This week: more winter, more expansion and more bites

This week we have three main stories for you plus a little bonus one to finish off. Two stories are again related to this time of the year and come from the same country versus the other two both focus on airport expansions in the wider sense. Before we lift the curtain though, we want to update you on our Airport News of the Year voting feature. We’ve received quite a few votes this week and so far the “lost cat” and the “wrong airport” stories are neck on neck, where as the “rivalry” story is lagging a bit behind. There’s one week left for you to vote, so make sure you have your say before the time runs out!

That said, let’s move to our weekly news review: First, one country was quite brutally battered this week with harsh winter conditions when on Thursday reported that after a major Pacific storm covered Washington state in snow, the Seattle area dealt with a new menace: an ice storm that shut down the airport and toppled trees. The report continued by saying that Seattle Tacoma International Airport (IATA: SEA) closed early Thursday so that its three runways could be de-iced. Two runways had reopened by midday, but many airlines reported flight cancellations.

Across the country the situation wasn’t looking much better as a storm blanketed the northeast with a few inches of snow and caused havoc on the road and delays for travellers as a result. The Associated Press reported that by midafternoon on Saturday, 4.3 inches (11 cm) of snow had fallen in New York Central Park and 3.4 inches (8.5 cm) at LaGuardia Airport in New York (IATA: LGA) . Most of eastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, and central New Jersey saw about 4 inches (10 cm)  of snow, with a few places reporting up to 8 inches (20 cm). All these measures say one thing to the trained traveller’s eye: travel delays and flight cancellations. So make sure you check your flight status if you are travelling within that region!

Across the pond in England two stories stood out from the rest this week. The first one comes from Luton Airport (IATA: LTN), north of London where the BBC reported of the airports expansion plans. According to the article the airport plans to almost double the number of passengers it handles, a move which it says could create as many as 6,000 new jobs. Further the article read that this dramatic announcement is a bold attempt by local politicians in the town, who own the airport, to create jobs and boost the economy.

Then one of our favourite topics of recent times got more news real-estate this week: the BBC wrote that the government is to hold a formal consultation on UK aviation – including controversial plans for a new airport in the Thames Estuary. Apparently the study is to begin in March and will look at options for “maintaining the UK’s aviation hub status”. The article then continues by arguing the various political views of the project: Downing Street said no decisions had been made – London Mayor Boris Johnson backs the Thames airport idea. David Cameron has ruled out expanding Heathrow but his deputy Nick Clegg is said to be opposed to the estuary idea. Labour said the coalition was in a “complete mess” over aviation policy. Our bet is, this topic will be with us for a while.

And now – finally – to our bonus story: according to an article from the Detroit Free Pressa a retired bomb-sniffing dog  was captured after an airport escape. Apparently the dog named Arco had arrived on a flight from Arizona to be united with a new owner and got loose when that owner let the dog out to relieve himself. Arco once even worked at the White House as a bomb-sniffing dog at one time, bit two officers when they spotted him near Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (IATA: DTW) around 5:30 a.m. Two hours later they finally captured him.

Wow, sooo much action – we need a break. Read you later in the week with our feature post and in one week with our next weekly news. Safe travels everyone!

[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by yum9me]