Two of the fastest growing airports in Southeast Asia plan to invest in new communications and navigational systems to cope with increasing air traffic. Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport (MMOT) said it will invest $212 million to build a new air traffic control center at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to replace the existing 20-year-old system at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, 15 miles outside the city. In Manila, officials have committed $1.1 million to replace malfunctioning 18-year-old Doppler omni-directional radio range and distance-measuring equipment at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) with a communication surveillance/air traffic management system.
As carriers in emerging markets mature, their fleet support needs account for an ever-increasing part of their operating budgets. Indonesia’s LionAir, for one, has begun the process of investing directly in the upkeep of what it expects eventually to become a 700-strong fleet with a new $250 million heavy maintenance facility at Hang Nadim International Airport on the island of Batam called Batam Aero Technic.
AJW Group has appointed Michael Duncan as its regional director for Africa. Duncan will be responsible for developing the company’s presence and establishing partnerships with operators who need integrated aircraft support services. Previously Duncan was responsible for aviation projects in the Sudan, Comoros, Republic of Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker believes the only way to solve the growing ATC congestion problems in the Middle East is to develop a single air traffic management system similar to Eurocontrol’s Single European Sky concept. Qatar is among several countries in the region searching for a congestion solution to support regional airline expansion plans.
Airline industry groups complained that the omnibus appropriations bill that observers expect the U.S. Congress will pass this week does not prevent the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency from opening a controversial customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The Vietnamese air transport market appears poised for rapid growth this year as it continues to channel new domestic and international routes through its secondary airports, Vinh and Nha Trang. Vietnam Airlines launched service from Vinh to Vientiane, Laos, on January 12, making Vinh the fifth Vietnamese airport operating international services. Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Da Nang and Nha Trang Cam Ranh currently offer international routes.
The government of Cyprus plans to reorganize its civil aviation department by privatizing the air traffic control function. The Mediterranean island will create a new self-funded ATC organization for the Nicosia flight information region. Eurocontrol provided strategic assistance to Cyprus in creating the new structure, which the government has labeled, “an independent, state-owned, private [ATC] company.”
The transfer of business aviation from Dubai International (DXB) to Dubai World Central (DWC) is picking up speed as business jet operators face a tightening squeeze at Dubai’s existing airport caused by dwindling slots and timing restrictions. Four charter operators have set up FBOs at DWC: Jet Aviation, Jetex, ExecuJet and DC Aviation-Al Futtaim. Dubai-based officials said 3,000 to 4,000 bizav aircraft movements would have to be transferred from DXB to DWC during the closure of DXB for runway rehabilitation, set to run for almost three months this year.
The Obama administration and the U.S. Congress appear headed to a confrontation over the administration’s plan to open a customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport that many lawmakers and airline industry groups oppose. An opponent said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency plans to begin operating the facility on January 5.
Talks between Cambodian telecommunications, banking and property tycoon Kith Meng and Philippine Airlines (PAL) over a new Cambodian flag carrier called Cambodia Air have intensified following their failure to realize plans to close on a deal on October 15.
On April 25, PAL’s board agreed to acquire a 49-percent stake in Cambodia Air, now solely owned by Meng’s company, Inter Logistics (ILC).