New baggage transfer solution enhances passenger journey

By Airports, Baggage handling, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Technology and services company, Air Black Box, has launched a new baggage transfer solution called ThruBag to help airlines and connection airports provide through baggage service for self-connecting passengers.

ThruBag enables self-connecting passengers to check their baggage to their final destination airport and avoid the hassle of rechecking luggage at connecting airports.

While traditional airport and airline baggage processes only work for legacy itineraries where all flights are on the same ticket, ThruBag replicates the convenience of through-checked interline baggage, even for those not travelling on legacy interline itineraries. The connecting-baggage solution is available to self-connecting passengers, as well as all kinds of airlines, including low-cost and ultra-low-cost carriers. It is designed for easy deployment across airports and airlines alike, with no need to change underlying systems.

Until now, checked baggage has proven an obstacle for self-connecting passengers – according to OAG, 58% of air travellers are aware of options to self-connect their flight itineraries, but only 40% of those travellers have self-connected. They have had to reclaim their checked bags at their connecting airport and recheck them for their onward flight. Subsequently they have to go through the security checkpoint again and if flying internationally, must also clear customs and immigration.

“This is really a solution whose time has come, and that’s demonstrated by the level of interest we are seeing from airports and airlines worldwide who want to gain a competitive advantage using ThruBag,” said Patrick Edmond, Chief Commercial Officer of Air Black Box. “We’re confident that ThruBag will help our airport partners to position themselves as attractive connecting hubs, while airlines can increase passenger satisfaction and choice, and that means more revenue for both airports and airlines,” he added.

ACI World updates guidance for airports to aid their recovery

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Airports Council International (ACI) World has published updated guidance for airports to aid their business recovery and improve operations following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to advice on practical and efficient health and operational measures that can be introduced to support safe travel, the trade body has also expanded its guidance to include information on health passes and vaccinations, as well as risk management when returning to operations, with a particular focus on human factors during recovery.

ACI anticipates the return to business for the industry to take place in phases with mainly domestic travel recovering first with a slow increase in passenger volume. Then it is expecting a gradual scale-up in capacity based on passenger demand. This will then be followed by a return to more normal passenger volumes.

“Over the last 15 months, ACI has worked with governments, international organisations and industry partners to address the concerns of the aviation industry in an effort to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and return to a thriving and dynamic business,” said ACI World Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira.

“Airports have shown considerable resilience and ingenuity in developing procedures to help passengers feel safe and secure, and ACI has promoted the interests of airports in the global community, which goes well beyond aviation. The ACI Airport Health accreditation Programme is a clear example of our shared commitment to prioritised health, safety, and the customer experience, on the path to recovery.”

Oliveira also noted that with the global roll out of vaccines and loosening of travel restrictions, “the time for airport business recovery is here… The updated guidance will help airports to seize the moment. It covers all aspects oof airport management and operation to help the airport operators choose and implement measures that might be appropriate according to local circumstances.”

The publication, which is currently in its third edition, is being sponsored by Honeywell, which has also contributed new chapters on technological solutions for healthy airports

Paw-fect improvements at Perth Airport

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Perth Airport is making it even easier for passengers travelling with an assistance animal by offering two new Service Animal Relief Areas in Terminal 1 and Terminal 4.

According to Perth Airport’s Chief Commercial Officer, Kate Holsgrove, the airport is committed to making travel more accessible for all passengers and enhance their overall experience.

“We’re continually looking at opportunities to improve access for people travelling with a disability and the new facilities are part of our commitment to making our airport more accessible for all.

“When people with service animals travel, they are obviously keen to ensure that their animal is cared for in the best possible way, whether that be pre-or post-flight.”

She also added that, “the locations of the new facilities that have been chosen to allow quick and easy access, particularly while waiting on baggage or following the check-in process.”

Perth Airport’s Access and Inclusion Customer Reference Group, which advocates for accessibility and is working to improve the customer experience for passengers with disabilities, is working to create a more inclusive airport for Western Australia. It is working with VisAbility, Blind Citizens WA and People with Disabilities WA.

“We are committed to continuing these consultative forums to discuss the issues and barriers that people with disability experience while travelling,” Holsgrove added.

David Voscanos, Accessibility Specialist at VisAbility, said that new areas provide passengers with service animals a more private and fit for purpose facility which will improve the travel experience for people with disability.

Meanwhile, Erica Webb, Blind Citizens WA said: “It has been great working with the Perth Airport team on this initiative and we look forward to participating in oother future projects to improve access for all at our airport.”

And Greg Madson from People with Disabilities WA said the new areas were a great initiative and provide some additional certainty that his service animal, Memphis, will be more comfortable and happier on his journey when he travels to and from Perth.

The new facilities have also been given the ‘woof’ of approval from Memphis as one of their first canine customers.

Perth Airport welcomes Australia’s first Aspire Lounge

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Swissport International is expanding its lounge business in the Asia-Pacific region having launched the first Australian lounge under its global Aspire brand at Perth Airport.

The addition of the Aspire lounge at the Perth follows Swissport’s acquisition of No1 lounges with facilities in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The new Aspire lounge in Perth is Swissport’s fourth lounge in Australia and was developed in partnership with Perth Aiport and is open to all passengers departing from Terminal 2. The terminal is currently home to charter and regional flights operated by Virgin Australia, Alliance Australia and Rex.

Passengers accessing the lounge can make use of comfortable seating and a relaxing atmosphere for 120 guests. Amenities include a variety of digital magazines and newspapers, charging facilities, televisions and free Wi-Fi.

“We are excited to bring our renowned Aspire lounge brand to Perth Airport. It will make travelling for our guests as relaxing as possible,” said Brad Moore, Swissport’s Managing Director Australia. “Our lounge products are carefully designed to meet the unique and evolving needs of our airport and airline partners. The remote area workers that frequent Perth’s Terminal 2 will have access to a peaceful new space for socialising and dining, adding some extra comforts to the start of their journey.”

Perth Airport’s CCO, Kate Holsgrove, added: “Pay-per-use lounges are becoming more popular at airports around the world. It is great to be able to open the new Aspire Lounge to our regional passengers as a place to escape the hustle and bustle before their flight.”

The airport is set to welcome a second Aspire lounge later this year. It will be built in the airport’s former control centre and part of the observation deck, transforming it into a dedicated space for passengers to unwind and enjoy sweeping views of the airport and the city skyline before embarking on their journey.

London Biggin Hill’s Heli Shuttle service prepares for reopening of transatlantic market

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Following the ease of quarantine restrictions for visitors from the EU and the US, London Biggin Hill Airport’s Heli Shuttle service is hoping for a sharp increase in demand in the coming months.

The Heli Shuttle service is operated by Castle Air and offers the airport’s customers the quickest route to central London with a flight time of just six minutes.

Transatlantic passengers travelling to and from New York are also able to take advantage of the New York Heli Shuttle at London Biggin Hill’s sister airport Teterboro, which provides a six-minute flight directly to Manhattan’s East 34th Street Heliport. The ‘air-bridge’ creates the fastest and most effective way to travel between the two cities.

The Heli Shuttle has a dedicated, airport-based fleet of six-passenger Leonardo AW109s, and 12-passenger AW139s that fly single- and dual-pilot under IFR and VFR.

“The easing of quarantine rules for those arriving from the US and EU will result in many more business and private passengers arriving at London Biggin Hill Airport,” said Andy Patsalides, Head of Marketing, London Biggin Hill. “With its six-minute flight time to central London and COVID-19 safety measures, we expect demand for the London Heli Shuttle will continue to increase.”

Goldhofer, Guinault, Rheinmetall and Flite Line collaborate on latest generation of eGSE.

By Airports, Featured, Ground handling, NewsNo Comments

In collaboration with manufacturers, Goldhofer, Guinault and Rheinmetall, Flite Line is showcasing the latest generation of battery-electric ground handling systems.

Goldhofer’s American subsidiary, Flite Line, plans to showcase all-electric aircraft tow tractors and battery-operated ground power and air start units at this year’s GSE Expo being held in Las Vegas in October. It will also showcase Goldhofer’s PHOENIX E – the all-electric towbarless aircraft tractor. Also making its debut in Vegas is the emission-free brand new Rheinmetall eMSU air start unit. The all-electric unit can be recharged from any electric vehicle charging station or regular power grid interface.

Energy required for aircraft on the ground is delivered by Guinault’s all-electric EGA 180 battery ground power unit (GPU) with up to 180kVA output. It provides mobile exhaust-free power for aircraft up to B777 even under the toughest operating conditions. The E-GPU’s unique design is based on five years of data gathering from Guinault diesel GPUs worldwide.

Flite Line is celebrating its jubilee anniversary this year having served customers in the North and South American markets with a portfolio of airport and transport equipment for fifty years.

For the latest on eGSE, look out for the September issue of Regional Gateway or subscribe here.

Avfuel expands branded network with addition of Flightways Columbus

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As the lone FBO at Columbus Airport – the region’s only towered airport – Flightways Columbus has joined Avfuel’s branded FBO network.

Offering guests streamlined travel services including third-party maintenance and an avionics shop on site, Flightways Columbus boasts a convenient location along the Alabama/ Georgia border and congested airspace for tech stops and overnights alike.

Offering a complete portfolio of professional services and amenities, Flightways Columbus features full-service fuelling facilities, as well as self-serve avgas; GPU, potable water, a stair truck/ passenger stairs; baggage unloading and loading; cleaning; after-hours service; hotel reservations, rental cars and limo services and catering. It also features a comfortable passenger lobby; an executive conference room, a pilot briefing room and a relaxing pilot lounge and snooze room.

“At Flightways, we challenge ourselves to establish a personal connection with all customers and strive to create positive experiences that are unforgettable, which falls in line with the service that Avfuel provides – to connect people, companies and cultures,” said Michele Renfroe, Flightways Columbus’ FBO Manager.

She was joined by Joel Hirst, Senior VP Sales at Avfuel, who said: “The Avfuel team is thrilled to welcome Flightways Columbus to the Avfuel network. Its team is known for providing attentive care to planes, pilots and passengers – we look forward to helping enhance that customer experience with Avfuel’s reliable fuel supply and suite of solutions. It’s a true partnership focused on the needs of the customers. We look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead and thank the Flightways Columbus team for entrusting its fuel supply services with Avfuel.

GateOne acquires Chandler Municipal Airport’s sole FBO

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Chandler Air Service, the sole FBO at Arizona’s Chandler Municipal Airport has been acquired by GateOne, which is now the owner and operator of three FBO facilities (including Chandler Air Service) serving the Southwest aviation community. GateOne’s FBO family also includes facilities at Cedar City, Utah and San Antonio, Texas.

GateOne’s latest acquisition includes an 8,000 sq.ft. office building with a reception, pilot shop, flight instructor offices, classroom and study areas, a conference room, break room and lounge areas. It also features a 14,000 sq.ft. executive hangar capable of housing turboprops and medium size jets as well as an 8,000 sq.ft. maintenance hangar. It also includes all of Chandler Air Service’s business lines: full FBO services, a renowned part 141 flight school, aircraft rentals and maintenance.

A number of updates are already in the works on the FBO, although it will remain open during the transition process. GateOne is also in discussions with airport management to build additional hangars featuring 28-foot doors to handle most class oof business jets.

Chandler Air Service, which has been in operation for more than 40 years, having opened in 1976, has garnered a reputation for exceptional customer care. GateOne will maintain the FBOs staff and leadership, ensuring a smooth transition for its valued customers. The FBO will also undergo rebranding to the GateOne Chandler name.

“The team at Chandler has historically done an upstanding job at addressing the aviation community’s needs,” said Thomas Mathew, President and CEO of GateOne. “GateOne looks forward to helping support the airport’s growth as business and leisure travel in southern Phoenix booms. Our goal is to build upon the FBO’s solid foundation to enhance the local aviation community’s experience with GateOne Chandler as a premier gateway to metro Phoenix – an experience that will match the level of service and amenities found at GateOne Cedar City and GateOne Stinson.”

Situated in the southeast corner of the greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area in central Arizona, the Avfuel-branded GateOne Chandler FBO will provide a convenient fly-in location for access to the area’s businesses, fine dining and cultural attractions with the Grand Canyon and Air Museum of Tucson just a couple of hours flight away.

Gainesville Regional Airport unveils new terminal expansion

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Florida-based Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV) marked the opening of its newly upgraded terminal with a ribbon cutting ceremony on 29 July.

The 15,200 sq.ft. two-gate passenger terminal expansion and improvement project was completed less than two years after breaking ground.

Providing a variety of passenger amenities and services to accommodate increased passenger traffic and demand, the expanded terminal features additional restrooms, a new food and beverage area, a quiet reflection room, an outdoor pet relief area and connectivity features in every passenger chair.

GNV’s CEO, Allan Penksa, expressed his gratitude to those involved in the new terminal by  saying they have been “instrument in shaping the vision for this great community asset.” He also paid homage to the local construction teams for “working hard through all types of conditions,” to realise the almost $16 million project that is part of the airport’s master plan.

“This project has been years in the making and is an important milestone in oour continuing efforts to provide high quality air service and passenger facilities to our region,” added Penksa. “The fact that all involved were able to do this so well and uninterrupted despite the challenges of a worldwide pandemic is simply amazing.”

Meanwhile, Gainesville Alachua County Regional Airport Authority (GACRAA) Chairwoman, Grace Horvath, said as the community comes out oof the pandemic, passengers are truly responding to the airport’s enhanced service and GNV’s ‘Fly Easy’ experience. “Beyond the capacity improvements and ability to support new service, this project provides an even more beautiful front door to our region, one we can all be proud of,” she noted.

The airport’s terminal expansion project was paid for by a combination of state and federal grants, along with passenger facility charges collected by the airport’s carriers, Delta and American Airlines. The terminal expansion and boarding bridges are the second and third phases of terminal investment, with final phases including addition parking options, new outbound, baggage screening/ handling system and additional airline operations space to better accommodate existing and future carriers.

Avfuel supports GAMI’s unleaded avgas solution

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Aviation fuel giant, Avfuel, is collaborating with General Aviation Modifications (GAMI) by providing its distribution expertise in support of the engineering company’s high-octane unleaded avgas.

GAMI announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had approved Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) authorising use of its G100UL high-octane unleaded avgas on 27 July. These new STCs represent the initial major milestone for bringing G100UL avgas to market across North America. As the approved model list (AML) for these STCs expands over the next year, it will provide the functional equivalent of a fleet-wide certification for spark ignition piston powered aircraft and engines to operate on G10oUL avgas.

While GAMI will focus on expanding the AML, Avfuel will support the initiative by handling the logistics of the product’s distribution and helping to establish a supply chain for bringing G100UL safely and responsibly to market on a commercial scale.

“We owe it to our industry, our communities and the companies that have worked diligently toward a suitable answer to help make a solution work,” said Craig Sincock, Avfuel’s President and CEO. “The work GAM has accomplished is admirable and exciting, and we congratulate its team on this exciting first milestone. Avfuel is honoured to provide its expertise to help further the unleaded avgas initiative.”

Meanwhile, Tim Roehl, GAMI President stated, “The FAA approval of G100UL high-octane unleaded avgas is a truly huge development for the future of general aviation… Now is the time for all of the stakeholders in the general aviation community to stand up and celebrate. These AML-STCs are the ‘beginning of the end’ for the continued use of lead in aviation gasoline.”