The New LaGuardia Airport is Unveiled

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, North America, USA | Posted on 28-07-2015

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LaGuardia-New-Terminal

Most travellers will concede that New York’s LaGuardia Airport is no longer fit for purpose. What was once a futuristic and flagship airport is now crowded and bursting at the seams. Vice President Joe Biden even compared it to a “third world country” a year ago.

However, an ambitious plan to completely revitalise and rebuild the airport has been unveiled which will address its key problems and outdated terminals.

The airport site, which is crammed between the busy Grand Central Parkway and the East River, will not change or grow. Nor will its two runways, 04/22 and 13/31, which will continue to operate during the changes.

The plan will see the systematic demolition of LaGuardia’s existing three terminals, B, C and D, and a new single structure built in stages to replace them. This will stretch closer to the Parkway, allowing more space to be created for aircraft to maneuver around their gates, and the addition of new taxiways. Passengers will access some gates via aerial walkways over the aprons and taxiways (and aircraft) below, similar to that at London Gatwick.

Construction on the first phase of the project would begin next year, pending final approval by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the airport. A second phase would be overseen by Delta Air Lines, which has agreed to the plans for rebuilding the terminals as LaGuardia’s dominant operator.

This video shows an interesting view of what the redeveloped airport will look like:

LaGuardia’s terminals were voted the worst in the country by Travel and Leisure magazine in most categories, including check-in, security and cleanliness. However, the new single terminal will feature wide open, bright spaces, new concessions and improvements in all aspects of the passenger experience.

“This is what New Yorkers deserve and have deserved for a long time. And now we’re going to get it,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. He added “It’s slow, it’s dated, it has a terrible front-door entrance way to New York.”

The first remade portions of the airport would open to passengers in 2019. The existing Marine Terminal – a historic monument – will be retained and developed into a high-speed water taxi hub.

At present LaGuardia has some opportunities for spotters on the roads around the airport, and this is likely to still be the case (see my new World Airports Spotting Guides book for tips on spotting at LaGuardia Airport). However, what the new terminal will offer remains to be seen. The old Central Terminal Building was a great place for watching aircraft movements, but is sadly no more.

 

Two new airport bases for Allegiant Air, at Asheville and Cincinnati

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, North America, USA | Posted on 27-07-2015

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Allegiant A320

Allegiant Air will establish two new aircraft bases as it continues to expand its offering across the United States.

The airline will open bases as Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina, and Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Asheville will commence on September 1, 2015, with a single aircraft based. It will initially offer better connections for existing routes to Orlando Sanford, Punta Gorda, and St. Petersburg-Clearwater.

Three Airbus A319s will be based at Cincinnatie from 2016, allowing the airline to grow from its current 11 destinations and offer more frequencies.

“The Greater Cincinnati area has quickly become one of our strongest markets with a demonstrated demand for low-cost vacation travel,” said Jude Bricker, senior vice president of planning, Allegiant Travel Company. “The establishment of an aircraft base at Northern Kentucky International Airport will further increase the efficiency of our operations, while continuing our drive to be Cincinnati’s leading low-fare carrier.”

Allegiant is also expanding elsewhere, with new routes from Memphis to Austin-Bergstrom and St. Petersburg-Clearwater from October.

At present, a mix of Airbus A319/20, Boeing 757 and McDonnell Douglas MD-83/88 equipment is used, mainly from regional airports, but with an increasing focus on primary airports.

St. Helena Airport Takes Shape

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airport News, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 24-07-2015

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StHelenaAirportRunway

The brand new international airport on the island of St. Helena in the south Atlantic Ocean is finally taking shape almost four years since the contract was signed to herald its development.

The British Overseas Territory – one of the most remote islands on earth – has always relied on the sea for communication and transport to the outside world. But with the regular passenger-carrying vessel, the RMS St. Helena, due to be retired next year, the need for an airport became a priority.

St. Helena Airport is now taking shape, with the final concrete poured onto the runway and work now beginning on lighting, navaids and other infrastructure.

Following this, calibration work will be carried out.

It is expected that St. Helena Airport will see its first scheduled flights in Easter 2016. Carriers confirmed so far are Comair, with a Boeing 737 link to Johannesburg, and Atlantic Star Airlines, which is a new carrier planning to operate a Boeing 757 to the island from the UK.StHelenaAirport

Recently the airport unveiled its new logo, and announced that its official IATA identification code would be HLE, and ICAO code FHSH.

The single runway is 1,950m long and has necessitated the infill of a gorge in order to provide enough flat space for its construction. This length will allow Airbus A320 and Boeing 737/757 aircraft, plus the military C-130 Hercules to fly in. But it would preclude any Category D aircraft, such as the Boeing 767.

 

Ryanair enters Israel market

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, Middle East, Poland | Posted on 07-07-2015

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Ryanair Marrakech

Ryanair has announced its first flights from Israel, with three new routes planned.

The airline will serve Eilat Ovda Airport from Budapest, Kaunas and Krakow from 5th November 2015 using Boeing 737-800s.

Ovda Airport is a joint civil-military field at the southern tip of the country, and around 35 miles north of Eilat, and acts as a secondary airport for the city. It mainly handles seasonal charter and holiday flights from across Europe and Russia, as well as some domestic routes.

It’s Heathrow! UK Airports Commission publishes recommendation

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Heathrow, Miscellaneous Spotting, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 01-07-2015

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Heathrow R3 south west option

The UK Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, has given its recommendation that Heathrow be the London airport that gets an extra runway, it has been announced.

The Commission was given the task in 2012 of settling the decades-long argument over where extra capacity should be considered in the south east of England. The two primary airports in the region – Gatwick and Heathrow – are both close to capacity, with Gatwick being the busiest single-runway airport in the world.

However, Heathrow is the busiest hub in the country and has the most need for a new runway (its third), according to the report. It said that, whilst Gatwick’s proposal was plausible, not expanding Heathrow would put the UK at risk of losing out to continental Europe.

Airports at Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle are already way ahead in runway capacity and are attracting growth from airlines.

Whilst this is only the recommendation, the government will make a decision in 2016 on any expansion.

Davies said: “Heathrow … provides the greatest benefits for business passengers, freight operators and the broader economy,” adding “Further delay will be increasingly costly and will be seen nationally and internationally as a sign that the UK is unwilling or unable to take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected, open trading economy,”

Heathrow has estimated that building could start in 2020 and the new runway would be ready in 2025, but that could be held up by the government’s decision and tough planning laws.

Frankfurt Terminal 2 Visitors Terrace Reopens

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Frankfurt, Germany, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 05-04-2015

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Frankfurt Terminal 2 Visitors Terrace

After a length period of closure and renovation, the visitors terrace on Frankfurt’s Terminal 2 will reopen this month.

The new terrace has a new floor, and also now has a glazed frontage and protective overhang which means photography is not going to be as good as before.

The other big change is that you no longer need to have your bags screened before entering the visitors terrace, which is as a result of the new protective glass and overhang.

Work is still ongoing to improve more floor area, and also to install seating. But for spotters, one of the more useful areas will now be back in action.

Frankfurt Terminal 2 Visitors Terrace is open daily 10am to 6pm (7pm on weekends and public holidays). It is accessed upstairs in the food court area.

  • Adults €3
  • Family (5 people) €12
  • Under 4’s and disabled people FREE

For more information see http://www.frankfurt-airport.com/content/frankfurt_airport/en/services/visitors-terrace.html

Marana Pinal Airpark opens to visitors

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 29-03-2015

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Marana Pinal Airpark

There are a number of storage airports in the western United States known to aviation enthusiasts, with row upon row of retired and stored airliners parked up awaiting their fate. Largest among these are Mojave, Victorville, and Marana Pinal Airpark.

The latter, located to the north of Tucson in Arizona, is notoriously difficult to get close to for the enthusiast, with guards manning the entrance, which in itself is a long way from any views of aircraft.

In fact, the standard way for an enthusiast to see airliners parked at Marana is to hire a private aircraft and pilot to fly them from Tucson to Marana, performing a number of low approaches, or a landing and slow taxi for takeoff, snapping photographs frantically in the hope of catching everything parked there, and preferably the registrations. Then a period of research would begin to work out exactly what was seen.

However, times are hard for Marana. It urgently needs to repair its runway, and to find new income streams to keep it in business. As a result it is looking at ways to attract more people to the site, and one of the first changes has been the removal of the guard posts blocking the entrance to the former military airport.

Jim Petty is the airport’s economic development director and knows exactly the draw that Marana has on enthusiasts and the curious public who have a fascination with the huge hulks of metal glinting in the sun, some sporting airline liveries of yesteryear, whilst others appear to be factory fresh. For most enthusiasts, storage airports have been a place to catch up with missed aircraft, sometimes classic old jets rarely seen in active service anymore. However, places like Marana offer a good mix, with some aircraft temporarily stored straight from the factory as airlines face economic problems or leasing companies find it difficult to place them.

Other aircraft still have a lot of life in them, but come to Marana to await a new customer.

Whilst enthusiasts will not be given free reign of the airport under its new relaxed rules, Petty has begun offering tours of Pinal Airpark in an SUV, stopping off to take in the different areas of parked airliners, and to watch a variety of different aircraft that still use the active airport.

Marana Map

Marana’s former locked-down security stance came from its long-standing involvement with the CIA, acting as a staging post for secret operations which were closely guarded from the public eye. It was also a military training post. However, Marana is officially listed as a general aviation airfield, and as such should be accessible to the general public. And so it now is.

Jim Petty may live to regret news of this opening of Marana for tours becoming public, as enthusiasts are sure to be planning trips already. But nevertheless, this is great news and I’m sure will be very much appreciated. I will certainly be taking the opportunity if I am in the area!

Free tours are by appointment only and subject to availability. Call Jim Petty, 520-866-6545.

Maribor Airport flying passengers again

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, Slovenia, Spotting News | Posted on 26-03-2015

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Adria CRJ

Maribor Airport is to gain passenger services again.

The small Slovenian airport in the east of the country has a single runway and small, modern terminal, and is mainly used as a pilot training airfield.

In the past the airport was briefly served by Ryanair for a few months, and even further back (before the break up of Yugoslavia), it was on the network of Jat Airways.

Now, Maribor is to gain a new scheduled service to London Southend from national carrier Adria Airways, operated by a mixture of CRJ and Airbus A319 aircraft.

The airport will also see some charter flights this summer to Greece and Turkey, operated by Aegean Airlines and Freebird respectively.

MariborObservation

Interestingly the airport now boasts a ‘Bar and Observation Deck’ within its terminal, which presumably offers views across the ramp and runway. If you’ve visited, please leave a comment below telling us what the views are like!

For those who hunt stored and preserved airliners, Maribor has a McDonnell Douglas MD-82, S5-ACC, preserved on the opposite side of the runway to the terminal. It is occasionally open for visits by school groups.

Emirates bolsters US network with Orlando and Seattle additions

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Dubai, Middle East, North America, USA | Posted on 25-03-2015

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Emirates 777

Emirates is to increase its coverage of the United States with two new daily flights from Dubai.

For the first time, a direct link from the Middle East to Orlando International will be established when Emirates begins a daily Boeing 777-200LR service from 1st September 2015.

“This is a landmark new route for Orlando that for the first time offers our customers non-stop service to the high-growth Middle East region with convenient connections to India, China, Africa, and Southeast Asia,” said Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

Meanwhile, from 1st July Emirates will provide a second daily flight from Dubai to Seattle/Tacoma, again operated by Boeing 777-200LR aircraft and adding significant long-haul passenger and cargo capacity to the airport.

Castellon “ghost airport” gains Ryanair routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 12-03-2015

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Castellon Airport

One of Spain’s infamous “ghost airports”, built amid a period of wasteful spending by the Spanish government, is to gain its first commercial airline service.

Castellon Costa Azahar Airport in the east of Spain, situated to the north of Valencia, was built for €150 million despite having no formal offers from airlines.

Ryanair_B737-800_EI-DYC

Now, Ryanair has committed to starting 3x weekly flights to London Stansted and 2x weekly flights to Bristol, presumably to test its potential. The flights will commence in September 2015.

Castellon Airport has a single runway and small terminal building. For spotters, although I haven’t visited, it looks like roads passing either end of the runway offer opportunities for watching aircraft arrivals and departures. But I don’t think it’s worth the visit just yet!