$150m raised for airport logistics fund

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Realterm, a value-added real estate operator in the US, has raised $150 million in capital commitments, through its wholly owned subsidiary Aeroterm, for its Realterm Airport Logistics Properties, L.P. (RALP) fund. RALP has raised close to $750 million in external commitments to capitalise its investment activities.

Realterm currently manages more than $5 billlion in assets through five logistics-oriented private equity fund series. This includes RALP, which is comprised of 133 properties at 36 airports and serves as the investment platform for Aeroterm’s development, acquisition, financing and long-term management activities in North America. Aeroterm focuses on the development, redevelopment and acquisition of on-airport air cargo and aviation-related support facilities, including cargo buildings, hangars and flight kitchens. The new capital commitments will contribute to around $300 million of projects currently in design or construction across RALP’s North American portfolio.

“Almost five years after our formation of RALP, we are pleased to have provided top quartile returns to our limited partner’s while servicing our airport and tenant customers with premier sustainable facilities built for the rapidly growing aviation industry,” said David Rose, Managing Director and Senior Fund Manager.

“Our ability to help foster job growth, sustainability and efficiency across North American airports continues to have a tangible positive impact on both our LP’s missions and the airports and surrounding communities who partner with us,” added Rose. “We are set to deliver five new LEED-certified industrial buildings that will transform each airport’s ability to grow both cargo and passenger volumes for many years,” he concluded.


Flybe passengers told not to travel to airpor..

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As concern over the current coronavirus outbreak continues to escalate around the world, Exeter-based airline Flybe has gone into administration on Thursday 5 March. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on demand for travel has been partly to blame.

A statement on Flybe’s website reads: “All flights have been grounded and the UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect… If you are due to fly with Flybe, please  do not travel to the airport unless you have arranged an alternative flight with another airline. Please note that Flybe is unfortunately not able to arrange alternative flights for passengers.”

The struggling carrier narrowly avoided going bust in January after a rescue package was announced by the UK government. But the airline came under fire from competitors who felt that the so called “tax holiday” – which involved deferring Flybe’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) bill – was unfair. Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary accused the UK government of covering up the true terms of the deal to rescue Flybe and threatened to launch legal action at home and in Brussels over what he claims is illegal state aid.

The collapse of Flybe will have a significant impact on airports across the UK, many of which had Flybe as their main or sole carrier. The airline served destinations from the Channel Islands to Aberdeen. For airports such as Exeter, Belfast City and Newquay it was one of a handful of airline choices and at Southampton it accounted for around 95% of the activity.

“We are extremely disappointed at this news and our first thoughts go to the Flybe employees and passengers affected” said Brian Ambrose, CEO of Belfast City Airport commenting on the news this morning.

“From Belfast City Airport, Flybe had operated a strong and profitable base of 14 routes to key regional destinations across the UK. The airline was a significant economic driver for the region, carrying 1.6 million passengers to and from Belfast in 2019,” he added.

“I am confident that these well-established routes, coupled with our city centre location and recent £15m investment in terminal facilities, will prove an attractive option to airlines. Negotiations with a number of carriers are already underway.”

Meanwhile Birmingham Airport issued a statement saying: “A number of routes operated by Flybe are served by other carriers from Birmingham, and we already have arrangements for two airlines to replace five of its routes in the next few weeks. We will continue to engage with other airlines to replace the remaining capacity for our region and customers.” 

Editor’s comment: All eyes on Africa

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Regional Gateway editor Chloë Greenbank summarises the latest happenings across airports serving business, regional and low-fare routes.

Despite the global concern over the rapid spread of the coronavirus – which this morning has been found partly to blame for the collapse of the troubled UK regional carrier Flybe – it’s a case of the show must go on this week in Addis Ababa where Aviation Africa is hosting its 5th summit, which has been well attended by delegates and exhibitors alike, including Regional Gateway.

Opening the summit on Wednesday 4 March, Ato Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, commented: “Can you hear me at the back? Excuse my voice, I have the flu. But it’s only the flu…” However, he did also highlight the gravity of the current coronavirus outbreak describing it as “a huge challenge, but one that we have the capability to overcome.”

During my own travels over the past 14 days, which have seen me passing through air transport hubs in London, Los Angeles, Los Cabos and Addis Ababa, the growing anxiety among passengers has become increasingly apparent. There has been a steady rise in the number of passengers wearing masks and even surgical gloves as they move through the airport and particularly at security checkpoints. And you can’t purchase hand sanitiser for love nor money.

In some extreme cases a number of hubs including Noi Bai Airport in Vietnam and Ted Stevens Anchorage Airport in Alaska have been pictured with deserted check-in areas and baggage halls.

Admittedly the figures are worrying. More than 93,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus since it was first diagnosed at the end of 2019 and more than 3,000 people have died. But as Alan Peaford, Chairman of the Aviation Africa summit, recently pointed out, in the US last year an estimated 35.5 million people contracted influenza, while 34,200 people died. None of it is good news, but it’s important we maintain some perspective.

Under the theme ‘Creating a sustainable future for Africa’s aviation industry’, Peaford has been addressing challenges and opportunities affecting the continent during this week’s summit. In addition to the current outbreak and the impact it’s having with stakeholders across the aviation sector, this has also included the need to address capacity constraints, weak infrastructure, high taxes and poor connectivity, as well as how the industry is tackling climate change. The overriding message is that these are challenges the industry must face together in order to achieve a sustainable future.

I will also be moderating a panel on how African airports are addressing sustainable growth, which is more than just a question of facing up to the global climate emergency. It’s also about how airports are prioritising economic growth while generating social progress and ensuring safe, secure operations. A task that’s made all the more challenging by the impact of the current coronavirus outbreak.

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the Regional Gateway e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.

Anthony Leon Avaf20

Aviation Africa 2020: Air BP highlights low c..

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Anthony Leon Avaf20

Air BP, the aviation fuel products and services supplier has been highlighting its low carbon solutions and sustainability agenda at this year’s Aviation Africa summit being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this week.


Low carbon solutions


Air BP first began operations on the African continent 77 years ago in Mozambique and Zanzibar. It now provides fuel at around 40 network locations across Africa and is the first aviation fuel supplier in the world to achieve carbon neutrality for its into-plane fuelling services across an international network of over 250 operated facilities, including OR Tambo in Johannesburg and Cape Town International in South Africa.


Speaking at the summit on Thursday 5 March, Air BP’s General Manager,Southern Africa, Anthony Leon, explained how Air BP has more than a decade of experience in the use of electric powered vehicles. It has also adopted innovative stop-start technology in its hydrant dispensers which constantly monitors power demands and reduces vehicle idling. At OR Tambo International airport Air BP deployed a bespoke engine start/stop system last year. This has been increased and extended to Cape Town International with each airport now operating six hydrant dispensers with stop/start technology. By shutting the fuel dispenser engine down whilst refuelling the aircraft, it has reduced carbon emissions from those engines by around 20%.


“We are pleased to be sharing our lower carbon solutions and sustainability agenda with our customers and delegates at Aviation Africa 2020. With the African continent anticipated to experience phenomenal growth, it is vital that we work together with our partners, suppliers, customers and operations teams to continue to develop innovative solutions to reduce our carbon footprint and neutralise emissions,” commented Leon.

Last year at Cape Town International Air BP introduced additional offloading points in the depot which has improved its supply operations planning and stock management thus considerably reducing inefficient vehicle idling and waiting during busy periods. In addition, the fuel supplier added variable controls to pumps in its Johannesburg rail siding operations which allows for more efficient use of electric power on pump motors during lower demand periods thereby reducing electricity consumption.



Airfield Automation in Africa


Last year Air BP rolled out its Airfield Automation digital technology to nine airport locations in Africa. Designed to enhance safety, reliability and compliance in airport fuelling operations, it can increase speed and efficiency in fuelling. Airline customers in the region such as Airlink have been impressed with Airfield Automation and have reported improved turnaround times and enhanced accuracy in fuelling.


Leon, adds: “We are delighted to receive such positive feedback from the installation of Airfield Automation in Africa. With this new technology, we are playing our part in ensuring that the fuelling process is fast, efficient and safe. Misfuelling is one of the biggest risks we face in our industry. Our global solution provides an engineering barrier to help prevent misfuelling, which is good news for Africa and good news for our industry.”


Air BP grows its footprint in Africa


Air BP continues to invest and grow its footprint in Africa. In November 2019, Air BP signed a technical services agreement with Sonangol, the state-owned oil company in Angola marking its entry into the country. Air BP will support Sonangol in assuring its operations to international standards, providing advice on product quality, operations, HSSE and engineering.


Air BP further extended its reach last year with its first location in Nigeria at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. Air BP is working in collaboration with 11PLC (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria plc) to provide fuelling services at both the main terminal and the general aviation terminal.  Additionally, Air BP is providing technical support and risk management expertise to the airport. Furthermore, Air BP’s technical services team has supported 11PLC in the construction and commissioning of a new 20 million litre aviation jet fuel import tank including the laying of new jet fuel pipelines both of which were completed in 2019.


Air BP currently supplies commercial, general and military aviation customers at nine locations in South Africa, 10 in Egypt, seven in Tunisia, seven in Mozambique, two in Morocco, two in Cape Verde and one each in Nigeria, Mauritius and Ivory Coast. The company’s operations in Africa are supported by around 180 employees.

Header image: Credit

Aviation Africa 2020: Airbus reiterates commi..

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Speaking at this week’s Aviation Africa summit, taking place in Addis Ababa, Mikail Houari, President, Airbus Africa and Middle East, highlighted how the aviation industry is a great enabler for Africa.


Just as industry expansion creates jobs, attracts investment and produces manufacturing opportunities across the continent, it is also set to be a major beneficiary of Africa’s accelerating and continued economic growth, forecasted by the African Development Bank to be at 3.9% this year and 4.1% in 2021.


On the back of such growth, Airbus’s own Global Market Forecast (GMF) predicts that the continent’s rapid urbanisation, trade and tourism will contribute substantially to drive passenger traffic to and from Africa by 5.0% yearly over the next 20 years. An enabling environment through policies such as the African Union’s Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) further contribute to this growth.


From the airline perspective, African carriers are increasingly aware of the operational and economic benefits of acquiring new and modern aircraft. In fact, today airlines on the continent operate some of the most efficient and technologically advanced aircraft such as the A350XWB, A330neo, A320neo and the A220.


To meet market demands and Africa’s forecasted passenger growth, Houari, forecasts that Africa will need “more than 1,200 new passenger and freighter aircraft. By 2038, we will see double the number of planes we currently see in the sky according to the Airbus GMF.”


He added that Africa’s expanding maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) segment will continue on the same growth trajectory – Houari added this growth creates huge opportunities in terms of employment. “One direct job represents 10 indirect jobs and based on the current skills shortage we will need an additional 25,000 technicians and engineers and 20,000 pilots over the next 20 years.”


With a larger aviation and MRO industry, markets must be capacitated with the right skills to meet demands of the steady increase of traffic over the next 20 years.


To achieve sustainable growth in aviation, Houari believes that “investing in Africa’s youthful and increasingly tech-savvy population to build its capacity is vital. At Airbus, we have created several initiatives such as the “Airbus Little Engineer” programme, which has reached over 5000 learners across the continent and “Africa 4Future” for entrepreneurs. These initiatives are a reflection of our commitment to support the development of a sustainable pipeline of talent for the continent,”


Citing how the potential for aviation in Africa is immense and our focus remains on the full aerospace value-chain, Hoari added: “Our aim is to provide best-in-class products and services, develop sustainable partnerships, foster innovation, nurture talent, enhance skills and promote entrepreneurship in Africa.”

Krimson Aviation

Aviation Africa 2020: Krimson Aviation launch..

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Krimson Aviation

Based out of Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, Krimson Aviation –the flight support, charter and aviation consultancy – has unveiled its new high-end travel service Krimson Koncierge.

Speaking at the 5th Aviation Africa summit being held in Addis Ababa this week, Krimson Aviation’s Founder and CEO, Dawit Lemma, explains the new service specialises in creating escorted customised luxury excursions, tailored itineraries and bespoke destination management services for aviation crew, VIP and discerning travellers.

“Krimson Aviation has grown exponentially in the last couple of years,” Lemma tells Regional Gateway during the summit. “Customers would often ask us what to do and where to go in and around the capital and we realised that was something we could cater for. We also realised that beyond private aviation the concierge service was something we could offer business class passengers too.”

The Koncierge portfolio complements existing trip support services which until now have focused on managing hotel accommodation and ground transportation for business aviation crew. The new services offers an airport meet and greet serviced specifically for business class passengers arriving or departing on commercial airlines. It expedites transfers through the airport and reduces waiting time by more than an hour  as it speeds customers through the immigration and customs queues.

Krimson Koncierge has also secured a Tourism Investment Permit and Business License, which is necessary to conduct tourism business. This will enable Lemma and his team to deliver premium experiences tailored to the individual clients requests.

Close personal protection can also be arranged to mitigate potential risk and ensure safe passage. “We frequently receive requests for a security detail and drivers from our clients who come from all over the world, including Europe and the Middle East. But in the last six months we’ve seen an increase in business traffic and tourists from the US,” says Lemma.

Looking forward in addition to exploring more aircraft assets in the next five years, Krimson Aviation hopes to expand its services across the continent although Lemma admits that its roots remain firmly in Addis Ababa. “We’ve worked hard to develop relationships with service providers across the airport and beyond. We now have partners on the ground from Cape Town to Cairo, who we trust so we can provide all the necessary services,” he says.

And with Addis Ababa now the main aviation hub for passenger traffic coming to and around the region, Lemma reveals his goal is to “establish Addis Abba Africa’s business aviation hub and to offer unique customised experiences that can’t be found through traditional tour operators.” In the next five years he also plans to look into more aircraft assets.

Editor’s comment: Where is everybody…..

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Regional Gateway editor Chloë Greenbank summarises the latest happenings across airports serving business, regional and low-fare routes.

Last year saw European airports experience their slowest passenger growth for five years according to Airports Council International (ACI) Europe. Its 2019 traffic report found that passenger traffic across its European airport network (46 countries) grew by +3.2% in 2019 compared to +6.1% in 2018.

Echoing this reduction in growth for air passenger traffic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) also revealed earlier this month that global passenger traffic results for 2019 grew by just +4.2% compared to the previous year. It marked the first year since the global financial crisis in 2009 that passenger demand has fallen below the long-term trend of around 5.5% annual growth.

So, if they’re not in the airports and they’re not on the aircraft where have all the passengers gone?

Describing 2019 as a “pivotal year”, ACI Europe’s Director General, Olivier Jankovec, said that while passenger volumes were up “the deceleration has been notable on the back of both supply and demand pressures.”

That said he did also stress that some of the supply-side pressures might start easing, “especially if the 737 MAX is finally approved to fly and and if the recent decrease in oil prices is not reversed”.

The exposure of EU airports to airline bankruptcies and EU airlines generally limiting capacity growth and network expansion, as well as the ongoing Brexit uncertainty, all correlated with growth halving in the latter half of the year.

While just 51% of smaller regional airports (those handling less than 5 million passengers) reported an increase in traffic, larger regional airports including (Krakow, Seville and Nantes) demonstrated significant gains in passenger traffic as a result of route development strategies and the expansion of direct international air connectivity.

Looking forward, ACI Europe reports that airports have planned for continued lower growth in passenger traffic with the recent coronavirus outbreak causing uncertainty across the industry as the wider economic consequences start kicking in.

IATA and ACI Europe might be reporting slow passenger growth, but it’s full speed ahead for the Regional Gateway team. At the beginning of next month I’m off to Ethiopia for the 5th Aviation Africa summit, where I’ll be moderating a session on the rise of Africa’s sustainable airports. Then at the end of March I’ll be in Paris for Passenger Terminal Expo. Oh yes, and we’re busy closing the March issue of Regional Gateway magazine… And breathe!

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the Regional Gateway e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.

Airports in Europe experience slow passenger ..

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European airports experienced their slowest passenger traffic growth in 2019 for the last five years, according to Airports Council International (ACI) Europe’s latest traffic report.

ACI Europe traffic report

ACI Europe traffic report

The report, which covers all types of passenger flights to, from and within Europe including full service, low cost, regional, charter and others revealed that passenger traffic across its European airport network (46 countries) grew by +3.2% in 2019. Representing half the growth rate registered in 2018 (+6.1%) last year’s figures still resulted in European airports welcoming an impressive 2.43 billion passengers.

Largely driven by a decline in domestic traffic, the passenger growth slowdown was more significant at non-EU airports. The EU market accounted for 76% of the total passenger traffic growth in 2019. It also reflected airline consolidation and limited airline capacity expansion, as aircraft movements only increased by +1.1% during the year and became negative in the last quarter.

The report also illustrated that freight traffic dropped by -1.9% in 2019, the worst performance since 2012. With the exception of December freight traffic remained negative throughout the year with EU airports dragging the performance down by -3.2% while non-EU airports remained mostly positive at +1.9%.

With trade tensions easing and the global economy expected to pick up in 2020 (subject to the coronavirus being effectively contained) its hoped that the freight downturn will bottom out and move towards a recovery over the next 12 months.

Commenting on the slow passenger growth Olivier Jankovec, Director General at ACI Europe said: “Over the past five years, Europe’s airports have increased their passenger traffic by more than +32% – meaning they have actually accommodated an extra 595 million passengers since 2014. But 2019 was a pivotal year. Volumes were up, but the deceleration has been notable on the back of both supply and demand pressures.”

Although many airports have planned for continued lower growth in passenger traffic Jankovec added that some of the supply side pressures might start easing, “especially if the 737 MAX is finally approved to fly again and if the recent decrease in oil prices is not reversed.”

The recent coronavirus outbreak has also caused uncertainty across the industry and the wider aviation and transport market. While the traffic impact so far has been marginal and mostly limited to those airports with direct air services to China, Jankovec stated, “We estimate that in February, the top 10 EU/ UK airports will collectively lose 475,000 passengers, which would amount to just 1.2% of their total traffic for the month.” However, he also warned that “as wider economic consequences start kicking-in in China and potentially beyond, the impact on air traffic could become more widespread and significant for Europe’s airports.”

The exposure of EU airports to airline bankruptcies as well as EU airlines generally limiting capacity growth and network expansion on the back of less favourable economic conditions and Brexit uncertainties correlates with growth halving as the year progressed.

Airports in Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Malta, Luxembourg and Portugal grew at more than twice the EU average. Airports in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Greece underperformed while those in Sweden, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Slovenia registered declines in passenger traffic.

While traffic at the top five European airports (Paris-CDG, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol and Istanbul) increased overall by +1.8% throughout the course of the year just 51% of smaller regional airports (handling less than 5 million passengers per annum) saw their traffic increasing, compared to 77% for the rest of the industry.

Larger regional airports however recorded impressive gains in passenger traffic as a result of route development strategies and the continued expansion of direct international air connectivity. These include: Krakow (+24.2%), Seville (+18.3%), Nantes (+16.7%), Dubrovnik (+14.1%), Bordeaux (+13.3%), Brest (+11.1%), Bologna (+10.6%), Bari (+10.2%), Porto (+9.8%), Valencia (+9.8%), Naples (+9.3%) and Marseille (+8.1%).

Global de-icing market set for growth

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easyjet de-icing

Thanks to an increase in the number of airline operators around the world and continued uncertainty over adverse weather conditions the global aircraft de-icing market is estimated to grow at a higher Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), according to The Global Aircraft De-Icing Market Report 2025.

De-icing is vital to help prevent aircraft malfunctioning while in the air – the accumulation of ice can hamper the capability of a plane to fly safely and efficiently with frost, ice and snow all affecting the power that permits an aircraft to fly by way of altering the form of the tail and wing, as well as adding to an aircraft’s drag and weight.

Airports in North America are forecast to see the maximum share of the market for de-icing systems. This is primarily due to an increase in passengers and airline customers at US airports, which are among the busiest in the world. In addition the threat of hurricanes and adverse weather conditions in this region further adds to the need for de-icing of an aircraft’s exterior. In January 2018, more flights than ever before were grounded in North America due to storms.

As an innovative system offering an alternative to forced air and electro-thermal procedures the introduction of Electro-Impulse De-Icing (EIDI) is expected to boost the markets’ development according to the report. EIDI requires less power for a similar outcome to previous systems which has led to a rise in its implementation by airline operators.

Head image: Churchill Falls Airport in Canada is investing in de-icing services.

Allegiant expands network with nine new route..

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Las Vegas-based Allegiant is expanding its network with the addition of 9 nonstop routes including connections to San Diego in California and Destin-Fort Walton Beach in Florida.

The new routes are part of the low-cost carrier’s service expansion in 11 cities. “With summer quickly approaching, we know that many leisure travellers are looking to secure their vacation plans,” said Drew Wells, Allegiant Vice President of Planning and Revenue.

Flights to Las Vegas via McCarran International Airport (LAS) will commence at the beginning of June 2020 from three locations: San Diego International Airport, Fort Wayne International Airport and Tucson International Airport.

Meanwhile, new routes to San Diego will commence on 3 June. These will include services from McCarran International Airport, Tulsa International Airport, Billings Logan International Airport, Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport, Sioux Falls Regional Airport and Idaho Falls Regional Airport. The new seasonal route to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport from Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal is set to commence on 4 June 2020.

“These new routes expand our network of affordable, convenient flights and offer vacationers nonstop access to even more popular destinations for their summer adventures,” concluded Wells.