Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Airport/ATC Infrastructure In the News

Global Strains On Airport/ATC Infrastructure

The recent crash of a TAM Airbus A-320 at Sao Paulo's close-in Congonhas airport has put the spotlight on the rapid growth of air travel in Brazil and the failure of airport/ATC infrastructure to keep pace.  A recent Aviation Daily article detailed some of the economic impacts from the temporary closure of the main runway at Congonhas airport and the Brazilian government's initial plans for improving airport infrastructure in Sao Paulo.  Another article from The Weekly of Business Aviation focuses more on the problems with Brazil's ATC system and the recent firing of Brazil's defense minister because of these problems.

In the U.S., an AP article shows that even smaller airports like Portland, Maine are not immune from the ripple effects of airport and ATC congestion.  Airport management points to problems at major hub airports and ATC congestion in the Northeast as the reasons why it had the third worst record for on-time arrivals from January-May 2007.

Sometimes airport infrastructure can be strained by an unexpected expansion of service from a particular tenant.  A recent South Florida Sun-Sentinel article discusses Spirit Airlines' proposed service to ten new destinations from Fort Lauderdale.  Although this article suggests that the new flights will not add to the landside congestion problem at the airport, a recent Miami Herald article highlights the challenges the airport faces due to Spirit's rapid growth.

Aftermath of Collapsed Alitalia Privatization Efforts

After the recent collapse of efforts to privatize flag-carrier Alitalia, the Italian government announced that it could not enter into private negotiations to sell the carrier to interested parties because any deal would face a possible court challenge.  See Reuters article discussing this development.

AA Looking to Expand Antitrust Immunity With Oneworld Partners

Following the recent SkyTeam antitrust immunity application (discussed in our Friday, June 29th blog posting) in the wake of the new U.S.-EU open skies agreement, last week American Airlines asked the U.S. DOT to grant antitrust immunity to its alliance agreements with Iberia, Iberia, Finnair, Malev and Royal Jordanian Airlines.  A Financial Times article notes that British Airways was excluded from the antitrust immunity application and suggests that AA and BA are not yet ready to make another push to obtain antitrust immunity for their alliance.


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