This week: Harvey Milk SFO, Zurich clears the sky and more

This week has been another interesting one with quite a range of different airport news. Berlin got mentioned a couple times again, then San Francisco was in with an interesting and maybe slightly controversial idea, Stansted also had a busy week and Zurich was put to the test whilst Chicago received some disturbing freight.

Enough of the cryptic language, let’s get right into it. Berlin got mentioned twice this week and neither news was particularly good. Well, the first one maybe, if we’re cheeky. It was when the Financial Times announced that the chief executive of Berlin’s airport operating company, Rainer Schwarz, has left his post just over a week after the revelation that the opening of the German capital’s showcase international gateway would have to be postponed a fourth time, to at least 2014. 2014? No, no, it’s actually going to be 2015 or later as Reuters stated in an article on Thursday. “I expect it more likely to be 2015,” the airport’s technical director Horst Amann, who took office last August, was quoted.

Quite a storm caused the idea of renaming San Francisco’s airport (SFO) to “Harvey Milk San Francisco International Airport” this week. CNN wrote that Harvey Milk, a San Francisco supervisor, was one of the first openly gay politicians in the United States when he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were killed by former supervisor Dan White at City Hall in 1978. The name change could become a reality if a San Francisco lawmaker has his way, the article continued.

In Europe, Zurich airport (ZRH) was put to the test this week when, according to Bloomberg, the airport airport halted all air traffic on Wednesday morning after a fire alarm at an air traffic controllers’ office in Duebendorf, Switzerland. The Swiss German newspaper Tages-Anzeiger was able to explain what happened as apparently a tape transmitting the evacuation message kicked in unprompted and caused the extreme scenario known as “clear the sky”.

Over in London the result of something that was in the making for a while was announced yesterday in the Guardian: Stansted airport (STN) is to be sold for £1.5bn to Manchester Airports Group. The article continued by saying that the sale of UK’s third largest air hub by the company formerly known as BAA was demanded by Competition Commission in July 2011 (we wrote about it several times).

And to finish the week off, we have something that came from ABC News. You may want to stop reading on if you’re the lighthearted typ. A shipment of 18 human heads, still covered in skin, was held at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Customs officials halted the heads for investigation before handing them over to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. Apparently there was a problem with the paper work. Right. But Tony Brucci, chief of investigations at the medical examiner’s office, was quoted saying “This isn’t as strange as it sounds, people ship body parts to universities and hospitals all the time, we just don’t usually hear much about it”. And we think that’s probably a good thing!

That’s it for this week – safe travels!

[The feature picture shows an altered version of SFO airport by LateDeparture, all rights reserved]