Air Travel News
Briefs: Delta will expand at JFK; LHR sets $4.7 billion growth plan
In airline news this week, even before its overhauled JFK Terminal 4 project debuts in May, Delta has anounced plans for more construction at the New York airport; London Heathrow officials expect to spend even more billions of pounds improving the airport in the next five years; San Jose adds a private terminal for Google executives’ jets; Singapore will build a fourth terminal; and a South American capital cuts the ribbon on a brand new airport.
• Delta Air Lines’ redeveloped Terminal 4 at New York JFK — a $1.2 billion project due to open in May — will be followed by even more improvements there. Delta said last week it will spend another $175 million constructing an additional 11 gates linked to Terminal 4’s Concourse B. That will give Delta a total of 27 gates at T4’s Concourse B, and will replace its regional jet operation at Terminal 2 (another bonus: no more ramp-level boarding for regional flights as passengers do now at T2). After the expanded T4 debuts this spring, Delta will eventually tear down the old Terminal 3, a job that should be finished in 2015, using the space for aircraft parking. Delta said it will also double the shuttle bus operation linking its Terminals 2 and 4.
• London’s Heathrow Airport unveiled plans to spend $4.7 billion over the period from 2014 to 2019 on a variety of improvements — and is asking the government to OK an increase of up to 40 percent in the per-passenger fees assessed on airlines there to pay for the work. The airport authority said work covered in the new budget will include an extension of the new Terminal 2, due to open in 2014; installation of more self-service check-in kiosks and self-service baggage drops; the closing down of Terminal 1 in 2016; adding more retail outlets and passenger lounges; undertaking infrastructure improvements that will make LHR “the busiest hub for A380s in Europe;” extending rapid transit links between Terminals 2 and 3 and their parking garages; and partially funding a rail link from Heathrow to London’s financial district, Canary Wharf and East End. LHR officials said that billions spent on improvements in the past several years have boosted on-time performance at the airport from 63 percent in 2007 to 80 percent today.
• Those lucky executives at Google’s California headquarters who have access to company jets will be getting their own private terminal at nearby Mineta San Jose International Airport. Officials are planning to build an $82 million facility on the airport’s west side to serve “the personal aircraft of the principals at Google, among other clients,” the airport said in a statement. The 29-acre facility, which will include a terminal and hangars, will be able to accommodate aircraft as large as the Boeing Business Jet (a modified 737) and even a 767, the airport said.
• Faced with growing demand for space from low-cost carriers serving the region, Singapore said it plans to build a fourth terminal at Changi International Airport for use mainly by the single-aisle planes used by those airlines. The $485 million construction project is expected to begin later this year and be finished in 2017, boosting the airport’s annual passenger capacity to 82 million; it handled 51 million in 2012.
• South America’s newest international airport will open for business on February 20. It’s Quito, Ecuador’s new Mariscal Sucre International Airport, located about 12 miles northeast of town. It replaces Quito’s 53-year-old airport that is close to the city center but ringed with mountains that make for rather dicey approaches, earning it a spot on some media lists of the world’s most dangerous airports.