworld alliance member American used to fly from Gatwick to Dallas/Fort Worth International and Raleigh-Durham International airports.

The one bright spot for Gatwick is Continental's seasonal service between Cleveland Hopkins International Ariport and Gatwick will return in the summer, Continental spokesman Nic Britton says.

But that must feel like a consolation prize.


Busy bees

While the Air Transport Association of America's 2008 Economic Report focused on aircraft fuel efficiency, it also contained some interesting tidbits on busy airports.

New York City metro area airports were in 11 of the 12 most traveled domestic origin and destination (O&D) city pairs. New York and the Windy City averaged the most with 4,839 O&D passengers per day.

New York also plays well with Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Francisco, Las Vegas, West Palm Beach, Miami, Boston and Tampa. No surprises there.

Island hopping makes for another happening route. Honolulu-Kahului, the seventh most traveled domestic city pair, averaged 2,660 daily passengers each way. I plan on upping that number someday.

Atlanta ranked number one in annual passengers with 42.7 million travelers and 991,627 aircraft takeoffs and landings. Chicago O’Hare International Airport ranked second in both categories, with 34.2 million passengers and 926,973 operations.

Memphis International Airport remained the busiest air cargo facility, enplaning 2.2 million tons of freight and mail. How many Elvis love letters are included? Anyway, Louisville, Anchorage and Miami fall next in line for cargo bragging rights.

Fuel regulation

Federal regulation of fuel prices, open discussion among airlines about fares and increased foreign investment are among the temporary proposals the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) is promoting to combat record fuel costs.

"We're not calling for re-regulation ... [but we're] not calling for government to do nothing. Government does have a role to play," AAAE president Chip Barclay said during a press conference yesterday in Washington, DC.

Permanent regulation of fuel prices is not needed, but could be used during emergency situations, he says.

The trade group's Energy/Air Service Task Force created recommendations in the midst of reduced capacity and lost service at airports as disparate Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Ohio's Toledo Express airport as airlines cut capacity to combat fuel costs.

Toledo lost half of its service when two airlines exited three marketsand departures at Atlanta are expected to be down 5% year over year from October.

The task force suggests, "government should temporarily direct emergency refining capacity to jet fuel if needed. The government should also take emergency steps to reduce or eliminate the non-cost-based 'spread' between jet fuel and other refined products of crude oil."

Limitations of foreign investment of US airlines should be temporarily suspended, Barclay says, noting much is made foreign interest in US carriers, but less so when foreign companies eye US carmakers.

As for pricing, the task force report says, "government should provide temporary anti-trust immunity to US airlines to meet and discuss routes and fares, under the supervision of Department of Justice and DOT, and with the participation of representatives of local communities. The goal of these conferences should be to maximize a national system of air services at the best possible cost to passengers."

L-R Tory Richardson, executive director of airports for Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority; Jim Elwood, AAAE 2008-2009 chair and airport director for Aspen-Pitkin County Airport; AAAE president Chip Barclay.
(Photo by Daryl Humphrey, AAAE art director)

Moving on up

AirTran Airways will relocate at Los Angeles International Airport, moving to Terminal 6 from Terminal 3 effective tomorrow.

Flights will depart from Gate 69A.

"We outgrew our space in Terminal 3," Tad Hutcheson, VP marketing and sales says in a statement.

AirTran links LAX with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.


Let the good times roll again

Louis Armstrong International Airport is open after Hurricane Gustav caused airport officials to close the New Orleans area facility on August 31.

AirTran Airways says it will resume service to my favorite US city this evening. Its full operations to and from the Big Easy will resume tomorrow.

Where have all the passengers gone?

The onslaught of capacity reductions taking place this fall does not bode well for airports dependent on revenues from passenger facility charges.

Airports large and small are being impact as airlines cut capacity and passenger levels drop, says the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). The trade group's Energy/Air Service Task Force final report is available today.

A quick breakdown:

  • Total system arrivals and departures are expected to drop 7.3% between October 2007 and October 2008, according to the Official Airline Guide (OAG).
  • Carriers have eliminated service on more than 400 routes since March 2008, the The US House transportation and infrastructure subcommittee on aviation reports.
  • Airlines have already abandoned 60 communities and roughly 40 more will lose service this year, says The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) The airline trade group also says it is “not unrealistic” to expect as many as 200 communities could lose air service by early 2009.

AAAE will make policy recommendations. I'll blog about that after the press conference.


Flock ewe

Goats and three sheep will take over the runway mitigation site at
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport tomorrow to test their skills at removing invasive plants.

Normally a five-person crew keeps invasive plants in check. The goats and sheep will hopefully assist with hard-to-reach areas, Sea-Tac airport operator The Port of Seattle says in a statement.

Weed work certainly bodes better for animals than the last time goats hung out at the airport. Nepal Airlines sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god, after having technical problems with one of their Boeing 757 aircraft last year. The ghosts were slaughtered in front of the plane at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.

The port, which must maintain about 180 acres of land, contracted the goats through small business Goat Trimmers.

(No word if the animals picture above are the breed that will be used at Sea-Tac. Also, image is from the National Geographic Society)


Science of sleep

Munich Airport
, in addition to offering a handy map/guide translated into 10 languages, offers scifi-looking
sleeping cabins, known as Napcabs.

Located in Terminal 2 near Gate H32,
the 2.50 x 1.40 meters (8.20 x 4.50 feet) sleeping and working cabin offers a bed, desk and Internet access.

Booking the cabins cost 15 euros ($22.05) for the first 15 minutes and four euros for every next quarter of an hour. One nights stay from 10 pm to 7 am costs 60 euros.

Five students participating in the 2007 Innovation Competition held by Munich University of Applied Sciences
developed Napcabs.

Thanks to
Flight's online editor Michael Targett for alerting me to this nifty photo.

(Photo from
Reuters photographer Michaela Rehle)


Terminal trial

JetBlue Airways tested its new digs at New York JFK Saturday.

"The trial went very well," JetBlue VP redevelopment Rich Smyth tells me in an e-mail. "Feedback was good with some creative suggestions. We have a questionnaire from each participant that we are reviewing now."

Frequent fliers participated in the trial to help the carrier prepare for opening day. Read about some of their experiences in The New York Times.

When T5 opens on October 1, JetBlue will operate around 170 flights from 18 gates, JetBlue VP redevelopment Rich Smyth says. Twenty gates will be in use by Thanksgiving and 26 gates will be available by spring 2009, he adds.

The 26-gate terminal will replace the carrier's use of the 14-gate Terminal 6 and seven temporary hold room gates.

(Photo by
Nicole Bengiveno of The New York Times)


What makes a new airport new?

Okay, here’s a quick quiz: new airport or new terminal? Pittsburgh. Denver. Washington National. Indianapolis.

It seems easy until you think about it. When Pittsburgh opened a “new airport” in October 1992, it used the same runways, airfield etc. But the airport site, the terminals, roadways and all affiliated apparatus, were brand new and lovely. So was it a new airport?

Then there's Denver. Well, that really is a new airport, or it was in 1995, when they abandoned the old Stapleton. They built it in the middle of nowhere–nowhere that’s very far from town, as anyone who’s tried cabbing it downtown will tell you.

What about Washington National, now called Reagan Washington National? Well, whether or not you’ve decided a totally new airport terminal counts as (a) a new terminal or (b) a new airport, you have to be careful. Here, they be made it a point to call it the ‘renovated’ National because local anti-noise activists were ready to sue the moment the airport moved toward any increase in capacity. So, when it opened in July 1997, it was just plain National.

What do we say about Indianapolis? The city touts its soon-to-open facility (November 11) as a totally new airport, and it is, unless you count the two old parallel runways. In that case, it’s just a new terminal, albeit a very nice one. Not to mention the new air traffic control tower that opened two years ago.

So, what is new?

A special thanks to Airline Business Americas editor David Field for guestblogging.

(Photos from Indianapolis International Airport).


T is for Terminal

New terminals are sprouting up everywhere! If by everywhere you mean Raleigh-Durham International and New York John F. Kennedy International airports.

The New York terminal opens October 1, followed by the North Carolina terminal on October 26.

Known as T5, the first post 9/11 terminal to open at JFK will house 26 gates for JetBlue Airways. Down south, Terminal 2 will have 32 gates, and for the yuppies, an organic-food market.

(Architectural rendering from Raleigh-Durham International Airport. More renderings and construction photos can be found here.)


Mineta (the airport, not the man) fights back

Locked in a bitter battle to with its northern neighbours, San Jose’s Norman Y. Mineta International Airport will use municipal funds to help lower airport rents in an effort to keep airline service.

A city council measure lets the airport use about $2.2 million to reduce the Cost per Enplaned passenger to $8.61 in this fiscal year (ending in June.) The cost, a key airport metric, had been $9.02, a figure that was inflated by the airport’s ambitious $1.3-billion modernization and expansion program, airport spokesman David Vossbrink says.

The largest carrier at Mineta, Southwest Airlines, with a 45% market share, approves of the airport’s expansion, he said. Southwest usually seeks a CPE of about $5, however. A prime rival to the San Francisco and Oakland international airports, Mineta sits in the heart of the Silicon Valley and has long attracted hi-tech traffic.

The moves, along with a traditional incentive program, may be used to persuade carriers to resume service to the East Coast, Mineta air service development director Ed Nelson says. JetBlue is ending its San Jose to Boston Logan flight, Continental is ending service to Newark Liberty and United ends its Washington Dulles flight this autumn, leaving the airport with only one transcontinental route, JetBlue to New York JFK.

Nelson said that the airport also hopes to persuade a foreign-flag carrier to begin Asian service. American, which had ‘de-hubbed’ domestically at San Jose starting in the year 2000, ended a Tokyo Narita flight in 2006, a major blow to the airport. Its only international service is to Mexico.

A special thanks to Airline Business Americas editor David Field for guestblogging.

New Cali airport boss

Veteran airport executive Richard Howell will succeed Klaasje Nairne as airport manager of California's San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport effective next month.

Nairne retired after nine years as airport manager.

Smart move for Howell. San Luis Obispo aiport has a better looking Web site than his previous employers.

Howell most recently worked for Waco Regional Airport in Waco, Texas. He also has Colorado Springs Airport and Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in Albany, Georgia, on his resume.

Read more here.


One is a lonely number

Runway construction will ground nearly all operations at Idaho Falls Regional Airport next month.

Only one of five carriers will continue service between September 2 and October 2. Horizon Air will maintain Boise flights using 37-seat Bombardier Q200s on a shorter runway while the 9,000 ft runway is rebuilt because of failing asphalt.

Loss of air service and related activities, such as car rentals and concessions, is expected to cost the airport $10,000 a day, director of aviation Len Nelson says. Actual construction is estimated at $9 million.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines/Skywest Airlines will bolster service at Pocatello Regional Airport to handle passengers from eastern Idaho.

Horizon will resume service to Seattle and Boise with 76-seat Bombardier Q400s on October 12; other carriers will resume Idaho Falls operations on October 2.

(Photo from Idaho Falls Regional Airport)


Blue-light special at Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach International Airport will lower landing fees and offer other incentives to entice new domestic and international service to the beach. As if the opportunity to shag wasn’t enough.

Landing fees for existing service will be lowered to 5 cents per 1,000 lbs of gross certified maximum landed weight (GCMLW), down 75% from the current fee of $1.97 per 1,000 lbs GCMLW.

Estimated cost savings to airlines is $1.2 million, says Lisa Bourcier, a spokeswoman for airport owner Horry County.

“We can’t sustain this every year but [we’re] willing to see if we can bring in new markets,” she says, adding that landing fees will be evaluated next year and will likely increase, perhaps to 75 cents per 1,000 lbs GCMLW.

For the second year in a row, seasonal landing fees will be waived between December and February to address the challenges of serving a seasonal destination and to encourage year-round service.

The waiver of seasonal landing fees is expected to save airlines $400,000, Bourcier says.

To attract new destinations, Myrtle Beach International will offer carriers the option of being invoiced at a rate of $2 per available seat for common use terminal area fees and security fees in-lieu of the rate formula in the standard service agreement. To be eligible for this option, carriers must maintain existing service at the airport and must operate 50-seat plus aircraft on the new route.

Landing fees and terminal rents will be dropped for new nonstop international service operated with 50-seat plus aircraft.

In light of rising fuel prices and airline plans to reduce capacity system-wide, Bourcier says, “We’ve been doing like every other airport, monitoring current service we have. We have pretty good service. We can always use more. That’s why [we] try to attract new markets and let the ones that served us faithfully know we appreciate them.”

Meanwhile, airport expansion plans have felt an impact. Horry County Council approved the construction of up to 18 additional gates at the airport terminal, which was built in the 1970s.

Phased in construction has been decided upon instead of adding 18 gates at once because of the uncertainty in the airline industry and the economic downturn, Bourcier says.

Design has been narrowed to three schematics and the county council will vote on a final layout in October, she adds.


Smaller planes, bigger gains

Construction at Canada's Prince George Airport prompted WestJet to wet lease smaller aircraft.

The Canadian carrier normally flies 100-seat plus next generation Boeing 737 aircraft between Prince George and Vancouver. Because the main runway will be closed for centreline lighting installation next month, WestJet will fly 37- and 50-passenger seat Dash 8 aircraft from Hawkair Aviation.

Dash 8s will add about 20 minutes to the thrice daily flights, WestJet spokesman Robert Palmer tells me in an e-mail.

WestJet and others will use a 5,500 ft. (1,676 m) east-west runway during construction instead of the 7,400 ft. north-south runway.

Regional operator Air Canada Jazz also flies Dash 8s on Vancouver-bound flights. However, that airline will feel less of an impact because it flies regional jets and Dash 8s to the airport, Prince George Airport general manager Stieg Hoeg tells me.

Runway closure is part of the airport's plans to extend the north-south runway to 11,400 ft. in an attempt to diversify revenue by attracting cargo operators flying on crowded Asia-North America routes, Hoeg says.

For airlines flying from the Pearl River Delta to the southern USA, stopping at Prince George Airport offers some operating efficiency and fuel savings, Hoeg explains.

While no cargo carriers have signed on with the airport yet, a lot of airlines are looking for ways to cut fuel costs, he says.

In July, Canada's office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities approved the airport's participation in the international air cargo transshipment program.

The program enables the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) to authorize foreign carriers to ship cargo through the airport to third countries, even if such rights are not provided for in Canada's bilateral air transport agreements.


New Caribbean Airport

St. Vincent and the Grenadines will replace its existing airport with a facility capable of accommodating international operations.

Existing E.T. Joshua airport can only accept short-range turboprop aircraft from neighbouring islands. Its runway is 4,700 feet.

Construction of the $217 million Argyle International airport will begin August 13. At present, only airfield design has been completed, a spokeswoman says in an e-mail. The terminal building, control tower and other facilities will be designed in the coming months, she adds.

The airport is expected to open on 375 acres on the eastern coast of St. Vincent by late 2011. The new airport is named for the coastal area on St. Vincent that it will occupy.

The new facility will have a 9,000-foot runway able to accommodate Boeing 747-400s, 737s, 767s, Airbus A300s and A320s and MD80 aircraft.

The existing airport will be converted for use by commercial properties and businesses.

Photo from Agency for Public Information (API) St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


Celebrity family feud

May this be the first and last time I ever cite People magazine on my blog, but this story is too juicy to pass.

Hairspray star Nikki Blonsky (right) and her father were arrested after fighting with the family of America's Next Top Model contestant Bianca Golden (left) in the departure lounge of the Providenciales International Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Golden was also charged with assault.

Poor airport staff. This isn't Los Angeles International Airport, people.

And you thought flying in the Bermuda Triangle was dangerous!


Pittsburgh Strikes a Pose

Eye candy at Pittsburgh International Airport goes beyond airplanes this fall.

Artist Nancy Judd’s recycled trash fashions will be on display today through December 31.

Six pairs of shoes can be found in Concourse C, including lacy shoes made recycled office paper. Two outfits will be in Concourse D.

Junk mail and how to reduce it is the theme of the exhibit, Judd says.

She likes to display her educational works at airports because of the large, broad audience she reaches.

Recycle Runway creations also include a vintage bathing suit decorated with colourful 2 HDPE post-consumer plastic from detergent bottles (pictured) and a 1950s-style cocktail dress adorned with rusty nails.

While the bathing suit isn’t at Pittsburgh, you can catch it at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport starting in July 2009. Twenty looks will be on display in Concourse E for 12 months. Recycle Runway moves to Orlando International Airport in 2010.

(Photo from Nancy Judd)



JetBlue's forthcoming Terminal 5 at New York JFK Airport will offer eats including tapas, sushi and rustic Italian.

While I'm not sure what rustic Italian is versus plain Italian, reading about it makes my mouth water.

OTG Management will own and operate the restaurants: AeroNuova, Deep Blue, La Vie, Piquillo and RevoluciĆ³n.


Name change update

Earlier in the month, Birmingham Airport Authority voted to rename its airport for civil rights leader Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.

Shuttlesworth is the founder of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.

Birmingham International Airport will now be known as Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.

The facility was known as Birmingham Municipal Airport when it opened in 1931.

Shuttlesworth is pictured with Dartmouth College professor Susannah Heschel.

(Photo from Susannah Heschel)

No more lounging around

US majors are shuttering lounges in domestic and international airports.

Read the bad news here.

Taxman has a field day

The National Business Travel Association adds up airport taxes.

Cleveland has the highest taxes and Honolulu has the lowest.

USA Today has a handy chart.


Detroit readies wrecking ball

Wayne County Airport Authority voted in favour yesterday of its Master Plan for Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County airport, which includes the construction of a seventh runway.

If approved by the US FAA, the forthcoming runway will need around 1,000 acres outside the airport’s current boundary.

Understandably, some property owners aren't happy, but that hasn't stopped progress in the past.

The airport’s fifth parallel runway will run east of the airport and be used for arrivals.

The authority says in a statement it expects the new runway could be needed in the 2018-2027 timeframe.


Therapy at 30,000 feet

Here's a feel good story from the Los Angeles Times about a Delta flight attendant who gives passengers crayons and paper on flights.

"Toward the end of each flight, [Jewel] Van Valin and other crew members tape passengers' drawings to the aircraft's bulkhead so everyone on board can see them. She also maintains a revolving display of the pictures in Delta's employee lounge at Los Angeles International Airport."

The artwork has also been clandestinely displayed on walls and support columns between Gates 56 and 59 at the airport.

(Photo from Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times)


Another concert I missed

Orlando International Airport celebrated Independence Day a bit early this year.

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra gave a Liberty Weekend concert at the airport on 28 June.

This year's concert had the theme “A Tribute to Our Troops”.

(Photo from Orlando International Airport)


Name change

Birmingham International Airport is contemplating a name change.

The Alabama airport may be renamed for civil rights leader Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, founder of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.

Shuttlesworth is pictured with Dartmouth College professor Susannah Heschel.

Birmingham Airport Authority members plan to formally vote on the change next month, according to The Birmingham News.

If approved, the name change would not be the first for the airport.

Known as Birmingham Municipal Airport when it opened in 1931,
it became Birmingham International Airport in 1993.

(Photo from Susannah Heschel)

O'Hare's new club

United Airlines opened a new Red Carpet Club at Chicago O'Hare International Airport yesterday.

The club is adjacent to gate B18 in Terminal 1.

It is the first lounge the airline has opened since 2000.

(Photo courtesy of United Airlines)


It's 4:20 somewhere

Potheads want the government to legalize marijuana use in airport smoking lounges.

Denver-based Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER)-insert joke about the Mile High City here-claim marijuana will help fliers relax.

Get the full scoop here.


Price cut

Ottawa International Airport will cut terminal fees effective July 1.

The Ottawa International Airport Authority will reduce fees by 5% because of skyrocketing fuel costs and weakened economies in Canada and the USA, Canadian carrier WestJet Airlines says in a statement.

Obviously, the airline is pleased with the decision and would like other Canadian airports to follow suit.


Perfect pairs

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics put together the top domestic city pairs based on enplaned passengers between April 2007 and March 2008.

I’m pleased to see Washington, DC is well represented. I'm just surprised New York-Los Angeles wasn't in the top ten. Or San Francisco-New York.

(Graphic courtesy of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics)


I spy

While looking for a story to write, I came across a SFW Web cam for aviation nerds.

Spy on Edmonton International Airport. Its "Live Cam" is refreshed every two minutes.

Views of the Canadian airport include the north runway, south runway and south departures.

Caps be gone

Flight caps at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport will be removed after the airport’s newest runway opens in November. A post about the new runway is forthcoming.

Between 56 and 70 more arrivals will be added throughout the day-roughly four to five extra arrivals per hour-when the runway opens, FAA Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell says in a statement.

Hourly domestic arrivals and departures at O’Hare were capped at 88 each between 7 am and 8 pm in 2004 as a temporary step to reduce congestion at the then most-delayed hub in the USA.

Originally scheduled to end in April 2005, the caps were continually extended while additional measures to address congestion and delays at the airport were considered.

There might be some headaches. Some airlines are unhappy with the news. And this just in: the cost of fuel is rising.


Airport sugar daddy under microscope

Fingers crossed that the bookkeepers in charge of FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP) are more judicious than the folks at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Starting today, the US DOT’s Office of Inspector General will audit the AIP to check for improper payments.

The objective is “to evaluate whether FAA had adequate internal controls to prevent and detect improper payments to AIP grant recipients,” the office says in a statement.

The audit will test a statistical sample of AIP payments made between June 2007 and May 2008. Reviews will occur this week at FAA headquarters in DC, regional offices, airport district offices and AIP grantee locations.

The US Office of Management and Budget, “estimates that 3.5% of payments made government-wide were improper,” the office notes.


New lighting, smaller bill

Albany International Airport will be testing ways to save on its electricity bill.

Energy-efficient fixtures-light-emitting diodes (LED)-will be installed in the parking garage this fall.

The fixtures are expected to save between $10,000 and $15,000 annually per floor, reports The Albany Times Union.

Electricity usage is expected to drop 75%.



Singapore Airlines Cargo snapped up a sexy delivery last week, Formula One Cars.

The airline received the green light from the Canadian Transportation Agency to operate two Boeing 747-400Fs on behalf of Formula One Management in time for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

The race cars were flown to Montreal-Mirabel International Airport from London Stansted Airport on June 1. The cars returned to London on June 9.

Photo of the McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 from Formula One.


Hunger pains, gains

Hungry people at an airport. Sounds like a winning business plan.

Check out the concessions at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

The airport received $7.6 million from food vendors and $4.3 million from news and gift vendors.


Airports vs. emissions

European airports tackle pollution and more.

Check out the opposition to a third runway at London Heathrow Airport. Will anyone in the Detroit area follow suit?

Photo by Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters.


Stansted feeling abandoned?

It has been a rough couple of months for London Stansted Airport.

After all-business class carriers Eos Airlines and Maxjet Airways ceased operations there, American Airlines announced it will drop flights to Stansted from New York JFK starting July 2 to combat fuel costs.

No other carriers link JFK to Stansted, according to Innovata.

It will be interesting to see what happens at the UK's third busiest airport.


Another bookmark

Greg Principato at Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) has joined the blogosphere. Check out the Airport Check-In.

One thing I learned about Greg is he skipped a Bruce Springsteen concert at his school gym in the early '70s because he had never heard of him. I saw Springsteen a couple years ago. Meh.

But I can relate. I missed Ani DiFranco and Ben Harper in college because I had never heard of them. C'est la vie.


Mexicana stockpiling boxes, packaging tape

Mexicana Airlines will move to Terminal 8 at New York JFK from Terminal 4 effective June 1.

Mexicana passengers will no longer have to change terminals to catch connecting flights with fellow oneworld alliance member American Airlines, Mexicana senior VP customer service and corporate communications Adolfo Crespo says in a statement.

The Mexico City-based airline offers three flights daily between JFK and Mexico City, Monterrey and, starting in July, Cancun.


Play dead

Make your acting debut at the Central Wisconsin Airport during an emergency planning exercise.

The Mosinee airport is looking for 35 volunteers who are 17 or older to play the role of victims from 7 am to noon on June 7.

Don’t worry if that date doesn’t work for you. These enactments must happen somewhat regularly because the US FAA requires commercial airports to perform the exercise every 36 months, the airport press release says.

Call the airport manager's office at (715) 693-2147 ext. 7 to volunteer.

Math according to BWI

Last week must have been embarrassing for Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The airport, which under-collected roughly $54 million in terminal rents, construction costs and fees because it overstated its amount of terminal space, will only recover about $25 million.

The airport under-collected funds between fiscal year 2004 and fiscal year 2008 and miscalculated its terminal space by 12%, an airport spokesman says.


Runway on hold

Yesterday I wrote about the controversial seventh runway proposed for Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Wayne County Airport Authority has decided again to hold off on voting on its Master Plan to meet with local mayors about their concerns. The authority will take up the matter in its July 24 meeting.

Construction of the 10,000-foot outer runway requires the acquisition of a sizeable amount of property outside the airport’s current boundary.


Runway NIMBYism

Tensions are heating up over a proposed runway in the Detroit metro area.

Wayne County Airport Authority will vote tomorrow on the runway and the rest of its proposed Master Plan for Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

The seventh runway is the most controversial element of the 20-year plan, which still needs US FAA approval.

Construction of the 10,000-foot outer runway, which will run east of the airport, requires the acquisition of a sizeable amount of property outside the airport’s current boundary.

Houses, schools and businesses in surrounding towns, including Romulus, may stand in the way of runway construction. Understandably, Romulus mayor Alan Lambert is upset.

On top of that, the Detroit Free Press is reporting that the airport overstated its need for the new runway.

The airport authority put together a FAQ in response to residents' concerns.

It will be interesting to see what happens at tomorrow's meeting. In the meantime, the moral of the story is never buy a house near an airport or near where you think there might be an airport someday. Or rent. Or move to the moon.


Dulles has Dubai bragging rights

Washington Dulles International airport will be the only airport in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with direct flights to Dubai.

United Airlines will inaugurate daily service to Dubai on October 26 using a tri-class Boeing 777.

United also starts daily service to Moscow on the same day.

In the past two years the Chicago-based carrier has been blustering international options at Dulles with the addition of service to Beijing, Rome Tokyo and Kuwait City.

Seasonal service to Rio de Janeiro will begin in September.

I’m reading for indoor skiing. Anybody with me?

Introducing Azul

JetBlue founder David Neeleman’s Brazilian startup will fly under the name Azul, which thanks to my continuing education classes, I know azul means blue in Portuguese and Spanish.

More than 157,000 entries were submitted in an airline naming contest.
Startup staff selected 10 names from the entries for a final vote—sounds like a fun task—which narrowed the lead to two names: Azul and Samba.

Per contest rules, the lucky duck who entered the winning name first will receive two lifetime passes for free travel on the airline. The first 1,000 people to enter the winning selection will receive two free tickets anywhere the airline flies.

While Samba actually received more votes, the team preferred Azul, so the company will honor free tickets to the people who entered both names.

The carrier plans to inaugurate point-to-point service with Embraer jets in January 2009.

Neeleman said last month he would not stand for re-election as chairman of JetBlue to focus on the Azul launch.


Blue-ribbon airport authority

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority will receive the Veterans Employee of the Year award from the California Employer Advisory Council on May 9.

The council says it gives the award to employers who consistently demonstrate positive policies toward U.S. veterans in hiring, promotion, employee retention efforts, ongoing training and benefits.

The San Diego area has a large veteran and military population and the authority organizes an annual veterans job fair, among other initiatives.

Of the authority’s 337 employees, 62 are veterans. Eight of these employees are disabled veterans.

Full discolsure: my dad is a retired Army social worker and one of my uncles is a jarhead.


Giant scissors, balloon sales on the rise

Yesterday was a jam-packed day at Austin-Bergstrom International airport. VivaAerobus, JetBlue Airways and Air Canada held ribbon cutting ceremonies-complete with water cannon salutes, colorful balloon displays and oversized scissors-in honor of new service launches.

There was more activity at one time at the airpot than there has been in the past five years, Austin airport director Jim Smith tells me.

Northwest Airlines and Southwest Airlines also inaugurate new service from the Texas capital this month.

Destinations available from Austin have jumped to 52 from 42 between 2007 and 2008, he says.

Austin’s youth and money-home of the highest median income in Texas-help make it happen, Smith says. A smart staff helps too.

With the exception of the women who was taking her first ever flight-with her boyfriend’s family nonetheless-VivaAerobus customers en route to Cancun were jazzed(see pictures in the new low-cost terminal below).

Passengers included a mother and daughter from San Antonio who otherwise would have waited until later in the year to take a vacation and a group of friends from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area who said the three-hour drive to Austin was worth it for VivaAerobus' fares. Three hours? Hmm… Then again, some people commute three hours, roundtrip, to get to work in Washington, DC, daily. Yikes. A vacation sounds much better.

VivaAerobus CEO Mike Szucs above and with airline spokesman Juan Carlos Zuazua below.