Nice Airport trials “touchless” check-in solution

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France’s second busiest air transport hub, Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, has developed a technological solution with its partners to allow passengers a touchless check-in service using their mobile phone.

The self-service check-in system will be available to passengers from Monday 6 December for a two-month trial period. The innovative solution is the result of a collaboration between the airport’s technical and IT services and its partner EASIER, with passengers able to operate the self-service check-in using their smartphones.

Passengers need to scan a QR code displayed on the screen to control the check-in process remotely. They can then manage their airline and flight selection, passsenger and baggage check-in, as well as print boarding passes and bag tags.

To reassure passengers with privacy concerns, the kiosk recognises a passenger’s smartphone via a Wi-Fi connection activated by the QR code. The kiosk is then ‘locked’ so that only this user can control it. If the passenger does not interact with it for 20 seconds or they move too far away without completing the operation, the kiosk cancels and becomes available again. This means a second passenger can’t take over aa process that another passenger has started.

During the trial phase the service is available for passengers travelling with Air France and Air Corsica.

“Alongside improved air filtration within our terminals, optimised conditions to ensure preventive measures are respected, and continuous operations to disinfect surfaces, this additional measure will help to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. We believe that protecting passenger health will remain a key consideration for air transport in the future, and we intend to do everything possible to help passengers, ground staff, flight crew and everyone working at our airport feel safe,” concluded Franck Goldnadel, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur.

Micro Nav agrees remote tower deal with Indra in Hungary

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Micro Nav has partnered with Indra to support their project of delivering a complete tower system for remote control of Budapest Ferenc Liszt Airport to Hungarian air navigation service provider (ANSP) HungaroControl.

In line with the agreement Micro Nav will supply a simulation platform to enable HungaroControl to utilise their contingency environment as a simulator for training and familiarisation purposes.

Micro Nav’s single-solution Beginning to End for Simulation and training (BEST) simulation software will be used to stimulate the InNOVA Tower systems. It will provide a high-fidelity training environment, including surveillance data, flight plans, MET data and video streams for the 3D visuals for the controllers who will transition to operate on identical equipment in the live environment. This stimulator system will also be a contingency system, part of the overall safety set up for remote towers.

“Micro Nav will be an important contributor to a project that will make Budpaest the largest airport in Europe to be remotely controlled,” said Tom André Tarlebø, Chief Technology Officer at Indra. “We have experience with their simulation platform from several projects, and we know the system represents the state of the art in terms of functionality, performance and usability.”

To support research into digital technologies, Micro Nav has taken part in the SESAR PJ05 Wave 2 programme. It has focused in particular on multiple remote tower and remote tower centres, plus HMI interaction modes, with another SESAR trial planned for early next year.

This latest contract for Micro Nav is further demonstration of how simulation can play a key role in transitioning from traditional operational tower to remote digital tower operations, or support a smooth and efficient transition for controllers to new equipment.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira

Airport body calls on governments to implement pragmatic approach to Omicron

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Luis Felipe de Oliveira

In response to flight and travel restrictions by certain countries to/ from destinations where the Omicron COVID-19 variant has been detected, ACI World Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira has called upon governments to coordinate and implement pragmatic and risk-based measures based on science.

“We continue to urge countries to work closely with aviation stakeholders – including airports and airlines – prior to and during the implementation of travel measures to facilitate a more efficient application,” he said.

“This situation is another reminder of the urgent need for countries to adopt interoperable digital health credentials for testing and vaccination that are mutually recognised across borders. This will allow countries to better manage their travel measures and adapt to the evolving health situation.”

Underlining that full travel bans and border closures are not a viable solution as variants continue to emerge, Oliveira underlined that, “The entire aviation ecosystem needs to work together with governments to ensure a safe resumption of travel – one that can be sustained to enable the rebuilding of livelihoods, countries and economies.

Oliveira’s European counterpart – the Director General of ACI Europe – Olivier Jankovec added that with Europe’s airports at the front line of a country’s travel policy, they have seen first-hand the dramatic and disproportionate impact of travel bans and other extreme travel restrictions, which have little effect upon the epidemiological situation. Lending its support to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) call for a calm and measured response to the Omicron variant, ACI has welcomed the WHO’s unequivocal guidance to countries not to knee-jerk into travel bans.

“We know beyond any doubt from the experience gained over these past 20 months that blanket travel bans and quarantines are not effective in preventing the spread of new variants,” said Jankovec. “While they have no impact on the epidemiological situation, they do have dramatic consequences upon livelihoods. We urge all countries to follow the WHO advice and make sure they follow evidence-informed and risk-based approaches when reviewing their travel regimes, as part of precautionary measures in relation to the Omicron variant. In particular, targeted pre-departure testing should be preferred over travel bans and quarantines. Effective coordination and alignment at EU level involving all EEA countries, Switzerland and also the UK is a must.”

Underscoring the need to ensure that vaccines are made more widely available across the globe, Jankovec also urged the EU and other European countries to do more to ensure COVAX gets vaccines swiftly to low income countries. “This could also potentially require the EU to align with the US with a view to wave patents and other intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Securing wider and fairer access to vaccination and therapeutics across the world is an absolute prerequisite to effectively mitigate the risk of other variants of concern emerging,” he concluded.

ANSL partners with the UK’s RABA Group

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Air Navigation Solutions (ANSL) has joined forces with the UK Regional and Business Airports (RABA) Group, which provides a collective voice for UK airports with less than three million passengers per annum.

RABA currently has 40 airport members and represents 75% of all UK airports in this category. Combined these airports handled more than 10 million passengers a year (pre-COVID) in locations across England in all the Devolved Administrations and also covering the crown dependencies.

As RABA’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) partner, RABA will bring new speakers to the Group, present air traffic insights at its member meetings and work closely with RABA to support the represented airports with its bespoke solutions, tailored to the UK regional airport market. “The experience and insights ANSL will bring to RABA will make an important contribution to supporting the work we do with regional and business airports in the UK,” said Neil Pakey, RABA Group’s Chairman.

Henry Game, Managing Director of ANSL added: ” The UK’s regional and business airports are a vital part of the UK’s infrastructure and this partnership with RABA underpins our strong relationships within the UK regional airports market. We look forward to working with the RABA Group to provide the air traffic management solutions that will help ensure these airports remain firmly on the radar.”

Riga Airport certified by Eurocontrol to apply A-CDM procedures

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Riga Airport and SJSC ‘Latvijas gaisa satiksme’ (LGS) have received a certificate from the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) to implement Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) procedures.

The implementation of A-CDM was carried out jointly by both Riga and LGS in April and makes Riga the first and only airport in the Baltic countries to use the A-CDM procedures. The airport has already noted an improved quality of its services and flight safety for both airspace users and passengers.

The procedure ensures the timely exchange of information between airport operators, aircraft operators, groundhandlers, air traffic controllers and other parties involved in the process from the time of flight planning until the moment when an aircraft lands on the runway. Not only does this allow for more accurate scheduling of aircraft take-off and reduced passenger waiting times, it also decreases the resource and fuel consumption costs associated with pre-departure waiting times and aircraft preparation for flight. It also helps reduce environmental pollution and noise.

“Flight safety and security is the top priority at Riga Airport, an important criterion for our decisions, processes and actions. With the introduction of the A-CDM system and now also official certification, we are also fulfilling other tasks set in the company’s strategy to upgrade, simplify and efficiently organise work processes thus reducing the consumption of various resources. We are proud that we were the first to do this work in the Baltic region,” said Laila Odina, Chairperson of the Board of Riga Airport.

Meanwhile, Dāvids Tauriņš, Chairman of the Board of LGS commented, “currently we already witness a significant increase in the number of flights, and we are ready for work in the conditions of higher flight intensity, while providing safe air traffic control services.”

London Luton awarded Airport Carbon Accreditation

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London Luton Airport (LLA) has been awarded Level 3 of the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) scheme – the global carbon management framework for airports, which is managed by Airport Council International (ACI).

Having joined the ACA at the end of 2019, the airport has progressed to Level 3 in just 18 months, following its collaboration with key stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce emissions at the airport.

Overall, the airport has reduced direct carbon emissions by more than 30%, despite a 23% increase in passenger numbers between 2016 and 2019. It has achieved this reduction through various activities including: switching to a 100% renewable electricity supply, which includes sources such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power; upgrades to air handling units to increase efficiency; reducing the number of lights across the site and switching to more efficient LED equivalents; and installing a new heating system, which has resulted in 16% reduction in gas consumption.

While the Level 3 carbon accreditation is a major milestone, Alberto Martin, CEO at LLA acknowledges there is still work to be done. ” We remain committed to reducing our carbon emissions across both our operations and the site itself,” he said.

The airport is determined to achieve carbon neutrality for its own operations by no later than 2026 and is currently developing a carbon reduction strategy to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.

Servy marks its Canadian airport debut at Montréal-Trudeau

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Servy has launched its first airport progamme in Canada at YUL Montréal-Trudeau International Airport. The launch of its Grab Airport Marketplace at the Canadian mark marks Servy’s entry into 13 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

The platform, which launched in November is present in nine restaurants across the airport, including Archibald Microbrasserie, UBar and Pork & Pickle. It is estimated that 40 stores within the airport will be added to the platform, which gives travellers the options to order food and beverages from their own device. This is also the first multilingual Grab Airport Marketplace to launch this year with customers able to choose between French and English.

“We are excited to be expanding into a new region, providing safer ordering options and convenience to more travellers and airport employees,” said Jeff Livney, Chief Experience Officer at Servy.

Sebastien Duteau, Marketing and Commercial Director at ADM Aeroports de Montreal at YUL, added: “We are continuing to do all we can to ensure our airport is a safe and reassuring environment, and our partnership with Servy is an important element in a comprehensive suite of measures. Once travellers begin to return, we’ll be prepared to welcome guests and offer service in a format that works best for them in changed circumstances. We’re looking forward to rolling out the platform across the airport in the future, creating an even more seamless travel experience at YUL Montréal-Trudeau International Airport.”

Gainesville Regional Airport welcomes new GA tenant

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Florida’s Gainesville Regional Airport has welcomed  Consortia Aerospace Group (formerly Chippewa Aerospace Group) as a new general aviation (GA) tenant.

Headquartered in Conway, SC, the engineering service firm established its base at Gainesville on 16 November in the former Silver Airways/ Eclipse Aviation building, occupying a modern, 61,000 sq.ft. maintenance hangar and adjacent 8,300 sq.ft. hangar, which formerly belonged to Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS).

Since the departure of Silver Airways in 2015, Gainesville Airport officials has been actively searching for a comprehensive tenant for the facilities. Airport CEO, Allan Penksa, remarked, “As a leading engineering service firms in the aerospace industry, Consortia Aerospace Group is making an investment in our area that will not only bring jobs, but new opportunities in the vibrant aviation and aerospace research and development industry to our region.” This, he added, will be a “great economic benefit to both the surrounding community and to the airport.”

Meanwhile, Julie Myers, Consortia Aerospace CEO added: “The location and the assets in this community are an ideal location for us to continue to provide our services to a wide variety of domestic and foreign aerospace companies, commercial and business aviation companies and private aircraft owners.”

Rolls-Royce lays claim to world’s fastest all-electric aircraft

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With the pressure on aircraft and engine manufacturers to develop the electric aircraft of the future, Rolls-Royce has inched that bit closer to a podium finish with its ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft, which it believes is the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, having clocked up a maximum speed of 623 kh/h (387.4 (mph).

The aircraft has submitted data to the Fédération Aéronautique International (FAI) – the World Air Sports Federation, which controls and certifies world aeronautical and astronautical records – for three world records.

On 16 November, 2021, the aircraft reached a top spped of 555.9km/h (345.4mph) over 3km, smashing the existing record by 213.04km/h (132 mph). Further runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site, the aircraft achieved 532.1km/h (330mph) over 15km – 292.8km/h (182mph) faster than the previous record – and broke the fastest time to climb to 3,000m by 60 seconds with a time of 202 seconds.

“Staking the claim for the all-electric world-speed record is a fantastic achievement for the Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (ACCEL) team and Rolls-Royce,” said Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce.”The advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) market. Following the world’s focus on the need for action at COP26, this is another milestone that will help make ‘jet zero’ a reality and supports our amibtions to deliver the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng added that the UK Government is “proud to back projects like this to leverage the private investment necessary to unlock cleaner, greener aircraft.”

Propelled on its record breaking runs by a 400kW electric powertrain, the aircraft offers the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace. The world record runs also provided important data for future electric power and propulsion systems for all-electric urban air mobility and hybrid-electric commuter aircraft. The characteristics that ‘air taxis’ require from batteries, for instance, are very similar to what was developed for the ‘Spirit of Innovation.’


Short-haul flights crucial testing ground for decarbonising aviation

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The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has condemned recent European Government announcements to ban short-haul air routes to reduce the environmental impact of aviation.

According to ERA, its airline members connect parts of Europe where air transport is both vital and often the only mode of transportation available to inhabitants in remote regions, islands and dispersed areas. It also highlights that the short-haul segment is creating the necessary push towards the decarbonisation of the sector, providing a testing ground for new technologies that will enable the green transition to a more sustainable industry. For example, electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft will be available first on short-haul routes by 2035, before being deployed on longer routes beyond 2050.

“Banning air routes is dangerous as it may be seen as good for the environment, but in reality, it is not for many reasons,” said Montserrat Barriga, ERA Director General. “Firstly, routes with the equivalent alternative route by train are very few and in most cases the rail network already has the market share anyway. Secondly, the initiative may result in an increase in passengers electing to use their cars to reach their destination. Thirdly, a lot of regional airlines operate routes with thin traffic, so it is unlikely that rail networks will replace sectors that are wholly unprofitable. Lastly, short-haul will be the first sector to test and deploy green technologies. It is therefore simply not effective to reduce CO2 emissions by banning short-haul routes.”

Barriga also argued that banning these routes will also create a sentiment against aviation amongst the public. The focus instead should be on developing solutions that can actually provide CO2 reductions, and not hinder their progress.

“Our industry takes it environmental responsibilities seriously and will do what is necessary to achieve its targets, but we cannot do it alone. We need a supportive policy framework to reach decarbonisation,” Barriga continued.

Improving air traffic management through the proper implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) would, she said, lower CO2 emissions of the intra-EU flights by up to 10%.