The Heathrow Expansion: What is it?

David Pflieger highlights the Heathrow Airport expansion.

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European airports are generally busy, but none reaches the number of passengers that annually fly through London’s Heathrow Airport. Located a short distance outside the city center and easily accessible by the London Underground and other public transportation options, Heathrow has needed an expansion for years. That expansion is about to begin.

Delays To The Heathrow Expansion

A number of groups challenged the approval that the airport received for its expansion. A couple of the major opponents included the group Friends of the Earth and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The main reason for opposition to the addition of another runway at the UK’s flagship airport was concern over the environment. Critics of the expansion argued that the airport’s plans violated the nation’s environmental policies related to climate change, in addition to the Paris climate accord. The UK has ratified the Paris accord, but it’s not an official part of UK law. In addition to concerns over increased pollution in the area, there are concerns in the local area regarding the number of houses that would need to be demolished to make room for the expansion.

The court system ultimately rejected the argument from the critics of the planned expansion. There was an acknowledgement from the judges who provided the ruling that there was substance to the arguments of these opponents. However, the main concern of the judges was the legality of the project. The judges returned a unanimous ruling that decided that Heathrow could proceed with its planned expansion.

In order to read the full article, written by David Pflieger, make sure to click the link.

Tips and Tricks Behind Designing an Airport

David Pflieger highlights what architects consider when designing an airport.

Architects don’t have an easy job, but there’s something especially daunting about designing an airport. The dramatically high volume of travelers that come through these transit points are also incredibly diverse. The necessary chokepoints like security stations and baggage claim add an extra layer of complexity to things, and while airports are fundamentally about shuttling people from one place to another as efficiently as possible, it’s also a place of commerce. These two competing notions are often in conflict with one another. As a result, architects have to be strategic with their design, and there are a number of clever tricks they’ve learned to employ over the years.

One of the key tasks an architect needs to achieve is putting customers at ease. The crowds, tight deadlines, and high level of security in airports can be incredibly stress-inducting, so designers have learned that establishing cues is necessary to facilitate a sense of orderly conduct. The most critical of these is a philosophy known as “wayfinding”. Getting lost disrupts the core efficiency of an airport while also exacerbating that core anxiety, so architects try to use the environment to guide individuals to their destinations as quickly as possible. Different terminals often use different signage, coloring, and even carpets to designate a change of environment, and large pieces of art serve as implicit guideposts for passengers who might have lost their way.

And while airports have become increasingly more secure with the presence of tighter security checkpoints and more officers, smart airport design ensures that passengers play an important role in maintaining order and security. Posters and signs throughout modern airports don’t just nudge customers into reporting suspicious behavior. They strongly enforce the notion that doing so is an act of virtue. In doing so, these prompts become an implicit act of virtue on the part of passengers rather than an imperative from an authoritarian figure.

One of the great ironies of modern airport design is that many of the security measures themselves are largely theater in the same way this signage is. Small measures like encouraging engagement by customers and increasing administrative security protocol have the most substantive effect on an airport’s security, but they aren’t decisions that are objectively present in the minds of passengers and thus do little to ease concerns about their safety. When new security machines and checkpoints are put in place, they’re as much for the sake of the attitudes of passengers as they are preventive anti-crime measures.

In order to read the full article, written by David Pflieger, make sure to click the link.

Speedy Security: How to get Through Airport Security Quickly

Dave Pflieger highlights some of the best ways to speed through security checkpoints at the airport.

Going through airport security can be a daunting process with its long lines and wait times. Airport security is especially worrying for travelers who are pressed for time and are trying to get to their gate. Luckily, there are multiple things a traveler can do so they can pass through security as quickly as possible.

Join a Trusted Traveler Program
The Department of Homeland Security has various Trusted Traveler programs that will enable travelers to quickly pass through security. Two that are useful for the majority of travelers are TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. TSA PreCheck is great for domestic travel. Over two hundred airports and sixty-seven airlines are part of the TSA PreCheck program, so it is likely that it will be useful to travelers wherever they are in the United States. Travelers pass through TSA PreCheck lines where they are not required to take off their shoes or belt nor are they required to remove their computer or liquids from their bag. The majority of travelers wait no longer than five minutes in a PreCheck line. Global Entry is great for travelers who travel internationally and also includes TSA PreCheck. Besides the benefits of TSA PreCheck, Global Entry speeds up the arrival process for travelers who are coming from abroad. Global Entry members use automatic kiosks instead of going through the usual arrivals line and processing by a customs officer.

In order to read the full article, written by Dave Pflieger, make sure to click the link.

Airline Apocalypse: Failed and Defunct Airlines

Dave Pflieger highlights a few once-popular airlines that have gone the way of the dodo.

Commercial aviation may be barely a century old, but few would argue that it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Flight is still the most efficient way to travel, and it’s shaped the way we interact with the world in truly dramatic ways. But just because air travel is here for the long haul doesn’t mean that there aren’t casualties along the way. Here are some once famous airlines that have failed to stay with us over the years.

Eastern Air Lines

Miami-based Eastern Air Lines was once one of the biggest players in commercial air, but it became a lesson in the powerful role workers can play in a company’s feasibility. The first cause for concern came in 1988, as more economical alternatives started to cut into Eastern’s bottom line, but it was the deregulation in the years that followed which served as the nail in the coffin. An attempt to freeze out protesting members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers led to a galvanization of multiple related unions, and Eastern Air Lines was left crippled. They were forced to declare bankruptcy in 1989 and finally ended operations at the beginning of 1991.

Braniff International Airlines

Few airlines had the flair that Braniff International did. Their colorful uniforms, designed by Emilio Pucci, especially made them stand apart from the competition. But it was the company’s notable confidence that got the best of it. An attempt at aggressive expansion in a time when fuel costs peaked and economy alternatives created a highly competitive market drove Braniff into deep debt and rapidly led to their dissolution.

Lakers Airways Skytrain

The problem with Lakers was in many ways the polar opposite of Braniff. They entered the market during the glut of new competitors in the early 1980s and promised tremendously low cost flights, often as much as half that of the major airlines. Unfortunately, the model quickly proved unsustainable, and they ended up as just another forgotten experiment in a boom notable for them.

Interflug

It could be argued that Interflug was a victim of geopolitics, but there had been problems with its structure for a long time. Based out of East Berlin, its planes suffered from poor fuel efficiency and noise protection. When the Berlin wall fell, a number of airlines expressed interest in purchasing Interflug, but the airline ultimately failed to find a serious buyer.