Record number of guns seized at US airports this year

Xray scan detects weapon in briefcase (iStock)

More than 100 Guns Seized at One U.S. Airport Already This Year

US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents have stopped 108 travellers for attempting to carry firearms – mostly loaded, and many with chambered rounds — through security checkpoints at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2018. That includes 30 guns seized during the month of May alone, USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2018/06/07/record-number-guns-confiscated-atlanta-airport-worlds-busiest/682150002/) reported June 7, 2018.

 

U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents have stopped 108 travellers for attempting to carry firearms — mostly loaded, and many with chambered rounds — through security checkpoints at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2018. That includes 30 guns seized during the month of May alone, USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2018/06/07/record-number-guns-confiscated-atlanta-airport-worlds-busiest/682150002/) reported June 7, 2018.

 

Including the weapons seized at the U.S.’s busiest airport, TSA has confiscated more than 1,700 guns at airports across the nation so far in 2018. In 2017, the agency seized a record 3,391 weapons at airports in the U.S. (https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2017/01/21/tsa-seized-nearly-3400-guns-airport-security-checkpoints-last-year/)

 

“People are so used to having guns with them all the time,” said TSA spokesperson Mark Howell said, who added that there is “hardly ever an intent to do it on purpose.”

 

Mistake or not, the cost for entering a security checkpoint is high: first-time offenders typically face a fine of $3,900, and fines can go as high as $13,000. The government also takes possession of all seized weapons, which are often resold at auction.

 

Georgia has particularly liberal laws regarding concealed carry of weapons.

 

In addition to guns found in carryon luggage, TSA also may seize weapons packed in checked luggage if they have not been declared and enclosed in a hard case separate from ammunition.

New Priority Pass dining option at JFK

London, 6th March 2018: Priority Pass™, the largest independent lounge membership program, today announces an exclusive partnership with Bobby Van’s Steakhouse at New York’s JFK International airport. It is the first restaurant to be added to the Priority Pass program at JFK, as well as the first option for members flying from Terminal 8.

Priority Pass members can now use one of their lounge visits to receive USD$28 off the bill at the restaurant, located in Terminal 8 of the airport, between 6am and 10pm daily. Bobby Van’s Grill brings the same high-quality steakhouse and grill fare of other Bobby Van’s establishments, featuring dry aged steaks, a well-stocked bar, and elegant decor that will help guests enjoy and relax while at the airport.

 

Sheryl Pflaum, Executive VP and General Manager Lifestyle Benefits, Collinson Group, said: “We’re constantly looking at ways to further enhance the experiences of our members airside through premium lounge access and exciting partnerships. We’ll continue to add the best restaurants to our program; expanding the areas where our members can relax, grab a bite to eat, or fire off last minute emails before their flight.”

 

Members are required to show a boarding pass with confirmed same-day travel to use this offer.  A maximum of one guest visit can be used in addition to the member visit. The restaurant will deduct US$28 per visit used for purchase of any meal and/or drinks, for a maximum of $56. For example, if a cardholder registers one guest, they will receive US$56 off their bill, which will be charged as one cardholder visit plus one guest visit on their account. Only one membership card per visit, per cardholder is accepted at point of entry. More details can be found here.

 

This news follows other restaurant additions to the Priority Pass membership program, including seven restaurants and bars at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, BOTEJYU restaurant at Osaka, Kansai International and the Grain Store Café & Bar at London Gatwick.

 

 

– Ends –

 

About Priority Pass:

The original and largest independent airport lounge membership program.

Priority Pass is the original and largest independent airport lounge membership program, accepted at over 1000 lounges worldwide across 500+ cities and in more than 130 countries, (regardless of class of travel / airline flown) plus access to exclusive Collinson partnerships and dining, retail and spa offers through the Priority Pass app.

 

Priority Pass is a flagship product of the Collinson Group, a global leader in influencing customer behaviour to drive revenue and value for its clients and program members. The Group offers a unique blend of industry and sector specialists who together provide market-leading expertise in delivering products and services across four core capabilities: Lifestyle Benefits, Loyalty, Insurance, and Assistance. Collinson Group has more than 25 years’ experience, with 25 global locations, servicing over 800 clients in 150 countries, employing over 2000 staff, managing over 20 million end customers.

 

For more details please visit www.prioritypass.com

More germs at airport check-in than in toilets

London Gatwick North Terminal zone-a-ba-check-in-area

Airport Kiosks May Deliver Illness Along with Your Boarding Pass

 

By Bob Curley

 

Worried about germs during this deadly flu season? At the airport, you’re more likely to catch something by touching a check-in monitor than in the restrooms, according to a new report from the travellers’ insurance site InsuranceQuotes.com.

 

Worried about germs during this deadly flu season? At the airport, you’re more likely to catch something by touching a check-in monitor than in the restrooms, according to a new report from the travellers’ insurance site InsuranceQuotes.com.

 

Researchers dispatched to three major U.S. airports found that the germiest surfaces, by far, were airline self-services kiosks, where swabs revealed 253,857 “colony-forming units” (CFUs) of bacteria and fungus per square inch — far more than the average of 172 CFUs found on toilet seats. One sample contained more than one million CFUs.

 

“With mass amounts of traffic, self check-in kiosks are the quick stop for many flyers. The kiosks may offer more convenience, but at what cost?” the report said.

 

Other airport germ hot spots included gate bench armrests (21,630 CFUs) and drinking fountain buttons (19,181 CFUs).

 

Aboard aircraft, the surfaces travellers would be best advised to avoid touching included lavatory flush buttons (95,145 CFUs), seatback tray tables (11,595 CFUs), and seat belt buckles (1,116 CFUs).

 

“It’s often thought airplanes are cleaned between each flight, but the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration actually doesn’t regulate or inspect aircraft cleaning,” the report noted. “Each airline can decide how often and how well an airplane is cleaned, so if the turnaround time between flights is low, the plane may not be cleaned at all. Even when a plane is cleaned, general cleaners are used rather than stronger disinfectants, leaving dangerous germs right in your lap.”

 

Surfaces contained a mix of benign and potentially dangerous bacteria and fungi.

 

https://www.insurancequotes.com/health/germs-at-the-airport

Hong Kong Airport to build new garden-themed enhancements

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) looks to be joining Singapore’s Changi Airport when it comes to developing a new garden-themed enhancements, with the Airport Authority of Hong Kong confirming it will be developing a new two-level roof garden and children’s area on top of its expanded East Hall of Terminal 1.

The announcement follows the recent decision by the authority to invest some HK$7 billion (US$898 million) to upgrade its facilities ahead of the opening of its third runway in 2024.

On the other wise of the expanded East hall to the two-level green enhancement will also be an outdoor garden for passengers to use. A dedicated recreational zone with “new technologies for travellers” will also be developed as part of the expanded East Hall.

The boarding gate areas of Terminal 1 may also be set to undergo a revamp with the Airport Authority looking into the possibility of introducing themed areas to change the look and feel of the boarding gate vicinity.

Meanwhile, the airport’s new Sky Bridge that will connect Terminal 1 and the North Satellite Concourse will feature an observation deck along with F&B options in the towers at both sides. Set approximately 28 metres above ground, the 200-metre-long Sky Bridge will have space for large aircraft including A380s to pass underneath.

The announcement comes shortly after Changi Airport announced it would be creating a new garden-themed Canopy Park atop its upcoming Jewel development.

Expansion of HKIA is currently expected to be completed by 2020, while Changi’s Jewel development is scheduled to open in early 2019.

These developments at HKIA come on top of the upcoming Skycity integrated complex near Terminal 2, announced last October and with the first phase due to open in 2020.

hongkongairport.com

Cathay Pacific passengers get 15 per cent off at Hyderabad Duty Free

Charminar, Hyderabad

Cathay Pacific passengers get 15 per cent off at Hyderabad Duty Free

The offer is valid at Hyderabad International Airport’s arrival and departure stores until December 15, 2017

Hyderabad Duty Free and Cathay Pacific have partnered to offer shoppers 15 per cent discounts at the duty free stores on presenting their Cathay Pacific boarding pass.

The offer is valid until December 15, 2017, and can be availed at the arrival and departure duty free stores at Hyderabad International Airport. The only catch here is that the 15 per cent discount is applicable for a minimum bill value of $150 in arrivals and $50 in departures.

Like most offers, this one too cannot be clubbed with any other offers or discounts.

Rajesh Menon, regional sales and marketing manager — South Asia at Cathay Pacific Airways said, “We are delighted to extend this offer to our customers. Hyderabad has grown into an important market for us and we are constantly undertaking initiatives to provide our customers a seamless experience not just while on board but through their entire journey. This promotion with Hyderabad Duty Free is a great way for [Cathay passengers] to enjoy their experience while at Hyderabad International Airport.”

cathaypacific.com

Cathay Pacific passengers get 15 per cent off at Hyderabad Duty Free

The offer is valid at Hyderabad International Airport’s arrival and departure stores until December 15, 2017

Hyderabad Duty Free and Cathay Pacific have partnered to offer shoppers 15 per cent discounts at the duty free stores on presenting their Cathay Pacific boarding pass.

The offer is valid until December 15, 2017, and can be availed at the arrival and departure duty free stores at Hyderabad International Airport. The only catch here is that the 15 per cent discount is applicable for a minimum bill value of $150 in arrivals and $50 in departures.

Like most offers, this one too cannot be clubbed with any other offers or discounts.

Rajesh Menon, regional sales and marketing manager — South Asia at Cathay Pacific Airways said, “We are delighted to extend this offer to our customers. Hyderabad has grown into an important market for us and we are constantly undertaking initiatives to provide our customers a seamless experience not just while on board but through their entire journey. This promotion with Hyderabad Duty Free is a great way for [Cathay passengers] to enjoy their experience while at Hyderabad International Airport.”

cathaypacific.com

Ministry of Civil Aviation asks airlines to move from Delhi Airport’s T1 to T2

Delhi International Airport

India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation wants budget carriers GoAir, IndiGo and SpiceJet to move operations from Delhi Airport’s Terminal 1 (T1) to Terminal 2 (T2).

Currently, T1 that has a capacity for 20 million passengers is handling 24 million passengers. By moving the low cost airlines to T2, the ministry hopes to reduce the load on T1 and begin work on its expansion well before winter.

The airlines have been hesitant to move as they fear a rise in operational costs.

In a strongly worded letter to the airlines, published by Hindustan Times yesterday who has a copy, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has said: “As a final opportunity, the airlines operating from T1 shall discuss the issue among themselves in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable situation in a month, by July 15, 2017. In case there is no consensus by July 15, the airport operator shall be free to decide the suitable course of action, which shall be binding on these airlines.”

Terminal 2 was renovated early last year so the low cost airlines could operate out of there. However, airlines have been hesitant to move as they fear a rise in operational costs.

Until 2016, T2 was used for international flights, which now operate out of Terminal 3 (T3). Since the carriers have been hesitant in moving to T2, the terminal remains under-utilised, serving Haj flights once a year.

Currently, Delhi Airport’s operational Terminals 1 and 3 are handling a total capacity of 62 million passengers per annum. International Terminal 3 is also reaching a stage of congestion, which the ministry hopes to ease by making T2 operational “before the commencement of winter schedule 2017”.

civilaviation.gov.in 

Hong Kong International Airport set for HK$7bn enhancement

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is set to get a HK$7 billion (US$897 million) upgrade of its facilities ahead of the opening of its third runway in 2024, according to a report by The South China Morning Post.

The Hong Kong Airport Authority’s investment will see enhancements made to the existing Terminal 1, notably a new 17,000sqm annex building outfitted with more than 40 additional check-in and self-service bag-drop facilities. Terminal 1 will also be expanded and a Sky Bridge is set to be built connecting the terminal with the north satellite concourse.

Existing plans to add 33 aircraft parking stands at Terminal 1 will also be completed. Meanwhile, new dining and retail options will be made available at the airport’s East Hall.

These developments come on top of the upcoming Skycity integrated complex near Terminal 2, announced last October and with the first phase due to open in 2020.

According to the Airport Authority’s executive director for corporate development, Wilson Fung Wing-yip, the authority is heavily promoting the use of public rather than private transport into and out of the airport. This is despite the fact that development of a new 12-storey multi-functional building that will offer 1,400 parking spaces next to the Car Park 4 site is also scheduled for completion by 2019.

From a traveller perspective, this emphasis away from private transportation will see them hit with significant fee increases for long-stay parking. Starting June 15 this year, hourly parking is set to rise between 9 and 11 percent, while three-day parking will jump 57 percent, and the authority is not ruling out the possibility of these rising even further in future.

But even travellers using public transport don’t look as though they will be able to avoid being hit with price hikes of their own. In April, The MTR Corporation proposed an increase to fares on the Airport Express rail link by about 10.3 percent as early as this month.

Passenger traffic at HKIA is expected to rise by more than 100 million by 2030, notably as a result of the new third runway as well as the expected completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge this year and the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok underwater tunnel in 2018.

The upcoming developments at HKIA follow a similar trend throughout Asia-Pacific, with South Korea, mainland China, and Singapore all seeing expansions and enhancements to their airports, along with entirely new airports. Meanwhile last week, Singapore’s Changi Airport unveiled a new Canopy Park attraction as part of its upcoming Jewel development, set to open in 2019.

hongkongairport.com

Auckland Airport to invest NZ$1.8 billion in aeronautical infrastructure

Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport will be investing some NZ$1.8 billion (US$1.3 billion) in aeronautical infrastructure development over the next five years as it looks to enhance its international departures and arrivals capabilities, along with adding new domestic facilities.

The move comes as the country’s major airport has been experiencing significant growth over the past few years, notably a 26 percent increase in passenger volume since 2014 and a 61 percent increase in international airlines over the past 22 months. In the last year, Hong Kong AirlinesHainan Airlines, and Tianjin Airlines, for instance, have each launched new non-stop services to the New Zealand city.

It will be these international services that will be seeing the lion’s share of the new investment. Among the developments planned to take place between 2018 and 2022, the airport will be “expanding and upgrading the international departure experience” as well as providing three additional international gates for aircraft such as the A380 and B787. International arrivals will also be able to make use of expanded border processing areas and public spaces, while departures will see an upgraded check-in area.

However the domestic front won’t be completely ignored, with plans for a new domestic jet terminal attached to the existing international terminal also among the announced developments.

“As a result of this significant investment in infrastructure over the next five years, there will be better and faster passenger journeys through and around our airport,” said Auckland Airport’s chief executive, Adrian Littlewood. “The experience within the terminals will be more intuitive and relaxing, and transferring between domestic jet and international flights will be faster and more efficient.”

“Setting aeronautical prices for a five-year period is a complex process involving a range of specific charges. We believe that the prices we have announced today balance different views and are in the best interests of travellers and New Zealand.”

Along with the investment announcement, Littlewood also confirmed expected changes to passenger charges.

“For the next five years, in real terms, our average international passenger charges will reduce by 1.7 percent each year and domestic passenger charges will only increase by 0.8 percent per annum. Given the scale of the planned investment this is a great outcome for travellers.”

Auckland Airport already currently invests more than NZ$1 million (US$720,000) per working day on aeronautical infrastructure.

“We believe Aucklanders and New Zealanders recognise the need for long-term planning and development of critical aviation infrastructure. In the next five years, we will take significant steps on the path to opening our second runway which we currently expect to be required in 2028,” Littlewood added.

aucklandairport.co.nz

Changi Airport unveils new Canopy Park attraction

Singapore’s Changi Airport is set to get a garden-themed leisure space on the top floor of its upcoming Jewel development – set to open in early 2019 – that will include some 14,000sqm of leisure and F&B facilities.

Called Canopy Park, the area will include gardens comprising 1,400 trees and palms, and walking trails as well as dining outlets and three “play attractions” under the names Sky Nets, Canopy Mazes and Discovery Slides. The Sky Nets will include netted walking spaces 25 metres above the first level of Jewel, meanwhile the Canopy Mazes will feature a hedge maze and a mirror maze – claimed to be the first of its kind in a garden-style environment. The slides, meanwhile, is intended to act as a sculpture as much as a play space, which combines together four slides.

Alongside these features, the Canopy Park will also include a children’s area with mist, giving the experience of exploring a rainforest, as well as a 50-metre-long Canopy Bridge, situated 23 metres above ground with glass panel flooring in the centre as well as views of the 40-metre-tall Rain Vortex. Two gardens – Topiary Walk and Petal Garden – will also be included.

The arboreal theme takes inspiration from Singapore’s own push to become known as a “City in a Garden” – as is evident with developments such as the Gardens by the Bay.

“When we conceptualised Canopy Park, we envisaged an area that is not only relaxing because of the lush greenery around, but also one that is filled with timeless activities and interactions for visitors of all ages,” said Jean Hung, CEO of jewel Changi Airport Development. “Canopy Park is designed with this objective in mind, and we want to create a place that will attract visitors from all over the world.”

The new Jewel development is one of a number of enhancements Changi Airport is making to its facilities, including its upcoming Terminal 4 building, due to open in the second half of 2017, which will feature more than 80 outlets across over 16,000sqm.

Changi isn’t the only airport that’s taking steps to enhance its leisure, lifestyle and entertainment offerings, though. Hong Kong International Airport last year announced its plans for a new large-scale Skycity development that would feature a wide variety of attractions, namely F&B and events as well as what it dubbed “cybertainment” and “edutainment” highlights.

The new Jewel development is located in front of Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 and will cover approximately 134,000sqm when completed.

changiairport.com

Revamped Ft. Lauderdale concourse set to debut in late June

southwest

 

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport says a new concourse with five additional gates for Southwest Airlines will be open by June 30, airport director Mark Gale told CBSMiami (http://miami.cbslocal.com/2017/06/01/ft-lauderdale-airports-new-concourse-pet-amenities/) on June 1.

 

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport says a new concourse with five additional gates for Southwest Airlines will be open by June 30, airport director Mark Gale told CBSMiami (http://miami.cbslocal.com/2017/06/01/ft-lauderdale-airports-new-concourse-pet-amenities/) on June 1.

 

The new Concourse A, the centerpiece of a $333-million revitalization and expansion plan of FLL’s Terminal 1, will serve as a major new Southwest international hub. At an event previewing the expanded facility, Southwest Chairman & CEO Gary Kelly announced that the airline would launch service from the airport to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, beginning on Nov. 5, 2017.

 

“These new gates, additional border screening capacity, and the arts and flavor of South Florida will be a hit with hundreds of thousands of Southwest’s local customers who prefer our all-in friendliness and value,” said Kelly. The airline also launched service between FLL and Grand Cayman, Belize, Montego Bay, and Cancun on June 4.

In addition to the new concourse, the existing Terminal 1 is being modernized, including the addition of a new post-security connection between the terminal’s three concourses; currently, travellers have to exit the secure areas of the terminal’s concourses if they need to move between one and the other, requiring a second pass through security checkpoints. When completed, the renovation will give the terminal a single security checkpoint serving all three concourses.

More concession spaces also is being added to the terminal both pre- and post-security. Additional restrooms (including a separate relief station for travelling pets) and improved and expanded gate seating areas are other aspects of the project, which is expected to be fully completed by the end of 2017.