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A snapshot of some of the biggest stories from across the region.

DXB retains status
as world’s busiest international airport Dubai International Airport (DXB) handled 86.4 million passengers in 2019 to retain its status as the world’s busiest international airport.

The total secured its sixth successive year as the world’s busiest international gateway, ahead of long-time record holder London Heathrow, which handled 76 million passengers on international flights in 2019 as it welcomed a record 80.9 million passengers.

DXB operator, Dubai Airports, is quick to point out that 2019 was an “exceptional” year in terms of customer service with shorter wait times, record-breaking baggage performance and new retail and food and beverage offerings.

There is, however, no disguising the fact that DXB’s 2019 total of 86.3 million is actually 3% down on 2018, the airport attributing the downturn to “a series of challenges throughout the year”.

Expressing satisfaction with DXB’s performance in 2019, Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, noted: “While customer numbers in 2019 were lower than the preceding year, the impact of the 45-day closure of the runway, the bankruptcy of Jet Airways, as well as the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max accounted for an estimated 3.2 million passengers over the course of the year, and indicate underlying growth at DXB.”

Asia-Pacific’s ASQ champions

Asia-Pacific airports have once again excelled in ACI’s annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer excellence awards, enjoying a clean sweep in all the global categories in the 2019 Departures Survey while Bengaluru-Kempegowda once again won the Best Airport Experience in Arrivals Award.

Mumbai–Chhatrapati Shivaji, Delhi–Indira Gandhi, Shanghai Pudong and Singapore Changi shared top spot in Asia-Pacific’s Best Airport by Size and Region category for airports handling over 40mppa.

Changi also triumphed in the Over 40mppa category in the global ‘Best Environment & Ambience’ and ‘Best Customer Service by Size’ sections, although both times it had to share the honour with Chongqing Jiangbei.

Multi-award winning Changi also won the Over 40mppa prize in the global ‘Best Infrastructure and Facilities by Size’ category alongside Beijing Capital International Airport.

“Our region is proud to boast the largest group of winners in the Airport Service Quality Awards. It reflects the region’s dedication to consistently striving to raise the bar in customer service excellence,” enthuses ACI Asia-Pacific director general, Stefano Baronci.

“The awards this year have been won by a diverse group of airports, small and large, with enduring leaders and airports that are upping their game.”

The awards recognise the airports around the world that deliver the best customer experience in the opinion of their own passengers. This year, 140 awards have been won by 84 individual airports.

Visit https://bit.ly/3a99CkR to view a full list of 2019’s ASQ winners.


Multi-year project to expand and upgrade Singapore Changi’s Terminal 2

Work has begun on the expansion and renovation of Singapore Changi’s Terminal 2 as operator, Changi Airport Group (CAG) strives to make the airport bigger and better to cope with growing demand.

The work marks the beginning of a multi-year expansion project which will increase T2’s handling capacity, as well as replace facilities and amenities which are nearing the end of their shelf lives.

CAG claims that the revamped terminal will significantly enhance the experience of travellers visiting or stopping over in Singapore by incorporating more greenery, self-service travel options and wider shopping and dining choices.

It will add 15,500sqm to the terminal building and allow Changi to handle an extra five million passengers yearly, raising the gateway’s capacity to 90 million passengers per annum when the works are completed around 2024.

The refurbished T2 Departure Hall will feature a spacious common-use central Fast And Seamless Travel (FAST) zone, with more automated check-in kiosks and bag drop machines.

Tan Lye Teck, CAG’s executive vice president of airport management, said: “The expansion and renovation works will rejuvenate T2, while the upgrades in the key operating infrastructure such as the baggage handling systems will enhance the terminal’s capacity and efficiency, allowing us to serve more airlines and passengers when the works are completed.

“T2 will continue to operate and welcome passengers, even as we work to minimise disruption to operations and inconvenience to passengers and visitors.” 

Innovation on the agenda at Astra Aerolab

Newcastle Airport in Australia claims that the creation of the “world’s most uplifting defence and aerospace precinct”, Astra Aerolab, has taken another significant step forward with the appointment of Daracon as lead contractor for the stage one civil works.

Airport CEO, Dr Peter Cock, says the realisation of the globally significant hub will help position the region at the forefront of international innovation and high-end manufacturing.

“I’m confident this development will become the pre-eminent space for innovation in aviation, defence and aerospace-related manufacturing, maintenance, research and education in Australia,” said Cock.

He adds: “Wherever possible, construction material will be recycled. Ultimately, we’re aiming to achieve overall precinct sustainability accreditation with our design to create something truly remarkable.The A$19.8 million Astra Aerolab development is set to deliver 5,500 new jobs and greater global connectivity for the region.” 


Brisbane’s new runway ready for take-off

Brisbane Airport (BNE) has announced that after eight years of construction its new A$1.1 billion parallel runway is all but complete and will open for business on July 12, 2020.

Gert-Jan de Graaff, CEO of Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC), said the news was a significant milestone for BNE given the new runway has been part of long-term planning  for more than forty years.

“I am proud to have been part of an iconic project that will transform and provide unlimited opportunities for our city, region and state,” enthused de Graaff.

“The new runway is so much more than asphalt; it is an enabler for growth across all facets, with an estimated 7,800 new jobs  created by 2035 and an additional five billion dollars in annual economic benefit to the region.

“We are seeing first-hand that the new runway is bringing more flights, destinations and choices for the travelling public, and this growth will only strengthen from July 12, 2020.” 

New Indian gateway

Zurich Airport operator, Flughafen Zürich AG, was named as the preferred bidder for the concession to design, develop and operate India’s new Noida International Airport in late 2019 and is currently working on the formation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to carry out the project.

The new greenfield airport will be located around 80 kilometres south of Delhi in Jewar, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and is slated to open between 2023 and 2027.

Zurich Airport has agreed a 40 year concession to operate the gateway, the first phase of which is expected to cost around $670 million.

The new airport will initially be equipped to handle 12 million passengers per annum, but an ambitious development plan includes proposals to raise its capacity to 30mppa by 2032 and 50mppa by 2037.

Talking about the appeal of the new Indian airport, Flughafen Zürich AG’s chief financial officer, Lukas Brosi, enthuses: “Noida International Airport will be strategically located between Delhi and Agra, close to the fast-developing Noida and greater Noida area. If we look at large metropolitan areas worldwide, we find that second airports become viable once the primary airport reaches a certain hurdle in terms of passengers.

“We believe that Noida International Airport will complement and work in harmony with Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, and look forward to close collaboration with it in the future.”

He notes that Zurich Airport’s previous experience in India, where it was part of the consortium that successfully built and operated Bengaluru’s own greenfield airport before selling its stake in 2017, proves that it is more than qualified to take on the challenge of Noida International Airport.


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