Top 10 Airport Stories of 2010

With Christmas out of the way, it’s time to look back and reflect on 2010. Let’s therefore bring back a tradition I started two years ago and provide you with the top 10 airport news of 2010. You will find odd stories about stranded passengers or missed world cup games but also serious disruptions caused by bad weather, accidents or terrorist alerts among LateDeparture’s “Top 10 Airport Stories of 2010”. Let’s begin and start with number 10:
(Title Photo from Flickr – some rights reserved)


10. Virgin Atlantic passengers stuck on tarmarc in Connecticut
Hundreds of travelers parked in a diverted Virgin Atlantic plane en route from London to Newark spent a hot, dark and miserable four-hour stretch on the tarmac at Bradley International Airport outside Hartford, Connecticut (IATA: BDL). The incident attracted significant media attention, and highlighted how the recently-implemented Airline Passengers Bill of Rights does not extend to international flights.
(AP photo/Journal Inquirer, Jim Michaud)

9. New Airport for Delhi
On the 3rd July, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opened a terminal that will double capacity at New Delhi airport (IATA: DEL) and ease travel into the world’s second-most populous country.
(Photo from Wikipedia)

8. 60 human heads discovered at Arkansas airport
In June the Telegraph wrote that employees at Southwest Airlines discovered the clumsily duct-taped containers of heads last week at Little Rock airport in Arkansas, USA (IATA: LIT). Apparently the heads were being shipped to Medtronic Inc in Fort Worth, Texas, where they would be used by neurosurgeons to study ear, nose and throat procedures. Errr, no further questions.
(Photo: ALAMY/Telegraph)

7. Fans miss World Cup semi final
South Africa was the host of the 2010 Soccer World Cup and despite multiple rumours about incomplete stadiums, everything was in place for the world’s biggest sporting event. Everything? Not quite: due to VIP jets blocking Durban’s new King Shaka International Airport (IATA: DUR) hundreds of fans missed the game Germany vs Spain.
(Photo from Flickr, some rights reserved)

6. Air Traffic control strike disrupts travel in France
Coincidentally with the start of the summer holdiay period, French Air Traffic controllers decided to, well, you guessed it, strike! This led to cancellations and delays in France and other European destinations. Read more about this on CNN.
(Photo by Flickr – some rights reserved)

5. Air India Express Crash in Mangalore
Sadly in May, Mangalore, a Southwestern Indian coastal town in the state of Karnataka came into the world’s news headlines when an Air India plane crashed after overshooting the runway at Mangalore Airport (IATA: IXE). After the crash voices erupted and asked whether the airport is safe and fits international standards.
(Photo by Flickr – some rights reserved)

4. Qantas A380 engine blow-up
At the end of May Singapore Airlines added a fun slide to it’s already great terminal 3, making headlines on LateDeparture. On 4th November then, the airport came into the global news for a different reason: that day the engine of a A380 Qantas plane blow-up after departure from Singapore airport (IATA: SIN) where the damaged aircraft returned to for an emergency landing. Check this blog for a very (and I mean very!) detailed description of the damages and what happened.
(Photo by Flickr – some rights reserved)

3. International terror alert in October
The Guardian reported
that East Midlands airport (IATA: EMA), Britain’s largest air freight terminal was sealed off after investigators found a package containing a toner cartridge on a United Parcel Service plane from Yemen to Chicago. Federal Express later said a second suspicious package had been found in Dubai on a plane originating in Yemen. FedEx and UPS subsequently suspended cargo flights from Yemen. “Toner and ink cartridges above 450 grams were completely banned from passenger flights travelling to the US, not just coming from Yemen, but coming from anywhere at all”, wrote the Sydney Morning Herald.
(Photo by Flickr – some rights reserved)

2. Volcanic ash cloud in April and May
Now infamous and unpronounceable Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in April and consequently shutting a large part of the European airspace for days. The UK was hit the hardest with the airspace closed for a grueling 9 days in April and two more in May. Irish airline Ryanair alone cancelled almost 10,000 flights over the period. Many people are still waiting for compensation, writes the Mail.
(Photo by Flickr – some rights reserved)

1. TSA Full Body Scanner Mess
In November 2001 airport security in US airports was made the responsibility of a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In addition to existing hassles, such as not allowing carrying liquids in quantities greater than 3.4oz (100ml) or removing of the traveller’s shoes, fresh measures were introduced with the widespread roll-out of full-body scanners (LateDeparture first reported sight of these machines in 2008). The Economist (among hundreds of other media) writes, that since the measures were introduced there has been no shortage of horror stories—a breast-cancer survivor had to take off her prosthetic breast, a bladder-cancer survivor’s urine bag burst during one aggressive inspection and a shirtless young boy received a pat-down. What a mess!

That’s it. I hope you liked it. As always, feel free to comment and write us your own, personal airport stories of 2010. But now, on behalf of LateDeparture, I would like to thank all loyal readers, advertisers (yes, you may contact us too if you like to discuss an ad deal), friends and last but certainly not least my partner for their support of LateDeparture in 2010. You guys rock! See and read you again in 2011!