This week: Cairo to Sydney, Heath-Wick and Sacramento

Wow, what a busy aviation week this one has been! While 2,700 representatives from  300 airlines and 800 airports ( gathered in Berlin at the annual ‘World Routes’ event, airports and travellers around the globe continued to work like clockwork. All of them? Not really, this week saw airports from Cairo to Sydney struggling through many problems.

First up was Cairo Airport (IATA: CAI) where Reuters reported that go-slow protests by air traffic controllers grounded four fifths of flights from the major regional hub and left as many as 3,000 travellers stranded. At Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada (IATA: YYZ) Scott Armstrong, a spokesman for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, told The Vancouver Sun that [a job action by security workers tasked with screening passengers] resulted in about 200 delayed flights so far this week. Yesterday then, Business Week was able to report that those long delays eased to a more tolerable 30 minutes on average. And finally, over in Australia disruptions continued for Qantas on Friday at many of the country’s airports even though the previously announced industrial actions were called of. Sadly there are no sign of relief for the national airline as according to The Wall Street Journal the next strike is already on the horizon: 11,000 passengers will have their travel plans thrown into disarray tomorrow, Monday because of strike action planned by engineers at Sydney (IATA: SYD; LD reviewed), Melbourne (IATA: MEL; LD reviewed) and Brisbane (IATA: BNE; LD reviewed) airports.

Moving over to the United Kingdom where not strike actions were the talk of the week, but more so the Kingdom’s airports future. First up we heard from Reuters that Britain’s Competition Commission CC.L on Friday told UK airport operator BAA that it must sell one of its Scottish airports before it disposes of London Stansted airport (IATA: STN; LD reviewed). On Friday The Financial Times then broke the story that a radical plan for a new “Heath-Wick” airport hub featuring a £5bn high-speed rail link between Heathrow (IATA: LHR; LD hub page) and Gatwick (IATA: LGW; LD reviewed) is being considered seriously by ministers. The article continued by arguing that building a 15-minute link between Heathrow and Gatwick could increase the price of landing slots at the latter, and eventually force low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet to move to Stansted [which in results] free up more slots at the new “Heath-Wick” hub for an expansion of regional capacity.

Moving on to the United States which – surprise, surprise – wasn’t left out of the news this week. CNN informed us on Tuesday that the Transportation Security Administration unveiled a “trusted traveler” program meant to expedite screening at U.S. airport checkpoints. The article unveiled that the program is currently in its evaluation phase, where only certain frequent fliers on American and Delta airlines flying out of certain airports. Delta passengers must be flying out of Atlanta (IATA: ATL) and Detroit (IATA: DTW) airports, and American Airlines passengers must be flying out of Miami (IATA: MIA; LD reviewed) and Dallas (IATA: DFW) airports.

And finally we close with the news from Forbes who informed us that Sacramento International Airport (IATA: SMF) was scheduled to open a $1 billion terminal on Thursday, replacing a structure that is four decades old with a building that is designed to be a striking entrance to California’s capital region.

With this, have a great new week and safe travels!

[Photo is a LateDeparture composition based on the logos of Heathrow and Gatwick Airport as well as the Flickr picture from by Ti.mosome rights reserved ]