Airport News. July/ August 2010

An Air China Airbus A319 jetliner recently conducted a validation flight using required navigation performance-authorisation required (RNP-AR) procedures at Ali Airport in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China.

1st Jul 2010

Air China A319 completes validation flight at Ali Airport

An Air China Airbus A319 jetliner recently conducted a validation flight using required navigation performance-authorisation required (RNP-AR) procedures at Ali Airport in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China.

This RNP validation flight paves the way for the imminent launch of operations at the airport which, at an elevation of 4,274m, is one of the highest in the world.

The A319 will be the first aircraft to fly to the airport due to the type’s proven performance on high-altitude flights. Airbus says over 80 percent of commercial flights to and from Tibet are flown by its aircraft – predominantly A319s.

The RNP validation flight involved the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), Air China, Airbus and QUOVADIS – an Airbus subsidiary specialising in providing RNP services.

RNP allows an aircraft to fly precisely along a pre-defined route using state-of-the-art onboard navigation systems and the Global Positioning System. RNP allows improved precision of flight operations, increased access to airports, particularly in low-visibility conditions, it requires fewer ground-based instrument landing aids, reduced flight time and fuel consumption, and helps cut noise and emissions.

As well as being at a high elevation, Ali Airport is surrounded by a sparsely populated plateau at an altitude of up to 5,000m and mountains over 7,000m. Weather conditions in the area also make the approach challenging. Airbus says the precision and reliability provided by RNP allows pilots to land in conditions that would otherwise force them to hold or divert.

The opening of the airport is part of China’s efforts to boost development of the Tibetan region.

Sydney Airport completes international departures upgrade

[Pic: Sydney.jpg. Caption: The upgrade includes a new security screening area. (Credit: Sydney Airport)]

Sydney Airport has completed the expansion and upgrade of the departures level of its international terminal. The work was part of a A$500 million (US$437 million) investment in the international terminal.

Construction started in 2007 and has included: expanding the departures level by 7,300 square metres; opening a new outbound hall for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and closing two old halls; and building a new security screening area to undertake essential aviation security measures and closing two old areas. In addition, a new Forum has been created to provide more waiting areas and food, beverage and retail outlets, including the largest duty-free store in the Southern Hemisphere.

Furthermore, a new land-side food court has been built and 30,000 square metres of the original departures level has been refurbished to provide upgrade gate lounges, waiting areas and more seating. A new, arrivals-level baggage reclaim carousel has also been commissioned, for increased Airbus A380 capacity.

The international terminal was originally constructed in the 1960s and opened in 1970. The terminal handles some 45 percent of all of the country’s international passengers, with strong growth set to continue. In 2003, the airport handled 8.3 million international passengers, rising to 10.6 million last year and is forecast to rise to about 30 million by 2029.

About 37 international airlines currently operate to the terminal, serving 46 destinations. The airport handles 60 A380 movements each week, making it one of the busiest A380 airports in the world.

A further A$1 billion is set to be invested in the airport over the next five years.

In breif

AIRSERVICES AUSTRALIA is upgrading Cairns Airport’s instrument landing system (ILS) as part of a major enhancement of national navigation aid infrastructure. The A$3 million (US$2.62 million) upgrade includes essential works on equipment and facilities currently used for the provision of precision approach services. The upgrade is due for completion by September – ahead of the start of the region’s wet season when demand for use of the ILS is at its highest. The upgrade is part of a wider programme of upgrading or replacing ILS equipment around the country to ensure continued service provision until 2025.


HONG KONG International Airport (HKIA) reported its highest ever monthly total air cargo throughput for the month of May, when 367,000 tonnes of cargo was handled – more than 40 percent up on the same month a year earlier. The growth was attributed to a low figure in May 2009 and the continued recovery of key export markets, especially Europe and North America.


BANGKOK’S SUVARNABHUMI Airport suffered a 10 percent fall in passenger traffic in May, attributed to the anti-government protests in the capital. Some 2.6 million passengers were handled by the airport in the month, with international traffic down 6 percent and domestic traffic falling 22 percent.


AIRSERVICES AUSTRALIA is building a A$20 million (US$17.48 million) combined air traffic control tower and fire station at Broome Airport in Western Australia. It will be the first combined facility of its type in the country when it is completed in mid-2011. A temporary tower service will operate while building works are under way. The four-storey tower will feature the latest technology and will be built to withstand cyclones. The facility is required as the current ground-based radio service will not be sufficient to cope with the increased volume of aircraft expected over the next 10 years – with more than 73,000 aircraft movements expected by 2025. Broome is one of the busiest regional airports in Australia.


BEIJING CAPITAL International Airport and Sydney Airport have established a sister airport relationship. The partnership will result in collaboration and knowledge sharing, including joint airport management seminars, staff training and exchange, and project co-ordination. Beijing Capital is the busiest airport in Asia and was the third busiest airport in the world last year, handling more than 65 million passengers. Sydney handled 33 million passengers in 2009.

Asian Aviation at a glance