This week: Kenya’s fire, China’s highest airport, Spain’s white elephant

Wow, what full week of airport related news this one has been! We’ve seen a huge fire on one side and an exciting new stop-over experience as well as pet-friendly airports on the other, to just name three examples. Here’s our list of items we will be covering this week:

It was in every news bulletin this week: the fire at Kenya’s main airport in Nairobi (NBO). The New York Times, for example, wrote that a huge fire broke out Wednesday and raged for four hours at Nairobi’s international airport on the anniversary of the attacks on the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, officials and witnesses said, bringing East Africa’s busiest airport to a standstill and turning parts of it into charred ruins. The next day Kenya Airport Authority told the BBC that Kenya Airways flights were arriving and taking off “now at more or less normal operations”. Other international airlines had not yet clarified their operations, it added. The affected terminal was used by foreign airlines including British Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, KLM, Turkish Airways, South African Airways and Ethiopian Airways.

Better news reported The Economic Times this week as they were writing that China is building the world’s highest altitude civilian airport close to Tibet as part of a plan to develop infrastructure in the strategic Himalayan region.  The 4,411-metre-high Daocheng Yading Airport is under construction in Garzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The previous record holder is the neighbouring Bangda Airport in Qamdo Prefecture (BPX) with an altitude of 4,334m.

The hugely popular BBC motor show ‘Top Gear’ recently filmed there and now the Guardian reported about it. We’re talking about Spain’s biggest white elephant, the airport at Ciudad Real in La Mancha which has barely been used and even boasts a runway long enough to land an Airbus 380. It’s up for auction now with a starting price at a measly €100m. Is there a catch? Err, yes, there is one; just a small one: The new owner must pay off the outstanding €529m debt. According to the article, creditors include a variety of savings banks (€233m) Air Nostrum (€2.6m) and Air Berlin (€1.8m). Local residents whose property was compulsorily purchased to build the airport are claiming a further €106m.

Late in the week PSFK provided us with a really interesting – and we believe totally new – airport hotel experience. According to the article the Hamad International Airport in Qatar is still under construction, but the latest news of what to expect in the new airport includes a mobile hotel that is designed to meet and pick up its guests the moment they step off the plane. The hotel is designed by UK architect Margo Tarasovich and is meant for passengers who are just passing through Doha or are in transit and won’t be staying long. We can’t wait to see it launched!

And to finish the week off, this one here from Southern California: According to the San Jose Mercury News, San Diego Airport (SAN) has installed what may be the nation’s first airport pooch potty. The “Pet Relief” station was installed as part of a billion-dollar expansion of Lindbergh Field in April. The 75-foot-square space includes fake grass and a hydrant. It also has deodorizers, a hand washing station and complimentary baggies.

That’s all for this week – safe travels!

[Feature photo is showing a bonfire, source: Wikipedia – some rights reserved]