Altalto sustainable fuels project awarded grant of up to £2.4m

By Airports, Featured, NewsNo Comments

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded sustainable fuels technology company, Velocys, a grant of up to £2.4m for its Altalto Immingham waste-to-sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) project. Of the total £2.4m grant, £1.2m is subject to progress by the DfT in developing policy support for SAF.

A collaboration between Velocys and British Airways, the Altalto project aims to convert hundreds of thousands of tonnes per year of residual waste in sustainable fuels, mainly aviation fuel. Planning consent for the plant was granted in 2020 and the project is now ready to proceed to the final stages of engineering prior to construction, subject to policy progress and third party project funding.

“We are very pleased to have this enhanced level of support from the Department for Transport for the Altalto project,” said Henrik Wareborn, CEO, Velocys. “The momentum for SAF in the UK and around the world is growing, demonstrated here by the recent consultations on the path to net zero aviation and on a SAF mandate. This grant demonstrates that the Altalto project is a key part of the strategy to accelerate a SAF industry in the UK.

British Airways Chairman and CEO, Sean Doyle, added: “Plants like this one would be a game-changer for our industry, not only delivering sustainable aviation fuel, but also creating hundreds of highly skilled jobs while increasing economic growth around the UK.

“Our parent company, IAG, was the first European airline group to commit to powering 10% of its flights with SAF by 2030 – purchasing one million tonnes of SAF each year, equivalent to taking a million cars off Europe’s roads every year. Projects like this one are part of our journey to that SAF target and we look forward to pushing it forward.”

Skyports and Kencoa Aerospace join forces to implement cargo drone deliveries in South Korea

By Airports, Featured, NewsNo Comments

As a pioneer in cargo drone deliveries and advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure, Skyports has teamed up with Kencoa Aerospace, a global aerospace solution supplier and manufacturer, to announce a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to deploy cargo drone deliveries to and on Jeju Island in South Korea.

South Korea’s largest island is located approximately 60 miles south of the mainland in the Korea Strait and the aim of the Skyports and Kencoa’s project is to significantly enhance logistics capabilities on Jeju Island. Deliveries will include critical supplies, including medical provisions, across the island.

Skyports involvement in the project will include undertaking a proof-of-concept to demonstrate the benefits and capabilities of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations on Jeju Island. In addition, the company will also conduct a feasibility assessment of setting up a cargo drone vertiport and accumulate critical eVTOL operations data ahead of the commencement of commercial operations.

“South Korea is ripe with opportunity in the advanced air mobility space,” said Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports. “Jeju Island’s specific volcanic and island geography provides a unique backdrop on which to demonstrate the benefits of drone logistics. With our BVLOS cargo drone operations, delivery services on the island will be up to six times faster, with carbon emission reduced by up to 90%. Drone deliveries have the potential to totally transform services for residents and healthcare providers, and we’re excited to be amongst the first movers in South Korea – and globally.”

Skyports’ drone delivery services have already seen successs in the UK and other locations. Projects include the UK’s first COVID-19 test drone delivery service in Scotland with the NHS and the operation of an inter-island medical drone delivery service between the Isles of Scilly for Royal Mail. It was also the company to build a full-scale passenger air taxi vertiport – the take-off and landing infrastructure for eVTOL aircraft, which was launched as part of a trial that took place in Singapore in 2019.

Kenny Lee, CEO of Kencoa Aerospace, also voiced his enthusiasm for the collaboration, saying: “Through this partnership we will commence drone deliveries in Jeju Province before establishing AAM infrastructure and expanding into the air taxi industry. Jeju’s excellent tourist resources will promote the commercialisation of our AAM services. The strength of this partnership will enable the fastest commercial launch in Korea.”

Fraport USA partners with Servy at select US airports

By Airports, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Fraport, the airport retail concessions developer, is partnering with Servy, the enterprise self-service platform for hospitality, to bring its new Fraport-branded mobile ordering and delivery service, GateWaiter, to airports in Fraport’s US portfolio.

Powered by Servy’s Grab Airport Marketplace technology, GateWaiter launched this month at Baltimore/ Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport with plans to expand to other hubs.

Passengers, as well as staff, at participating airports will be able to place contactless orders for food and drink using their smartphones, with the option of having their choices delivered to them at their chosen location. Managed by AtYourGate in partnership with Servy, the GateWaiter delivery service seamlessly integrates with the GateWaiter mobile ordering experience to conveniently deliver the order to guests. QR codes will be placed in seating areas at BWI Marshall Airport, which can be scanned on digital devices to access menu options and act as a delivery point for meal orders. More than a dozen restaurants and select retail outlets are signed up at BWI Marshall Airport with more locations to be added in the coming weeks.

“It’s great to be announcing our new partnership with Fraport USA, which is real proof of their commitment to improving the guest experience for travellers,” said Jeff Livney, Chief Experience Officer at Servy. “This new service will offer a convenient, contactless self-service option, reducing touchpoints for passengers and enabling them to easily order and purchase meals while maintaining social distancing.”

Fraport USA’s CEO, Michael Mullaney, added: “Providing great passenger service is one of our top priorities, and our new GateWaiter mobile ordering and delivery service will enable us to add further value and reach more customers during their visit to the airport. Rolling this programme out across airports makes it a seamless process that can be scaled quickly as we bring additional airports and outlets onboard. This is clearly a major benefit in the current landscape.”

China’s new Qingdao-Jiaodong Airport now open with capacity to handle 35 million passengers

By Airports, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Qingdao-Jiaodong Airport in east China’s Shandong Province officially opened in August connecting passengers travelling from the region with around 130 domestic destinations, including most major Chinese cities and regions. International and regional air routes will link the airport with around 50 overseas destinations.

The airport, which has replaced the Qingdao Liuting International Airport and was built by China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), is the first in the Shandong Province to be ranked 4F – the highest in China’s airport class capable of handling large aircraft, including the Airbus A380.

In addition to being able to handle an annual passenger throughput of 35 million, the first phase of the airport is also able to handle a cargo throughput of 500,000 tonnes, and 300,000 aircraft take-offs and landings by 2025. Offering a multi-modal transport hub, the airport provides access to the metro and high-speed rail services as well as ample car parking and all major cities around Qingdao city can be reached within two hours. Once the second phase of the airport is complete it will be able to handle 55 million passengers annually, one million tonnes of cargo and 452,000 aircraft take-offs and landings by 2045.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the airport is one of the first in China to make full use of high-tech tools such as big data, cloud computing, the internet of things and mobile internet.

Cologne celebrates return of Eurowings connection with Budapest

By Airports, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Budapest Airport’s link with Cologne is the latest to be re-introduced to the Hungarian gateway following the temporary halt of services following the global pandemic.

The four times weekly service to western Germany’s cultural hub will be operated by Eurowings, the German low-cost carrier (LCC) and subsidiary of Lufthansa Group, which will utilise its fleet of A319s and A320s on the 958-km sector.

“Resuming these services means Eurowings returns with flights to Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Stuttgart – 30% of all our operations to Germany this coming winter,” said Balázs Bogáts, Head of Airline Development at Budapest Airport.

“This latest revival continues to help us work towards our goal to ensure we once again offer a rich variety of destinations to our customers,” he continued.

Eurowings’ resumption of all services from Budapest will see the airport offer more than 400,000 seats to the Central European country during W21/22 as the LCC’s flights join the gateway’s operations to Berlin, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Munich and Nürnberg.

FlyWestAf Algeria to support African tourism with first LCC in Algeria

By Airports, Featured, NewsNo Comments

FlyWestAf Algeria. The new LCC will help boost African tourism by offering domestic and international services.

The FlyWestAF team had been considering Algeria as a potential market as early as 2016, however the conditions required to move forward were not then in place. Subsequently, the LCC had instead been focusing on operating out of Banjul in The Gambia in West Africa. According to CAPA, the proposed start-up LCC was due to commence services by May 2021 from a base at Banjul Yundum International Airport, offering flights to nine destinations including Dakar, Bissau, Conakry, Freetown, Abidjan, Monrovia, Praia and Bamako with a fleet of five DHC-8-400s.

With the Gambian LCC still not launched however, FlyWestAf has confirmed plans (via its website) to push ahead with the launch of its Algerian service. “The arrival of a 100% Algerian LCC will contribute to one of the most important conditions to launch the tourism sector: low-cost prices,” a statement on its website reads. It will also make the “Algerian destination attractive” and support growth in the tourism sector.

The team behind the airline also believes that a 100% Algerian charter operator on African soil will reduce the costs associated with charter operations and thus develop the market share for external demand which is experiencing strong growth in West and Central Africa.

With regard to domestic demand, the flexibility of supply it says will have a direct effect on the control of charter budget.
The airline’s statement also states that “80% of charter in West and Central Africa in 2019 was carried out by European or Middle Eastern companies, which accounts for more than $350 million in revenue.

New masterplan in the pipeline for Guernsey Airport

By Airports, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Infrastructure consulting firm, AECOM, has been appointed to deliver a new masterplan for Guernsey Airport – a gateway to the Channel Islands which is owned and operated by Guernsey Ports. The masterplan will shape the airport’s business priorities and investment opportunities over the next 15 years.

AECOM will work with a number of sub-consultants to deliver the project, including air navigation and airspace experts Egis, aviation traffic and economic specialists York Aviation, and a local planning and property specialist firm in Guernsey, Strategic Property and Planning Ltd.

Key priorities of the masterplan include looking at ways of increasing non-aeronautical revenue and how best to improve the passenger experience. The consulting firm will also consider how the airport can maximise land and property values through new commercial opportunities and it will explore improvements to the existing terminal building that will help increase commercial returns and optimise airline operations. Other areas covered in the masterplan will include the future of air navigation services, as well as the provision of fuel and cargo infrastructure.

“The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on aviation mean airports the world over are looking for ways to strengthen and diversify in addition to air travel,” said James Bruce, AECOM’s Director of Aviation Master Planning. “There is a real opportunity for Guernsey Airport to become a catalyst for commerce on the island and our masterplan will look to maximise the potential for new revenue streams. We bring global expertise in the delivery of aviation projects across the world, working at airports large and small, and will work with local specialists to deliver a plan focused on improving commercial returns over the next 15 years.”

The masterplan will be delivered in two phases with AECOM appointed to deliver Phase One by the end of the year. The final masterplan is expected at the end of 2022.

Airport merger and acquisition opportunities revealed in CAPA report

By Airports, Featured, Insights, NewsNo Comments

The Centre for Aviation (CAPA) has released a new research report revealing potential airport merger and acquisition opportunities for the second half of 2021 and beyond.

Researched and produced by leading CAPA analysts and backed by industry data, the report highlights airports and airport groups that could be attractive to investors. It also identifies other airports that may be a target for mergers or acquisitions.

“Airport transactions for the most part have ground to a halt as the pandemic bites,” said CAPA’s Managing Director, Derek Sadubin. “But as we begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel, opportunities across the sector are beginning to re-emerge. This new CAPA report supports investors, financers, government and infrastructure planning departments to look beyond just the next few weeks or months ahead and take the first step towards identifying real opportunities for the future.”

The report concludes by pinpointing the operators and investors to watch, based partly on their participation in the sector already and partly on their level of activity before the pandemic.

The impacts of the global pandemic have meant the last 18 months have been the quietest for airport merger and acquisition transactions since the early 19902. While some that were already in the works did proceed, for example in Brazil and Japan, new investment opportunities have been hard to locate.

And while, CAPA acknowledges that investors with a penchant for airports couldn’t be blamed for walking away from a business where the passenger – the ultimate customer base – collapsed by up to 99% along with most of the auxiliary revenue streams. Nonetheless it says, after a lengthy period with little activity in the airport sector, prospects look bright and a few key bids may pave the way for more to come.

Exeter and Cornwall champion arrival of Ampaire’s hybrid electric aircraft

By Airports, Business Aviation, Featured, NewsNo Comments

A pioneer in hybrid electric aircraft technology, Ampaire has this week launched demonstration flights between Exeter Airport and Cornwall Airport, to showcase the benefits of sustainable aviation, by driving down costs and emissions on short regional routes.

“We are incredibly excited and proud to be supporting this initiative and to see Exeter Airport play a central role in demonstrating and developing this important technology,” said Stephen Wiltshire, Operations Director, Exeter Airport.
Flying between the two regional hubs, which are located 85 miles apart on a combination of battery and piston power, Ampaire’s flights are part of a series of government-backed trials aimed at moving the UK towards green aviation.

Demonstration flights will be operated by its Electric EEL technology aircraft. The modified US-built six-seat Cessna 337 Skymaster, features a battery-powered electric motor at the front and conventional combustion engine at the rear, enabling a reduction in emissions and operating costs by as much as 30%.

Ampaire is currently developing hybrid electric power train upgrades for 9 to 19-seat regional aircraft, including the Cessna Grand Caravan and Twin Otter. Last year the company received £2.4 million from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) £30 million Future Flight Challenge towards the consortium’s £5 million 2ZERO (Towards Zero Emissions in Regional Aircraft Operations) programme. The programme involves the operation of hybrid electric aircraft on regional routes in South West UK, together with a study of the ecosystem required to enable the future of electric aircraft within existing airport and airline operations.

“Low-emission aircraft are vitally needed on short haul regional routes to meet the UK’s net-zero objective for aviation,” said Dr. Susan Ying, Ampaire’s Senior VP for Global Operations. “We are developing commercial aircraft now that will begin this revolution in sustainable aviation with service entry planned for 2024.”

The EEL will be based at Exeter Airport from where it will fly on two CAA-approved routes, taking it over the dramatic expanse of Dartmoor, or on a more southerly flight path along the stunning Devon and Cornwall coastline, before touching down at Cornwall Airport Newquay.

“The EEL flies very much like a conventional aircraft, with some new instrumentation for power management,” said demonstration pilot, Elliot Sequin. “We have flown it nonstop from Los Angeles to San Francisco and now the length of the UK without any difficulty. It is the forerunner of a new generation of efficient aircraft that will be easy to fly for pilots and cost effective for airlines.”

Pete Downes, Managing Director at Cornwall Newquay Airport commented: “We’re passionate about being part of the solution in terms of the sustainable future of aviation and are incredibly proud to be partnering with Ampaire in this exciting project. At a time when domestic regional travel is stronger than ever, it’s vital we work together to find the most sustainable way to deliver this in the future.”

Swedavia welcomes expansion of Ryanair and Wizz Air services across its airport portfolio

By Airports, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Popular low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair continues to invest in the Swedish market by adding more destinations to Stockholm Arlanda and Göteborg Landvetter airports. Meanwhile, the Hungarian LCC, Wizz Air, is expanding its network at Malmö Airport and increasing its service with a route to Sarajevo, starting before Christmas.

Ryanair will open a new base at Stockholm Arlanda Airport this winter. With the addition of a three weekly service to Barcelona, it will serve around 25 European destinations, which will be launched by the beginning of November. The LCC will also launch a domestic link for the first time, to Gothenburg and Malmö from the Swedish capital and will continue to expand its network at Göteborg Landvetter. In addition to the planned new domestic route, it will launch services to Riga and Billund as well as Kaunas in Lithuania.

“It’s rewarding that both Ryanair and Wizz Air continue to expand in Sweden,” said Elizabeth Axtelius, Director Aviation Business at Swedavia Airports. “That Ryanair chose to add more destinations to the large number of routes they are opening this Autumn at both Stockholm Arlanda and Göteborg Landvetter, and that Wizz Air has chosen to launch another new route so shortly after they started operations to Banja Luca, shows a clear demand for travel, and is really a sign of the Swedish market’s strong position.”

Although travel remains affected by the pandemic, the demand for air travel continues to recover with Swedavia noting that in July for the first time since February 2020 the airports across its portfolio had more than one million passengers in a single month.

The airport operator credits the EU’s new digital COVID travel certificate with creating conditions for smoother travel, as control procedures can be further harmonised for travel within the EU.