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.