This week: baby smuggle discovered in Xray, sinkholes in Bangkok and more

Every now and then you get a week with a lot of slightly out-of-the-ordinary airport news all coming in at the same time. This has been exactly such a week: We found news from a Swedish retailer moving into airport space, a baby smuggle attempt, a tower evacuation, sinkholes, a refurbished terminal and two emergency landings. Sounds interesting? Told you!

Let’s start with the emergency landings: The first one happened on Sunday in the United States, when the Houston Chronicle wrote that an 86-year-old man whose “disruptive” behavior prompted a Spirit Airlines pilot to make an emergency landing at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is partially blind, speaks only French and became frightened on the red-eye flight to Florida. According to the article the incident sparked a 12-hour layover at the airport, where the budget airline does not yet run flights.

The second inconvenience caused for passengers by an emergency landing this week was reported just a day later when the Hindustan Times wrote on Monday that a Delhi-bound (DEL) Air India flight from Abu Dhabi (AUH) with 128 people on board made an emergency landing at a Pakistani airport when pilots detected warning lights on the cockpit panel indicating hydraulic failure. The incident turned out to be a false alarm, but the passengers were stuck at Nawabshah airport (WNS) in southern Sindh, Pakistan for 10 hours before being flown to their destination New Delhi.

Great news from Singapore this week, when Passenger Terminal Today reported that Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) completed its upgrade of Terminal 1. The finished project included work to refurbish the terminal’s interior design and finishes and improve passenger flow at key areas such as the departure check-in hall, departure transit mall and arrival hall. It will be celebrated with a ceremony on 18 July.

While one Asian airport is a role model in all aspects, another one seems to be slowly decaying: AsiaOne News reported the discovery of sinkholes at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) when it wrote that executives in the aviation and tourism industries have called on the government and Airports of Thailand to work together more closely to maintain the airport’s safety standards after two sinkholes were found on the west runway on Thursday night, causing delays.

A different problem saw New York’s Newark airport in New Jersey (EWR) on Tuesday when air traffic was briefly halted after smoke from an elevator shaft forced the evacuation of the control tower, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

This incident promoted airport authorities to have operated a ground-delay program limiting incoming flights to manage the backlog of delayed planes.

We’ve always liked novelty airport outfitting, such as Taipei’s Hello Kitty lounge, so it was welcoming news to read this week that Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA is offering travelers at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) a little break. Wired wrote that open until August 5, Ikea’s 200-square-meter lounge offers nine rooms with sofas and even beds on which to rest your weary hide. The article concluded with a hilarious sentence saying ‘good thing this is just a lounge, not a store — we’d hate to try to fit that Lack table in the overhead bin.’

And finally to the airport news headline of the week which read: Parents try to smuggle baby into UAE in hand luggage, as Gulf News wrote on Monday. According to the shocking article, customs officials at Sharjah International Airport (SHJ) have arrested an Egyptian man and his wife after they attempted to smuggle their infant son into the UAE in their luggage. The attempt was discovered on Saturday morning after the man, in his 30s, and his wife arrived at the airport from Egypt. The article concluded by writing that an investigation was launched after an X-ray machine showed the child was hidden in the hand baggage.

Phew, we’re out of breath now; what a week – safe travels!

[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by Mad House Photography]