London Gatwick Airport has proposed construction of a second parallel runway. If construction of the new runway is given a green light, it is expected to create additional air traffic flexibility and system safety for both business and commercial aircraft operations. The Gatwick plan offers three potential runway configurations, the most flexible allowing simultaneous instrument approaches and departures on both runways. Politically, prospects for building the runway are tied up in the wider debate about possible future expansion of London Heathrow Airport.
London Heathrow Airport
The UK Air Accidents Investigations Board (AAIB) confirmed on Tuesday that it has “invited” Honeywell, the maker of the emergency locator transmitter in the Boeing 787, to join the investigation into the fire that erupted last Friday in an Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner parked at London Heathrow
Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Airways took the first step toward confronting the formidable threat of the recent British Airways-American Airlines pairing as regulators approved Delta’s acquisition of Singapore Airlines’ 49-percent stake in the UK carrier last week. The acquisition means that Virgin Atlantic and Delta have cleared a major hurdle in their effort toward forming a full joint venture, an antitrust review of which the U.S. Department of Transportation expects to complete during this year’s third quarter.
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s preliminary report on the May 24 incident involving a British Airways Airbus A319 at London Heathrow (LHR) appears to point to inadequate ground maintenance and pre-flight checking. In a special bulletin issued on May 31, the AAIB confirmed that the fan cowl doors on both engines had been left unlatched after maintenance. Just after liftoff, both engine cowlings separated from the aircraft, causing damage that eventually led to one engine fire and shutdown.
The first airplane carrying revenue passengers from Dubai International Airport’s newly opened concourse in Terminal 3 took off Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. local time on its way to London Heathrow Airport. Emirates Airline Flight EK003 officially marked the opening of Concourse A–the world’s first dedicated to Airbus A380 operations.
Virgin Group boss Richard Branson insists that Virgin Atlantic’s brand will remain intact well into the future following Delta Air Lines’ planned purchase of Singapore Airlines’ 49-percent stake in the UK carrier. “First of all, ignore the press speculation, the British Airways speculation,” said Branson via a video feed from his Caribbean retreat on Necker Island during last week’s announcement. “I’m not going anywhere.”
UK airports group BAA has reluctantly abandoned any further legal challenges to the compulsory sale of London Stansted Airport mandated by anti-trust authorities. It is now open to offers for what is the UK’s fourth busiest airport, and low-cost carrier Ryanair has emerged as a leading figure among potential bidders. Ryanair confirmed on August 21 that it has been asked to join a consortium that would buy Stansted jointly, with its own stake not exceeding 25 percent.
London is on high alert as Olympic airspace changes and a slot allocation extension to 40 airports (rather than the usual four) kicked in this past weekend, and visitors start to arrive ahead of the summer games opening ceremony on July 27. Slot coordinator Airport Coordination Ltd (ACL), based at London Heathrow Airport, reported that approximately 5,000 bookings have been registered for slots at the 40 airports, though it expects this number to reach 7,000 or 8,000.
De-icing fluid manufacturer Kilfrost has reported orders for its “environmentally driven” Sustain products in New Zealand, with Air New Zealand and Aviall purchasing 27 metric tons of them over the last year. “All our sustainable products offer significant environmental benefits in terms of carbon savings and low toxicity, with no compromise in terms of performance and functionality,” said CEO Gary Lydiate.
Rolls-Royce and Aircelle have signed a service contract for the Trent 900 engine nacelles that will be fitted to British Airways Airbus A380s. The airline has ordered 12 of the type.