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RUSSIA: The first of two new Aeroexpress platforms at Domodedovo Airport has officially opened for operations, marking a significant milestone in company’s large scale renovation programme of infrastructure facilities located on the Domodedovo route. 

The Aeroexpress Domodedovo rail terminal will be completed in 2Q2018 and will be ready to host guests and participants of the World Football Cup. Aeroexpress plans to invest over RUB 2,043 million into construction.

"Putting the new platform into service at Domodedovo is a big step in measures to prepare Moscow’s entire transport complex for the 2018 World Football Cup," says Aeroexpress' COO Valery Fyodorov. "The Domodedovo route is usually the most used direction so the main objective of renovating infrastructure there is to increase capacity and improve the quality of transfer services provided to passengers."

The first phase of implementing the comprehensive infrastructure renovation programme for the Domodedovo direction occurred with the opening of the upgraded Aeroexpress terminal at the Paveletsky Rail Terminal in December 2015. The second phase involves building two platforms at Domodedovo. The platforms are specially built to accommodate the new double-decker trains produced by Stadler. The third stage will bring Aeroexpress' own terminal at Domodedovo Airport into service.

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Milda Manomaityte


Global AirRail Alliance


EVENTS: Earlier this week I had a privilege to speak at the annual Passenger Terminal Conference, celebrating its 20th year anniversary in Amsterdam. With nearly 7000 visitors, speakers and conference participants, the Passenger Terminal Expo & Conference is clearly the biggest and most important annual gathering for global airports and suppliers.


Among 11 different conference tracks “Airport Cities, Transport Connections & Tourism” session discussed various airport access issues.

Over the years, as the director of the Global AirRail Alliance, I have been asked one question so many times, that I thought it would be a good idea to address it in my presentation, titled “Why airports should stop relying on car parking revenues”, and maybe challenge the “we’ve always done it this way” thinking.

And the question that I’m asked very often is – “why should we, the airport, invest in rail links when most of our revenue comes from people parking their vehicles at our car parks?”

That is a fair question, as according to the Airports Council International (ACI), car parking revenue brings about 20% of total operational (aeronautical and non-aeronautical) revenue for airport hubs of all sizes. In the meantime passenger airline landing fees bring about 18% of total operational revenue. The numbers shift a little bit if you look at Large (19% car parking and 16% airline fees), Medium (15% and 24%), and Small (10% and 26%) airports.

And even though car parking and car rental concessions are still a core revenue stream for airports, they can no longer be taken for granted as a consistent source of business.

According to ACI, real per-passenger revenues from each fell by -3.6% and -4.2% in 2013 alone. Compared to 2008 levels, revenues are down -14% and -25.1%, respectively.

So will future airport car parks become something like Olympic stadiums from the past? Probably not, but there are two major disruptors that will impact car parking business at airports – new technology and change in behaviour.

The biggest disruptor for this business model will be the arrival of driverless cars. A report by KPMG found that 74% of UK automotive executives think that by 2025, more than half of car owners today will not want to own a vehicle, as self-driving technology and Mobility as a Service will take priority. This massive change is less than a decade away and now is the time for airports to seriously consider how it will affect their ground transport services and terminal design. 

The increase in uptake of ride hail and shared economy is also making a significant impact to car parking business at airports. Beijing International Airport reported car parking revenue dip in 2015 due to the decrease in long-term car parking because of the rise in the car-hailing and valet parking services.

Uber is available at airports in over 400 cities worldwide and Lyft serves over 130 airports in USA.

At the Passenger Terminal Conference sessions airports emphasized the struggle they are facing in dealing with car-hailing companies where this service is still illegal. That includes blocking the Uber app on the airport wifi or working with taxi drivers who spot and report uber drivers lingering at the airport.

But this approach in no way benefit the passengers. And one passenger group is bringing a massive change in the way we will travel in the future - Millennials are the biggest generation that is now approaching their peak spending age.

According to the American Public Transportation Association, the reasons and motivations for transportation choices are pragmatic - 46% of millennials state that a need to save money drives their choices; 46% also note convenience, 44% want exercise, and 35% say they live in a community where it just makes more sense to use transit.

Millennials are multimodal, they choose the best transportation mode (driving, transit, bike, or walk) based on the trip they are planning to take. Communities that attract Millennials have a multitude of transportation choices. So, naturally, they will want the same from airports.

In fact, in the beginning of March a national public opinion survey found that 93% of Americans believe airport terminals could be better connected to the region’s ground transportation and transit networks.

To cater the future travellers airports must think about multimodal hubs that will integrate rail, bus, car hailing or sharing, driverless, cycling and walkable travel options. By doing so, airports really need to think about the passenger journey experience and create a seamless and intuitive flow and wayfinding to, from and through terminals.

Airports cannot afford to be protective of the car parking revenues, because the market is changing rapidly and this business model is no longer reliable to sustain its financial growth.

Nobody really knows how the new technology and the new generations of travellers will affect car parking business, but one thing is clear, there needs to be a focus on providing multimodal seamless travel options for the connected passenger.

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Leanne Wheeler,

Operations Manager / Senior Consultant,

Special Correspondent airrail NEWS

EVENTS: Arguably the star of the 11th Middle East Rail Conference held on 7th-8th March in Dubai (UAE), Hyperloop One announced that it is gearing towards conducting its first full-scale tests of the system. This follows motor propulsion tests conducted last year and the recent signing of a MoU with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to develop a regulatory framework for the new mode’s operation that can be used as a baseline model for gaining safety accreditation throughout the world.

Hyperloop One announced at the conference that a full-scale test facility (termed ‘Devloop’) has been under construction in the Nevada desert north of Las Vegas in recent months, with combined tests of the system’s vacuum air pressure, passive maglev, motor propulsion and braking due to be underway in a full-scale loop by mid-2017. This timeline aligns with the organisation’s desire to enter the first freight carrying pods into service in 2020, with passenger services following by 2021.

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Although making the announcement at a rail conference, Hyperloop One was keen to highlight in its keynote that the system is not a new form of rail but will instead represent a brand new and innovative mode of transport altogether, predicting the impact of the system’s launch to be similar to that of the aeroplane in 1903. Accordingly, Hyperloop One will ‘redefine regions’, revolutionise trade and bring unprecedented benefits to global and regional economies. Indeed, with predicted journey times of just 12 minutes between Dubai and Abu Dhabi (and an eventual plan for no two cities in the GCC to be more than an hour apart) it is easy to see how this transformative mode could do just that.

However, by presenting at a rail conference Hyperloop One opened itself to challenge from the operational and technical experts in the room. Perhaps aware of this, Nick Earle, SVP Global Field Operations for Hyperloop One commented that: “Elon Musk first said that when people are presented with the concept of Hyperloop, there are two reactions. The first is to think that this is a sci-fi idea that will never work and the second is to question why it hasn’t been done years before”.

It remains to be seen whether the former will prove true. Rail experts understandably questioned the system’s safety, robustness in times of disruption and ability to operate with an expected 10-20 second headway at speeds of 671 mph (1000kmph or 300m/s). To put this into context, at the lower 10 second headway, this would see pods travelling just 1.86 miles apart at supersonic speeds. What happens if the one in front breaks down, for example?

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Upon questioning at the stand, representatives from Hyperloop appeared evasive on the specifics, which is perhaps forgivable given that the system is yet to undergo any form of dynamic testing. Further probing elicited that pods would “talk to each other” in the event of a breakdown and that there would be suitable provisions made for exits along the route to facilitate emergency evacuations if required.

Other equally pressing questions remain. For pods to travel at such speeds, tubes would surely need to be constructed along a perfectly straight trajectory, with zero gradient. Whilst this may be easily depicted at the design stage, it is somewhat hard to believe that this can work in practice across varied global geographies. After all, railway professionals are acutely aware that first and foremost, the railway is a triumph of engineering as hills, mountains, rivers, and other topological constraints all need to be overcome.

Given the many questions that loom large over the horizon of the Nevada desert as Devloop gets underway, it is hard at this stage to think of Hyperloop as anything more than a concept; albeit an exciting one at that. For this reason, Hyperloop One’s presentations at the conference were met with at best a mixture of keen interest and reserved anticipation and at worst a form of disbelief that bordered on disdain. 

That said, it is perfectly feasible to imagine that similar questions existed over 200 years ago prior to the launch of the first train and 125 years ago prior to the first aeroplane taking off and landing. Now Hyperloop One threatens to disrupt the prevalence of both modes and perhaps replace them altogether. 

Station Rendering Inside


“Broadband for people and freight” – Hyperloop explained.

  • Innovative entrepreneur Elon Musk first conceptualised the idea of a Hyperloop transport system in a 2013 whitepaper. Currently there are five organisations progressing the concept, with Hyperloop One being the first to announce full-scale research and testing. 
  • Hyperloop One will operate as a ‘point-to-point, autonomous’ service, likened to Uber, with passengers choosing their destination at the departure terminal and climbing into pods that arrive on demand.
  • The system’s Application Programming Interface (API) will be opened to developers to encourage innovation and interoperability. This will complement evolving travel trends such as customers buying ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS) and enable seamless integration with other autonomous modes.
  • Pods will travel at more than airline speeds and be capable of coasting for 40-50km with zero degradation to speed. Consequently, the system is incredibly low-energy intensive.
  • Global accounting firm KPMG has confirmed that Hyperloop could ultimately represent a 2/3 cost saving in comparison to High Speed Rail.
  • Hyperloop One is keen to point out that whilst the system’s benefits relate principally to giving people the “value of time” and of “redefining regions”, the true benefits of Hyperloop are probably yet to be even imagined. This was likened to the impact of broadband having been “more than just web pages loading faster”. The system was thus likened to being “broadband for people and freight”.
  • Hyperloop One has so far raised US$160 bn to conduct research on the system, with this figure set to increase given the recent recruitment of ex-Uber CFO Brent Callinicos. 
  • The proposed journey time from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is just 12 minutes, with tickets set to cost just 28AED (US$ 7.62). Similarly, a proposed link between Stockholm and Helsinki is set to take 28 minutes and cost 28 EUR (US$29.79).
  • Hyperloop One is rapidly expanding, with the firm set to double its number of employees from 250 to 500 by the end of this year alone.

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EVENTS: Regulars at Middle East Rail felt that numbers were down on previous years, perhaps reflecting the number of rail projects in the region that appear to be on pause. Despite this there was an august roster of keynote speakers. H.E. Dr Abdulla Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development, & Chairman, Federal Transport Authority - Land & Maritime UAE, H.E. Dr Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary General, Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council talked of the need for a more active private sector investment in projects, perhaps reflecting the need for a top-up on direct government finance with oil prices remaining relatively low. H.E. Dr Rumaih Al Rumaih, President, Public Transport Authority, & President, Saudi Railways Organisation added that urban transport projects in Makkah, Damman, Jeddah and Medina are moving towards PPP structures.

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Meanwhile, as if to prepare for a post-Brexit Britain, Paul Maynard MP, Rail Minister, Department for Transport UK, maximised on the UK’s first mover advantage in railways to push nearly 200 years of expertise on this large export market. Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman of Network Rail was similarly on-message, mentioning several times how his Network Rail Consulting division, already ensconced in Saudi Arabia’s North-South Railway, could do much more. Hendy’s talk was timely as NRC (with Serco and Freightliner) had helped Saudi Arabian Railways launched the first commercial passenger service from Riyadh to Al Qassim. The route also includes British station design that incorporates function and form; stations that are modern and reflect Saudi culture and heritage. 

His talk focused on lessons learnt from different rail industry structures (and the UK has seen them all) and how they might be applied in the region. He also gave an insight into Network Rail’s latest direction, devolving power to geographical routes which will be separately regulated. He also talked about the need for private sector capital, and how they were looking to ‘open up the network’ to private project organisations.

Perhaps the star of Middle East Rail 2017 was a transport mode that can’t be described as ‘rail’, Hyperloop One. Boasting a 12 minute journey time from Dubai to Abu Dhabi there was much interest from many in the rail industry wondering if this disruptive technology might be about to replace them. In next week’s airrail NEWS, Leanne Wheeler, special correspondent and customer experience specialist will provide a detailed update on Hyperloop One and discuss some of their plans to revolutionise mobility and ‘redefine regions’.

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AUSTRALIA: The federal government has selected a consortium led by SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit to deliver core component of the concept design for rail infrastructure on the new Western Sydney Airport site, reported.

SNC-Lavalin will develop a feasibility design and detailed estimates of the cost and time required to construct rail infrastructure on the Western Sydney Airport site.

According to the federal government, this work is part of the $26 million funding commitment in the Australian Government’s 2016-17 Budget towards the rail design and will lay the foundation for a future rail service to the airport.

In addition to SNC-Lavalin, the consortium includes Aquenta, Architectus, Norman Disney & Young, SMEC and Stacey Agnew, which will provide a team with a broad range of expertise, covering all aspects of rail design, costing and operations.

The consortium will work closely with the federal government and with Transport for New South Wales over the coming months. The Rail Feasibility Design will inform the federal government on the construction program and cost of Western Sydney Airport rail works.

It will also provide information about early preparatory activities necessary for the future development of rail services to the airport site. The Rail Feasibility Design will consider several rail alignment and station options.

This project involves developing a design for the rail corridor on the airport site, as part of ensuring that Western Sydney Airport is rail ready.

The Rail Feasibility Design is expected to be submitted to the federal Government in the first half of 2017 following the Joint Scoping Study of Rail Needs for Western Sydney, which is currently underway.

The Joint Scoping Study will also inform advice to the Australian Government on the timing, potential routes and the type of rail services to the Western Sydney Airport.

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USA: A new HNTB America THINKS national public opinion survey found that 93% of Americans believe airport terminals could be better connected to the region’s ground transportation and transit networks.

The survey, Airport Terminals -2017, found that four in five (84%) Americans would use rail transit if it could get them to the airport and back more efficiently than by car. The survey also found that more than four in five believe parking (81%) and drop-off or pick-up curbs (81%) have either stayed the same or gotten worse in the past 10 years.

“Ground access to the airport terminal, the movement of automobile traffic, passenger pick-up/drop off and parking are factors that increasingly determine the quality of the air travel experience,” said Laddie Irion, HNTB’s national aviation sector market leader and senior vice president. “The interest in public transit access to airports is very strong. In planning for improvements, airport authorities should consider partnering with transit agencies to create the public transportation access that travellers seek. They should also recognise that facilitating ease of movement in and around airport terminals along with the amenities found within the terminal building are factors that directly affect the quality and satisfaction of the air travellers’ experience.”

HNTB’s America THINKS survey, Airport Terminals-2017, polled a random nationwide sample of 1,054 Americans ages 18+ between December 1-8, 2016. It was conducted by Kelton Global, which used an e-mail invitation and online survey. Quotas were set to ensure reliable representation of the entire U.S. population ages 18 and over. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

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TAIWAN: Taipei Taoyuan Airport MRT has officially opened for operations on 2nd March 2017, carrying over 52,000 people on the first day of service.

Taoyan Airport MRT opening5

The system offers express services and regular services, with trains colored purple and blue respectively.

The express service has four passenger carriages and one luggage carriage and stops only at Taipei Main Station (A1), New Taipei Industrial Park Station (A3), Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Station (A8), Airport Terminal One Station (A12) and Airport Terminal Station (A13). The entire trip takes about 35 minutes.

The regular service makes stops at every station and takes about 70 minutes.

Taipei Airport MRT Route Map2

Taipei Main Station, is the only station that initially will offer advanced check-in at least three hours before the flight for passengers taking the Airport MRT.

According to the company, airline check-in areas are planned to be implemented at the New Taipei Industrial Park and Hengshan stations, but it is not yet known when these facilities will be operational.

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UK: Heathrow Express has been awarded Business Superbrands status for 2017, for the 11th consecutive year in a row. 

This annual survey has been identifying the UK’s leading business-to-business brands since 2001. The process was managed by The Centre of Brand Analysis (TVBA) and questioned 2,500 individual business professionals from across the UK, as well as the independent and voluntary Business Superbrands Councils.

The two audiences judged nearly 1,500 brands, which they assessed on three key criteria: quality, reliability and distinction.

Fraser Brown, Director of Heathrow Express said: “All my colleagues work hard to ensure Heathrow Express provides a fast, reliable, innovative and customer focussed service. I am delighted Heathrow Express has been awarded Superbrand status and has once again been recognised for the premium service it provides and its excellence as a train operating company.”

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DISTRIBUTION: Amadeus has launched a new merchant model providing travel agencies around the world with one link to sell multiple railways, bypassing the need for one-to-one commercial relationships between both parties. With just one interface and one sales system, the model makes it much easier for travel agencies to sell rail products. Currently the full offers of DB (German), RENFE (Spanish), SNCF (French, available in CESE* only), Trenitalia (Italian) and select eastern European rail operators are available as part of this model, with more expected to join soon.

Amadeus acts as a sales agent for rail operators to simplify contractual agreements, financial flows and invoicing with travel agencies. This will mean reduced costs for railways as Amadeus takes care of all setup, billing and settlement activities, and assumes financial and legal risks of selling via travel agencies. The model will enable railways to reach new travellers in new markets as Amadeus takes care of promoting their offer to travel agencies too.

“Rail travel today is still largely domestic but this will soon change – our merchant model marks the beginning of a new era, giving the industry what it needs to take a global leap, and unlock growth. For travel agencies this will mean a convenient gateway to leading rail content that will serve to enrich their overall offer” said Antoine de Kerviler, Global Head of Rail & Ground Travel at Amadeus.

Foreign travellers can conveniently book rail travel through their travel agency before flying and have their entire trip – including air, hotel and rail – on the same itinerary.

“I am confident that rail will be on the radar of many more travellers now and as it becomes more and more accessible to them – just imagine booking rail the same way as air, all integrated in a single itinerary – it will get the attention it deserves. We look forward to adding more rail operators across all continents in the coming months,” Antoine said.

“The merchant model combines Deutsche Bahn's market leading transport services with the technological power of Amadeus. With this new agreement Deutsche Bahn vastly extends its global network.” says Ronn Kostecki, Project Manager at Deutsche Bahn. “We will improve the availability of our tickets to all travel agencies, particularly those with a wide travel offer.

“The new agreement with Amadeus will let Trenitalia increase its global reach in an exponential way. It will be much easier for travel agencies, no matter their size, to distribute our products and let travellers from all around the world move across Italy by train, which in the last years has become one of the most pleasant and convenient ways to travel to top Italian destinations” comments Alessandra Bucci, Commercial Director of Long Haul Passenger Division at Trenitalia. “Moreover, this is a further step towards our ambitious project of offering our customers an integrated travel solution, covering their trip door-to-door in Italy”.

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SOUTH AFRICA: The Gautrain Management Agency has completed and submitted a feasibility study on the extension of the Gautrain rail network. The study has been submitted to Provincial and National Treasuries and to major stakeholders that were consulted during the feasibility process.

The feasibility study concludes that the extension of the Gautrain rail network will provide significant economic and transport related benefits to the province and the country at large; that it offers value for money, and appropriate risk transfer if procured as a Public-Private Partnership.

Demand modelling was done to determine transport needs for Gauteng in 2025 and 2037. Through the modelling process it became clear that the ‘cost of doing nothing’ in the province will lead to major road congestion in 2037, at which stage cars will travel at an average of 15 kilometres an hour due to doubling of car growth.

Gautrain network expansion

The feasibility study identified the following main links and stations of the Gautrain rail network extensions:

  • On the link between Jabulani via Cosmo City and Samrand to Mamelodi, stations include Roodepoort, Little Falls, Fourways, Sunninghill, Olievenhoutsbosch, Irene, Tshwane East and Hazeldean.
  • The link between Sandton and Cosmo City has a station at Randburg.
  • On the link between Rhodesfield and Boksburg there will be a station at East Rand Mall and possible link-up with the OR Tambo International Airport Midfield terminal development.
  • A future link from Cosmo City to Lanseria Airport.

Due to the magnitude and complexity of the project, it will be split into five phases.

“This expansion will primarily be done on a public-private partnership basis, in phases that will take a period of two decades (20 years) to complete,” Premier David Makhura said during his State of the Province Address.

The Gauteng provincial government is aware that a project of this magnitude will require significant funding from various sources. In order to address affordability issues an engagement with the national government is required. This will be facilitated by the national Department of Transport.


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EVENT: Global AirRail Alliance and Norton Rose Fulbright will co-host the first Airport Access Ideas Forum in London on Wednesday 7th of June 2017.

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The interactive ideas forum will focus on challenges and opportunities related to the provision of seamless access to national and international airports around the world, improving customer experience and reducing carbon emissions.

Participants will look at how new technology and the sharing economy is changing road access and car parking businesses at airports, as well as the opportunities public transport can deliver for airport operators in terms of non-aeronautical revenue, improved customer experience and business development.

Duncan Field, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright, commented:“The progressive growth in air passenger numbers has created challenges for operators globally in ensuring easy access to their airports, and has meant that future proofing airport developments has become increasingly important. We see this already in the UK with road and rail improvements playing a central role in current and proposed airport expansion projects but new technology, ranging from drones that can transport passengers and their luggage, through to the increasing use of software applications and big data, have the potential to transform how passengers access airports and to create new commercial opportunities.”

“Airport Access Ideas Forum is an experience bringing the highest level professionals from the aviation and ground transport industries. The event format takes an interactive shape to include all participants for more engaging discussions and product demonstrations,” Milda Manomaityte, Director of the Global AirRail Alliance said.

The hosts are inviting established transport operators, start-ups and technology companies that are working on passenger mobility innovations to join the forum and submit a proposal for a short presentation in four dedicated areas – Rail, Bus/Coach, Car (including private vehicle, parking, taxi, car sharing and car hailing services), and Future Transport.

Presentations should focus on these key topics:

  • autonomous vehicles,
  • car parking,
  • revenue and funding for surface access projects,
  • wayfinding and passenger information,
  • public and private transport integration,
  • airport employee access,
  • big data,
  • new transport technologies 
  • pedestrian and cycling,
  • transit oriented development.

Submissions should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">


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INTERVIEW: Currently 80 East Midlands train services pass through Luton Airport Parkway (LAP) in each direction every day, with a total of just 18 stopping there. London Luton Airport (LLA) is advocating for the inclusion of four fast trains per hour from central London to Luton Airport Parkway as part of the upcoming East Midlands Trains refranchising process.

East Midlands Train passes through Luton Airport Parkway Station web

The Government is due to announce a public consultation on the East Midlands Trains franchise shortly. The current franchise is a Direct Award to East Midlands Trains Limited, which commenced on 18 October 2015. It is due to end on 4 March 2018, although the Secretary of State may extend it by up to a year. The new franchise is scheduled to commence in 2018.

On 1st of March the Department for Transport has announced that the following companies have successfully pre-qualified to bid in the competition for the East Midlands franchise, to run rail passenger services from November 2018:

  • Arriva Rail East Midlands Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arriva UK Trains Limited
  • First Trenitalia East Midlands Rail Limited, a joint venture company wholly owned by First Rail Holdings Limited and Trenitalia UK Limited
  • Stagecoach East Midlands Trains Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stagecoach Transport Holdings Limited

Last year LLA released independent economic analysis showing that increasing the number of hourly fast trains to LAP from one to four through timetable change could significantly increase rail revenue up to £110 million at no cost to the rail operator or DfT, and could almost double the number of passengers travelling by train to the airport; reducing local traffic congestion by 70,000 journeys and saving 500 tonnes of CO2.

Nick Barton webWe speak with London Luton Airport CEO Nick Barton about the current stage of the proposals.

Where are you in the discussions regarding the franchise? Do you see your conversations progressing towards a positive outcome?

While waiting for the consultation to be announced, we have continued to build our case and engage with stakeholders. I am happy to say that the initial reaction is overwhelmingly positive, as our proposed timetable change will improve not only the connectivity but also the overall economic impact of the airport.

We’ve been meeting key stakeholders, organisations and individuals up and down the rail line. These conversations were extremely useful, highlighting issues that we could address to make our case even stronger. These included questions about the effect on the wider network, future connectivity and payment systems such as the Oyster card.

What is the biggest challenge you came across in your conversations?

Our biggest challenge is still ahead of us and it is to change the thinking of the railway industry. I understand that our issue is very focused and the people we are talking to have a plethora of issues to consider. The Department for Transport has been extremely helpful in listening, understanding and supporting us in communicating our plans to stakeholders.

In 2015 you have successfully launched hourly night train services to London Luton Airport. How will the fast trains complement this and other rail services available at the Luton Airport Parkway station?

The night service is very valuable offering the ten thousand people who work at the airport, and 2-3 million more passengers, a viable option to use rail to get to and from the airport.

The existing Govia Thameslink Railway stopping service travels through London to the South Coast and offers unique access to different markets. The Farringdon connection will become increasingly important, opening up East-West traffic via the newly created Elizabeth Line. These are all excellent improvements to our connectivity.

These additional services, as good as they are, still stop at intermediate stations and take about 40 minutes to travel to/from the airport. This is great for some passengers and employees, but for many people, especially foreign travellers, the expectation is to see direct non-stop rail services to and from the airport.

That is what the new fast trains on the East Midlands line will offer. It will be a very regular service, operating every 15 minutes in both directions. It will effectively act as an ‘express’-style rail service, similar to those already in operation to and from Heathrow and Gatwick. We’re currently the only major London airport without such a service, which is something we need to change.

What would you say to airports who are reluctant to introduce rail connections in fear of losing car parking revenue?

A growing airport with a well-balanced ground access network and different travel options is far better than an airport with a vast car park. Such an airport would struggle to get national support for growth, as access would be too focused on one mode of transport. Rail is one of the best ways to accommodate the passenger demands associated with a busy airport, offering an efficient means of access and reducing congestion on the roads. We also know that poor rail links can be a disincentive to passengers – for example, the introduction of overnight train services to LAP made rail a viable option for an additional 2-3 million passengers, giving them choice and flexibility.

Currently the airport terminals are connected to the railway station by a shuttle bus, but there are plans to build a people mover to improve this link. Where are you at with this project?

The airport owners have recently submitted a planning application for a £200 million mass passenger transit (MPT) system, linking the airport terminal directly with Luton Airport Parkway station. Subject to planning permission, work on this project could begin later this year – with the system ready for operation by Spring 2021.

The MPT system will be a fully-automated, two-way, 24-hour people-mover based on the latest technology and design innovation.

What is the next challenge in improving ground access to London Luton Airport you see in the future?

With all the projects that are happening now, rail access to and from London Luton Airport will be dramatically transformed. The road connections are already good, so the innovations that will come in the future will be about improving accessibility through public transport.

The proposed Oxford-Cambridge rail link, running through the richest part of the UK, is a very interesting development for the airport. The new East-West line will intersect the Midland Mainline which currently serves the airport. This means that LLA is in a prime position to act as an integrated road, air and rail hub at the junction of these two strategic national economic corridors.

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UK: High Speed rail project HS2 took a major step forward as Britain’s new railway successfully completed over 3 years of Parliamentary scrutiny to receive Royal Assent.

Construction will now begin on schedule in the spring.

“Getting the go-ahead to start building HS2 is a massive boost to the UK’s future economic prosperity and a further clear signal that Britain is open for business,” Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said.

“HS2 will be the world’s most advanced passenger railway and the backbone of our rail network. Royal Assent is a major step towards significantly increasing capacity on our congested railways for both passengers and freight; improving connections between the biggest cities and regions; generating jobs, skills and economic growth and helping build an economy that works for all.”

HS2 will create around 25,000 jobs during construction as well as 2,000 apprenticeships. It will also support growth in the wider economy, worth an additional 100,000 jobs.

From 2026 tens of thousands of passengers will be using high speed trains every day between London and Birmingham; services will travel onwards to places like Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan.

From 2033, the high speed network will go into the centres of Manchester and Leeds and services will go onwards to places such as Darlington, Newcastle and Edinburgh.


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CANADA: Following extensive public consultation and preliminary engineering work, the City of Ottawa officials have announced plans to move forward with the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project.

The Stage 2 LRT Project will extend light rail further and faster to the West, South and East:

  • Confederation Line West: beyond Bayshore to Moodie Drive, and southwest to Algonquin College;
  • Confederation Line East: beyond Place d’Orleans to Trim Road;
  • Trillium Line extension to Bowesville and Riverside South; and
  • An Airport Rail Link from South Keys Station on the Trillium Line.

OttawaLRT Stage 2 map

The Stage 2 expansion of the O-Train network will be undertaken through two new procurements:

  • A new $2.5-billion Design-Build-Finance competition for the Confederation Line East and West extensions (includes Airport, Trim and Highway 417, and City-bundled works); and
  • A new $535-million Design-Build-Finance-Maintain competition for the Trillium Line extension.

Upon approval of this report by Council, the project will go to market later this winter. A final report will be brought forward in early 2018 outlining the results of the procurement process and related activities, leading to the final design and beginning of construction. The Stage 2 project will proceed with staggered openings to allow for faster expansions to LRT service:

  • Trillium Line South extension in 2021
  • Confederation Line East including Trim in 2022
  • Confederation Line West to Moodie by 2023

The Stage 2 LRT Project budget is $3 billion (excluding the Trim Extension with one station at $160 million, and the Airport Rail Link with two stations at $155 million).

The Trim and Airport extensions will only proceed if they are fully funded by the federal and provincial governments; on June 3, 2016 the province of Ontario has committed to covering half of the capital costs for both of these projects.

Posted on in Members' News

UK: London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) has submitted the plans for the £200 million mass passenger transit (MPT) system linking London Luton Airport (LLA) with Luton Airport Parkway railway station.

The MPT will enable fast, easy access from central London to the UK’s fifth biggest and fastest-growing major airport in 30 minutes by providing a seamless transfer time of just five minutes from Luton Airport Parkway to the airport terminal.

Subject to planning permission, work could begin in late 2017 – with the system ready for operation by spring 2021.

LLAL, wholly-owned by the Luton Borough Council, will fund the scheme under its capital programme.

“London Luton Airport is experiencing unparalleled success, with a 44 per cent increase in passenger numbers since 2014,” said Cllr Andy Malcolm, Chair of LLAL and the Council’s Portfolio Holder for finance.

“Along with the £110m transformation of the airport, the MPT will make sure the passenger experience we provide is world-class, and combined will support ongoing growth to 18 million passengers per year by 2021.

“The submission of our planning application is the most significant moment yet in the ongoing £1.5bn transformation of our town under the exciting and ambitious Luton Investment Framework.

“It opens up opportunities for development throughout the London Luton Airport Enterprise Zone and confirms our confidence in Luton’s potential for economic and employment growth.”

LLA People Mover

The MPT system will be a fully-automated, two-way, 24-hour capable people-mover based on latest system technology and design innovation.

The 2.2km route will run between two purpose-built stations at Stirling Place and the Central Terminal.

The MPT will run alongside the mainline railway before crossing over Airport Way via a new landmark bridge. It will then continue through the airport’s existing mid-term car park, under a taxiway, and on to the Central Terminal.

Cllr Malcolm said: “London Luton Airport enjoys a catchment area of 23 million people within a two-hour travel time and is ready and willing to make a significant contribution to meeting the growing demand for air travel in London and the South-East.

“The journey time from St Pancras of less than 30 minutes will beat Liverpool Street to Stansted by 20 minutes and be faster than Victoria to Gatwick too.

“Combined with the prospect of four fast trains an hour from London as part of the upcoming East Midlands rail franchise, which we are campaigning for, this investment in mass passenger transit will transform the experience of those travelling to the airport by rail, and will encourage more people to do so and therefore help to reduce congestion on the roads.”

The London Luton Airport Enterprise Zone, supported by SEMLEP and the Government, will deliver 7,200 new jobs via Stirling Place, a revitalised airport business park and a new 70-acre commercial development at Century Park, east of London Luton Airport that will be served by a new 1.6-mile access road.

Nick Barton, CEO of London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL), said: “We are investing £110m to transform the airport and improve the experience for passengers inside the terminal. Improving accessibility, particularly rail links, is equally crucial for the airport’s development.

“We are already working to secure four fast trains per hour to Luton Airport Parkway station as part of the new East Midlands rail franchise. The creation of a mass passenger transit link between Parkway and the terminal will be a key milestone in the airport’s transformation.”

Neil Slaven, Commercial Manager of easyJet, said: “easyJet welcomes the plan for a new direct rail link connecting Luton Airport Parkway train station with the airport. We already encourage our passengers to travel by rail, offering them the opportunity to purchase tickets on board and we hope the number of easyJet passengers at London Luton Airport who arrive by rail will increase with the new, faster link to the airport.
“We now fly over six million passengers a year to and from London Luton as the number one airline at the airport. The redevelopment of the airport was a key factor in our commitment to double our passenger numbers over the next 10 years.”

Posted on in News

UK: Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) has launched a new Fly-Rail-Coach product with rail and coach operators in the UK.

RB has partnered with National Express, Great Western Railway and Heathrow Express to provide passengers from around the UK with a concise booking service. The service enables passengers to book travel requirements for UK ground travel and international travel with RB in one seamless booking.

Fly-Rail-Coach is available for passengers to book with travel agents using the GDS reservation system and with Royal Brunei Airlines direct. The system sources the most suitable itinerary in combination with flight departure times and prices journeys automatically.

Adiel Mambara, UK Country Manager commented: “Royal Brunei Airlines is thrilled to announce the launch of the Fly-Rail-Coach product getting passengers from door to door with the most ease. Working with travel operators we are also extending our offer throughout the UK to strengthen our position in the marketplace.”

The product has been introduced as part of RB’s ongoing commitment to improving passengers’ experience. The launch of the product will also grow RB’s offering to the wider UK market and strengthen its strategic partnerships.

Royal Bruney

Posted on in Members' News

UK: Stansted Express has announced reduced fares across the board, starting from just £7 per person each way when booked in advance or when four people make a return journey together. Standard single fares are now only £16.60, or £28 return between London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.

The new fares put Stansted Express amongst the cheapest Stansted airport transport providers, while retaining a high quality service which includes fully flexible travel on any train on date of travel (and return tickets are valid for up to one month), no hidden fees, unlimited baggage allowance and free wifi.

With trains every 15 minutes providing the fastest link between central London, Tottenham Hale and Stansted Airport, recent official figures have demonstrated that it is also the most popular form of transport, above the coach or car.


Best prices are always online at, where there are a range of other services available such as discounted hotels, theatre and attractions booking service, for added convenience and value.

Commercial director, Andrew Camp, commented: “People choosing to transfer to the airport by rail arrive quicker and in comfort, and now they’ll pay even less – from just £7 for a great service which includes an easy online booking service, comfortable, spacious and modern trains, free wifi, unlimited baggage allowance and free charge points and no booking fee – perfect for those who can’t wait to start their trip and want to travel in style for less.”

Daniel Gallo, Stansted Airport’s Customer Service & Security Director, said: “Stansted is already one of the UK’s busiest airports serving over 24 million passengers a year, and with the airport forecast to grow by more than any London airport in the next ten years, it’s vital that passengers have access to reliable, frequent and affordable transport options to and from the airport. The announcement of new lower fares is fantastic news as the Stansted Express not only offers some of the most modern and high quality trains serving any UK airport but now has the added benefit of very competitive and great value for money fare choices to make Stansted even more attractive to passengers wishing to take full advantage of the 180 destinations on offer at Stansted.”

Journey time to/from London Liverpool Street with Stansted Express is just 47 minutes or 36 minutes from Tottenham Hale (also in London) and the train station at the airport is directly under the airport terminal, just a 2-minute walk to check-in.

Posted on in News

USA: Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) has started work on a new Parking and Transportation Center at Nashville International Airport (BNA), the first major project comprising BNA Vision, the Airport Authority’s comprehensive growth and expansion plan, which includes a potential multi-modal connector to link BNA to future Nashville transit system.

The six-level, 2,000 space parking structure will be located directly south of the current Short Term Garage. The first floor will be a dedicated Ground Transportation Center for commercial vehicles such as taxis, limos, shuttles and ride-sharing. Other new features include a parking space guidance system, green-screen vegetation wall, capacity for 20,000 gallons of rain water harvesting for landscape irrigation and a 50-kilowatt solar array on the top level.

The Parking and Transportation Center is set to open summer 2018.


"Nashville International Airport is the gateway to our city for so many of our visitors, and it is important that we leave a great first impression," said Mayor Megan Barry. "BNA Vision will create an even more enjoyable experience for travelers, while promoting sustainability and generating economic revenue in the process."

"This is the first phase of construction of BNA Vision, our dynamic plan to meet the needs of our rapidly growing region," said Rob Wigington, MNAA president and CEO. "This state-of-the-art Parking and Transportation Center is step one in our continued effort to maintain Nashville International Airport as a world-class facility for our passengers."

Activity at Nashville International Airport has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, making it one the fastest growing airports in North America. In 2016, 12,979,803 passengers traveled into and out of BNA, an increase of 11 percent over the previous year, and setting a new all-time passenger record for the fourth consecutive calendar year. Current projections indicate passenger traffic at BNA will surpass 20 million by 2035.

Nashville BNA Vision Still

Posted on in News

CANADA: The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) has announced its moving ahead with plans for a regional transit centre to connect the airport area to key employment and residential areas throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

In addition to serving as a regional transportation centre, it will also be home to airport passenger processing, including security screening. GTAA President and CEO, Howard Eng, has unveiled preliminary concept plans for the transit centre.

“Toronto Pearson is a world-class airport in every respect, and Southern Ontario is a diverse and dynamic region,” said Howard Eng. “By the time New York and Chicago were the size that Toronto is today, they each had at least two major transportation hubs. Now is the time to ensure that better transit options are in place; otherwise we risk squandering the significant opportunities that are part and parcel of the exciting growth that the airport, thecity and the region are experiencing.”

The area around Toronto Pearson is the second largest employment zone in Canada after downtown Toronto according to NEPTIS Research Foundation.

More than 300,000 people work in the zone that includes parts of Brampton, Mississauga, and Toronto. Among the sectors located in the Airport Employment Zone are construction and logistics, but also financial and business services. NEPTIS reports that there are more financial services related jobs located around the airport than all the jobs located in North York. Due to the lack of transit in the area, NEPTIS found that the area generates more than 1 million car trips daily, more trips than traveling to and from downtown Toronto.

“Location matters and Toronto Pearson's close proximity to Brampton gives us a definite advantage when it comes to attracting global companies to our City,” said Mayor Linda Jeffrey. "A major multi-modal transit centre serving the western GTA, located at our airport will provide a critical connection between Brampton and the rest of the world."

toronto pearson transit hub design

The GTAA’s proposed transit centre located on airport lands will help to address the low transit mode split in the area today with only 10 percent of people taking transit. The centre will potentially connect a number of transit lines that are already in development or have been proposed by various levels of government, including: Eglinton Crosstown West LRT; Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit; Finch West LRT; Regional Express Rail on the Kitchener line; and the Province of Ontario’s High-Speed Rail concept.

The centre, proposed to be located across Airport Road from Terminals 1 and 3, with access from Highways 409 and 427 and from Airport Road, will be at the heart of a new mixed use commercial area that will include office, retail, hotel and other commercial space. The vision for the area around the transit centre calls for improved streetscapes through sidewalks, landscaping, and improved lighting. The GTAA has held preliminary discussions with all levels of government to raise awareness about the opportunity for the regional transit centre at Toronto Pearson. It anticipates continued planning discussions throughout 2017 both for the centre, as well as for the individual transit lines that will connect into the centre.

“Better connections regionally and around the world boosts the competitiveness of Brampton businesses,” said Todd Letts, CEO of the Brampton Board of Trade. “Toronto Pearson's vision for a multi-modal transit centre will be an important driver for the development of our local economy."

Posted on in News

USA: Archer Western has been selected by the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to build a new $28.5 million TEX Rail station adjacent to Terminal B at DFW.

The Terminal B station will serve as the terminating stop in TEX Rail’s planned 27-mile commuter rail project, currently under construction by the Archer Western Herzog Joint Venture that will connect downtown Fort Worth and DFW Airport. The new line is expected to serve 8,000 daily riders, and will improve commuting times to and from Fort Worth, and will feature a walkway connecting to the existing Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) station next to Terminal A.

Archer Western is among the national leaders in building mass transit and rail, having completed more than 55-miles of passenger rail in the Dallas Fort Worth area over the last 17 years and currently delivering transit to airports, including new automated people mover systems at Orlando and Tampa International Airports.

TEX Rail Station at Terminal B DFW courtesy HKS 1523dee63aa58cea8d9572a9c35fa43e