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APA4 2023 NEWS

News round-up from across the region

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We provide a snapshot of some of the latest news stories from across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East in the final quarter of 2023.

NEW TERMINAL FOR NAKHON SI THAMMARAT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Nakhon Si Thammarat International Airport in southern Thailand is set to open its new $60 million international terminal in December.

The new eight-gate facility covers 30,000sqm and will boast state-of-the-art facilities that will raise the airport’s capacity to four million passengers per annum.

Three airlines – Nok Air, Thai AirAsia and Thai Lion Air – currently fly between Nakhon Si Thammarat and Bangkok, but all that will change in 2024 as the new terminal is expected to prove the catalyst for the launch of direct, scheduled flights to Singapore, China, Chinese Taipei and Malaysia.

The airport is located in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, which is home to 200km of mountain ranges and 200km of beaches, including nearby Sichon, which was recently named as one of Thailand’s Top 10 beaches by Lonely Planet.

MALAYSIA AIRPORTS SELLS STAKE IN HYDERABAD AIRPORT

Malaysia Airports has sold its 11% stake in Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in India for $100 million.

It cites strategic reasons for the decision to divest its entire stakeholding in operator, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL), to the GMR Group, from which it acquired the shares for $10 million in 2009. Malaysia Airport, which notes that it had maintained a passive minority interest in GHIAL over the past 14 years, said: “This divestment is part of the MAHB Group’s efforts to streamline its overseas investment portfolio and unlock value from its non-core assets, in line with the Group’s international business growth strategy.

“The proceeds from the disposal will be redirected towards general corporate purposes and capital expenditures (CAPEX) in assets where the MAHB Group holds a more direct and controlling stake.

“This strategic reinvestment approach is a key element of the Group’s growth strategy, allowing it to optimise its investment portfolio and strengthen its control over core assets, ultimately leading to greater long-term value for stakeholders.”

The move means that Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Turkey is now the group’s sole international asset.

HAMMER TIME: BRISBANE AIRPORT TO HOLD ANNUAL LOST PROPERTY AUCTION

What does a Dyson vacuum cleaner, a BMX bike, surfboards, a drone and a mandolin have in common? The answer is that they were all left behind by passengers at Brisbane Airport this year and will shortly be auctioned off for charity.

A total of 673 lots are up for grabs at the airport’s annual Lost Property Auction and, as you would expect, the forgotten goodies also include dozens of watches, mobile phones, laptops, ipads and jewellery.

The airport notes that while it makes every effort to reunite the owners with their belongings, unfortunately around two-thirds usually remain unclaimed, and rather than send them to landfill it eventually auctions them off with the proceeds benefitting young Queenslanders through the Courier-Mail Children’s Fund. Last year’s event raised A$66,000 for good causes.

“Some of the items left behind in the terminal are simply because passengers have exceeded their baggage limit and choose to leave them,” said the airport’s head of public affairs, Stephen Beckett.

“We’re hoping to raise as much as we can because the proceeds are going to support Queensland Children’s charities to help kids who are vulnerable and suffering disadvantage.”

GOOGLE AUGMENTED REALITY FEATURE AT SYDNEY AIRPORT

In a first for an Australian airport, Google has launched Indoor Live View at Sydney Airport, just in time for the Christmas travel rush.

The new augmented reality (AR) feature on Google Maps provides arrows, directions, and distance markers superimposed on the camera view, to point people in the right direction across the terminals.

According to the airport, Google Indoor Live View will help passengers locate gates, baggage claim, check-in counters, terminal transfer points, retail outlets, dining options, bathrooms, ATMs, and more.

Visitors can also select the ‘Wheelchair accessible’ preference to find wheelchair, pram and suitcase friendly paths. They can also turn on audio navigation prompts, in addition to visual cues. Sydney Airport’s senior manager for business systems, Belinda Scanlon, said: “This is a win for our passengers, who will be the first in Australia to benefit from this incredible new AR technology from Google.

“Whether travellers are looking for their gate, a bathroom or even a place to grab a bite to eat, they now have the directions they need at their fingertips. This is an especially great tool for travellers facing language barriers and accessibility needs, as it will help them navigate the airport more independently.”

KIX UNVEILS REVAMPED INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL

Kansai International Airport (KIX) has officially re-opened the newly renovated international departure area of Terminal 1.

Operator, Kansai Airports, says the major renovation is designed to enhance the passenger experience by providing them with bigger and better facilities.

The revamp has also allowed Kansai Airports to raise the Japanese gateway’s international passenger handling capacity from 23 to 40 million passengers per annum.

According to the airport, the terminal now has a streamlined immigration zone, a walkthrough duty-free shop, central plaza and four ‘mood areas’ with 27 stores.

The stores include new high-end outlets from renowned luxurious brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel, Hermes and Gucci, and nine new catering options providing a mix of local and international offerings.

“This new phase puts KIX at the top of main Asian airports for its passenger experience with unmatched quality of its commercial offer,” notes KIX.

Nicolas Notebaert, CEO of VINCI Concessions and president of VINCI Airports, said: “This new international departure demonstrates the know-how of VINCI Airports ‘teams and the added value we bring in the countries where we operate.

“We develop and design innovative projects to position our airports at the forefront of passengers’ expectations and encourage positive mobility.”

UPS TO INVEST IN NEW HUB FACILITY AT HONG KONG

United Parcel Service (UPS) has reached an agreement with Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) to develop a new hub facility at Hong Kong International Airport.

Expected to complete in 2028, the new express cargo facility will be capable of handling close to one million tonnes of freight per annum and will be built on a land parcel of two hectares with airside access.

Airport CEO, Fred Lam, said: “We have long embraced the growing importance of e-commerce in global trade and have been taking forward several strategic new facilities in order to capture the new opportunities and further sharpen our competitiveness in air cargo.

“UPS’s new facility is another important addition to our portfolio of cargo facilities which will help the airport strengthen its position as a leading global air cargo and e-commerce fulfilment hub.”

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