England has seen a very interesting, future defining airport week. Here are our headlines from around the world’s airports from this week:
- Heathrow favoured in airports commission decider
- Jet Blue’s new rooftop lounge
- Labour disruption in Toronto
- Japanese robots help airport workers
The dominating airport news this week definitely was the United Kingdom’s decision to back Heathrow over other options in Southeast England’s highly contested airport row. The Wall Street Journal wrote that London Heathrow airport (LHR) has won the backing of a government-appointed panel for a third runway, addressing a looming runway capacity shortage that has threatened to stifle Europe’s biggest market for trans-Atlantic flights. The landmark decision by the independent Airports Commission is a blow to rival contender Gatwick Airport (LGW) which lobbied hard to be allowed to expand. Building a new runway at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest hub, would cost more than $26 billion and top $35 billion including surface access costs. London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson was quoted in the same article saying that a third Heathrow runway “will never be built.” This story will stay with us for a long time, you bet!
Moving to the United States where our beloved domestic airline JetBlue waited with some exciting news this week: According to USA Today the airline opened an outdoor lounge on top of Terminal 5 at New York’s JFK International Airport on Wednesday. Both family and pet-friendly, the 4,046-square-foot T5 Rooftop is open to all passengers who have passed through security, regardless of their status with the airline. Amenities include landscaped green spaces, seating for 50 people and a 400-square-foot children’s play area. As a treat for those traveling with pets, there’s also the first post-security dog walk area on a rooftop.
Further north, across the border in Toronto flyers experienced quite some delays this week. According to Reuters a sudden labor disruption by workers who refuel planes at Toronto’s main airport caused flight delays and cancellations on Friday, said the union that represents the workers, as the city prepared for the start of the Pan American Games on July 10. In a bulletin posted online, Pearson International Airport (YYZ) said a labor dispute could disrupt flights. In a later update Reuters reported 45 canceled departures and more than 70 delays affecting a range of airlines.
To finish the week off, this news here from Japan via our friends at Motherboard: On your next trip to Japan, if you fly into Haneda airport in Tokyo (HND), you might catch sight of some exoskeleton-clad staff and robot workers. Japanese technology company Cyberdyne Inc. has teamed up with Haneda to introduce “next-generation robots” into its passenger terminals, including an exoskeleton to help human workers carry heavy loads. Don’t know what exoskeletons are? Check out this video:
That’s all for this week – safe travels!