All airports in Fraport Greece portfolio receive ACI Health Accreditation

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All 14 regional airports operated by Fraport Greece have received Airports Council International (ACI) World Airport Health Accreditation in recognition of measures undertaken to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The airport operator has invested heavily in educating its employees on responding effectively to the the coronavirus crisis and has provided all the necessary resources and means for the implementation of the relevant health protocols and for the protection of the health and safety of passengers and every member of the airport community.

Fraport Greece also maintains regular communication with all international, European and national aviation associations, as well as with the National Organisation of Health Care Service Provision to ensure that every airport policy and procedure confirms with the latest epidemiological data developments and industry’s best practices. All staff members comply with every recommendation and guideline issued by the relevant Health Authorities and Officials, showing their highest degree of responsibility for Public Health and the health of travellers alike.

“From the first day we took over the management and operations of the 14 regional airports, the safety of travellers, employees and of everyone using our airports has been our priority. In view of the new norm imposed by the pandemic, we think it is our duty to do our best to protect the health and safety of passengers, airport staff members and public health in general,” said Ilian Maragakis, Chief Operations Officer, Fraport Greece.

“On that note, we strictly follow every protocol and guideline issued by the Authorities and we implement all the measures that protect the airport community from the virus and its further spread. The ACI World Health Accreditation is a further testament that our commitment towards the safety of both passengers and local communities has turned into effective actions,” he continued.

If not already, then make sure you’re subscribed to receive the June issue of Regional Gateway magazine, featuring an exclusive interview with Fraport Greece’s CEO, Alexander Zinell.

Skyports joins forces with Royal Mail to pioneer drone deliveries to Isles of Scilly

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Royal Mail has teamed up with Skyports, as well as DronePrep, the University of Southampton, Excalibur Healthcare Services, Consortiq Limited and Windracers Limited to provide better connectivity to the Scilly Islands’ remote communities, using autonomous scheduled drone flights.

The Government-funded project will initially focus on helping the fight the pandemic by delivering crucial PPE and testing kits to the islands’ most vulnerable and remote communities.

A large, twin-engine, UK-built UAV from Windracers Limited will be used to carry mail  from the mainland to the islands, and is able to fly in poor weather conditions, including fog, potentially enabling Royal Mail to better serve remote island communities. A smaller Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTO) drone operated by Skyports will then fly parcels between the two islands for delivery to recipients.

The project unites two pioneering companies – Windracers and the drone delivery arm of air mobility company Skyports – for the first time. It will showcase how UAVs of different sizes could be used to complement each other in the future.

Parcels will be flown to the islands’ airport in St. Mary’s by the twin-engine UAV, which can carry up to 100kg worth of mail at a time – equivalent to a typical delivery round. A smaller VTO drone, operated by Skyports, will then be used to transport items to a number of delivery points throughout the islands.

The UAVs will complement existing forms of transport for mail to the Isles of Scilly and if the trial is successful, the technology will be considered by Royal Mail to help identify opportunities to support postmen and postwomen in delivering to very remote areas and addresses across the UK.

The trial will also examine fuel efficiencies that the drones could provide, as part of the company’s continued drive to reduce emissions associated with operations.

“Drone technology has already proven its value as part of a network, bringing essential items such as mail or medical equipment to remote regions. Working with world-class partners such as Royal Mail, our team at Skyports has conducted a number of successful delivery programmes across the UK and beyond. It’s very gratifying to be part of this new project, using cutting-edge technology to connect communities and make a real difference to people’s day to day lives,” said Duncan Walker, CEO at Skyports.

Avports reaches ‘major agreement’ in extending partnership with Tweed-New Haven Airport

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US airport operator, Avports, has reached a “major agreement” with the Tweed-New Haven Airport Authority that will result in Avports serving as Tweed-New Haven Airport’s (HVN’s) long-term operator in exchange for investing more than $100m in significant capital improvements at the airport in the coming years.

Avports has been the airport’s operator for more than 20 years already and submitted an unsolicited proposal to the authority to transform the airport via a modest runway extension and a new terminal, which together will provide improved passenger service to more destinations, greater passenger convenience, enhanced airport safety, environmental sustainability and carbon-neutrality, a diverse and inclusive local workforce and service providers, and significant economic and community benefit to the adjacent municipalities and region. The authority has agreed to negotiate a final agreement with Avports and not to entertain any other offers so long as the parties are in negotiations.

“Avports is proud to be a long-term partner to HVN and the surrounding community, and now we are proud to come to an agreement that would extend our successful relationship well into the future to the benefit of the community the airport serves,” said Jorge Roberts, CEO of Avports.

“We’re confident that our decades of experience operating and developing regional airports will serve HVN and the community well. We look forward to working together with HVN and the community as we continue to ensure the safest possible air travel and the highest level of service at HVN.”

The airport operator’s $100 million investment will boost the local economy and employment opportunities with the creation of up to 11,000 direct and indirect jobs and $47 million in State and local taxes, according to economic impact analysis commissioned by Avports. The plan will make the airport financially sustainable and eliminate the need for existing subsidies from the State of Connecticut and the City of New Haven, once a lease is finalised.

“This expansion has been discussed for longer than I can remember, and it’s now finally coming to fruition, in part because we have the right partner in our existing operator Avports,” added Sean Scanlon, Director of the Tweed Airport Authority. “Having worked with Avports for some time, I’m confident they will bring high levels of managerial experience as we develop operations at HVN to the benefit and convenience of our flyers and community.”

To find out more about Avports, read the current issue of Regional Gateway featuring an exclusive interview with Avports CEO, Jorge Roberts.

Rise Aviation breaks ground on new FBO terminal at North Texas Regional Airport

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Rise Aviation has broken ground on its new FBO terminal at North Texas Regional Airport (KGYI) in Sherman, Texas, which is slated to be complete in the first quarter of 2022.

Having originally offered FBO services as Lake Texoma Jet Center Rise Aviation acquired the existing FBO at North Texas Regional Airport in 2008. As growth accelerated from the DFW Metroplex north toward the North Texas hub, Rise Aviation began plans for a new modern facility to better serve the general aviation community. Rise then entered negotiations with the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority to acquire an additional leasehold for development of its state-of-the-art FBO facility.

Rise Aviation currently operates four hangar/ office facilities at North Texas Regional Airport totalling more than 67,000 sq. ft. of hangar space, 21,890 sq. ft. of office/ shop space and seven acres of aircraft ramp space. The new project will add 1.4 acres of leasehold and 10,721 sq. ft. terminal, which includes a large passenger lobby, crew lounge and seperate snooze room, a flight planning area, a vending area, leasable office space, an observation deck overlooking the runways, a large executive conference room, and the airport’s administrative offices.

“We are delighted to be underway with construction of our new FBO terminal at North Texas Regional Airport,” said George Schuler, Rise Aviation’s owner. “Rise looks forward to continue serving the users of North Texas Regional Airport with this new facility. As the North Texas area continues to grow, many businesses and investors who come to Grayson County with thoughts about relocating, building or investing here will arrive in a business aircraft and we are pleased Rise Aviation’s new facility at North Texas Regional Airport will be Grayson County’s front door to the world.”

Redline sees increased demand from airports for its security solutions

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Redline, a provider of global security solutions and an Air Partner company, has secured six business wins with customers located around the world and totalling in excess of £1 million in revenues. The wins include agreements with airports, as well as public transport operators, regulatory bodies and government support agencies.

Edinburgh Airport has awarded Redline a three-year contract renewal for its x-ray threat image recognition training (TIRT) system. And Teesside International Airport has become a new customer having agreed a two-year contract with Redline for its digital Security Management System (SeMS).

Commenting on the new partnership, Phil Forster, Managing Director at Teeside International Airport said: “The airport is on an exciting journey of transformation and growth, with Redline playing a key part in our future success. Digital SeMS is a welcome enhancement that will help us to manage and improve our security performance.”

Meanwhile, Mark Briffa, CEO of Air Partners, added, “We are pleased to see a strong rebound in demand for Redline’s services in anticipation of lockdown measures and travel restrictions lifting. It is testament to our first-class product offering and customer service that both new and existing customers, from international airports to government departments, continue to place their trust in us.”

Redline is noting an increased demand for its security solutions as airports begin to scale up operations, including for its user-friendly and technically advanced TIRT system, which has been designed to fine-tune x-ray image screeners’ ability to detect even the smallest components of viable threats. Meanwhile, its proprietary SeMS, which allows managers to effectively assess and manage risk in an ever-changing threat environment, is also gaining good traction with customers.

To hope businesses across the aviation industry as they plan for the return of international travel, Air Partner has also recently launched its newly branded National Safety & Security Academy (NSSA) in Doncaster, which was previously the National Security Training Centre (NSTC).

Cincinnati Airport partners with Veovo for data-driven passenger enhancements

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Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is working with London-based technology provider, Veovo, to expand data input at the airport.

CVG was the first US airport to deploy internet of things (IoT) sensor technology in the security checkpoint to monitor wait times. That project and the data that was drawn allowed CVG and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to make data-driven decisions on staff scheduling, which improved wait times and passenger experience.

Now the Kentucky transport hub is adopting Veovo’s airport-wide flow management technology to obtain a greater understanding of passenger movement beyond the security checkpoint and into other areas of the terminal and concourses. Specifically, the airport will be able to see how travellers, processes and airlines interact and interconnect.

“Providing memorable and predictable journeys, from the driveway to the runway, is a top priority for CVG, and data is the key enabler for our vision,” said Brian Cobb, Chief Innovation Officer, CVG. “Innovative solutions, like those provided by Veovo, allow us to gather and analyse data in real-time and proactively put it to work. We will be able to make better plans and improve productivity, respond to customer needs faster and tap into revenue growth opportunities.”

The technology will be rolled out in phases throughout the year and once complete, historical and live data will enable CVG to make daily operational decisions as well as long-term facility improvement plans. Airport management and operations teams will be able to evaluate how disruptions affect passenger behaviour to prevent issues and/ or mitigate their impact. Dwell and flow data can also be used to strategise plans for layout configuration, signage, food and beverage placements and gate assignments.

And as passenger traffic returns, these insights will help the airport grow efficiently with the right staff resourcing and concession planning to improve product offerings and placements for travellers.

“CVG is one of a growing number of airports globally that have come to recognise the intrinsic value of managing and understanding passenger movements throughout their concourse,” said James Williamson, Veovo’s CEO. “Because traveller behaviours can vary, depending on volumes, time of day, travel class, destination and various other factors, this technology is invaluable in developing an even greater knowledge of the customer journey and helping to shape its future.”

UK Airports declare green list too short for meaningful aviation restart

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Research by the Airport Operators Association (AOA) and published by HMRC shows the scale of the financial impact on COVID-19 on aviation based on the latest Air Passenger Duty (APD) statistics.

According to AOA, in the first year of the pandemic (March 2020-February 2021), HMRC collected less in APD (£638.3m) than it did in just the two summer months July-August 2019 (£729.9m). In total, HMRC collected more than £3bn (83.3%) less tax from March 2020-February 2021 than it did in the same period in 2019/20.

AOA’s Chief Executive, Karen Dee, said the latest government figures on APD show how devastating the collapse in air traffic has been as a result of the pandemic. “With aviation being a driver of economic growth and prosperity and 1.6m jobs relying on aviation and tourism in the UK, our economic recovery hinges upon allowing the safe re-opening of international travel,” she said.

“It is disappointing that the number of nations on the green list remains extremely limited and that vaccinated people are subject to restrictions when travelling to low-risk nations. This is not the meaningful restart aviation and the UK economy need right now.”

The UK Government’s ‘green list’ of countries and territories that travellers from the UK can enter without having to quarantine on their return includes: Australia, Brunei, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel and Jerusalem, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

“The UK’s world-leading vaccination programme combined with advanced testing capabilities should allow for a genuine green light for international travel. The Government needs to introduce affordable, rapid testing for green country arrivals and keep the green list under constant review and add countries as soon as the improving health situation in Europe and the US allows,” continued Dee.

Charlie Cornish, Manchester Airports Group CEO, added that “the aviation industry will be especially concerned that the Government appears to have ignored clear scientific evidence, which shows that testing and vaccinations can support safe travel to a larger group of low-risk destinations.”

He also stated that, “Aviation supports more than 1m jobs and generates billions of pounds of economic value but is being held back by much tighter controls than any other industry. The industry has been impacted more than any other sector, and we need the same positive recovery plan that other parts of the UK economy have been given.”

Meanwhile, Henry Smith MP, Chair of APPG for the Future of Aviation added: “The economic consequences of the collapse in international travel have been devastating for sector businesses and aviation communities.

“But these impacts are far more wide reaching, aviation is an economic enabler and this limited restart of international travel risks holding back our economic recovery and continuing the pain felt by so many over the last year.

“The limited green list risks holding back the restart of our aviation industry and the full restart of a truly Global Britain… We cannot have a full economic recovery if our aviation and travel industries remain on their knees, a full, safe and proper restart of international travel is an economic imperative and there is much more that the Government must do.”

Budapest Airport reopens popular Istanbul route

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Flights from Budapest to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokçen Airport have returned with the Turkish low-cost carrier (LCC) Pegasus Airlines. The route resumes direct connectivity between Hungary’s capital city and Turkey’s major city.

The Turkish LCC will operate the 1,080km route with its fleet of 737s and A320s. Initially the flights will be served twice weekly and is in response to demand from both business and leisure travellers.

“Bringing back business safely is a key prioirty at our airport and it is hugely positive to welcome Pegasus Airlines back to Budapest,” said Balázas Bogáts, Head of Airline Development, Budapest Airport. “Reinstating the popular Istanbul route will provide business and leisure opportunities, as well as the welcome return of visitors to our beautiful city. Re-opening connectivity, boosting trade and tourism, while providing our customers with more connectivity, convenience and choice is our primary goal.”

Munich unveils new mobile and cash free payment system in association with PayPal

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Munich Airport in Germany has become the first European airport to introduce PayPal QR Code – a mobile and cash free payment system – in all stores and businesses of the Eurotrade retail subsidiary.

Eurotrade operates 41 shops from duty-free, news, watches and jewellery to high-quality fashion labels. Effective immediately shoppers can purchase goods without touching cash or card readers with the touch-free PayPal QR Code and their smartphone.

“Again we were pioneers in the introduction of innovations such as payment systems,” said Sven Zahn, Managing Director of Eurotrade Handesl-GmbH. “The option of contact-free payment via a QR code means further growth in service quality and security for Munich Airport, especially in times like these.”

The new QR code will be seamlessly integrated into the processes of existing check-out systems including accounting. When customers want to pay, they open the QR code in the PayPal app on their smartphone and show it to the cashier, who then scans the code and the amount to be paid is shown directly in the app. Customers then select their preferred payment method stored in their PayPal account and confirm the payment on their smartphone. Customers as well as cashiers immediately receive a confirmation of the successful transaction. Alternatively, the QR code can also be displayed on a card reader, and the customers scan it with their smartphone in the PayPal app. For both options, the payment process is completely touch-free, since a PIN code does not have to be entered and neither is a signature required. Passengers with a German, UK or US PayPal account are currently able to use the new payment solution with the extension of the service to PayPal users with foreign accounts to follow soon.

“The pandemic accelerated the demand for touch-free payment options,” explained Jorg Kablitz, Managing Director for PayPal Germany, Austria and Switzerland. “With our new integrated QR code solution, we are offering an ideal answer to this demand, especially for large enterprises and retail chains. we are pleased to advance this new solution with Munich Airport,” he concluded.

Pristina Airport in Kosovo rolls out Amadeus’ automated check-in and bag drop technology

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Passengers travelling through Pristina Airport in Kosovo will now be able to check-in and drop bags independently with Amadeus’ solutions.

The Kosovo hub has been steadily modernising its services since the government entered a 20-year franchise with infrastructure management specialist, the Limak Group in 2011. In line with that agreement, in 2018 the airport had already deployed Amadeus’s Altea Departure Control for Ground Handlers and Baggage Reconciliation System to improve services while reducing costs by 20%.

“With the COVID-19  pandemic travellers demand on automated, quick, convenient and contactless experience at the airport, which is why we’re giving them the option to do self-service bag drop. It is the most important step as it drastically reduces crowding and complements our high rate of online check-in, which is already over 90%,” said Gökmen Aritay, COO, Pristina Airport.

The latest phase of modernisation will see Pristina upgrade its self-service check-in and bag drop so passengers benefit from a smooth experience and can take greater control over every stage of their journey through the airport.

The project will see 10 Auto Bag Drop (ABD) units from ICM Airport Technics, an Amadeus company, deployed for the benefit of airlines and their passengers in time for the summer season. The ABD units will help to automate the process of check-in and bag drop, whilst reducing interpersonal contact as a response to COVID-19. They will be implemented as a retrofit solution, equating to a third of Pristina’s traditional check-in counters.

Richard Dinkelmann, CEO, ICM Airport Technics, an Amadeus company commented: “Despite the challenging environment airports continue to prioritise an automated passenger experience. Contactless, biometrics and self-service are key tools to help airports restore traveller confidence whilst lowering operational costs. We’re pleased to expand our partnership with Pristina to deliver on its vision for a safer, more automated airport.”