Interview: Jon Howell, CEO and Founder of AviaDev, and Nicolas Deviller, Deputy CEO of Ravinala Airports

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Although we’re all missing live ‘in-person’ events, AviaDev Africa, which is this year being hosted by Ravinala Airports Madagascar from 9-11 June, is set to deliver an exciting, engaging event that offers robust discussion, interaction and insights. Regional Gateway will be leading a roundtable discussion on how African airports can leverage non-aeronautical revenue opportunities. Ahead of the event, we spoke with AviaDev’s MD Jon Howell and Nicolas Deviller, Deputy CEO of Ravinala Airports, to find out more.

A statement from HMG Aerospace

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we find ourselves feeling increasingly proud of the industry’s ability to adapt, respond and become ever more resilient to the critical challenges that confront it. Although the long-term effects of this crisis will reach far and strike deep, many within the industry have already taken the first few steps back towards normal – or at least “new normal” – service. Ryanair has announced that as of July 1, it plans to reinstate 40% of its scheduled service. Wizz Air intends to increase operations from Gatwick Airport, and Boeing has asked its largest supplier of 737 MAX parts to restart manufacturing. Whilst many airlines have had to reshape and resize their operations, this forced restructure gives them the opportunity to strengthen their business model and consolidate their fleet. They will rebuild on stronger and hopefully greener foundations.

The pandemic has created a more charitable and democratic aviation industry. The web is awash with news stories detailing the contributions made by businesses around the globe to the fight against COVID-19. From helicopter manufacturers like Leonardo supplying HEMS helicopters for aircraft availability and mission effectiveness, to airlines like flydubai operating flights across four continents to repatriate citizens, the industry has shown willing to rally round and support those in need. In addition, there has been a significant increase in companies seeking to engage with their customers, offering them the chance to directly influence future business decisions. We have been particularly impressed by a recent Eurowings initiative, whereby the company utilises social media to ask its customers what services they would like the airline to provide both during and post-COVID-19. Discussions and decisions are being released from the confines of the corporate boardroom and presented to the people who will be most affected by them: the passengers.

Taking inspiration from the industry we serve, here at HMG Aerospace we have adapted in order to continue delivering. We have taken advantage of the various digital services available to ensure that our products are published on schedule and that our editorial content is topical, rich and often exclusive. From dynamic digital magazines to video interviews with senior aviation executives; from digital marketing solutions to news websites and weekly newsletters, not forgetting our participation in pioneering online broadcast events like FlightPlan by Inmarsat Aviation and APEX, HMG Aerospace remains as committed as ever to supporting and reporting on the industry.

On behalf of all the team at HMG Aerospace, keep safe and well.

Best wishes,

Mark Howells and Becky Howells

Cork Airport launches self-service bag tag and drop kiosks

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Cork Airport and airline partner Aer Lingus have launched new self-service bag tag and bag drop kiosks installed by Collins Aerospace.

The airport launched the new self-service platforms following a €200,000 capital investment, with the technology including six self-service kiosks and two self-service bag drops.

The new service will allow Aer Lingus passengers to check-in for their flight through common-use self-service (CUSS) kiosks, which the airport suggests will speed up the check-in process and reduce queuing times.

“This year passenger numbers travelling through Cork Airport will hit 2.6 million, up 8% on 2018 and making us Ireland’s fastest growing airport,” said managing director at Cork Airport Niall MacCarthy. “As we head into 2020 with more growth forecast, we are introducing new automated technologies to increase operational efficiency and further enhance passenger experience at the airport.”

“We are delighted to announce these new self-service kiosks and baggage drops, hosted by our key airline partners Aer Lingus and Aer Lingus Regional,” MacCarthy continued. “Our aim is to make Cork Airport the airport of choice for those who value convenience and a stress-free travel experience wherever they live in Munster or South Leinster.”

The new technology is one of several initiatives introduced by the airport in the past year to improve the passenger experience, including a new Airport Control Centre for three of its operational departments (Airport Police, Airport Duty Managers and Airside Management Unit), a purpose-built office suite, The Hub, as well as updates to the restaurant and bar experience.

Dorothy Coffey, general manager, operations and safety at Cork Airport commented: “My job is to ensure the passenger journey is convenient, safe and secure. Earlier this year, Cork Airport won the top award for European airports in its class from the Airports Council International. We always strive to stay ahead of the curve with innovation and this latest technology deployment is part of our continuous improvement programme.”

Image, Cork Airport (L-R): Jim Rogers and Peter O’Shea from Aer Lingus with Cork Airport’s Dorothy Coffey and Niall MacCarthy.

SITA to manage key systems at Kotoka International Airport

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The Ghana Airports Company Limited has extended its agreement with SITA for the next five years, through which SITA will manage and support all passenger processing, baggage management and airport operations systems across Kotoka International Airport’s newly commissioned Terminal 3.

The agreement follows the successful deployment of these systems to support the opening of the new terminal in October last year, including common use check-in desks and self-service check-in kiosks. The airport will make use of SITA’s baggage management technology to assist airlines in tracking bags across the journey.

With the Airport Management Solution SITA said this will simplify planning and real-time operational control by facilitating collaborative decision-making between stakeholders while optimising the use of airport resources. SITA said the solution will also support revenue management with its billing and reporting functionality.

Yaw Kwakwa, managing director of Ghana Airports Company, commented: “Having implemented many of the solutions in use at Terminal 3, together with their experience across numerous African airports, SITA were best placed to support the management of these vital systems that underpin the smooth operation of Kotoka International Airport.”

SITA will be responsible for the maintenance and operations of these systems and integration with other airport systems over the next five years.

“With a rapidly expanding economy in Ghana, Kotoka International Airport has emerged as one of the main and fastest-growing hubs on the continent,” said Hani El-Assaad, SITA president, Middle East, India & Africa. “We are pleased to support the smooth operation of this important hub. It is an endorsement of SITA’s experience and proven technology that today is used in many airports across Africa.”

Operating in 45 of the 54 African countries, SITA supports a growing number of airports across the continent.

Airsavvi report studies CO2 emissions of the world’s busiest routes

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Airsavvi, the recently-launched travel data insights brand of VariFlight, has released a report studying the carbon emissions of some of the world’s busiest international and domestic air routes.

Based on the ICAO Carbon Emissions Calculator Methodology and data from Airsavvi Flight Happiness Index (FHI) and the H1 2019 Global Airports and Airlines On-time Performance Report by VariFlight, the analysts ranked carbon emissions data of 20 of the world’s busiest international/regional routes on 15 September 2019.

The report found that the Seoul Incheon – Hong Kong route has the highest amount of carbon dioxide emissions among 20 of the world’s busiest international routes. A first class passenger on the route can generate as much as 1.069 tonnes of CO2, which Airsavvi said was, “higher than the average annual per capita CO2 emissions of 60 countries.”

Exploring some of the bustling domestic routes in the world, Airsavvi found that in the top 20 list of the busiest domestic routes in North America, each passenger flying from Los Angeles Ontario Airport to New York Kennedy Airport generated an average of 1.087 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Meanwhile in Europe, Airsavvi found carbon emissions from domestic flights to be less than many other regions in the world. The Moscow – St. Petersburg route has more carbon emissions that the rest of the top 20 busiest European domestic routes.

The most environmentally friendly route in the list was found to the be route connecting the island airport Tenerife North, with Gran Canaria, with an average carbon cost per passenger on a one-way flight only 48kg.

Finally, among the top 10 busiest domestic routes in the Asia-Pacific region, the Shanghai Hongqiao – Beijing Capital route has the highest average carbon emissions per capita, while the first-class per capita carbon emissions on the route reached 1.696 tonnes – which Airsavvi said is equal to one-third of the amount of annual CO2 emissions from that of a midsize SUV.

Comparing full-service carriers with the low-fare airlines, Airsavvi found that for global flights taking off and landing on 15 September, the per capita of CO2 emissions for an LCC was one-third of that of a full service carrier (262.86kg avg vs. 779.78kg avg).

As many LCC flights do not have a first or business class this creates space for more economy seats. Also, according to an EASA report, the average checked luggage per passenger on an LCC flight is 0.9kg lighter than that on a full service flight.

Concluding the report, Airsavvi commented: “As major producers of carbon emissions, enterprises are the leaders of the future of green economy,” suggesting that leaders can take environmental considerations into account while pursuing economic interests, “and continuously create green GDP.”

“For the general public, air travel should not be boycotted but promoted in a more cost-efficient way,” the report continued. “Certain efforts could also be done by the public to offset the emissions of carbon dioxide.”

Armenian Airports Company welcomes Ryanair service plans

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Armenia International Airports Company is welcoming Ryanair to its airports and is planning to invest in Gyumri’s Shirak Airport ahead of the service launch.

Ryanair is adding Armenia as the 40th country in its network, with two new routes from Yerevan to Milan Bergamo and Rome Ciampino from January 2020, and two new routes from Yerevan to Berlin Schönefeld and Gyumri to Memmingen starting summer 2020.

Cascade. Yerevan

At a joint press conference with the airline, the director of Armenia International Airports, Marcelo Wende announced the entry of the airline to the Armenian aviation market.

“We are planning to invest to Gyumri’s Shirak Airport about $20 million, and investments are under way now,” Wende announced. “On April, when Ryanair starts the flights, we will already have a new arrival hall where we will also be able to receive more flights.”

Wende also highlighted that the development of the airport is of interest to the government.

Ryanair’s David O’Brien commented: “We’re pleased to announce Ryanair’s low fares have arrived at Yerevan and Gyumri, our newest airports and 1st airports in Armenia.”

He added that the routes will “further promote Armenian tourism” continuing “We look forward to developing new Armenian traffic growth, new routes, and jobs in the coming years.”

Ryanair’s 2020 schedule will deliver 130,000 customers annually to/from the airline’s Armenian airports.

Williston Basin Airport opens but construction is ongoing

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Williston Basin International Airport in North Dakota, US, opened its doors for operations on 10 October. However construction at the airport, which began in 2016, is still ongoing with a newsletter for the airport stating: “The rental care and employee parking lots, general aviation tenant hangars, rental car wash facility, and children’s play area are a few areas that are still under construction.”

The airport has been relocated and renamed from the Sloulin Field International Airport. The new facility has been constructed in response to increased commercial aircraft traffic. It comprises four gates and three jet bridges, with the ability to accommodate 350,000 passengers annually.

“We’re thrilled to begin flights from the Williston Basin International Airport connecting passengers to domestic and international locations near and far,” says Anthony Dudas, airport director. “With a 22% increase in airport traffic expected this year, we anticipate more than 140,000 passengers to be supported by our new airport facility.”

Amongst a variety of features, the new airport will feature a full-service bar and restaurant, grab-and-go snacks and drinks, as well as vending machines and a gift shop. Speaking earlier this year on the details Williston Economic Development Executive Director Shawn Wenko said: “A lot of these amenities we don’t have at Sloulin Field, so they will make Williston Basin a much more attractive facility for both the airlines and passengers.

Burns & McDonnell, served as the designer and on-site construction representative for various projects at the North Dakota hub, including a 51,000 sq. yard general aviation apron and the supporting general aviation taxilane system; 5 miles of perimeter and access roads and 7 mils of 10-foot-tall wildlife perimeter fencing; and steel structures to support the medium intensity approach lighting with runway alignment indicator lights system for the primary runway. Dudas complemented the firm saying: “Burns & McDonnell and Alliance Consulting helped us stay on schedule as they designed and constructed world-class infrastructure systems for our community’s airport.”

Meanwhile Andy Loftus, project manager and civil engineer for Burns & McDonnell, which has experience working at more than 350 airports around the world commented: “From providing design and construction services on a general aviation to designing critical electric systems, we brought an ongoing commitment to successful collaboration and project delivery.” He added: “We look forward to our continued partnership with the airport and community as they connect passengers to and from the region.”


Regional airports in Australia welcome release of funding guidelines

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Airports in Australia have welcomed the Australian Federal Government’s release of funding guidelines for its new Regional Airports Program which will provide funding for maintenance and upgrades at eligible regional airports.

The programme aims to improve safety and accessibility for regional airports by supporting critical air infrastructure that will improve safety; connectivity of the regions; facilitate improved delivery of essential goods and services; or meet operational requirements of aeromedical and emergency services in the regions.

To be delivered over four years, airport owners and operators will be able to apply for a part in the $100 million funding programme.

“For many regional communities, the local airport provides an essential link to the rest of Australia,” deputy Prime Minister and minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack commented. “That’s why we’ve committed $100 million over four years from 2019–20 to 2022–23 to help owners of regional airports right across Australia deliver safer runways, taxiways and other safety upgrades such as new fencing or safety equipment.”

He added that the programme would “make sure regional airports meet the needs of communities and local industry now and into the future.”

The Australian Airports Association (AAA) welcomed the release of the guidelines and said the programme would help address the “$170 million aeronautical infrastructure deficit that exists in the regions, with many regional airports facing persistent budget deficits over the next 10 years.”

“With so many regional airports struggling to make ends meet, access to funding for essential maintenance and upgrades will be a game changer for the regions,” said AAA chief executive officer Caroline Willkie, calling regional airports “the lifeblood” of communities.

“This is an important step towards ensuring a strong, safe and vibrant regional airport network for the benefit of all Australians,” Willkie continued.

Projects ranging from runway and taxiway works to animal fencing and safety equipment will be eligible.

airBaltic to launch Manchester to Riga service

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airBaltic is to launch scheduled flights between Manchester and Riga, Latvia from spring next year.

Launching 29 March 2020, the new route will take place four times weekly and will be operated on the Airbus A220-300 aircraft.

“It’s great to see airBaltic come to Manchester Airport with flights to Riga,” commented Manchester Airport commercial director Stephen Turner. “It is already a very popular destination, so it is great to see the Latvian flag carrier come onto the route too, giving additional choice and flexibility for the 22 million people in our vast catchment area.”

Turner added that as well as enabling passengers to visit Riga it also “massively opens up Eastern Europe and Russia to our passengers, which will benefit business and leisure travellers alike. We look forward to the route starting next year.”

Martin Gauss, chief executive officer of airBaltic commented: “Riga is a dynamic city and a key business centre of the Baltic states and has a lot to offer to both business and leisure travellers. It is also a very convenient transfer point with excellent connections within our wide route network.

“Our passengers will be able to travel to both cities for very attractive prices in the economy or our full-service business class on the new and comfortable Airbus A220-300 aircraft,” he added.