This week: Heated expansion debate in Hong Kong, shots fired in New Orleans & more

We’re back in our usual, weekly format, so let’s get straight into the headlines from this week’s airport stories from around the world:

On Tuesday Hong Kong’s airport operator announced the final approvals for plans for a third airport runway estimated to cost around HK$141.5 billion (US$18.2 billion). In an article on Wall Street Journal’s online section the newspaper states this expansion “takes heat in Hong Kong”. According to the author opponents to the project say key issues still have to be ironed out. At the top of the list: Airport Authority Hong Kong, the government-owned operator of Chek Lap Kok airport (HKG), has not addressed concerns over the possible low utilisation of the new runway, given restrictions on the use of Chinese airspace and a lack of air-traffic coordination with neighbouring airports in the Pearl River Delta. The project will be funded through debt financing as well as a plan to charge every air passenger a HK$180 departure fee, starting next year until the completion of the new runway. A spokesman for the Airport Authority referred to a press release, where the body said it understands concerns about charging passengers and (…) that making users pay makes sense as opposed to making Hong Kong taxpayers pay for overseas passengers.

On Friday we heard via ABC News that a man wielding a machete and a can of wasp spray entered Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) and was shot by an officer as he threatened TSA agents near a checkpoint. The officer fired three shots, one of which grazed a TSA agent running from the attacker, a public information officer for Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said. Two other TSA officers were sprayed with the wasp repellent. Two other people received minor injuries fleeing the scene. It was later confirmed the attacker has died from his wounds.

In Europe the Daily Mail reported of an incident in Denmark: A Ryanair pilot was forced to request police assistance after Danish workers surrounded the carrier’s first flight from Copenhagen (CPH) to Dublin and prevented it from leaving, said airport officials. Passengers and crew were stranded for three hours as dozens of employees held a protest over Ryanair’s refusal to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with a union for pilot and flight attendants. Unrest has been building since October when Ryanair announced that it would be flying between Copenhagen and Dublin, London, Warsaw and Milan under Irish employment rules. Trade unions have taken legal action in a bid to force Ryanair to treat its workers at Copenhagen Airport under Denmark’s generous employment rules.

And – to finish the week off – this story about airport codes we received via Gizmodo. The article quotes the sleek new site Airport Codes that lets you bounce from airport to airport exploring the codes and their origins. The article lists out a number of codes, for example LAX, PDX or PHX and the reason behind the X in the code. Do you know? Well, according to the article it stems from the fact that until the 1930s airports only had two-letter codes adding the X for the “missing” letter later.

That’s all for this week – safe travels!

[Photo Credit: jorcolma via Compfight cc]