DUBAI, UAE 12 March 2020: Emirates will be implementing thermal screening measures for all passengers travelling on US flights departing from Dubai International Airport, effective tonight, 12 March 2020. Thermal scanners will be placed at departure gates for all US gateways, starting with EK 231 to Washington Dulles International Airport. If a passenger is found to have a higher than normal temperature, they will undergo further testing. This is in addition to the thermal screenings done for all passengers on arrival as they pass through customs.
In addition, Emirates has suspended its flights between Dubai and Italy starting from today, with the final flight operating on 15th of March. The airline is working with the relevant authorities to monitor the developments closely as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
The measures are being taken as part of the airline’s overall response to the latest developments around the COVID-19 pandemic. Emirates has been coordinating efforts in conjunction with local health and regulatory authorities, including the Dubai Health Authority, so that the airline meets or exceeds local and international guidelines and directives around COVID-19. Emirates plans to gradually roll out thermal screening procedures for all of its flights departing Dubai to ensure the health and safety of its customers travelling abroad.
Passengers are advised to observe the general recommended time of arrival at the airport, which is 3 hours ahead of departure, to ensure seamless check-in procedures and to complete their immigration formalities.
In addition to thermal screening procedures at the airport, Emirates has also implemented proactive and voluntary measures to ensure a safe flying experience with enhanced cleaning and complete disinfection protocols in over 248 aircraft departing Dubai each day. The airline utilises high-grade cleaning chemicals proven to kill viruses and germs, leaving a long-lasting protective coating against viruses, bacteria and fungi on surfaces. The comprehensive cleaning process includes a thorough wiping down all cabin surfaces, in addition to other normal procedures such as changing head rest covers on all seats, replacement of reading materials, vacuuming, amongst other cleaning activities.
On any aircraft found to have transported a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, Emirates implements further deep cleaning including the defogging of cabin interiors and misting with disinfectant across all soft furnishings, and replacement of seat covers and cushions in the affected area. The aircraft’s state-of-the-art air circulation system, utilising HEPA cabin air filters, will also be replaced.
The airline has also offering passengers additional peace of mind with the ability to change their travel dates without change and reissuance fees on any bookings made prior to 31 March 2020. Cancellation and refund fees will also be waived for bookings made between 7 March and 31 March 2020, regardless of travel date. Visit emirates.com for more details on the waiver.
Emirates has implemented thermal screening measures for all passengers travelling on US flights departing from Dubai International Airport. This is in addition to the thermal screenings done for all passengers on arrival as they pass through customs. Emirates plans to gradually roll out thermal screening procedures for all of its flights departing Dubai to ensure the health and safety of its customers travelling abroad. The measures are being taken as part of the airline’s overall response to the latest developments around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Should you park at the airport before you fly somewhere? Airports hope you answer “yes,” but frequent travelers like Andy Abramson are unconvinced. They almost never park at the airport, and with good reason.
“There’s really little value in parking at the airport,” says Abramson, a frequent air traveler who runs a communication company in Los Angeles. “Not to mention the risks of damage to your car.”
He’s returned from trips to find dents, scratched doors, and cracked windows. If he doesn’t rideshare to the airport, he looks for a safe, off-airport option in Los Angeles. Some hotels bundle an overnight stay with parking.
“The Hilton LAX has offered some great deals in the past,” he says.
Airports hope you don’t read the rest of this story. That’s because parking and car rental revenues accounted for $3.7 billion in annual U.S. airport revenues, or about 41% of their non-aviation income, according to a recent study.
A large hub airport earns an average of $63 million a year from parking fees. Apart from airline revenue, it’s the single largest source of income, which may explain why airports sometimes push so hard for passengers to use their parking.
Airport parking can cost more than your airfare, in some cases. A recent survey found that the world’s most expensive parking is in London, where you can spend as much as $244 a week. Boston’s Logan Airport also ranks highly ($136), and so does San Francisco ($131).
As it turns out, there may be lots of alternatives to parking at the airport, beyond ride-sharing and mass transit. They range from the bundled “park, sleep fly” options Abrams used to off-site parking lots that use advanced algorithms to find you the best — and cheapest — spot.
Bottom line: You should almost never park at the airport. There are usually alternatives to consider.
Why you shouldn’t park at the airport
Here’s why you should never park at the airport, according to experts:
It’s almost always more expensive than off-airport parking.
There are better ways to save time, like a park and fly option.
Your vehicle might be damaged, particularly in a remote lot.
Parking rates (and perks) are more competitive away from the airport.
Park, sleep and fly
Parking at a hotel is one of the best, and perhaps most overlooked options. John Madden, a retired government employee from Rochester, Mich., decided to do that on a recent flight out of nearby Detroit.
“I had an early morning flight and didn’t want to deal with the stress of a 40-mile drive with commuters and having to get up extra early, and I absolutely did not want to be late for or miss my flight,” he recalls.
His solution? He found a hotel and parking package through a site called ParkSleepFly.com, which combines one-night hotel stays with long-term parking offers. But many airport hotels also advertise park and fly options.
“I saved $20 on the parking portion compared to using only a private off-airport parking lot as I usually do,” says Madden. “The hotel used a private off-airport lot with frequent shuttles. Very convenient.”
The experience made for a less stressful trip.
“I was rested and relaxed at the airport instead of frantic,” he says. “A bit of an indulgence.”
This site finds spare parking spots
If you’d rather park closer to the airport, you have lots of choices. You can visit an off-airport parking facility (coupons are readily available online to reduce your price). A site like AirportParkingReservations.com negotiates with parking vendors across the country, too. Choose a reputable, covered parking spot with a trusted parking provider for the best results.
But there are other ways to avoid parking at the airport. When Lauren Keys and her husband needed a parking spot at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for a few days, they worried about the cost. As budget-conscious travelers, they usually rideshare to the airport or ask friends to drop them off. And they were nervous about parking their van just anywhere.
They discovered a site called Way.com that helped them find unused parking spaces near the airport.
“We thought it felt a little scammy, so when we showed up with our parking voucher, we talked to the manager, security, and valet folks at the hotel to confirm that what we were doing was legit,” says Keys, who writes a personal finance blog. “They confirmed Way.com was a partner, and it was a breeze.”
She estimates she would have paid $30 a day to park at the airport. Way.com’s cost was just $20 a day.
Note: Some sites charge reservation fees, so pay close attention to the fine print before you book.
Essential advice for airport parking
Here are some expert tips for finding the best spot close to the airport.
Go for a trusted name. That’s the advice of Thomas Spagnola, the vice president of supplier relations at Fareportal, a travel technology company. He prefers Park N’ Fly, The Parking Spot or Wally Park. “I use the big three is because they have more shuttles are running consistently to and from the airport, so my wait time isn’t too long,” he says.
Make a reservation. If you’re flying during a busy time of the year, parking fills up quickly. “During holiday seasons and peak tourist season, on-airport options are usually very full and the cheaper parking options are at capacity,” warns Taylor Randolph, a spokesman for Parkfellows, a site that helps travelers shop for airport parking. “Parking rates will increase for off-airport parking due to the increased demand, so it’s best to reserve airport parking before this happens if travelers want the best price.”
Run the numbers anyway. John Rose did on a recent trip from Rochester, N.Y., from Dallas. “Normally, when we fly, we stay at a Comfort Inn hotel, which typically doesn’t charge much to park while we’re gone,” he says. “However, this time, things changed. We called various hotels and they said they now charge $8 to $10 per night to park, in contrast to the previous policy of about $25 to $50 flat rate for a week or more. Not good.”
If you’ve made it this far in the story, your local airport is not happy with you. Because now you’ll save money on parking and avoid those high airport rates. It’s as easy as finding the best option for your next flight and always doing the math.
Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.
Concerned that rising waves will flood runways and buildings in the coming years, officials at San Francisco International Airport are moving ahead with a $587 million plan to build a major new sea wall around the entire airport.
The plan, the latest example of the growing cost of climate change in California, involves driving steel pilings — sheets with interlocking edges — into the mud and also constructing concrete walls in some places around all of the airport’s 10-mile perimeter.
“This is something we’ve been looking at for many years,” said Doug Yakel, a spokesman for the airport. “What’s changed is the level of protection that is needed.”
The airport, built in 1927 in a cow pasture at the edge of San Francisco Bay, serves 55 million passengers a year, making it the nation’s seventh busiest. But its runways sit only about 10 feet above sea level.
The runways, terminals and other buildings are protected now by a series of earthen berms and smaller sea walls which the airport built mostly in the 1980s. But they provide only about 3 feet of protection from flooding.
Under the new project, whose fiscal plan was approved by the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 17, the airport will build five more feet of protection.
That should guard against 3 feet of sea level rise, plus another two feet for big waves during storms, airport planners said. And it should protect the airport through 2085, based on the most recent scientific estimates of sea level rise. Researchers project San Francisco Bay’s waters could rise 1 foot in the next 30 years and another 3 feet or more by 2100. Environmental studies are set to begin next fall, Yakel said, with construction starting in 2025.
The project will be funded with bonds and paid off through higher fees on airlines that fly in and out of SFO, according to airport officials. With interest on the bonds, the final price tag is estimated at $1.7 billion over 30 years.
Environmental groups, who successfully blocked SFO’s plans 20 years ago to build new runways into the bay, say they don’t have a problem with this project.
“We have no objection to this. The airport can’t be easily moved,” said David Lewis executive director of Save the Bay, in Oakland. “But adapting to climate change is going to be expensive. We can save ourselves a lot of money if we reduce the amount that we warm the planet, melt the ice caps, and raise the sea level.”
What’s happening at SFO is also an issue in other places.
Dozens of major airports around the world are located at the water’s edge. In some cases, parts of bays or harbors were filled in generations ago to construct new land for runways. In other places, the shoreline was chosen because it reduced noise problems from airplanes flying over neighborhoods.
“Nobody thought about sea level rise back then,” said Gary Griggs, a professor of earth sciences at UC Santa Cruz who has studied oceanography for more than 50 years. “They put in fill, got it a few feet above sea level and thought they were good. Now they don’t have a lot of options.”
At Oakland International Airport, construction is set to begin next year on a $46 million project to raise a 4-mile earthen dike by two feet to guard runways against rising bay waters.
“Sea level rise is a very big focus of airports both in the U.S. and globally,” said Kristi McKenney, assistant director of aviation for the Port of Oakland, which owns the airport. “The recent hurricanes in the Caribbean shined a bright light on it. The airport industry takes this very seriously.”
San Jose’s airport is not facing the same threat. It sits nearly four miles inland from the bay.
The Earth’s temperature continues to rise as fossil fuels are burned and heat is trapped in the atmosphere. The 10 hottest years since 1880, when modern temperature records began, all have occurred since 1998, according to NASA and NOAA. The planet has warmed 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century, and is expected to warm another 2 to 4 degrees this century at the current rate.
“As you heat water, it expands, just like in your water heater,” Griggs said. “And the warmer it gets, the more ice melts. Ice melts at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or Republican.”
According to tide gauges, San Francisco Bay has risen 8 inches since 1900. Scientists project it will rise another 1 foot by 2050 and another 3 feet or more by 2100. Heavy winter storms, especially during high tides, already cause flooding in some parts of the Bay Area. Waves have over-topped the berms and existing sea walls on occasion at SFO, causing minor flooding issues.
The trouble, scientists say, is that the rate of sea level rise has doubled in recent decades, and is expected to further accelerate. There is some uncertainty about just how high the oceans will go. It depends on how much more fossil fuel is burned in the coming decades and at what rate the ice sheets of Antarctica, Greenland and other ice-bound regions continue to melt, Griggs said.
Bay Area cities and counties have three choices, experts say. First, they can build and restore wetlands in some areas, like the former Cargill salt evaporation ponds in the South Bay. Wetlands buffer waves and storms, reducing flood impacts on the shorelines.
Bay Area voters in 2016 approved $500 million in new funding over the next 20 years for bay wetlands restoration and flood control projects when they passed Measure AA, a $12-per-year parcel tax in all nine Bay Area counties. The first grants went out last year.
Second, cities can build concrete seawalls and levees. That will be the option for important features that cannot be moved, such as airports, or the Embarcadero along the San Francisco waterfront. But it’s expensive.
San Francisco voters last year approved Proposition A, a $425 million bond measure to begin work on an enormous, 30-year, $5 billion project to rebuild the 3-mile long seawall along the city’s Embarcadero — which was built in the 1800s and is cracking and crumbling — all the way from Fisherman’s Wharf to the San Francisco Giants ballpark.
Finally, some areas are likely to be allowed to flood if the costs are too high to preserve them, like hay fields in the North Bay.
“From a global standpoint, there are parts of our world where we are going to adapt and parts where we are going to retreat,” said San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “And there are certain places our society is going to need to armor. SFO falls in that category. The airport is one of the most vital transportation links in the state, the country and the planet. There’s nowhere else for it to go.”
Paul Rogers has covered a wide range of issues for The Mercury News since 1989, including water, oceans, energy, logging, parks, endangered species, toxics and climate change. He also works as managing editor of the Science team at KQED, the PBS and NPR station in San Francisco, and has taught science writing at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.
As one of the world’s busiest airports, (ranked No. 3 in 2018 according to Airports Council International’s world traffic report), Dubai International Airport is also a leader in using artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) leads the Arab world with its adoption of artificial intelligence in other sectors and areas of life and has a government that prioritizes artificial intelligence including an AI strategy and Ministry of Artificial Intelligence with a mandate to invest in technologies and AI tools.
AI Customs Officials
The Emirates Ministry of the Interior said that by 2020, immigration officers would no longer be needed in the UAE. They will be replaced by artificial intelligence. The plan is to have people just walk through an AI-powered security system to be scanned without taking off shoes or belts or emptying pockets. The airport was already experimenting with a virtual aquarium smart gate. Travelers would walk through a small tunnel surrounded by fish. While they looked around at the fish that swim around them, cameras could view every angle of their faces. This allowed for quick identification.
AI Baggage Handling
Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul carrier, believes artificial intelligence, specifically robots, should already be handling baggage service including identifying them, putting the bags in appropriate bins and then taking them out of the aircraft without any human intervention. He envisions these robots to be similar to the automation and robotics used at Amazon.com’s warehouses.
Air Traffic Management
In a partnership with Canada-based Searidge Technologies, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is researching the use of artificial intelligence in the country’s air traffic control process. In a statement announcing the partnership in 2018, the director-general of the GCAA confirmed that it is UAE’s strategy to explore how artificial intelligence and other new technologies can enhance the aviation industry. With goals to optimize safety and efficiency within air traffic management, this is important work that could ultimately impact similar operations worldwide.
Self-driving cars powered by artificial intelligence and 100% solar or electrical energy will soon be helping the Dubai Airport increase efficiency in its day-to-day operations, including improvements between ground transportation and air travel. Imagine how artificial intelligence could orchestrate passenger movement from arrival to the airport to leaving your destination’s airport. In the future, autonomous vehicles (already loaded with your luggage) could meet you at the curb. Maybe AI could transform luggage carts to act autonomously to get your luggage to your hotel or home, eliminating any need for baggage carousels and the hassle of dealing with your luggage.
While much attention is given to the process of vetting passengers to ensure safe air travel, artificial intelligence can also improve the staff clearance process. Some airports see the most significant security threat airports, and airlines face is with airport personnel. An EgyptAir mechanic, baggage handler and two police officers were arrested in connection with the bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268 where all 224 people on board died. There have been several arrests in Australia of border force officers linked to international drug smugglers. Part of these efforts to improve the staff clearance process includes enhancing staff entrances to enable greater control with biometrics, advanced facial recognition and the use of artificial intelligence rather than just CCTV cameras and police monitoring which is used now. Artificial intelligence can look for areas of concerns with a staff member’s behavior and record for crime and violence even before they are hired. After they are hired, AI algorithms can continue to look for changes that could indicate a security problem.
AI Projects Being Explored for the Future
Emirates is developing AI projects in its lab at the Dubai Future Accelerators facility. Some of these include using AI to assist passengers when picking their onboard meals, scheduling a pickup by a taxi as well as personalizing the experience of every Emirates passenger throughout the entire journey. They are also exploring how AI can help Emirates teach cabin crew. We can expect that artificial intelligence will be put to work to solve the problems of airplane boarding by looking at the issue in a way humans have been unable to. The goal would be for AI to architect a queue-less experience.
· Cybersecurity: Airports and airlines have shifted from identifying cybersecurity to preventing cybersecurity threats with an AI assist in response to the expansion of digitalization across aviation.
· Immersive experiences: Augmented reality might be the future of helping travelers find their way through an airport.
· Voice recognition technology: At Heathrow Airport, passengers can already ask Alexa to get flight updates. United Airlines allows travelers to check in to their flight through Google Assistant by simply stating, “Hey Google, check in to my flight.”
As innovation gets pushed by the UAE, Dubai International Airport and other technology innovators around the world, there will be opportunities for abuse and privacy considerations when using these new AI tools and capabilities for air travel. But, if artificial intelligence can remove the biggest headaches from travel, some people (possibly most) will be more than ready to exchange a bit of privacy for a better experience when AI takes over.
Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies. He helps organisations improve their business performance, use data more intelligently, and understand the implications of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchains, and the Internet of Things. Why don’t you connect with Bernard on Twitter (@bernardmarr), LinkedIn (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/bernardmarr) or instagram (bernard.marr)?
I found myself gripping the armrest as my plane attempted a landing in Africa on a remote sandy airstrip, the landing was called off and we needed to circle around several times in order to scare off several resilient giraffes that were occupying the runway. Almost a month later I made a dramatic landing in Bhutan that was like a scene out of Star Wars where my commercial airliner had to bank dramatically to fit in between the narrow, remote mountain terrain………..