Changi in Russian airport joint venture
Changi Airports International (CAI) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Russian industrial group Basic Element and Russia’s largest bank Sberbank to form a joint venture to invest in and develop airports in the country.
The deal is the latest expansion of CAI’s airport-investment and consulting business, which includes a 26 percent stake in India’s Bengal Aerotropolis Project and an 8 percent stake in Gemina, the holding company of the operator of Rome’s airports.
CAI will hold a 30 percent stake in the new Russian joint venture, 50 percent plus one share going to Basic Element and the remaining 20 percent, minus one share, going to Sberbank. The joint venture is expected to be established in the second quarter of 2012.
The venture will focus on projects in the Krasnodar region of Russia, where Basic Element already owns a number of airports, including Sochi and Krasnodar, which are expected to handle in excess of 5 million passengers this year. The region is a domestic tourist destination and an agro-industrial centre, as well as being scheduled to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, Formula One racing from 2015 and the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
The new joint venture will seek to further develop airports in the region, improve service standards, increase capitalisation and expand its airport portfolio, CAI says.
“The Russian market holds enormous potential. We look forward to a strong partnership to develop the airports in the Krasnodar region,” says Lim Liang Song, chief executive officer of CAI. “CAI brings extensive experience in managing and consulting for airports overseas. In addition, it hopes to transfer the experience and expertise of Changi Airport Group in managing Changi Airport to this joint venture.”
Changi adds Lufthansa to A380 club
Singapore’s Changi Airport has increased its Airbus A380 connections, with the launch of Lufthansa’s Frankfurt-Singapore service using the Superjumbo. Changi is the world’s busiest multi-carrier A380 hub, with 188 weekly services by the world’s largest jetliner to nine major cities – Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo and Zurich. Changi was the first airport to handle the A380 when launch customer Singapore Airlines (SIA) commenced operations with a flight to Sydney on 25 October 2007. Since then, more than 20,000 A380 flights have taken off or landed at the airport. Lufthansa’s new service will increase capacity between Singapore and Germany by an additional 1,400 weekly one-way seats. SIA plans to add further A380 services on its Singapore-Frankfurt-New York route from January.
IATA urges airline-airport co-ordination
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging innovation and renewed co-operation in airport-airline relationships in an effort to make aviation safer, more efficient and environmentally responsible.
IATA Director General and Chief Executive Officer Tony Tyler told the Airports Council International (ACI) general assembly in Morocco in November that airports and airlines can enhance co-operation in six areas: safety, security, customer experience, infrastructure investments, environment and charges.
Safety is the highest priority and requires a team effort, Tyler says. While important work is already being done in this area, including runway safety, Tyler urges airports to mandate the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations in order to reduce the US$4 billion annual cost of ground damage.
In the security field, IATA has been promoting industry discussion on its Checkpoint of the Future, which takes a risk-based approach to security. “Airport security is effective, but it needs a major rethink to meet growing passenger numbers and calls for less intrusive processes,” says Tyler.
Airports and airlines are working together to improve the customer experience, through IATA’s Simplifying the Business programme, including e-ticketing, common-use self-service kiosks and bar coded boarding passes, he says. Fast Travel – a suite of self-service options – will add further efficiency to the experience from check-in to baggage retrieval, as demonstrated by SAS and Copenhagen Airport which is the first partnership to implement all Fast Travel projects.
Airlines and airports need to work more closely on baggage delivery accuracy to support airlines as they unbundle their product, says Tyler, pointing to IATA’s Baggage Improvement Programme which, for example, has helped Air New Zealand and Auckland International Airport reduce baggage mishandling by 75 percent. More airport partnerships also need to promote e-freight, he says.
Innovative co-operative approaches are required for aviation to meet its environmental targets, says Tyler. “I encourage airports around the world to team up with airlines. Some airports – Madrid Barajas, Detroit and Stockholm Arlanda have allocated land to grow source crops for sustainable biofuels. Zurich Airport has mandated the use of fixed ground power. These are all important moves to improve our environmental performance,” Tyler says.
Airports and airlines also need to work closely together in infrastructure investments, he suggests, pointing to the example of London Heathrow, where ongoing dialogue is working well.