US Dept of Homeland Security partners with Vanderlande for security screening solution

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Vanderlande’s concept for a self-screening passenger security checkpoint solution for airports has been selected by the US department of Homeland Security (DHS) for further design, development and operational testing. This will be carried out as part of the DHS Science and Technology Directorates (S&T) Screening at Speed Program to improve screening efficiency and the passenger experience.

Vanderlande’s concept will include the supply and integration of screening lanes with its smart virtual divest assistant solution. Alongside its partners Rohde & Schwarz and dormakaba Group, Vanderlande will deliver a fully integrated and self-screening passenger checkpoint concept, as well as an operational prototype for assessment by the US DHS. dormakaba Group will provide its market-leading secure access control systems, while Rohde & Schwarz will supply its Quick Personnel Security scanner.

“There has been a clear trend towards passenger self-service solutions at airports, allowing for more efficiency and independence for passengers,” says Vanderlande’s Executive Vice President Airport and Parcel Solutions and Board Member, Andrew Manship. “We are excited to explore the potential of self-service security checkpoint solutions together with our partners and the US Department of Homeland Security.”

Palm Spring’s Ross Aviation now offering SAF to its customers

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In partnership with fuel supplier, Avfuel, Ross Aviation is offering sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to its customers at Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport in Palm Springs, California.

Having accepted its first load of SAF on 14 January, Ross Aviation will continue to receive an ongoing supply of Neste MY SAF from Avfuel and as additional supply becomes available, Avfuel will collaborate with Ross Aviation to expand the availability of SAF to the company’s 18 other FBO locations.

“This shipment of SAF is the first of many more to come, and represents another key component in support of our commitment to reducing business aviation’s impact on the environment,” said Brian Corbett, CEO of Ross Aviation. “It dovetails perfectly with our other sustainability initiatives already underway, such as our ‘Fly More. Leave Less.’ carbon offset program, as well as additional initiatives underway across our network.”

Keith Sawyer, Avfuel’s manager of alternative fuels, added: “Avfuel is thankful to partner with Ross Aviation on furthering its sustainability initiatives with the provision of SAF for its eco-conscious customer base. Together, we can help provide a real, measurable difference in reducing carbon emissions, furthering our industry’s commitment to reaching net zero.”

London City forecasts strong recovery in 2022

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Situated in the heart of the UK capital, London City Airport has revealed that it expects pent-up passenger demand to fuel a surge in air traffic growth in 2022. In line with this expected growth the introduction of new routes and the return of popular destinations will result in more than three quarters of 2019 routes operating at the London hub this year.

Commenting on the year ahead, Robert Sinclair, London City Airport’s CEO said: “At the start of the pandemic we made a conscious decision to work with and support our airlines, as we recognised they were facing the same challenges as we were. Investing in these relationships in the hard times has facilitated what we believe will be a strong bounce back starting with a really exciting summer schedule from London City.”

Flights to Milan, which saw 275,000 passengers travelling on it during 2019 and is one of the airport’s top performing routes, will be reinstated this year. Barcelona will also return to the air transport hub’s destination network for the first time in almost a decade, while new routes to summer hotspots such as Thessaloniki join established favourites such as Split, Mykonos and Faro. In addition, the announcement of a busy summer schedule for British Airways and the easing of COVID restrictions are helping boost the return to business and leisure travel.

Figures show that in 2021 just 714,000 passengers used London City (down 21% on 2020 and 86% on 2019). The data also showed there was a clear spike in passenger traffic at the airport last year once travel restrictions were eased with more than 630,000 passengers using the airport in the last six months.

Business travel is also showing a strong revival on all domestic routes with Edinburgh the top performer. Outside of the UK Amsterdam was the airport’s strongest route for business travel with KLM increasing to four rotations per day in the autumn. Other key business routes included Zurich and Geneva. In October and November last year, business travel accounted for 45% of all London City journeys. The announcement of additional testing and self-isolation requirements by government to combat the Omicron variant saw passenger demand fall by 40% in December.

“2021 was certainly tough for everyone. However, despite predictions from some to the contrary, we did see the emergence of positive business travel trends, which we believe will continue in 2022 and will be so critical for the economic recovery of London and the UK more widely,” added Sinclair.

“While we are not out the woods yet, the signs from governments in the UK and across Europe are that we are learning to live with COVID. I am optimistic that the restrictions that remain today, particularly for vaccinated passengers, will be eased and in time, removed altogether so we can return to the simple and affordable ways of flying before the pandemic.”

Perth Airport embarks on secruity upgrade

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Perth Airport has unveiled a significant upgrade to its passenger screening infrastructure. The new advanced security screening equipment is being introduced as part of the Federal Government mandate to strengthen Australia’s domestic and international aviation security.

Kevin Brown, Perth Airport’s CEO, said: “The new state-of-the-art equipment has been designed to enhance airport security by improving the efficiency of the screening process and detection levels.”

He explained that the upgrades include new body scanners, walk through metal-detectors and x-ray machine, explosive trace detection systems and secondary viewing stations with ETD.

“The body scanner has been a part of the international screening requirements for a number of years and will be introduced into domestic travel screening lanes, but with updated technology,” Brown added.

Capable of detecting all foreign matter (metal and non metal) the body scanners can pin-point any illicit items on an outline of the person’s body illustrated in the form of an avatar or ‘stickperson’.

Another major improvement is the introduction of CT scanners for all carry-on baggage (domestic and international), eliminating the need to remove computers and aerosols from bags during the screening process. The new CT x-ray machine will also use 3D technology to help detect suspect goods concealed within carry-on bags.

“Most passengers these days have a laptop or tablet device which they must remove from their luggage for screening. Many travellers also carry aerosol cans such as shaving foam which must also be scanned separately,” continued Brown.

“The new system will allow passengers to leave these items in their hand luggage, making for a more streamlined process and less hassle for passengers.”

The airport has been working hard to progress the upgrades so they are ready to go by the end of January, prior to the borders reopening in February.

Menzies celebrates ground services contracts in Mexico

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Global aviation logistics specialist, Menzies Aviation, is strengthening its presence in Latin America thanks to several new ground services contracts in Mexico. The contracts with American Airlines, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, Flair Airlines, Frontier Airlines and TAG Airlines mean Menzies now operates at 31 airports in the region.

John Redmond, Executive VP – Americas, Menzies Aviation commented: “We are excited to further expand our presence in Latin America with these new contract wins across Mexico, which highlight the positive reputation Menzies has built for providing safe, secure and consistent quality service across the region. We look forward to continuing to strengthen and grow our relationships with each of these airlines in the future.”

For American Airlines Menzies has been awarded the contract for the delivery of passenger, ramp and cabin cleaning services at Chetumal and for ramp and cabin cleaning cleaning services at Manzanillo. Chetumal is a new airport for Menzies’ Mexico operations.

At Cancun (CUN), Mexico’s second busiest airport, Menzies is providing Aeroflot with passenger, ramp, and cabin cleaning services. The Russian carrier has recently launched operations at the airport and is a new customer for Menzies at this location.

At Huatulco and Zihuantanejo airports, Menzies has secured contracts to provide ramp and cabin cleaning services for Air Canada.

Delta has awarded Menzies ramp and cabin cleaning services contracts at two stations in Mexico, which will see Menzies servicing 355 flights a year from Guadalajara Airport (GDL) and 575 flights a year at Monterrey Airport (MTY). Monterrey is a new station for Menzies, becoming its 31st airport in Mexico, and its 40th in the Latin America region.

Meanwhile Flair Airlines has selected Menzies to provide ground handling services at Los Cabos and Cancun from February. The Canadian ultra-low-cost carrier is establishing new routes for its start up across Mexico.

Frontier Airlines has also awarded Menzies the contract for the provision of ground handling services at Cancun, and similarly TAG has also awarded a ground handling services contract to Menzies at Cancun, as well as Merida, Oaxaca, Tuxla Gutierrez and Guadalajara. The TAG contract is a significant win for Menzies and will bring an additional 1,667 turns to the business in Mexico.

RAA calls for protection for regional hubs from 5G interference

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Following the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) announcement that it had cleared an estimated 45% of the US commercial aircraft fleet to perform low-visibility landings at many airports where 5G-C will be deployed on 19 January, the President and CEO of the Regional Airline Association (RAA), Faye Malarkey Black, has called for a pause in 5G rollout near all US served airports.

US passenger and cargo airlines have been sounding the alarm to senior government officials that the issue of potential interference is far from resolved and could severely impact flights and the supply chain.

Declaring that RAA has been a long-time participant and supporter of safe integration of 5G in the US, Malarkey Black said that despite engaging alongside industry peers and government regulators toward the objective of protecting safe and reliable air service for all passengers no matter which airport they travel to, this is unfortunately not what awaits travellers on 19 January.

Earlier in January RAA learned of an 11th hour compromise between the FAA and telecom companies, which was characterised as lessening the propensity of signal interference to disrupt the National Airspace System (NAS).

In a statement Malarkey Black said: “The proposed mitigations were limited to just 50 airports, mostly large hubs. RAA was gravely concerned with both the process, which failed to consult regional airlines in advance of the deal, as well as the outcome, which insufficiently addressed harmful interference at larger airports and failed altogether to mitigate impacts elsewhere. The resulting delays, disfunction and chaos in our nation’s airspace will be experienced by nearly all passengers in bad weather but will be dramatically amplified for those traveling to smaller communities.”

She added that even at these airports with mitigations, the FAA must issue special directives to ensure safety until the Agency can receive and approve Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs) for safe use of low visibility approach procedures.

“Unfortunately, FAA has issued a list of approved AMOCs for aircraft to operate at certain airports after January 19 that does not include any regional aircraft. Further, the Agency surely understands that for some aircraft, AMOCs may not be feasible at all. This is unfortunate, given that regional airlines provide the only source of scheduled, commercial airline service to 66% of the nation’s commercially served airports and directly serve 94% of the nation’s commercially served airports, while major airlines directly serve just 34% of these airports directly,” the statement continued.

Underlining that the RAA appreciates FAA’s efforts to mitigate safety and operational challenges and its repeated warnings of unsafe interference, Malarkey Black said the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should never have allowed a sale of spectrum until concerns over harmful potential implications to safe and reliable air transportation were fully understood and comprehensively addressed.

“Fortunately, it is never too late to do the right thing. Hard as it may be to reopen dialogue, it is critical that both Agencies and their regulated parties do so. RAA further urges Federal regulators and the telecommunications industry to pause the rollout of 5G until all airports are protected from interference. Proposed mitigations creating two tiers of safety and reliability with partial mitigations at 50 airports and no remedies elsewhere are flatly unacceptable. Until such time as the FAA can safely clear all aircraft serving all airports and protect all passengers from delays and chaos, FCC must continue to delay rollout of 5G around airports. To do anything less is malpractice.”

Domodedovo FBO prepares for interior revamp and launch of gourmet restaurant

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Since taking over operations of the Domodedovo Business Aviation Centre in April 2021 and the end of last year, UTG Private Aviation has seen 10,297 passengers use its new facility. On average the FBO handled 1,144 passengers per month with the most active months in terms of passenger traffic being May (1,440) and November (1,389).

UTG PA has been actively working to transform the FBO at Domodedovo over the last 10 months carrying out major renovation and upgrade works. In October last year it began offering flight support services for business aviation, including ground handling arrangements and obtaining overflight and landing permits worldwide.

Crews can receive navigational estimates, weather reports, NOTAMs and flight plans. It also provides additional services such as rapid PCR tests on arrival, visa support, inflight catering, transfers and concierge services and aircraft customs clearance.

As of 2022, customers can enjoy the revamped interior of the bar and lounge area and in February UTG will install a stylish wing-shaped counter along with new designer furnishings.

Meanwhile, the opening of a gourmet restaurant is scheduled for March and plans are afoot to expand the ground floor of the terminal with panoramic glass verandas and a spacious conference room, while the second floor will also be renovated and will feature new facades. Reconstruction is expected to be complete by the end of 2022.

A helipad is also planned to open this year and will be located outside the airfield – but on the FBO site 50 metres from the terminal building.

Maldives Airports Company unveils first phase of VIP terminal at Velana Airport

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Lounge operations have commenced at Velana International Airport’s new Maamahi Executive Lounge, following the completion of phase one of the VIP terminal building.

The four-storey VIP terminal facility is being developed as a two-phase project with world-renowned architect, Yuji Yamazaki. Designed to deliver a luxurious experience encapsulating the spirit and style of the Maldives, the interior design was overseen by AECOM while Beijing Urban Construction Group was tasked with construction.

Phase one of the VIP terminal is housed on the ground floor and is dedicated to VVIP services. It is approximately 3,200 sq m and once the total project is complete it will provide 6,800 sq m of space.

The second phase of the project will see two more floors being developed with construction work due to start in early 2022. Services on these two floors will be dedicated to VIP customers.

JetBlue Airways to manage terminal construction project at Fort Lauderdale Airport

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Broward County Aviation Department has appointed JetBlue Airways to manage the construction of a five-gate US$300m passenger terminal at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) in Florida, US.

The new facility is part of the airport’s master plan to provide much needed growth in terminal gates in response to airline and passenger demand. To deliver programme management services for the development of Terminal 5, JetBlue Airways has contracted Parsons Corporation. The aviation infrastructure provider has contributed to the planning, design and management of more than 450 airports around the world.

“Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is one of the fastest-recovering US airports, with passenger traffic approaching 2019 pre-pandemic levels,” said Peter Torrellas, president, connected communities, for Parsons. “As we continue a return to air travel, it is critical for airports and airlines alike to prepare for passenger and service expansion. Our aviation experts have served South Florida for more than 20 years and we look forward to building on that legacy in partnership with JetBlue and the Broward County Aviation Department.”

Air Astana resumes services from Nur-Sultan Airport

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Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, has resumed services from Nur-Sultan Airport, with international flights to Dubai and Moscow and domestic flights to Atyrau, Shymkent and Turkestan.

Additional international services to Frankfurt and Kutaisi (Georgia) also resumed on 8 January, and to Istanbul on 9 January.

Almaty Airport remains closed in the wake of recent events, but all Air Astana staff and passengers from the city remain safe.