This week: London, Las Vegas & more: 3 main courses, 1 dessert

Another week has past and with that it’s time again for your weekly update of important (or interesting) airport events that reached us during the week. Today we have three courses and one little dessert story for you.

Let’s start dishing up with two stories from the US. The first one arrived on Thursday from The New York Times and focused on a building boom that hit US airports when it read that “New York’s three major airports, as well as the airports in Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago, are spending billions of dollars. Many of the airports have aging terminals, some built in the 1960s and 1970s, that are ill suited to the bigger planes, bigger security lanes and bigger crowds of modern-day air travel. They are replacing or improving existing terminals, updating food concessions and parking garages, or adding runways to keep up with growing demand.” Next on the schedule to unveil a new addition to its facilities is Las Vegas McCarran Airport (LAS) with the opening of the new Terminal 3 at the end of the month.

The second American story read as following in our tweet on Thursday:

The New York Times reported that in a section of Shannon Airport in Ireland (SNN), carved out for the Department of Homeland Security, passengers are screened for explosives and cleared to enter the United States by American Customs and Border Protection officers before boarding. When they land, the passengers walk straight off the plane into the terminal without going through border checks. The article then continued by saying that at other foreign airports, including those in Madrid, Panama City and Tokyo, American officers advise the local authorities. American programs in other cities expedite travel for passengers regarded as low-risk.

Now let’s move to our final main course, coming from the United Kingdom: For avid readers of our blog, it’s of no surprise that the ongoing discussion about a new airport vs the expansion of London Heathrow (LHR) is making headlines again. This time The Financial Times wrote on Wednesday that David Cameron has paved the way for a U-turn on building a third runway at Heathrow airport, amid signs that Downing Street is cooling to the idea of building a new hub in the Thames Estuary. According to the article Mr Cameron left open the prospect that the Conservatives would campaign at the 2015 election in favour of expanding Heathrow – a move that would please the business lobby but infuriate environmentalists and Londoners living under the flight path. Once again, our bet is we’ll be writing many more words about this saga before airport building machinery can be spotted on English soil.

No meal is complete without a dessert. So, here’s ours for today, coming from The Daily Mail in London. They wrote that from today millions of passengers flying into Heathrow airport (LHR) will be able to see the giant image of the 2012 heptathlon hopeful alongside the words ‘Welcome to our turf.’ The image shows British World Champion Jessica Ennis and measures 53 by 75 metres (173ft x 246ft) which is bigger than 15 tennis courts. Watch the time-lapse video of how it was created here.

[Picture from British Airways]

That’s all we have – well, actually, there’s one more thing (think of it as a petit four with your coffee…), a quote we found quite appropriate for this forum (thanks, Matt, for sending it in!). Enjoy and read you again next week!

I love the self-contained, hermetic universe that is an airport.
I love the recycled unnatural air. Suspended between coming and going,
I can breathe again. (Eric Weiner)

[Title photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by Richard Messenger]