- The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration gave its blessing to the planned $8.5 billion expansion of Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The program, dubbed O’Hare 21, includes a new “Global Terminal” to replace Terminal 2, an expanded Terminal 5, and two new satellite concourses west of the existing Terminal 1. The FAA has signed off on the project’s environmental clearance, which allows construction to begin. While the new and expanded facilities will be shared by both hub carriers, American and United, recall that the project was almost stopped before it got started in 2018 when American objected to the number of gates United would receive as part of the works. Those differences were settled when American secured more new gates from the city.
- Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths, speaking on Bloomberg Television, said 72 percent of Dubai’s airline traffic is currently connecting. He noted that South Asia connections have been sluggish in recent months. But “local” traffic — in other words, journeys originating or ending in Dubai with no connection involved — has been “absolutely brilliant” over the last year, boosted by inbound tourism. One major market still missing is China, which remains largely closed. Russian flights to and from Dubai, on the other hand, are “incredibly full at the moment.” Griffith is especially bullish on Saudi Arabia.
- Of the 100 busiest airports in the world ranked by scheduled seats, none will grow faster in percentage terms in the first quarter compared to 2019 than the Mexican beach resort Cancun. Seats will be up a remarkable 35 percent from four years earlier, before the pandemic took its toll. Cairo ranks next on this list, followed by Bogota, Denver, and Las Vegas. On the other side of the ledger, with heavy declines, are Hong Kong, Taipei Taoyuan, and Seoul Incheon; we’re excluding Beijing Capital because its figures are impacted by the 2019 opening of the city’s new airport, Beijing Daxing. Interestingly, of these top 100 airports, 51 (as of November 21) have more seats scheduled in the first quarter of 2023 than they did in 2019. The other 49 will still have fewer seats. That’s of course subject to change as airlines adjust their schedules.
November 28th, 2022