Category: Airport Feature

Business park innovation to meet community demand

Innovative ideas aimed at addressing community shortfalls are helping drive the development of business precincts at Australian airports. A number of airports are thinking outside the box to harness demand for facilities that are unavailable or in short supply in the regions they serve.

When Darwin International Airport looked at rebranding its business precinct, it did a gap analysis to see which areas of Top End culture were not being addressed.

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Melbourne looks toward swing gate solution

Melbourne Airport is looking to join the worldwide trend towards swing gates as international traffic numbers continue to grow and it seeks to offer airline customers cost-effective access to aerobridges.

Melbourne has been one of Australia’s stars when it comes to international passenger growth and its latest master plan forecasts it will see almost 20 million international passengers and over 81,000 international aircraft movements annually by 2038. International one-way peak passenger volumes are expected to surge from about 2900 per hour to 4900 per hour over the same period.

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Collaboration the key as Sydney Airport sets focus on the passenger

Sydney Airport chief executive Geoff Culbert has been consistently asked two questions since he started in the job in January. “The first one is, ‘are you enjoying it?’” Culbert told a CAPA Centre for Aviation summit last week. “And the answer is unequivocally yes.”

The second question is what has surprised him. Ultimately, he says, the biggest surprise has been the fragmentation of the industry.

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Infrared cameras improve sights on security

When Evan Collins wanted to find a new way to monitor Perth Airport’s airside perimeter fence, he looked to the skies for inspiration.

The airport’s new approach to its perimeter patrols was developed in an Australian airport first after seeing the effectiveness of videos used on police helicopters. Inspiration struck as Collins’ team sought to improve aviation protection officers’ ability to more accurately monitor the airport’s expansive fence line.

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‘Walk a day in my shoes’: Airport Safety Week preparations get underway

Gary McGivern says the myriad organisations working side by side at an airport is one of the great things about the industry – and also one of its challenges.

As chair of the AAA Airport Operations Safety Network Group, he has seen firsthand how safety outcomes can be enhanced through good collaboration and a shared understanding of airport safety. So when deciding on the theme for this October’s Airport Safety Week, he says the choice was obvious: Walk a day in my shoes.

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Newcastle international flights to provide boost for the Hunter

It’s been a long road for Newcastle Airport but chief executive Peter Cock sees the long-waited return of overseas flights as a big plus for both his operation and the Greater Hunter Region as a whole.

A deal with Virgin Australia to offer peak summer services will see Newcastle-Auckland flights return after a 16-year hiatus and means the airport can again add “International” to its name. The airline will use a Boeing 737 with eight business class seats, 30 Economy X seats and 138 standard economy seats to fly the route three times a week between 22 November and 17 February.

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Salomon Kloppers: Creating a new future after the boom at Newman Airport

A visit to the East Pilbara town of Newman just a few years ago would have found an airport heaving with the ever-growing fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workforce that characterised the mining construction boom. But when the boom ended, the Shire of East Pilbara saw a sharp decline in passenger numbers, highlighting the cyclical nature of the mining town.

East Pilbara Manager Development Airports Salomon Kloppers arrived in the job right at this time, facing a significant challenge: ensure the airport continued to support this remote community and its mining sector, while also managing the impact of reduced passenger numbers.

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Perth runway project key to WA jobs and tourism growth

New runways are invariably controversial and when Perth Airport entered the public review period for its Major Development Plan it knew it had to go above and beyond. Under the spotlight was a $520 million project that would provide almost 500 jobs during construction and was essential to the economy of Western Australia.

It would inject about $2 billion into the West Australian tourism sector in the first 20 years of operation and enhance the international connections of a city once described as the world’s most isolated.

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‘Seamless, convenient and easy’: Adelaide Airport’s expansion to deliver for passengers

Adelaide’s growth as an international and domestic destination has prompted a $165 million terminal expansion that will significantly improve life for passengers. Since 1998, Adelaide Airport has seen international passengers quadruple from about 240,000 to 1 million a year and overall passenger numbers increase by 50 per cent.

The pressure on existing facilities saw the airport embark on a three-year construction project that will significantly upgrade international arrivals and departures as well as dining and retail facilities.

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Canberra food bowl to realise export potential

Fresh Australian produce exported from a farm one day and on the table in Singapore the next. That’s one of the new opportunities available to primary producers in the ACT, NSW South Coast, Riverina and the Murray-Darling Basin thanks to a deal between Canberra Airport and South Australian company Pak-Fresh Handling.

The move means Pak-Fresh is now offering NSW and ACT growers the opportunity to get their product overseas via belly freight on flights by Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines to Canberra.

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‘Airside flip’ proves winning formula for Launceston

Launceston Airport is preparing its latest tilt at the Australian Airports Association annual awards after performing what general manager Paul Hodgen labels “an airside flip”. The flip is the latest in a series of changes at the northern Tasmanian airport as it moves to make itself an attractive alternative to its neighbour in Hobart and the state’s tourism gateway.

The booming tourism industry has seen traffic at Launceston grow to almost 1.4 million passengers a year and the airport has been sprucing itself up to accommodate the tourists and give locals a better experience.

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Hidden disabilities program tip of the iceberg for Brisbane

Brisbane Airport is already winning accolades for programs aimed at accommodating people with disabilities but it isn’t sitting on its laurels. Part of the Brisbane Airport’s wider customer service strategy, the program aims to help staff identify and assist people with a hidden disability.

Hidden disabilities can affect anyone and include a wide range of conditions ranging from anxiety disorders to autism, dyslexia or dementia. It can also mean physical issues such as brain injury, multiple sclerosis and vision impairment.

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Sunshine Coast earns carbon neutral first

When Airports Council International director general Angela Gittins recently praised Australian airports for their strong environmental stewardship, she singled out the Sunshine Coast Airport for its achievement in becoming Australia’s first carbon neutral airport.

There are now 12 other Australian airports participating in ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation Program — more than a quarter of the 44 involved in the Asia-Pacific — but Sunshine Coast was the pioneer.

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The challenges of the outback: maintaining vital air links in the Territory

It’s hard for anyone who has never visited a remote outback community to understand the vital importance of the local airstrip. Air services are a crucial connection for these communities, not just to the rest of the world but to the essential services many Australians take for granted.

Northern Territory transport officials Sue Hakala and Louise McCormick have good reason to understand all too well the problems facing remote airstrips: their department supports 70 of them in what they say is becoming an increasing challenge.

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Australian airports rate highly as the global sector prepares for further growth

ACI (World) Director General Angela Gittens says Australian airports are rated highly by their passengers for their work with government and airlines on waiting times for passport control, security and check-in. These efforts are earning scores higher than the rest of the world.

Angela maps out the priorities for airports around the world, and how working closely with their communities continues to be essential to airports’ success.

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Regulatory stability drives private investment, ensures long-term focus: Gittens

Airports Council International director-general Angela Gittens, a 25-year veteran of the airport industry who has headed the ACI since 2008, is no stranger to the stand-off over airport charges. She has been chief executive of major airports in Miami and Atlanta and was deputy chief executive at San Francisco International Airport.

And she has first-hand experience with privatisation, having overseen the transition at London’s Luton Airport while working at vice-president at TBI Airport management. Arriving in Australia for the IATA AGM in Sydney this week, she has reflected on that experience when commenting on the current debate on airport charges in Australia.

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Smart security streamlines passenger journey

Changes are coming to security screening at Australia’s airports and Melbourne Airport is ensuring it will be ready when they do. A redevelopment of the airport’s international screening area to boost capacity from seven lanes to 10 will also allow it to drop in computed tomography (CT) cabin baggage screening and advanced body scanners when they become available.

The airport is already trialling the technology and was recently able to showcase it to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton as part of a post-budget doorstop.

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Flight training opportunity for Australian aviation

Paul Ferguson has a strong argument for why the Australian flight training industry should be taking up the opportunities stemming from burgeoning demand for pilots in South East Asia: the impressive development at the airport he runs.

A partnership between leading flight training organisation CAE Oxford Aviation Academy and China Eastern Airlines has secured Moorabbin Airport a quality anchor customer that supports the airport’s long-term investments in aviation infrastructure.

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Paul McFarlane: On the ‘miracle of flight’ in the Indian Ocean Territories

Sitting alongside perfectly formed coral reefs and home to a world-famous crab migration, the airports of the Indian Ocean Territories are certainly unique.

It’s not just tourists who rely on the airport to reach the island paradise – it’s also a vital link for the communities that live there. Indian Oceans Territories Airports Manager Paul McFarlane has overall responsibility for the safe operation of the region’s two international airports. 

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Coffs Harbour ready for the next decade as regional tourism hub

Coffs Harbour may be missing an apostrophe but the local airport isn’t missing out on growth opportunities. The predominantly leisure-driven market has seen passenger numbers rise by almost a third over the last decade from 315,000 in 2008-09 to 418,000.

Airport manager Dennis Martin says the airport has been fortunate to see long-term passenger growth as people have moved into the North Coast NSW town and tourism has blossomed.

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Kate McCreery-Carr: making excellence and efficiency part of day-to-day business

As the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforests of North Queensland, Cairns Airport is a bustling regional link that welcomes over five million passengers every year.

Taking charge of the busy day-to-day operations to ensure excellence and efficiency, is Chief Operations Officer Kate McCreery-Carr. Kate spoke to the Airport Professional about her career so far, the need to balance priorities and how to be successful in an ever-evolving industry.

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Innovation focus as Mackay prepares for new growth

The end of the resources boom meant tough times for Mackay Airport but general manager Rob Porter believes a focus on innovation and transformation means it is well placed to cater for passenger growth as the region recovers.

The northern Queensland airport saw a 22 per cent rise in passenger numbers in March compared to the previous year, as it benefited from a recovery in the mining industry as well as a slew of regional construction and road projects.

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Andrew Warrender: On becoming an ‘airport person’ and young executive of the year

As a young boy with parents who loved to travel the world, Andrew Warrender had one ambition when he grew up – to be ‘an airport person’! Fast forward to his current role as Northern Territory Airports Head of Commercial and Andrew has built a career path that his young self would be proud of.

Last month, Andrew’s contribution to the airport industry was recognised when he was named Airports Council International (ACI) Asia Pacific Young Executive of the Year 2018.

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China service plants the seed for NT international growth

Darwin International Airport officials are convinced the Northern Territory’s first scheduled service from mainland China will be the seed from which big things grow.

It gives Donghai a beachhead in Australia in an area boasting internationally renowned tourism drawcards such as Kakadu National Park that should prove attractive to independent Chinese travellers. In return, the NT gets a direct pipeline into China’s burgeoning tourism industry, a new trade link with a city of 14 million people and the ability to tap into the growth powering other Australian airports.

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Ground access solutions deliver passengers choice

Just as air travel has changed dramatically in recent years as more of us fly more often, getting to the airport has become an important part of passengers’ overall airport experience. With the route to many major airports contending with day-to-day metropolitan traffic, airports have been looking for new solutions to keep pace with changing passenger needs as a growing number of people visit their terminals each day.

For Australia’s largest airports, investing to provide a wider range of choice has been a key part of ensuring passengers’ journeys start with a good experience getting to the airport.

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New services deliver freight benefits at Australian airports

Air cargo is seeing a global renaissance, with international air freight trends looking good at Australia’s major east coast airports as they welcome more overseas carriers with passenger services and accompanying cargo space.

The latest figures from the International Air Transport Association show global freight demand grew by 6.8 per cent in February which, when adjusted for distortions caused by the Lunar New year, translated to a 7.7 per cent increase.

This was the strongest start to a year since 2015 and saw demand outstrip capacity for the 19th month in a row.

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New service agreements embrace the age of the customer

With more and more businesses embracing the age of the customer, airports are contending with a challenging proposition: enhancing the customer experience at the same time they must meet fast-growing demand for air travel.

Far from struggling to meet the needs of record growth, Sydney Airport has improved customer satisfaction scores in recent years, even as they have welcomed more passengers than ever before. Its success has been attributed in part to the airport’s new international Airline Service Agreements (ASAs), signed in 2015 and recognised by the industry as the way forward for airline agreements.

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“Transport cathedrals” critical to international growth

Tourism Australia boss John O’Sullivan believes the importance of airports to the tourism industry cannot be understated, labelling them the “transport cathedrals” of their home cities and towns. Airports are, he observes, the first and last touchpoints for international visitors and have a critical role in terms of the impression they make.

“From a Tourism Australia point of view, airports are incredibly important not just because of the supply they bring in in terms of aviation seats but from an experience point of view as well,’’ O’Sullivan says.

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Changing the future of airfield runways

Airfield pavements are not like ordinary roads, driveways or car parks. With some aircrafts weighing tens of thousands of kilograms, and airports facilitating millions of flights every year, airfield pavements are a crucial part of any airport’s infrastructure.

Runways, taxiways, apron and parking areas demand high maintenance to ensure the safe operation of the airport, and resurfacing is a costly procedure. The Australian Airport Association (AAA) supported Airport Pavement Research Program (APRP) at the University of the Sunshine Coast is working to address the long-term lack of research and development in Australian airport pavement technology and practice upkeep.

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First impressions count as Gold Coast Airport gets set for the games

The old adage ‘if it doesn’t rain it pours’ has taken on new meaning for management at Gold Coast Airport. Not only are athletes and spectators arriving for the Commonwealth Games ahead of their start on April 4, but this has coincided with an early Easter and the popular international music festival Bluesfest at Byron Bay.

The airport had a dress rehearsal of sorts on January 7 when a record day for passengers saw more than 25,000 travellers arrive and depart.

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Senate committee endorsement an important step for land use planning

As our cities become more populated, the safe and effective management of developments on and near airport land has become an increasingly important issue. While it’s an issue airports have managed effectively through extensive planning and legislative processes for many years, development just beyond the airport boundary operates in a different regulatory environment.

The Australian Airports Association (AAA) has long advocated for closer alignment between the guidelines for development on and near airports to ensure effective land use planning that delivers safe outcomes, meets community need and promotes a sustainable aviation industry.

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Brisbane highlights growth potential as Routes Asia kicks off

When more than 970 delegates converge on Brisbane for Routes Asia this weekend, they’ll be welcomed by a city ready for the next surge in international passenger growth.

The key route development event for the Asia Pacific region arrives off the back of Brisbane’s strongest year of international passenger growth in the last decade. With new infrastructure projects at the airport and across the city coming to life, the potential for further increasing capacity in the region is significant.

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Aviation connects Bardi people with oil and gas opportunity

It’s an essential operation supporting multi-billion-dollar Browse Basin resources projects, and runs like a well-oiled machine as it services up to 24 helicopters a day.

It also gives members of the Djarindjin community the opportunity to work on their own land while gaining valuable aviation industry skills. A partnership between the Djarindjin Aboriginal Corporation and Broome International Airport (BIA) has provided a huge boost to the Bardi people living on the Dampier Peninsula, about 170km north of Broome.

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Rockhampton plans for future as regional gateway

With a terminal that can accommodate up to 1.6 million passengers and a 2628-metre high-strength runway, Rockhampton Airport can – and does – handle pretty much anything that arrives there.

Military exercises at the nearby Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area bring in the big freighters and widebody long-haul passenger aircraft, while single-aisle planes are operated by Qantas, Virgin Australia and JetGo to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Mackay and Townsville.

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Chinese New Year highlights tourism growth story

Australia’s airports have once again seen another busy Chinese New Year period, with a range of targeted activities to welcome this important market. The Chinese visitor economy is now worth more than $10 billion and has grown significantly in recent times.
Major airports across Australia hosted in-terminal activations to support the influx of passengers during the popular Chinese New Year holiday period, ensuring the visitor experience got off to the best possible start as tourists touched down on Australian soil.

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Hobart Airport runway extends Tasmanian opportunity

As Hobart Airport celebrates the extension of its runway this week, the occasion marks more than the successful end of the project. While it may simply seem like an extra 500 metres of tarmac for many, that additional length will open up direct access from Hobart to the global market.

The $40 million runway extension signals the airport’s new capability for direct flights to Asia, creating significant tourism and freight opportunities for the state.

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Canberra connects to the world with new services

Once one of the few global capitals without an international air service, Canberra now has two of the world’s best airlines slugging it out for the capital’s affluent passengers.

The arrival of Qatar Airways on February 12 gave Canberra Airport its first ever daily international service and set up a new competitive dynamic for Canberrans.

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Year of growth for Australian airports

Strong international traffic growth helped records tumble at Australian airports in 2017 with major airports posting strong rises in overseas traveller numbers.

Chinese carriers again featured prominently in traffic growth at major airports but there was also pleasing capacity increases from other regions. Airports also reported bumper pre-Christmas travel with a number setting new single-day passenger records, particularly on December 23.

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Australian Airports Association