-The long-awaited start of construction of the Guangzhou New Airport in China has moved closer with the award of the initial design contract for the passenger terminal to Parsons Greiner of the USA. The deal, worth about $10 million, represents one of the first significant contracts to be awarded since the Guangzhou project was first unveiled in 1992. The terminal will boast 52 gates and initially handle some 35 million passengers, with the capacity to increase to 80 million. Work at the site, 28km (17 miles) north of Guangzhou, is scheduled to begin by March 1999 with a tentative opening date at the end of 2001.

-The first of two new runways at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport has opened on schedule. It will be joined by a second at the beginning of 2001, bringing total runways to four and the capacity of the airport to 55 million passengers annually, against 31 million today. Because of noise restrictions, the new runway is meant to be used for landings only, although until March it is being used for take-off as well because one of the existing runways is being repaired.

-The planned full privatisation of ADR, the company which runs Rome's airports, has been delayed until next year as the Government is undecided how to sell the 54.2% of shares still in state hands.

-Work has started on expanding Stockholm's Skavsta airport. The terminal will be capable of handling up to 800,000 passengers compared with today's figure of 200,000. A decision is also imminent on lengthening the runway to cater for long-haul traffic.

-KLM Ground Services has won its first contract outside Heathrow with the award of a deal to take over one of the two handling licences at London City Airport.

-GHI Thobela has been selected to operate ramp activities at three major South African airports in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. The company is a joint venture involving the UK's GHI along with the African Harvest Bank and empowerment group Women for Capital Growth.

Source: Flight International