This week: Emergency at Gatwick, Sydney’s new airport & more

This week has been a mixed news bag kind of week. We saw some disruptions (England), some new additions (India), a growing debate (Australia) and some new, old winners (Austria). Let’s resolve the riddle by going straight into the first piece.

It was London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) that caused a fright early in the week when it was reported that the airport had to close due to a serious emergency. The Washington Post reported that a Virgin Atlantic Airways plane flying from Britain to Florida returned to Gatwick Airport for an emergency landing on Monday, forcing more than 300 people to evacuate the plane using slides. Fifteen people were taken to the hospital with injuries, the news bulletin stated. “Due to a technical problem, the captain decided as a precautionary measure to immediately evacuate the aircraft,” Virgin Atlantic said, adding that Flight VS27 from Gatwick to Orlando, Fla., carried 299 passengers and 13 crew members. The airport was closed for almost 2 hours as passengers on the stricken plane used emergency slides to get to safety. The airport then reopened using a backup runway just after 2 p.m. that day. The same newspaper reported later in the week that faulty alarms caused the emergency in the first place.

This week we tweeted about Sydney airport numerous times. Actually it wasn’t exactly about the existing Sydney Airport (SYD), but rather the debate for a new one. And that’s precisely the sticky point as some politicians have already ruled out an entirely new airport and called the country’s capital airport in Canberra a likely expansion option for Sydney, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald. According to the news, the airport would be linked to Sydney by high-speed rail. Later in the week The Australian reported some further news about which option the government is backing. We thought the final sentence in that particular article was pretty telling when it read that Tourism Transport Forum chief executive John Lee said both sides of politics needed to stop squabbling: “My fear is we’ll see Halley’s comet in 2062 before we see a second airport in Sydney.” We bet this debate will accompany us for quite a while…

A much lighter story received us when India’s Business Standard reported that in line with the international trend of transit hotels within airports, the Delhi International Airport (DEL) has opened its doors to the UK-based Eaton Smart Hotel. According to the article Eaton has just started operations at Terminal 3 of the Delhi airport. The story quoted that the hotel tariffs are based on the number of hours a visitor stays there and begins from five hours.

Finally, who doesn’t love awards? We certainly do as we’ve proofed through our own LateDeparture Airport News of the Year Awards. This time it was the annual World Airport Awards – this year held in Vienna – that caught our eyes on Thursday. “Unfortunately” the new winner was an old one: South Korea’s Incheon Airport (ICN) received the prestigious award title of Airport of the Year, followed by runner-up Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). See our full story for the regional winners.

That’s all we have for this week – save travels!

[Feature picture from Virgin Atlantic – all rights reserved]