Domestic hubs in Sweden to benefit from Ryanair investment and expansion

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To coincide with next year’s summer season the Irish low-cost carrier (LCC), Ryanair, will launch domestic routes to Lulea and Visby from Stockholm Arlanda Airport, as well as 10 new international direct routes from the Swedish capital.

The new routes are in line with the LCC’s plan to base four aircraft at the Stockholm hub from where it will launch 35 new routes within six months. Half of these destinations are new for the airport and include: Brindisi, Venice and Rome-Fiumicino in Italy, Beziers in France, Corfu in Greece, Palma de Mallorca in Spain, Poznan and Wroclaw in Poland and Zadar in Croatia.

“It is with great joy that we welcome Ryanair’s continued expansion in the Swedish market. The airline’s 12 new routes to exciting destinations in Europe, including two domestic ones are an important addition and complement to the existing offering at our airports,” said Charlotte Ljunggren, Director of Marketing & Sales at Swedavia.

She added that the new routes will improve access both within and outside Sweden. “This access is important for growth in the region and the tourism industry all across Sweden. We have a good collaboration with Ryanair for many years, which we now look forward to developing even further going forward,” Ljunggren said.

New data points to industry-wide shift towards digitalisation of the passenger experience

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Digital vouchering platform, iCoupon, has revealed new data which points to a shift towards the digitalisation of the passenger experience and airport ecosystem.

The iCoupon voucher platform, which enables adoptees to issue digital vouchers directly to passenger boarding passes, has experienced significant growth since the start of the pandemic. In addition to expanding its network to cover a further 30 airports worldwide, iCoupon has also won 10 new travel retail contracts and been implemented by seven major airlines over the last 18 months.

With flight schedules impacted by the ongoing disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, vouchering has become an essential tool for ensuring passengers receive compensation in line with regulations, such as EU261, and that eligible staff and passengers receive meal entitlements.

“It goes without saying that airports and airlines have had to radically rethink the way they operate their businesses and how they serve their customers,” said Richard Bye, CEO and Chairman of iCoupon.

“The last year-and-a-half has really highlighted the importance of using digital tools within the travel sector to offer a more streamlined, contact-free and convenient service. Many factors have influenced this sift to digitalisation: passenger needs have evolved due to the effects of the pandemic; consumers are demanding tangible sustainability measures; and digital, automated services are now expected as standard. Our rapid growth is symptomatic of the scale and pace of digitalisation within the industry and highlights the wide-reaching benefits of offering an improved passenger experience via digital channels,” Bye continued.

Aeromexico awards Menzies with ground handling contract across 15 Mexican airports

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Global aviation logistics specialist, Menzies Aviation, has secured a three-year contract with Mexico’s flagship carrier, Aeromexico, which includes ground handling services at 15 airports across the country.

In line with the agreement, Menzies will deliver a full suite of ground services for the airline, including passenger, ramp and cleaning operations at air transport hubs including Los Cabos International Airport, Merida International Airport, Del Bajio International Airport and Oaxaca International Airport. Menzies is expected to handle an expected 23,000 turns per year as part of the agreement, and will operate the largest number of stations for Aeromexico of any handler in the region.

Following recent contract wins with American Airlines, Delta, Wingo and Air Transat, the contract with Aeromexico demonstrates Menzies’ commitment to expanding its presence in Mexico. It also reflects the companies strategic investment in emerging market territories to create growth opportunities across its service portfolio.

“We’re delighted to announce our new partnership with Mexico’s flagship airline, which spans the entire country,” said Philipp Joeinig, CEO, Menzies Aviation. “This is an exciting opportunity for Menzies as we increase our footprint in Mexico, and testament to our trusted reputation and high standards of service. We look forward to working closely with Aeromexico to deliver our world-class ground services across an extensive network of airports and further establishing our operations in Central America.”

Air bp expands presence in the Middle East with JV at Baghdad Airport

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Having been operational in the Middle East for nearly 90 years, Air bp is expanding its presence further in the region with a new aircraft fuelling joint venture (JV) at Baghdad international Airport in Iraq. The JV, United Iraqi Company for Airports and Ground Handling Services Limited, operating under the name MASIL, was awarded an operating licence for aircraft refuelling, ground handling and cargo services.

As well as providing world-class standards to enhance the customer experience, the JV also aims to improve safety and operational standards at the airport.

“Air bp is delighted to be commencing its new JV,” said Duce Gotora, bp’s VP of Strategy and Sustainability. “We see a strong future for aviation in Iraq and are excited to be involved in this market and contribute to its future development and success.”

In line with the JV agreement, Air bp is providing assurance on all aspects of fuel supply and aircraft refuelling operations. This includes providing world class operating standards, workforce training to enhance knowledge and competence, and advice on product quality, operations, HSSE and maintenance.

“Fuel supply is a vital component of the airport operation that will add value to airline operators,” continued Gotora. “Over time, Air bp and its partners aim to build a strong and sustainable business in Iraq, drawing upon the global expertise of the partners combined with the local skills of Iraqis.”

In addition to Iraq, Air bp provides fuel and services to general aviation, commercial aviation and military customers in the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

Tunisia welcomes re-launch of Nouvelair flights to Manchester

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Nouvelair, the first privately-owned Tunisian Airline, is re-launching flights from Manchester following the relaxation of travel restrictions by both Tunisian and UK governments. Flights were initially due to start in July 2021, however Nouvelair had to suspend its services due to the restrictions imposed by the UK Government.

Flights to Tunis will commence in March 2022 just ahead of the Easter break and will be operated on a fleet of Airbus A320s. For the time being the Tunisian carrier is the only operator flying to Tunis from Manchester.

“The return of Nouvelair to Manchester is terrific news for the 100,000 or so passengers in our catchment who travel to Tunisia each year,” commented Karen Smart, Managing Director of Manchester Airport. She added that the flights will “increase the choice available to those seeking some sunshine over Easter.”

Meanwhile, Carl Denton, UK Sales Agent for Nouvelair said that “after being restricted to a limited programme in 2021, we are very excited to restart operations again for 2022, with an expanded operation which will provide great access for holidays, business and most importantly to allow friends and families to reconnect with Tunisia again.”

COP26: Airports underline tangible actions towards decarbonisation

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Reaffirming their global commitment to net-zero emissions the airport industry took centre stage at COP26’s Climate Action Hub on Wednesday 10 November.

ACI Europe Director General, Olivier Jankovec, underlined the tangible climate actions of airports globally in addressing their own carbon emissions while also supporting broader decarbonisation of the air transport sector.

He highlighted how the airport industry has long championed the sector’s need to chart a course to net zero, with a first ACI Europe carbon management resolution in Europe in 2008 followed by the launch of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme 12 years ago. Then, in 2019 Europe’s airports committed to a net-zero CO2 airport emissions goal by 2050 at the latest.

Earlier this year, the global Net Zero 2050 commitment further demonstrated the industry’s long-term carbon goal, which will be accompanied by concrete guidance and transparent reporting on progress.

In Europe, these tangible, transparent actions come together in the recently announced Repository of Roadmaps and accompanying guidance, and this will be soon be followed by a worldwide Airport Action Plans Initiative. These individual plans and guidance have the clearly stated aim of aiding all airports to set out on the path to net zero, with an increasing body of evidence-based success to reference. The results to date speak for themselves. Ninety four European airports are on track to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, including 10 airports that have already reached net-zero.

Derek Provan, CEO of AGS Airports, which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton Airports in the UK, used the COP26 platform to announce plans for a solar farm at Glasgow Airport. It will provide the airport with the capability to generate enough power for the entire airport campus and neighbouring businesses. This is equivalent to powering 20% of homes in the city of Glasgow, which equates to approximately 52,000 households.

Provan also pointed to new aircraft energy systems and to the example of Scottish carrier Loganair, part of a consortium taking forward plans to trial a zero carbon, hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered flying demonstrator by September 2022. If trials are successful, this could see the world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger flights take off in Orkney in late 2023. This, enthused Jankovec, highlights the importance of regional airports and short-haul flights as test-beds for radically new aircraft technologies. “It’s a policy we’ve long advocated for,” said Jankovec. It is also in line with the ambition set by the European aviation industry through Destination 2050, which sees all flights departing EU/ UK/ EFTA reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Aviation is a force for good,” pointed out Provan. “Through our sustainability strategy we have set out how AGS will balance the undoubted economic and social benefits of aviation with our climate change responsibilities.

“As a group, we are committed to building on our carbon neutrality status by achieving net zero by the mid-2030s and like the wider industry, we have set out a clear plan on how we will meet that goal. All of our electricity is already from 100% renewable sources, however, the creation of the solar farm at Glasgow Airport will allow us to become self-sustaining by generating enough power for both the airport and our neighbours.”

Showcasing some of the most innovative and ecologically robust airport initiatives, Jankovec highlighted Vancouver International Airport as having aspirations to be the greenest airport in the world. He also picked out Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport as being the first to reach the new Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 4+ in Asia-Pacific. It’s planned taxiway will save 55,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. Meanwhile he cited Aeroport de la Reunion as having groundbreaking architectural designs that override the need for air conditioning by harnessing wind power and Aeropuerto Ecologico de Galapagos as the world’s first ecological airport drawing 100% of its energy from renewable sources.

“COP26 represents a turning point, a now-or-never. Not for rhetoric and promises, but for actions,” said Jankovec. “These actions should be tangible, transparent, measurable and progressive. I am incredibly proud to stand here at COP and speak on behalf of an industry that faces some of the greatest challenges to decarbonise. Yet at the same time, it shows some of the greatest ambition. Because flying is not the enemy, carbon is. Air travel is part of our economic, cultural and human experience and it’s incumbent upon us all to ensure that is continued sustainably. The airport industry leads the way in transforming our sector into one which will be truly fit for purpose for future generations.”



Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to welcome new Gulfstream aircraft service centre

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Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation plans to construct a new 225,000 sq. ft. maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (Gateway Airport).

Describing Phoenix-Mesa as an ideal location for Gulfstream’s latest MRO facility, Derek Zimmerman, President, Gulfstream Customer Support commented: “Not only is it an established airport for business aviation operators, its infrastructure and size provide a great location for both Gulfstream and our customers. The state of Arizona, the city of Mesa and the airport authority have been incredibly welcoming and supportive of our efforts to expand our service capabilities. In addition, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Arizona State University and local school districts have been involved with us since the beginning to offer certificate, degree and training programmes that will translate directly to careers at Gulfstream. The new facility and the job creation that will follow is great news for our customers, our employees and the community.”

Gulfstream is investing $70m in the new facility, which will offer a broad range of services and add additional capacity for customers in the western United States. The facility at Gateway Airport will be Gulfstream’s first in Arizona and inline with the company’s sustainability goals will feature a sustainable, modern design.

City of Mesa Mayor and Chairman of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority (PMGAA), John Giles, added that “the arrival of Gulfstream is further proof that Gateway Airport is one of the best locations in North America for MRO and other aerospace facilities. The hundreds of high-wage jobs and educational partnerships that will be generated with this facility will have a profound impact on the entire region.”

Meanwhile, PMGAA Executive Director/ CEO, Biran O’Neill,  said the arrival of Gulfstream represents the largest private investment in the airport’s history. “Gateway Airport has proven to be an ideal location for MRO facilities, and Gulfstream’s announcement further validates our position as a global industry leader.”

Served by five commercial airlines offering nonstop service to more than 60 domestic and international destinations, Gateway Airport boasts around one thousand acres of aeronautical and non-aeronautical land available for development.

Seattle Airport unveils concourse modernisation project

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Seattle-Tacoma International Airport(SEA Tacoma) has opened its new N Concourse, known as the North Satellite Modernisation Project. The opening took place on 4 November with the airport debuting its first-ever art and cultural festival. A dedicated performance stage hosted live music performances, a poetry reading and spoken word.

“This event celebrates the natural and cultural richness of the Pacific Northwest,” said Port of Seattle Commission President, Fred Felleman. “The building embodies our values of creating economic opportunities in an inclusive and environmentally responsible manner.”

The airport’s newly renovated N Concourse – by Design Architect Fentress Architects and Architect of Record AECOM with construction company, Hensel Phelps – features modern amenities, seismic upgrades, sustainable features and improved building function.

Fentress Architects’s Principal in Charge of Design, Curtis Fentress, said the N Concourse, which took four years to complete, is now “emblematic of the Pacific Northwest, its majestic sights and sounds. Every element of the design works in concert to orient travellers, as it greets visitors and welcomes home residents.”

Passengers will benefit from a brighter, bolder space with more dining and retail options, as well as a diverse art collection that reflects the culture, spirit and history of the region, nature inspired design and a brand-new performance stage.

The concourse also features 10 new passenger gates, an impressive Alaska Airlines Lounge and to demonstrate the sustainability of the project the airport’s first system to collect and reuse rainwater. Rainwater captured from the roof is used to flush toilets, which will save 2.8 million gallons of potable water annually, the equivalent of 4.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools. In addition, 20,000 tonnes of construction waste was recycled and thus diverted from landfills, and nearly $21m of recycled materials were used on the project. Energy efficient LED lighting, heating and cooling methods save approximately 1.7 million kWh annually, which is equal to the annual energy usage of 170 homes.

Manchester and the north tipped for transatlantic trade and tourism boom

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With flights to the US resuming from Manchester Airport on Monday 8 November, transatlantic trade and tourism got a much needed boost this morning with flights between the two destinations taking off for the first time in almost two years.

Following the US Government’s decision to reopen borders to visitors from the UK again, Manchester Airport has welcomed the return of services to a number of US destinations. Prior to the pandemic, the UK’s third largest gateway was among the best connected to the US in Europe, with more than three million passengers a year crossing the pond from its catchment area.

The first stateside bound flights from Manchester were Virgin Atlantic services to Orlando and New York, with Orlando being the first departure. Following this, routes to Atlanta and Houston will also return over the coming weeks and months. This includes the launch of routes with Air Lingus, with the Irish carrier opening a new base in the North for the first time, creating in excess of 150 jobs.

Business and tourism leaders have hailed the return of transatlantic air services saying the direct routes will unlock wide-ranging economic, trade and tourism opportunities.
In 2019, more than 307,000 Americans visited the North of England, spending more than £156m across the region. In addition to the trade benefits of being linked to economic powerhouses like New York City, the direct connectivity also unlocks vast journey time savings, meaning businesses across the North can save thousands of man-hours each year.

What’s more, with 43 universities within Manchester Airport’s catchment area, students, staff and their families will benefit from these routes returning. The US is third on the list of most common countries of origin for international students at UK universities, with 20,000 American students enrolled at British higher education institutions in 2019/20.
“After almost two years with no flights to the US, it is great to finally re-connect the region with some of our most popular and important destinations,” said Karen Smart, Managing Director at Manchester Airport.

“Not only are our US routes well loved by holidaymakers, but they are also vital to the Northern economy and the prosperity of the region. Whether that is through the trade and investment opportunities the direct connectivity unlocks, to the inbound tourism the routes bring in, as Americans flock to key destinations like the Lake District, North Wales and York, plus to city break favourites like Liverpool and Manchester.”

She added that she was encouraging businesses and other organisations with links to the US to get in touch with the airport so they can help unlock their potential through the airport’s international reach.

Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership added: “Reopening the economic corridor between Manchester and the US will be a significant boost for the Northern economy in terms of both trade and inbound tourism, also reinforcing our ability across the Northern Powerhouse to attract foreign investment from the US.
“Manchester Airport acts as a gateway to the north for the whole world, allowing the North to build stronger economic ties with Asia including China, Africa as well as continental Europe.”

Swedavia notes boom in air passenger traffic

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Swedish airport operator, Swedavia, recorded nearly 1.7 million passengers travelling through its ten airports for the month of October, 2021. While the figure is half the number compared to October 2019, the recovery in air travel accelerated during the month, with passenger numbers reaching their highest level since the beginning of the pandemic.

The easing of travel restrictions in the US and Thailand (both popular destinations for Swedes) paved the way for increased international travel and the transport of goods. And the positive trend for increased passenger traffic has continued in November with new airline investments and air links.

“The recovery in aviation continued in October and accelerated with the easing of restrictions and an expanded offering for air routes from our airports,” noted Jonas Abrahamsson, Swedavia’s President and CEO. “To handle the increase in air travel and growing number of passengers, we have now placed another terminal in service at Stockholm Arlanda,” he continued.

“After a long time with the pandemic, there is now pent-up demand for travel, especially to visit relatives and family. Naturally, it is tremendously positive that more and more airlines are choosing to invest in new traffic at our airports, not just for all travellers but also for important goods transports for trade and industry, given the great shortage of and great demand for good transports all across the globe.”

Of the nearly 1.7 million passengers that flew via Swedavia’s airports in October, 1,136,000 were international and 552,000 were domestic, which corresponds to a 52% decrease in both international and domestic travel compared to pre-crisis levels (October 2019).

However, air travel in October overall increased 127% compared to October 2020. At Swedavia’s seven regional airports, the decrease in passenger volumes was between 36% and 60% for a total of more than 252,000 passengers. All of the regional airports also had a better passenger trend in October compared to the preceding months and to the same month last year.