This week: airport heist, budget cuts, fog and clever menus

It’s been a massive week for airport related news. Unless you live under a rock, you probably heard of the airport heist in Belgium. However, aside from this biggie there were also other interesting news from airports in New Delhi, Hamburg, Calgary or Brisbane to name a few.

Alright, let’s talk heist: Shortly before 8 p.m. on Monday, eight masked men in two vehicles burst through the perimeter fence of Brussels Airport (BRU) and sped toward a [Zurich bound Helvetic] aircraft on the tarmac, wrote CNN. Threatening the pilot, co-pilot and a transport security guard at gunpoint, the thieves make away with $50 million worth of rough and polished diamonds. The article said that it is not yet clear how the thieves knew that the diamonds would be on board. Well, we can’t wait for the movie and of course the arrest of the thieves. In that order.

Money is also missing in the U.S., but not because it was stolen, more because the U.S. government announced some steep budget cuts which, according to a CNN Money story would be including federal agencies that handle airport security, customs, and air traffic control that in turn will be forced to furlough employees meaning workers will have to stay away from their jobs for no pay for certain time periods over the next seven months. So, in short, expect longer queues due to a lack of staff. We wonder whether someone’s considered the economic loss of productivity as a result of lost time in queues?

Over in Northern Germany a dispute between private security companies and security workers at Hamburg’s airport (HAM) which, according to Fox News caused dozens of flight cancellations.

Canada’s Calgary airport (YYC) saw some disruptions this week when an electricity disruption left passengers in the dark and in long lineups for several hours on Sunday morning as CBC reported. Apparently those outages caused the power failure at the airport, temporarily shutting down lights and computers while the emergency system came on, said a spokeswoman for the Calgary Airport Authority in the same article.

Not power but fog was the problem in India this week when over 100 flights were affected due to dense fog at the Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) on Thursday morning. Hindustan Times reported that from 4 am to 6 am, the visibility kept on fluctuating and remained below 175 metres for most of the time on both the runways. The fog then lifted after 8:30 am but many domestic flights got delayed due to the backlog.

In Australia the Courier Mail reported this week that Brisbane Airport (BNE) is set to halt work on a desperately needed new runway, creating further delays for frustrated passengers and jeopardising the state’s economic growth. According to the informative article the long-awaited $1.3 billion project is being held ransom in a stand-off between the airport’s private owners and the airlines.

And to finish the week off, we found a nice little article in TechCrunch outlining that OTG, the restaurateur that made waves when it installed free access iPads in some of the world’s busiest international airport hubs last year (LateDeparture wrote about it), is improving its existing system with the deployment of a translation system that will allow it to provide translation of its restaurant menus in 13 different languages. According to the article, the system is already live in test deployments at locations like Toronto’s Pearson airport (YYZ).

That’s all we have for this week – safe, heist free travels!

[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by Kim-bodia]