It was a long and very busy week with airport news headlines such as: Drug war hits airport, bird strike delays flight, airlines cry foul over Thai airport transfer or glamorous new terminal opens in the United States. It went on and on, but – as always – we bring you the essence of the top airport stories from the week, all neatly packed in digestible portions.
Let’s start with one of New York’s neigbouring airports: On Thursday we heard that officials have fired eight screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey (EWR) after they were captured by surveillance cameras sleeping or violating other standards. The Sacramento Bee then wrote that the TSA would not say how many of the firings were for sleeping on duty.
Mexico is (sadly) known for its violent drug wars. This time though, the war extended to a public airport when The Washington Post reported that drug trafficking suspects opened fire in a crowded food court at Mexico City’s international airport (MEX) on Monday, killing three federal policemen who were on an anti-narcotics mission as panicked witnesses dove for cover.
An entirely different story came from Thailand this week when The Bangkok Post reported that five small commercial airlines have requested Airports of Thailand to stop what they said was unfair treatment by not giving them incentives to return to Don Mueang airport (DMK). The authorities have announced they will grant three-year discounts on airport fees to 14 budget and chartered airlines if they agree to relocate from the congested Suvarnabhumi airport (BKK) to Don Mueang. However some smaller airlines have been excluded from the incentives.
Back to the United States where just yesterday we heard from Boston.com that planes are flying again at Chicago’s Midway International Airport (MDW) after a nearly four-hour shutdown caused by a lack of runway lights. In the article Chicago Aviation Department spokeswoman Karen Pride says a problem with the lighting equipment caused the outage at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Pride says 85 flights were canceled or diverted while the airport was closed.
Las Vegas made the news this week also as the awaited opening of the new terminal 3 took place on Wednesday with the arrival of the first flight, a Virgin Atlantic Airways flight from London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW). In a press release, McCarran International Airport (LAS) wrote that “T3” is the first unit terminal to be constructed in the United States in the post-9/11 era. It includes 14 gates, seven of which can be used for international arrivals; an expansive ticketing lobby; space for two Transportation Security Administration checkpoints with up to 31 lanes; an eight-story garage with room for nearly 6,000 vehicles; more than a dozen stores and restaurants; and an automated tram system that enables Terminal 3 to handle the check-in, security and baggage claim needs of up to 26 gates at McCarran’s nearby D Concourse.
Then it was the United Kingdom’s turn to provide us with an airport related headline. But no it didn’t have to do with the Olympics or the airport expansion debate at Heathrow, its was a bird strike incident: The BBC reported that Easyjet passengers on a flight from Belfast to London faced a delay of almost six hours due to a bird strike and then an airport power cut. The article continued with more details and said that the Easyjet flight to Luton airport (LTN) was due to depart at 07:00 BST on Wednesday but did not take off until 13:50 BST. The airline said the plane had been hit by a bird strike on its way to Belfast and had to undergo a safety inspection.
And to finish the week off, we’ve got this for headline for you: Snoop Dogg detained at Norway airport for being in possession of marijuana. The Guardian then detailled the story further by writing that Norwegian media reported that the 40-year-old rapper was detained at Kjevic airport, in Kristiansand (KRS), before a performance at Hovefestivalen on Thursday. He was found carrying eight grams of marijuana and about 227,000 Norwegian kroner (£24,100) in cash.
That’s all we have for now – safe travels everyone!