Gee, what a busy airport week this one was! We’ve got news from Africa, Thailand, the Caribbean Sea and Canada covering a bomb, two strikes and a dangerous tourist attraction. Let’s piece them together:
This was an amazingly busy week in airport newsland! We found articles about the renaming of two airports, strike updates from two countries and an improvement project given the green lights. Oh and then there’s the pope too, but more about that later.
This week we have three news stories that have all one thing in common: the airports the articles are about are regulars of our little weekly news round-ups. We’re talking about Vancouver, Bangkok and candidate number one – drum roll please – Heathrow Airport.
Well, what can I say? For the first time in the history of the weekly LateDeparture airport news round-ups, I decide to take a leave of absence for a couple days. Plus – and this really was the big mistake – I decide to pre-write the news without a disclaimer of when it was written. Naively I thought, what can possibly shake up the airport world in the 3 days I’m away? Oh dearie-me, how wrong was I? One day into my leave (note, I didn’t even have any means of communication at all), the Australian carrier Qantas decides to ground its entire fleet worldwide. Thousands of passengers got stranded across the globe while Irish-born Alan Joyce – the airline’s CEO – bet on a solution to its ongoing, costly disputes with the unions. He got his way, even though they say it’s not yet entirely over, but further threats of future strikes from the unions are out of the way for the moment.
In Vancouver, Canada, 29 year old Jaeger Mah, won a contest sponsored by Vancouver International airport (IATA: YVR) to mark its 80th year. The airport invited anyone willing to living there to submit a video application and then let people vote for the best one. Mah won with 4,128 votes.
Wow, what a busy aviation week this one has been! While 2,700 representatives from 300 airlines and 800 airports (BreakingTravelNews.com) gathered in Berlin at the annual ‘World Routes’ event, airports and travellers around the globe continued to work like clockwork. All of them? Not really, this week saw airports from Cairo to Sydney struggling through many problems.
Today, the WHO classified the swine influenza A (H1N1) outbreak as a “public health emergency of international concern.” And while more cases of swine flu were confirmed on Monday in the United States, Canada and Europe (Update: Britain is now also directly affected with one case), country organizations began to take actions, particularly by preventing and monitoring travellers to and from their countries.
Furthermore, financial markets have already “penalized” Mexican airports whose shares traded substiantially lower today: The airport owners are among the “most vulnerable” stocks amid the flu outbreak, UBS AG analysts wrote in a note today in which they cut Mexican equities to “underweight” writes Bloomberg.
It’s pretty clear that this latest threat of an influenza pandemic is going to have further implications on the economy. But how does it affect travellers? Various countries have already tightened their airport checks. Australia, for example, has trained airport staff to spot people with flu like symptoms. According to an article any passengers with flu-like symptoms would be met by quarantine officers. In addition, all incoming international flights would have to make an onboard announcement telling passengers to seek immediate medical advice if they felt unwell with flu symptoms.
Hong Kong, the epicenter of a SARS outbreak six years ago, announced some of the toughest measures anywhere on Sunday in response to a swine flu outbreak in Mexico and the United States, reports The New York Times.
So, what should you do if you are travelling to or from North America in the near future? Here is some advice:
- Travelling to Mexico: in general it’s probably safe to say that if you can postpone your trip, then do so, otherwise check your countries latest travel advice (the UK foreign office’s one can be found here, Germany’s here, Ireland’s here, the USA’s here and Canada’s here). If you decide to go, then do make sure you check with your airline if the flight is still leaving as today several charter airlines (e.g. TUI in Germany) have cancelled their flights to Mexico.
- Travelling from Mexico: be aware of extra precautions at Mexican and foreign airports. Prepare for additional screenings and questioning. Check your destinations country latest immigration advice. Your airline or travel agency should be able to help you.
- Travelling to/from other North American destinations: expect delays at the airports due to tightened security and passenger screenings. Check with your local airline for the latest uptodate travel information.
[Picture from Flickr – some rights reserved]
This could be exciting – Kelowna airport in Canada installs the first 3D Body Scanners. Watch your flight time carefully next time your fly home from this British Colombia airport as starring at your 3D image could become addictive…
“The paddles rotate around the body. The radio frequency penetrates the clothing … bounces off the skin and gives … a 3-D holographic image of the body,” said Ian McNaugton, the National Sales Manager for L3 Communications, which makes the machines.