Adani Airports raises $250m for development projects

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Adani Airports, which develops and manages airports across India, including Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Mumbai, Guwahati, Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram, has raised $250m in funding for capital expenditure and the development of six airports in its portfolio.

The funding was secured through a three-year ECB facility from two international banks, with an option to raise an additional $200m. The financing structure will enable a scalable capital solution with flexibility to tap global capital markets in line with Adani Airports’ vision of providing a transformational airport infrastructure platform.

“We are focused on delivering high quality infrastructure access to our consumers both through physical and digital channels,” said a spokesperson for Adani Airports. “The first phase of our capital management plan is now set in motion with the funding of Adani Airports, Mumbai Airport Limited and Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited, and we will now focus on scaling up the airports business into one of the largest airport platforms globally. We are grateful to our stakeholders and consumers for their continued support and their confidence in us.”

Adani Airports recently concluded the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) $750m private placement to Apollo and $1.74bn closure of Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited (NMIAL).

Adani Airports’ airport portfolio is responsible for 50% of the top 10 domestic routes in India, 23% of the total Indian air traffic and 30% of India’s air cargo. The group handles around 200m customers per annum.

Header image: Lucknow Airport

Munich Airport teams up with industry leaders on Air Mobility Initiative

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Munich Airport has teamed up with leading companies, universities and research institutions, including Airbus and Diehl Aerospace to form the Air Mobility Initiative (AMI).

Funded by the Free State of Bavaria (which has provided €17m in funding) and the Federal Republic of Germany (which has provided €24m of funding), the initiative will set up a series of research projects aimed at making electric air mobility within and between cities a reality. The joint projects are centered around three main areas: electric aircraft, air traffic management services and vertiports – the infrastructure on the ground to support electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.

“A few years ago, Air Mobility was just a vision,” said Dr Ralf Gaffal, CEO, Munich Airport International. “We at Munich Airport International see enormous potential in this new form of mobility. The AMI partnership enables us to jointly develop and implement scalable and sustainable Air Mobility concepts for the public,” he continued.

The initiative will explore the various elements of such an air transport system in realistic projects to gain an accurate picture of the technical and regulatory requirements. “Electric air transport can enhance public transport, airports and time critical mobility services, it will be environmentally friendly, quiet and safe,” added Andreas Thellmann, Head of Air Mobility Initiative.

As a first step, the AMI partners will address the technological, infrastructural, legal and social prerequisites for the future implementation of advanced air transport. The knowledge gained from this process will be carried through a demonstration project under real conditions with eVTOLs.

Airbus together with Diehl Aerospace, the University of Stuttgart and other partners is behind the electrically powered aircraft. Meanwhile, companies including Droniq, Avionics, Airbus, DFS, BrigkAir and Telekom will look at how to integrate eVTOL traffic safely and efficiently in urban areas and within manned airspace.

 

Houston Airports embarks on modernisation scheme to transform passenger experience

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Houston Airports, which manages George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby, is partnering with Amadeus to create a next-generation airport experience for passengers.

Travellers flying from either of the airports will soon be able to check-in, drop their bags, enter airline lounges and board their aircraft without interacting with agents or providing paper documents in line with a major modernisation programme at the two air transport hubs. By opting to enroll for biometrics, the passenger’s face becomes their boarding pass and passport, making their journey through the airport as seamless as possible.

“Advanced technology equates to shorter lines, greater efficiency and a vastly improved passenger experience. Using this innovative technology allows us to make the airport journey more seamless, touchless and intuitive and is of great value for our passengers, air carriers and airport partners,” said Darryl Daniel, Chief Technology Officer, Houston Airports.

The transformation will see Houston’s airports upgrade from legacy on-site IT to Amadeus’ flexible cloud infrastructure. By moving to the cloud, the airports will simplify how airlines connect to its biometric check-in desks, bag drops and boarding gates, which airlines can now achieve through a single integration to Amadeus. More than 230 check-in positions will be connected this way, with 110 of them offering biometric technology.

New check-in kiosks, Auto Bag Drop units, and e-boarding gates powered by Amadeus will be installed as part of the new single platform. This will enable passengers to choose their preferred airport experience, whether that’s a fully agent-serviced to a completely biometric self-service at every step, or a combination.

Meanwhile, Betros Wakim, Senior Vice President, Americas, Airport IT, added: “By placing the passenger’s entire end-to-end experience at the heart of its strategy, Houston Airports is applying new technology that puts Houston at the forefront of the industry. We’re pleased to help Houston Airports deliver on its vision for a simple and intuitive passenger experience, with flexible technology that automates services and drives efficiencies, benefitting airlines and their passengers.”

Cotswold Airport welcomes ZeroAvia’s hydrogen pipeline project

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A leader in zero-emission aviation, ZeroAvia has collaborated with aviation fuel giant Shell, to unveil Europe’s first landside-to-airside hydrogen airport pipeline.

Running alongside ZeroAvia’s hangar at Cotswold Airport in the UK, the 100-m long hydrogen pipeline signals a huge step for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure at airports and for the aviation industry. ZeroAvia will use it alongside an electrolyser  and mobile refueller to develop hydrogen-electric fuel cells . The pipeline will help ZeroAvia demonstrate and explore the operational safety case for hydrogen pipelines and refuelling infrastructure at airports.

ZeroAvia’s zero-emission powertrains use hydrogen fuel in a fuel cell to create a chemical reaction which produces electricity. That electricity then powers electric motors that spin the propellers, while producing no emissions other than water.

The UK Government’s Department for Transport and the Connected Places Catapult as part of the Zero Emissions Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) programme provided support for the pipeline, as part of their mission to enable airports and airfields to prepare for the future of zero-emission flight operations.

Shell and ZeroAvia have also agreed to develop a compressed, low-carbon hydrogen supply for ZeroAvia’s California facilities and power flight testing. As part of the agreement, Shell will design and build two commercial-scale mobile refuellers for use at ZeroAvia’s research and development site in Hollister, California. The fuel supplier will also provide a compressed low-carbon hydrogen supply to ZeroAvia’s facility and other locations in the Western US.  As well as supporting the development of ZeroAvia’s testing programme in the US, the strategic collaboration will also advance the company’s Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE) on a larger scale.

“Shell recognises the aviation sector has unique challenges in decarbonisation and needs practical and scalable net-zero solutions,” commented Oliver Bishop, General Manager, Hydrogen at Shell. “We believe ZeroAvia’s technology is a viable option, and this agreement will allow us to demonstrate successful provision of low-carbon hydrogen supply while supporting development of codes, standards, and refuelling protocols for hydrogen-powered aviation.”

ZeroAvia will begin flight-testing its ZA600 hydrogen-electric powertrain this summer using its two Dornier-228 testbed aircraft, initially in the UK before replicating the work on the US-based demonstrator at a later date. And earlier this year ZeroAvia announced its partnership with ZEV Station to develop hydrogen hubs at airports throughout California.

“These milestone announcements represent significant hydrogen infrastructure advancement for ZeroAvia and the industry,” said Arnab Chatterjee, VP Infrastructure, ZeroAvia. “Hydrogen-electric aviation is the only practical, holistic and economically attractive solution to aviation’s growing climate change impact. Fuel provision needs to be economical and convenient for airlines to achieve operational cost benefits and ZeroAvia is leading these pioneering infrastructure developments together with leading partners like Shell.”

12 more European airports raise their game on decarbonisation standards

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The Airport Carbon Accreditation has announced that 12 more European hubs have aligned their operations with global climate goals. The 12 airports, which include Basel-Mulhouse in France/ Switzerland, Lisbon, Porto, Madeira, Faro, Flores, Porto Santo, Horta, Maria and Ponta Delgada in Portugal and Stockholm Arlanda and Goteborg Landvetter in Sweden have joined a list of 14 early airports to have achieved Level 4/4+ of the programme.

The recently introduced Levels 4 and 4+ include alignment of an airport’s carbon management with the Paris Agreement, inclusion of additional emissions sources in an airport’s carbon footprint, notably covering all significant operational emissions from third parties including airlines, and enhanced stakeholder engagement geared towards effective partnerships to deliver emissions reductions.

Aligning carbon management strategies and plans with the ambition of the Paris Agreement, according to which global warming should be limited to below 2⁰C and ideally 1.5⁰C, means that airports must define their reduction targets and associated emissions pathways accordingly.

Having met all the necessary requirements to reduce its own carbon emissions  as well as reducing emissions across the entire platform in cooperation with its partners, Basel-Mulhouse Airport has moved to Level 4 ‘Transformation’. The air transport hub reduced its own emissions by implementing a number of initiatives, such as the purchase of 100% green electricity, the replacement of the airport’s vehicle fleet with electric transportation and the gradual connection of the airport to an existing biomass powered district heating network.

In Sweden. Stockholm Arlanda which was among the 17 pioneering airports joining the Airport Carbon Accreditation in its first year back in 2009, achieved Level 4+ ‘Transition’, as did Goteborg Landvetter Airport. All Swedavia airports have been operating fossil-free as of 2020, becoming de-facto net-zero carbon emissions for all their operations. The Swedish airport operator has now mapped out the next steps in its commitment to climate change, by supporting other companies and organisations at its airports in their own transformations. One of the initiatives put forward by Swedavia’s airports was the introduction on 1 January, 2022 of an incentive for all stakeholders active at the Goteborg and Arlanda to start refuelling Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), fossil-free diesel. The goal is for all ground operations at every Swedavia airport to be fossil-free by 2025.

Meanwhile, the nine airports in Portugal, all of which are operated by ANA/ VINCI Airports, have all now achieved Level 4 ‘Transformation’. They are now actively reducing their CO2 emissions, through schemes such as: 100% renewable electricity, fleet electrification and LED deployment, and forging effective partnerships to secure absolute emissions reductions across the airports’ sites.  In June 2021, ANA/ VINCI Airports launched the Stakeholders Carbon Forum, to work with the main partners that operate at their premises to achieve an overall reduction of carbon footprint. The forum is the main platform of collaboration between the airports and their partners, including airlines, handlers, major energy consumers and entities linked to mobility, such as city councils and transport companies.

Commenting on the airports’ achievements Olivier Jankovec, Director General at ACI Europe said: “These achievements mean that airports are not only committed to addressing and eliminating emissions under their own control, but that they also embrace their role as catalysts for climate action across their entire sites. Airports are uniquely placed within the air transport eco-system, acting as the industry’s representation on the ground, connecting a global industry to the local communities they serve. This unique position makes it part of their DNA to serve as platforms for greener, smarter, more climate-friendly operations and solutions.”

United Airlines inaugurates Milan-Chicago link

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United Airlines inaugurated its direct flight from Milan Malpensa Airport in Italy to Chicago O’Hare Airport in the US on Saturday 7 May.

Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate, which are both operated by SEA, have noted strong traffic recovery this summer with European and North African destinations. However, for its long-haul network North America will be the main driver of recovery with 66 flight per week.

“Carriers are showing important signs of confidence in us by not only returning to offer the historic connections at our airports, but also investing in new destinations. With its daily fight to Chicago, United Airlines is now the emblem of this,” said Andrea Tucci, VP Aviation Business Development at SEA.

“This new destination represents one of the most important novelties of the summer season,” she continued. “This new route operated by United alongside the daily flight to New York (EWR), opens the door to the United States through the carrier’s Chicago O’Hare network and adds quality to the travel offering from our airports, particularly to the Pacific Coast. We are extremely pleased to be here today to celebrate the launch of this connection to one of the most attractive locations in the US.”

Gloucestershire Airport’s flagship commercial development nears completion

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UK-based Gloucestershire Airport’s flagship commercial development, CGX Connect, has reached a critical delivery milestone with access to the site now complete and the ability to proceed with future development unlocked.

Once complete the development will provide around 30,000 sq.m. of flexible floor space in  a prime location for businesses operating in the logistics and industry sectors, while also potentially creating up to 1,500 employment opportunities. £1.885 in Growth Deal funding was supplied by GFirst LEP to support the infrastructural work needed to deliver CGX Connect.

Karen Taylor, Managing Director for Gloucestershire Airport commented: “These are exciting times for Gloucestershire Airport and CGX Connect. We’ve already seen strong interest in CGX Connect from businesses in Gloucestershire and the West Country, as well as those with national operations.

“Now that there’s vehicular access to the site, we expect things to move quickly. Before now no one could access the site to build. This access road will unlock future development and brings us one step closer to realising a landmark development with the potential to unlock so much growth for the region.”

She added, that these are transformational times for the airport. “CGX Connect, along with ongoing work to upgrade the airport’s runways, will elevate the quality and status of the airport as a ‘gateway for growth’ for the many significant developments being brought forward across the region.”

Alongside CGX Connect, work to upgrade the airport’s runways is well underway  and due to complete this summer. The airport’s crosswind runway has already reopened. Work is currently ongoing to resurface the main runway, install new lighting, upgrade signage and drainage, and install below ground infrastructure.

Monterey Regional Airport strengthens SAF partnership with Avfuel

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A year after Avfuel started a consistent supply of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to Monterey Jet Center at Monterey Regional Airport, the fuel supplier is now doing the same for Del Monte at the California hub.

“Del Monte Aviation is pleased to offer aircraft owners and operators a low carbon alternative at the forefront of the shift toward a sustainable aviation industry,” said Matthew Wright, vice president of Del Monte Aviation. “We are the only FBO in the nation offering the highest available blend of SAF direct to customers because we store our Neste MY SAF in a dedicated tank. This pioneering approach is part of our commitment to help our customers achieve real, immediate, beneficial impacts related to their carbon footprint from air travel. With over 200,000 gallons of SAF delivered so far, Del Monte has proven to be one of the global leaders in our commitment to reducing the CO2 impact of aviation operations through offering sustainable fuels.”

Since Avfuel began supplying SAF to the airport last year, it has provided around 216,000 gallons of the fuel. For Monterey Regional Airport’s operations, this volume of fuel equates to reducing carbon emissions by an estimated 513 metric tonnes. That’s the same amount of carbon emitted from the energy use of nearly 65 homes in a year, or from 111 passenger vehicles.

Del Monte Aviation customer, Matthias Niederhäuser, partner of Diamondo Earthrounding, and consultant and data analyst of Niederhauser Solutions GmbH Aviation, commented: “Having a dedicated fuel truck supplying SAF to us and fellow aviators was a first on our Diamondo Earthrounding route around the globe. With our mission, we are linking and promoting ways to invest into sustainable aviation worldwide and we strongly believe more FBOs should follow Del Monte Aviation’s lead in making SAF physically available in high percentages.”

Meanwhile, Keith Sawyer, Avfuel’s Manager of Alternative Fuels, added: “The entire Monterey community—from the FBOs and the airport, to its businesses and citizens—have been champions for sustainability and a natural launching pad for SAF in the Avfuel Network. We are so pleased to increase SAF’s footprint with additional supply at KMRY through Del Monte Aviation and thankful for its team’s tireless efforts toward reaching sustainable goals.”

Liverpool welcomes Frankfurt link for first time in 10 years

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Lufthansa’s has introduced a new service from Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) in the UK to Frankfurt Airport in Germany.

Lufthansa flight LH968 touched down at LJLA shortly after 8am on Wednesday 4 May, where is was welcomed with a water arch performed by the airport’s Rescue and Firefighting team. A ribbon cutting ceremony was also conducted at the aircraft steps ahead of its departure to Frankfurt.

Marking the return of global connectivity for the Airport and the City region for the first time in more than 10 years, the service marks an important addition to the airport’s list of destinations, with passengers now able to check-in at Liverpol and easily connect with Lufthansa’s global network and its Star Alliance partners via the German carrier’s main hub in Frankfurt. It has been welcomed by members of the region’s business communities, as well as leisure travellers, many of whom have worked closely with the airport to help attract Lufthansa to Liverpool.

“We are delighted to see this important and strategic new route come to fruition, with Lufthansa welcomed here today by representatives of the business community and visitor economy from across the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire and North Wales,” said LJLA’s CEO, John Irving.

Lufthansa’s Heinrich Lange added, “The new connection to the heart of Europe has found its first travellers from Liverpool as we can already see good booking figures.

“We want to convince our customers from North-Western England and Wales about an easy transfer at our Frankfurt hub. Every passenger stays in the same terminal building for their connecting flight. We offer quality and service as a Five-Star-Carrier in the air and on the ground. And we are pleased that Liverpudlians can now start their journey with us from even closer to their home or office. This city known for music, football and trade will also benefit from the global access we provide as the only network airline at John Lennon Airport.”

Adacel finalises acquisition of virtual ATC tower solution

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Having previously announced in February the acquisition of a new virtual Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower solution, Adacel has now completed the purchase.

The new system has passed a rigorous Site Acceptance Testing (SAT) with Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS) to provide virtual ATS tower operations for Kuressaare in Tallinn.

“We welcome our new team and customer to the Adacel family,” said Daniel Verret, Adacel’s CEO. “The new virtual ATC tower solution presents immense opportunities for everyone, and along with our deep industry expertise and ever-evolving technological advancements, we look forward to continuing our safety and efficiency in aviation.”

The tower, which is built on modular, open architecture principles, is suitable for a variety of functional needs, including integration with existing or new air traffic management, communication, navigation and surveillance systems.

With the Kuressaare SAT completed, the team will now work closely with EANS to ensure the successful deployment and seamless transition at its next location at Tartu Airport, followed by Pärnu and Kärdla airports in Estonia in due course.

“This is the first time EANS is at the developers’ end completing site acceptance testing  (SAT). Kuressaare SAT was done in a very short time,” said Iva Värk, EANS CEO. “It proves that the development has been done thoroughly and the outcome is a reliable system that effectively supports ATS service provision in all Estonian regional aerodromes.”

EANS plans to digitise all Estonian airports by 2025.