Aberdeen Airport to introduce an airside smoking facility
More than 400 passengers said they wanted it, while more than 500 gave their views, and now Aberdeen Airport is preparing to launch an airside smoking shelter.
At the start of 2012, the airport team kicked off a study to investigate whether providing facilities for smoking after security would reduce the number of full terminal evacuations. Many such evacuations are caused when passengers light up in prohibited areas, activating the smoke alarms at a cost of thousands of pounds per evacuation.
To assess the options, a survey was launched. Overall 73% of respondents were in favour of such a shelter. 96% of smokers supported the project, and importantly even 61% of non-smokers felt that providing such facilities would be a good idea.
Since the survey was completed, the teams at the airport have been working up a plan for where such a facility could be located, ensuring that it meets all the requirements in legislation regarding smoking in a public place.
The facility will be in an external airside area, adjacent to the main departure lounge, and those wishing to use it will be charged £1. That money will be used solely to support the maintenance and upkeep of the facility. It is hoped the shelter will be operational in the first half of 2013.
Carol Benzie, the airport Operations Director, explained why the process has taken so long to get to this stage. “We are very tightly controlled and regulated as a business, and introducing smoking to an airside area must bring with it strict controls. We have been working hard to ensure that we find a location which is convenient for passengers but also ensures we remain fully compliant.”
“It is important to stress that we have chosen a location which also provides the best protection for our non-smoking passengers in the lounge.”
“I am sure that the many passengers who have been, in the past, caught up in a fire evacuation and re-processing, will join me in congratulating the teams here for their hard work to reduce the frequency with which that happens.”