It’s been another airport week mainly dominated by the various reports about Ebola prevention plus a few suspected scares of passengers carrying the virus on certain flights. Here are all of our topics for this week:
- Islamabad named worst airport of 2014
- More Ebola scares & increased screenings at airports around the world
- Flight returns to SFO after cabin walls come loose
- Blackpool Airport closed after 105 years
- Bangkok’s shopping mall that imitates an airport terminal
Our title story this week isn’t about Ebola, it’s about the annual survey from ‘Sleeping at Airports’ naming the world’s worst airport. According to The Guardian after three years atop a list of the world’s worst airports, Manila’s Ninoy Aquino international airport (MNL) is now only the fourth worst, behind Islamabad, Jeddah and Kathmandu, thanks to a “slight improvement” in services. So, as quoted in the article, Manila lost its first-place ranking to Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto international airport (ISB), described as a “central prison” where aggressive security checks and uncleanliness reign. PS, in 10th place was New York City’s LaGuardia airport (LGA), which the US vice-president, Joe Biden, likened in February to a “third-world country”.
- France24: French health officials on Thursday said screening measures for Ebola among passengers arriving from Guinea, one of the main West African countries affected by the deadly disease, would start Saturday at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris (CDG).
- Time Magazine: England’s Heathrow airport (LHR) began screening passengers for Ebola Tuesday. Arrivals from at-risk countries in West Africa will be subject to filling out a questionnaire and having their temperature taken before the process gets rolled out to other terminals within Heathrow and then other airports including Gatwick and Eurostar.
- USA Today: As federal officials at New York’s Kennedy International Airport (JFK) stepped up efforts to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus with extensive screening of passengers arriving from countries hit hardest by the outbreak, passengers and employees were taking their own precautions. Agents with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection screened travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, taking their temperature and observing them for other Ebola symptoms.
Then there were also at least two cases of scares of potentially infected passengers at airports this week:
- The Daily Mail: A Madrid airport has activated emergency measures after a passenger arriving on an Air France flight was suspected of having Ebola. The passenger on Air France 1300 from Lagos, Nigeria, had started shivering with a fever during the flight which landed at Barajas International Airport (MAD) in the Spanish capital. Air France said the other passengers disembarked from the plane, which was flying via Paris. The plane will now be disinfected and the return flight has been cancelled.
- ABC News: Medical crews in hazmat suits responded to an arriving plane at the international terminal at Boston’s Logan Airport (BOS) on Monday afternoon. Airport officials said that five passengers on board an Emirates flight had become sick with flu-like symptoms. The plane, Emirates flight 237 that arrived from Dubai, was surrounded by ambulances and emergency responders in white and yellow suits.
This concludes our Ebola coverage for this week.
San Francisco came up in the news this week for a different reason. FOX News wrote that a Dallas-bound American Airlines flight that departed from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) turned around and made an emergency landing Monday at SFO after some of the cabin’s wall panels cracked loose, aviation and airlines officials said. The captain of the Boeing 757 decided to turn around an hour into the flight to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport because of a possible blown air duct, an American Airlines spokesman said. And the FAA will work with the airline to determine the plane’s problem, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.
And our next story comes from an iconic, British beach town: Blackpool. There, the Daily Mail reported, that emotional check-in staff left in tears as passengers board the final flight from Blackpool airport (BLK) as it closes its doors for the last time in its 105-year history. Staff wept as the last flight departed for the Isle of Man at 5pm, with the Lancashire airport preparing to officially shut its doors for the final time at 6pm, leaving 118 people out of work. The airport, which was formerly known as Squires Gate Airfield, became one of the first UK aviation sites in the UK after opening in 1909, but has suffered from financial problems in recent years.
Our final story for this week comes from Thailand’s capital Bangkok. There a new building opened, a shopping mall. What’s this got to do with airports? Well, according to Rocketnews 24, the entire building is designed after an international airport. One of our avid readers who often sends us interesting stories – like this one – commented on this article that “Airports used to imitate malls but now they’ve gotten so good, they’re trading places”. How true! Although Bangkok Airport might not get into that category just now.
That’s all for this week – safe travels!