This week: China accelerates airport building, more snow for the USA & more

It’s going to be a fairly brief airport news round-up this week as it seems to have been mostly ‘business as usual’ at airports around the world during the past 7 days. However, we wouldn’t be LateDeparture if we couldn’t find some interesting stories regardless:

The Financial Times ran an interesting story this week, claiming China is accelerating its country-wide airport building program: According to the Chinese government’s 12th five-year plan, the total number of airports is set to expand from 175 in 2010 to 230 in 2015. One of the biggest on the planning board is an international hub that will be built on Beijing’s southern outskirts. The capital’s current international airport is located northeast of the city. The article further read that with a planned area of more than 15,000 square kilometres, the four-runway facility will be bigger than Bermuda and is scheduled for completion by 2018. At least 116,000 people living in the area will have to be relocated. Plus the construction boom will feed – and feed off – a surge in aircraft sales, although these remain carefully regulated.

The “arctic vortex” continued to influence air travel in North America this week. For example, hundreds of flights to and from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) were cancelled early Wednesday, as officials marshaled de-icing trucks, chemicals and snowplows for the airport’s biggest fight against winter weather in a decade, wrote the Charlotte Observer. Airport workers treated miles of pavement and hosed down dozens of jets with de-icing fluid that costs nearly US$8 a gallon – more than twice as much as the fuel powering their engines. It was quoted that almost 800 arriving and departing flights had been canceled at Charlotte Douglas by early Wednesday according to, in advance of the brunt of the storm. That’s about half of the airport’s typical daily total.

Then there was this – quite amusing – story from London this week, when Fox News reported that Security staff at London’s Heathrow airport (LHR) confiscated a miniature six-shooter from a Woody doll from “Toy Story” fame because they thought it was a terrorist risk. The owner told Fox News that the security agent was very cordial and even checked with his superiors to see if they had to confiscate the gun.  They ultimately did, but left Woody to be on his way. He captured a few photos of the action on Imgur.

And – to finish off the week – some news for our airport gossip lovers. And of course, the story’s origin is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) when the Daily Mail wrote he might be a Hollywood heart-throb, but 43-year-old Ethan Hawke was just plain old dad when he hung out with his daughter, Maya Ray Thurman-Hawke, on Sunday. The pair were pictured making their way through Los Angeles International Airport and Ethan looked proud to be walking alongside his 15-year-old off-spring. See the pictures here.

That’s it for now – have a great week and save travels!

[Photo from Wikipedia (Ds02006)- some rights reserved]