Airport Check-in: China adjusts routes for Olympics

In time for the Summer Olympics, flights from Europe now have more direct paths as they fly into some of China's biggest cities.

European flights to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong previously had to fly on routes that went over or near Beijing. New routes to those airports have been shifted farther south, which results in a shorter flight path. In addition, European flights to Beijing now also take a more southern route, which shaves the total distance.

As a result, flights from Europe to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong will be on average about 60 nautical miles shorter, says the International Air Transport Association, which worked with the Chinese government to establish the new routes. With 475 European flights arriving in China a week, the airlines will save about 26,000 tons of jet fuel a year, IATA says.

"We call this route the Olympic Bypass. It will alleviate air traffic delays and congestion," says Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's director general, in a statement. "The experience of previous Olympics host cities tells us that there will be significantly more air traffic in China's skies during the Olympics."


Ads to land at baggage carousels

To boost non-aviation revenue, Dallas/Fort Worth will start running ads on its baggage carousels in August or September. The airport says there are 30 carousels that can support ads, with two ads per carousel.

Ads are printed in full color on an adhesive material and applied to the surface of the conveyor belt. Each ad will be changed every eight weeks. The baggage carousel provides advertisers a captive audience of travelers who "wait 15-plus minutes for their luggage to arrive," says Tracy Zwahlen of DoubleTake Marketing, which is selling and producing the ads.

DoubleTake plans to introduce the concept at other airports later this year.


US Airways delays Beijing service

US Airways, which planned on launching a daily flight between Philadelphia and Beijing in spring 2009, will delay the service by a year.


Vino Volo checks in at Detroit Metro

Vino Volo, a chain of wine bars at airports, opened its latest location at Detroit Metro airport. Located near Gate A-45 in McNamara Terminal, it also offers small plates of food. It's the company's seventh location.


Surveillance cameras on runway pass test

After a 15-month trial at Singapore Changi, a new surveillance system that detects foreign objects and debris on runways will be installed at Chicago O'Hare later this year.

Installed by aviation technology firm SITA, the system uses a series of cameras installed along the runway to constantly capture surface images. The images are sent back to computers, allowing airport officials to verify the presence of a foreign object and determine whether to deploy a clean-up crew.

Traditionally, airports have relied on radar and manual inspection to detect foreign objects on runways.

Umar Khan of SITA says testing at Changi showed that it was able to detect objects less than an inch in size from 330 yards away. Changi is installing the system on two of its runways.

The 2000 Concorde crash in France was determined to have been caused by runway debris. A metal strip on the runway caused a tire to explode on takeoff, damaging the supersonic jet.


Old airport chairs go to Boys & Girls Club

Oakland International has found a charitable way to get rid of its old chairs. The airport is delivering 120 chairs — 30 sets of four joined together — to Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland. Chairs will be used in the organization's recreation rooms.

Oakland completed a $300 million terminal improvement program in spring, which included replacing 6,000 chairs with more contemporary seating.

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