Air Travel News
Briefs: Carriers shift at SEA; Berlin’s new airport delayed again
In airport news, three airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International have moved their ticket counters; the opening date for Berlin’s new airport is delayed for the fourth time; Vienna International completes a terminal overhaul; and Dubai adds a dedicated terminal for Airbus A380s.
At Seattle-Tacoma, American Airlines, Frontier and JetBlue have all moved their ticket counters about 1,000 feet to the north of their old positions as part of an ongoing facilities realignment. Airport officials said the next major move will be United shifting to the south end of the terminal in May. “Realignment will allow Alaska Airlines to be the sole user of the north satellite,” a spokesman said. Future moves will include United, SkyWest and Air Canada Jazz leaving the north satellite for Concourse A; Hawaiian moving from Concourse A to the south satellite; Virgin America and Frontier shifting from A to B; and American and JetBlue moving from Concourse A to Concourse D.
In Germany, Berlin’s new Willy Brandt International Airport, also known as Berlin Brandenburg (BER), was originally slated to open in 2011. But now, in the fourth delay of that schedule, the airport’s debut has been pushed back from October of this year to sometime in 2014. Once it finally does open, BER will replace the city’s existing Tegel and Schonefeld airports, which will close. Both Airberlin and Lufthansa had committed to significant schedule growth at the new airport, and the continued delays have resulted in major headaches for both airlines as they struggle to accommodate flights at Tegel. Airberlin said in a statement that the new delay for BER “will have an adverse effect on all passengers and airlines...A renewed postponement means that the unsatisfactory situation for all passengers will continue.”
Vienna international Airport has reopened its Check-in 1, a newly renovated terminal space, and has closed Check-in 2 for a similar overhaul there. The new facility has 30 check-in positions and eight self-service kiosks, as well as “a new priority zone...for top bonus frequent flyers,” the airport said. “The security controls also include fast lanes for top bonus platinum, gold and silver customers.” The new terminal space handles all check-in for Airberlin and its FlyNiki subsidiary, as well as Air France, Finnair, Alitalia, British Airways, China Airlines, Aer Lingus, JAT, KLM, Tarom, Aeroflot, Turkish and Transaero. Meanwhile, carriers that formerly used Check-in 2—mainly shorter haul regional airlines—have moved to Check-in 1A, officials said.
Emirates, based at Dubai International Airport, is one of the world’s largest purchasers of Airbus A380 super-jumbos, and the carrier’s home airport has just opened the first four gates of a new concourse dedicated strictly to the giant planes. Emirates’ A380 hub will eventually have 20 gates, serving as the base for the carrier’s super-jumbo flights to destinations worldwide; it will also accommodate connections to Qantas, Emirates’ planned new interline partner for service between Australia and Europe. The new A380 Concourse A is part of the Terminal 3 complex, connected to T3 by underground trains and shuttle buses.