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DIGEST FROM ISSUE NR. 1189, PUBLISHED ON 25 MARCH 2023
A plan that maps out the future of Yellowknife’s airport “is in the final stages” before being made public, the Northwest Territories infrastructure minister said. A fund for capital improvements at the airport currently holds just over CAD 10 million in cash that will be used for upgrades to security and an expansion of the airport lounge.
Beyond that, it is not yet clear what firm commitments to upgrades – if any – the master plan will hold.
Last year, presenting to Yellowknife city councillors, Department of Infrastructure staff said the master plan would set out a proposal for a significant expansion of the airport, but that expansion would only be triggered if passenger and air traffic numbers grow to warrant it.
Plans included a new passenger terminal at a cost of CAD 300 million to CAD 600 million, money the territory does not currently possess. The existing terminal is 56 years old and was approaching the limits of its capacity before the Covid-19 pandemic reduced air travel into and out of Yellowknife.
Norfolk International Airport (Virginia) is planning USD 500 million worth of improvements over the next 5-7 years. The airport is the gateway to popular destinations in Hampton Roads and north-eastern North Carolina. In 2023, the airport handled more than 4 million passengers— its busiest year in more than eight decades of operation.
In the short term, the airport will reintroduce the moving sidewalk on the sky bridge between the Departures terminal and the Arrivals building. Construction should start within the next year. In addition, the airport will combine the existing TSA security checkpoints in each of the airport's two concourses.
Early projections have the project costing around USD 40 million. Restaurants and concessions would be moved to the other side of security, where the airport believes they will make more money than the current pre-screening setup.
One project still in the planning stages is the USD 75 million addition of several gates onto the end of the existing Concourse A, where American and Southwest Airlines flights currently service. While the number of flights flying in and out of the airport has gone down, airlines are bringing larger aircraft with greater capacity, leading to overcrowding at the current gates.
The largest expansion project in the works, is the addition of a new Departures curb running parallel to the Arrivals area. The airport would then combine the two ticketing areas that currently sit on either side of the terminal. It is a project that was originally planned for the 2034 time period, but it has now been moved forward.
The airport is also planning a USD 30 million rehabilitation of the runway over the next two years and a USD 50-55 million consolidation of checked baggage screening operations. One amenity the airport is still lacking is a hotel on-site. The airport identified a pocket of land where the north short-term parking lot currently sits on the Delta side of the Departures building. The airport will put out a Request For Proposals (RFP) imminently, but interest from potential developers is already coming in. The airport would provide the land and the customer base, but the developer would have to pay for construction and to lease the property.
Should the number of passengers at Norfolk International Airport continue to grow through the next several years, the airport is already planning how to expand next. Renderings from the 2021 Master Plan include a potential “Concourse C” built onto the southern end of the Departures building mirroring Concourse A. The addition likely wouldn't be built until after 2030, but it is being considered in the development of improvements already happening.
Click here to see the full 2023 State of the Airport presentation.
A long-discussed proposal for a new Chicago-area airport (Illinois) in the southern suburbs is again gaining traction, now with a focus on air cargo as e-commerce warehouses and logistics facilities have flourished in the area. Proponents envision an airport that could take advantage of demand for quick delivery and the proliferation of Amazon warehouses, train facilities and highways in Will County. At least one developer is already interested in building out the airport and nearby warehouses, a project that would mark the culmination of the decades long effort to get an airport built near Peotone.
The airport has been discussed for decades and was first proposed as a third passenger airport for the Chicago area, with the master plan showing a layout of six parallel runways when fully developed. It has progressed in starts and stops over the years as plans changed.
The concept calls for expanding a small general aviation airport known as Bult Field. The Illinois Department of Transportation owns the site and has purchased most, though not all, of the rest of the land needed to expand. The state also allocated money to build a new interchange on I-57 that would connect the expressway to the airport, but the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is still in the early stages of the road project and does not have a timetable to start construction.
A bill pending in the Illinois legislature intends to get the ball rolling on the project by directing the state to start the process of soliciting proposals from developers. The goal is to determine the viability to build the airport, state Rep. Will Davis, a Democrat from Homewood who sponsored the bill, said during a hearing on the concept recently.
The concept has also garnered support from both Chicago mayoral candidates. Brandon Johnson said during a candidate forum recently that transportation could serve as an anchor for an economic hub for the South Side of the city and the south suburbs, and Paul Vallas said it should be paired with expanded transit and connected to the central business district. Asked at a recent unrelated news conference about his support for a third Chicago-area airport, this one focused on cargo, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said ensuring that there is interest from cargo carriers would be key to the project.
The city of Eugene (Oregon) will spend USD 146.9 million on upgrading its airport. The most expensive project is the USD 75 million airport terminal expansion, which will add a third Concourse C by 2026. In addition there are four projects totalling USD 41.6 million to repave the runway and apron.
Latin America & The Caribbean
The Ministry of the Presidency and the Korea Airports Corporation (KAC) have signed a preliminary agreement for the “evaluation of the construction of an airport in Pedernales.” The development of the greenfield Cabo Rojo International Airport, which will serve the new USD 3 billion Pedernales tourism project, includes the construction of a 2,800-metre runway and a 32,758 m2 passenger terminal with ten boarding bridges, although the design is likely to be adjusted.
Brazil’s Minister of Ports and Airports, Márcio França, has given details on how the “100 new airports” promised by Lula in the first days of his term as president of the country will be realised. The announcement of 100 new regional airports drew attention shortly after the inauguration of President Lula, who said that he will put special focus on the topic in his government so that the “poorest classes can fly again and that the country will be more connected.”
Now, in the same interview in which he revealed the “Voa Brasil” program, which intends to offer social airline tickets for just BRL 200, the Minister of Ports and Airports, Márcio França, spoke about the project for a hundred new airports which, according to him, they will not be built, but upgraded or refurbished in order to receive larger passenger aircraft.
Without detailing which cities will be covered, he stated that it is the cheapest and most ecological way to integrate the country, since with only 1,500 meters of runway “you can connect anywhere in Brazil”.
When asked about the operation at these airports, which are often at a loss due to the low number of flights, Márcio França confirmed that the government will finance the operation: “The public school is not for making a profit, the public hospital is not for making a profit, the airport is not for making a profit. It can be privatized, but where it is not profitable, the government has to put money in and make it work”.
The next steps for the execution of the investment plan in regional airports have not yet been disclosed. Momberger Airport Information will closely follow this story.
Düsseldorf Airport has floated a request for proposal to update its Master Plan. The new master plan should consider existing concepts from 2013 and the master plan from 2019/2020, which was not fully completed due to the corona pandemic. The project is divided into 6 work packages:
- work package 1 - processing, strategy and data collection.
- work package 2 - forecast and needs analysis.
- work package 3 - spatial development scenarios.
- work package 4 - development of preferred variant.
- work package 5 - capex planning.
- work package 6 – final report – release.
The start of the project for the contractor is scheduled for mid-May 2023. Deadline for the tender is 17 April 2023. The documents can be found here.
The Middle East
A new passenger terminal will be constructed Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport at a cost of USD 122 million. It is the first major expansion project to take place in 25 years. Terminal 2 will have six close contact stands in addition to a number of remote stands and will boast an annual capacity of 3.5 million annual passengers, raising to the total declared capacity to 9.5 million passengers.
The international arm of the Dublin Airport Authority, daa International, will provide design input, validation, and operational insight. Upon opening, daa International will lead all elements of operations, commercial, aviation business development and facilities maintenance contract management.
Ground-breaking on the project is anticipated to be January 2024, with commencement of operations March 2027.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has extended its support to Sri Lanka, allowing it to resume the construction of Terminal 2 at Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) with the assistance of Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) and the Government of Japan, Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. The USD 1 billion project, known as the BIA Development Project Phase II Stage 2 (BIADP PII S2), has been suspended since July 2021, after the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) decided not to make further disbursement of funds citing the inability of the Sri Lanka Government to repay the loan. The Government defaulted on its international debt obligations in April that year.
The contract for the project has since been terminated by the contractor. Accordingly, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has written to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation expressing interest in undertaking the project and has proposed two commercial models in this regard. One is an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) option with a financing model while the second option is a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.
The new 180,000 m2 will increase the airport’s capacity by 9 million annual passengers to 15 million annual passengers. The expansion project began in 2020 and was supposed to be completed in three years. The scheduled completion date was initially December this year. The COVID pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis, though, meant construction came to a complete standstill.
Airports of Thailand Pcl (AOT) plans to invest THB 36.8 billion (USD 1.08 billion) to expand the passenger terminal at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport. Construction will begin this year and take until 2029, AOT said in a statement, adding the expansion would increase its handling capacity from 30 million passengers to 40 million per year.
The statement said the investment included 12 aircraft parking stands and 11 boarding bridges. AOT said it would use operating cash flow for the investment.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is getting a major revamp to tackle operational snags and upgrade its facilities. Long queues at passport control and the frequent breakdowns of its ageing aerotrains, which ferry people between the main terminal and the satellite building, are among the recent setbacks reported at the 25-year-old airport.
The airport makeover will include self-baggage drop-offs, a redesign of the check-in counters, new aerotrain and baggage handling systems, and new lounges and food and beverage (F&B) outlets.
KLIA’s maintenance and conditions have deteriorated in recent years, which was partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.
The construction of the new aerotrain system will start by mid-2023 and each track will take a year to be completed. KLIA is expected to have brand new trains by 2025. MAHB will spend more than MYR 700 million (USD 158 million) for the aerotrain replacement and another MYR 1.1 billion (USD 248 million) for the new baggage handling system. The airport also plans to improve transfers between KLIA and budget terminal KLIA2 for passengers needing to switch between international and domestic flights. Passengers are to be transferred via airside shuttle buses from one terminal to another.
Gadeok-do International Airport will be fast-tracked for completion in December 2029, about five years and six months faster than originally planned. The government will begin work on the new international airport near Busan in 2024. The move aims to help Busan win its bid for the World Expo in 2030, with Korea’s largest port in a fierce completion with Riyadh, Rome and Odesa.
The new airport will cover 4 million m2 with a 3,500-metre runway. The plan calls for the use of reclaimed land to build the runway, which the government said was safer and cheaper than the other two options under consideration: a floating runway or building the runway on a pier. The government also said what with no examples of large-scale floating runways anywhere in the world, preparations to build a floating runway would take too long.
A study found that construction could be shortened by 27 months if work on the passenger terminal begins early. The government said it will adopt other proposals, including the use of new technologies, to further shortened construction time. The new international airport will cost KRW 13.8 trillion (USD 10.5 billion).
Management, Ownership & Finance
Finnish airport operator Finavia has registered a 105.3% surge in total revenues in the year ended 31 December 2022 as passenger volume increased. The operator generated total revenues of EUR 298.4 million (USD 321.1 million) last year, versus EUR 145.4 million (USD 165.5 million) in 2021.
Revenues from air traffic rose by 110.3% to EUR 149.3 million, constituting 50% of its total revenues, while revenues from operations including parking services, commercial revenues, rental income and others made up the other 50%.
Passenger traffic was 15.4 million in 2022, a 186.7% increase from 5.4 million in the previous year.
The company’s operating margin turned positive to EUR 65.4m from -27.2 million in the previous year, marking a 340.8% growth. However, operating results remained negative at -EUR 52.3 million in 2022, hit by low passenger traffic at the regional airports, as well as Helsinki Airport’s low level of transfer travel.
Looking ahead to 2023, Finavia expects its revenues for fiscal 2023 to exceed 2022’s figure. It also projects operating profit before extraordinary items to be still unprofitable, but above the 2022 level.
Mäki added: “In autumn 2022, we published our strategic goals adapted to the new situation. They guide our operations effective from the beginning of 2023. Our strategic goals are as follows: dedicated and motivated personnel, business growth and financially sustainable operations.”
On 25 March, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (“GTAA”) reported its financial and operating results for 2022. The GTAA generated net income for the first fiscal year since 2019 (pre-COVID-19). Earnings before interest and financing costs, impairment of investment property and amortization (“EBITDA”) increased significantly during 2022, when compared to 2021, due to a large increase in operating activity and revenues and the prudent management of operating costs.
Net income during 2022 increased by CAD 422.7 million to CAD 72.3 million, when compared to the net loss of 2021, due to the same reasons above.
Free cash flow increased during 2022 by CAD 281.7 million to CAD 235.4 million, when compared to 2021, primarily driven by the significant increase in revenues over the increase in costs.
Management continues to analyse the extent of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now diminished, and to implement recovery plans. In the long term, the GTAA believes that full recovery will be achieved, and the pandemic will not have a material impact on the long-term financial sustainability of the Airport.
Passenger traffic significantly increased by 22.9 million or 180.8% to 35.6 million during 2022, when compared to 2021. Passenger activity increased given the easing of pandemic-related travel restrictions and pent-up travel demand compared to 2021.
The GTAA’s December 31, 2022 financial results are discussed in more detail in the GTAA’s Consolidated Financial Statements and Management’s Discussion and Analysis, each for the year ended December 31, 2022, which are available at www.torontopearson.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Consultants & Contractors
Work on the planned fourth parallel runway at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (North Carolina, USA) is about to ramp up after City Council approved USD 83 million worth of contracts. The runway and companion end-around taxiways to help planes avoid traffic logjams on the ground will cost USD 1 billion. The council action on 13 March consists of the following contracts:
USD 44.6 million to ES Wagner Co. for grading, drainage, fencing, erosion and sediment control, tree clearing and other services. Wagner will be responsible for excavating, hauling, and moving 2 million cubic yards of material on the future runway site. Wagner has committed 14.15%, or USD 6.3 million, to disadvantaged businesses as subcontractors.
USD 650,000 to S&ME Inc. for construction materials testing and inspection services to support early grading work. S&ME has committed 10.8%, or USD 70,200, to disadvantaged businesses as subcontractors.
USD 25.2 million to RS&H Architects Engineers Planners Inc. for final design of the fourth runway. Of that amount, 17.47%, or USD 4.4 million, is going to disadvantaged businesses.
USD 5.3 million to Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc. for final design of the north end-around taxiway, including 13.3%, or USD 710,000, to disadvantaged businesses.
USD 7 million to AECOM Technical Services of North Carolina Inc. for final design services for the south end-around taxiway, including 25.7%, or USD 1.8 million, to disadvantaged businesses.
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