Manchester Airport’s lasting legacy

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Manchester Airport’s transformation project is set to leave a lasting legacy for the local population and economy.

Thirteen suppliers have signed a pledge that is committed to delivering 150 apprenticeships through the airport’s £1 billion transformation programme, which will see the airport benefit from a super-sized terminal, high-tech security, enhanced retail opportunities and increased passenger traffic.

The principal contractor, Laing O’Rourke has sustained 34 apprentices on the project, all of whom are from the Greater Manchester area. In addition, 69% of the entire workforce on the project live within a 35-mile radius of the site.

“We’re wholly committed to this project having a lasting legacy in the local area,” said Laing O’Rourke’s project director, Bryan Glass. “We’ve set ourselves ambitious targets and have made a positive start so far. Today has been about building on that and working with our supply chain to ensure they have the support and guidance they need to deliver apprenticeships through their work on their programme,” he continued.

Building a workforce for the future

With work on the scheme expected to ramp up over the summer months, a special apprenticeships programme has been set up to ensure that new businesses joining the team are aware of the benefits apprenticeships can bring to their business.

Representatives from Trafford College Group are also on hand to offer their expertise and support on how businesses can recruit new apprentices, as well as guidance on the opportunities and potential barriers employers may face when recruiting trainees.

Commenting on the new scheme, Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, said:

As well as producing an airport that our passengers and partners can be proud of, it’s hugely important to us that our transformation programme creates lasting benefits to all of our region.

As work continues at pace on the scheme, it’s great to see so many of our contractors signing up to our apprenticeship commitment.

I look forward to seeing apprentices from a diverse range of backgrounds working on site in the weeks and months ahead.

London Stansted topping the charts

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Having declared at the end of last month that it’s all set to be the fastest growing London airport in 2018 with 10.8 million seats available for summer, Stansted Airport has just recorded its busiest winter ever.

The airport welcomed more than 1.98 million passengers during March, an increase of 5.8% or 109,000 passengers over the same month in 2017.

March traffic figures at the airport show particularly strong year-on-year growth on popular European business routes, including Frankfurt, Hanover and Munich in Germany, Copenhagen and Billund in Denmark and Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Ken O’Toole, London Stansted’s CEO, said the “passenger numbers continue to increase at a rapid pace as we grow our route network, welcome new airline partners and provide even more choice.”

He also commented that “Stansted is a key enabler for economic growth through improving international connectivity and competitiveness, which in turn helps make our region even more attractive to inward investment.”

Alongside the strong growth on a number of key business destinations in Europe, O‘Toole added that the airport has new routes to Dubai, the US and Canada launching in the coming weeks as well as plans to access markets across China and India.

“This is a key focus for us as we know businesses and business people from across the region we serve want the choice and convenience of more long-haul destinations available from their local airport, saving them valuable time and money associated with flying from other London airports.”

Stansted’s growth in passenger traffic has also been credited to, which, following strong demand, will be adding its 10th aircraft at the airport later this year. The low-fare carrier recently celebrated its first anniversary at Stansted, having started flying from the London base on 30 March 2017.

Inset image: London Stansted’s CEO, Ken O’Toole

SITA partners with Mexican airports to boost ..

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As part of an initiative to strengthen its border control by using biometric technology, the Federal Government of Mexico has introduced SITA’s automated border control kiosks at three of the country’s airports.

One hundred kiosks have been rolled out at the airports in Mexico City, Cancun and Los Cabos, which are operated by Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México (AICM), Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) and Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP). All three airports are major players when it comes to catering for low-fare and regional carriers and the kiosks are expected to securely process close to 8 million arrivals in the first year alone.

“As visitor numbers at international airports grow, the need for migration agents grows as well, but we have the technology to help us overcome that challenge,” said Enrique De la Madrid, secretary general, SECTUR, the Mexican Ministry of Tourism. “This automation will ensure security and facilitate the arrival of visitors to the country,” he continued.

While the border control kiosks will initially be used to securely identify passengers as they enter the country, in time, they will facilitate the full admission process for Mexican citizens and non-citizens who do not require a visa for entry.

Commenting further on the rollout of the new kiosks, Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, secretary general, the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation, said: “The installation of these kiosks represents another example of the implementation of state-of-the-art technology in Mexico, aimed at preserving the safety of people and their goods, as well as facilitating activities related to aviation.”

Referencing how SITA’s border technology increases security and efficiency by enabling governments to clear large numbers of passengers in record time, Gerardo Garcia, commissioner to the National Institute of Immigration (INM) said: “By automating the arrival process using SITA’s biometric kiosks, we will improve the speed and accuracy of checks of passengers arriving in Mexico.”

New non-stop flights from Kentucky

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US-based low-fare carrier, Allegiant, has resumed its service between Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky and Savannah-Hilton Head Airport, which serves the northeastern coast of Georgia and southern coast of South Carolina.

Frequently named as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Savannah offers visitors quaint cobblestone streets and magnificent architecture along its waterfront, as well as delicious cuisine, idyllic stretches of beach, championship golf courses and green, open spaces.

The airline is also due to start serving a new twice-weekly link between Lexington and Destin-Fort Walton Beach in Florida this summer.

Located on the Florida Panhandle on the state’s Emerald Coast, Destin is a popular destination for holidaymakers seeking out sun, sea and sand.

“If you haven’t been to Florida’s Emerald Coast, I highly recommend it. It is one of the most beautiful hidden treasures in Florida and we’re so excited to announce this new non-stop service,” said Kim Schaefer, PR manager for Allegiant Air.

As part of its strategy to connect smaller US cities with popular holiday destinations, the airline will begin serving the new non-stop route from 7 June. It also offers flights to Daytona, Fort Lauderdale, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Fort Myers, Savanah, Tampa and St. Petersburg in Florida.

Firms awarded contract for Fujairah expansion..

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Abu Dhabi Airports has signed a contract with Orascom Construction Company and Al Sahraa General Transport & Clearance Abu Dhabi for the expansion project at Fujairah International Airport.

Located on the UAE’s eastern coast, the regional hub’s expansion plans, which will enable it to handle aircraft as large as an A380, include a new parallel taxiway and emergency runway with airfield lighting system, as well as an upgrade of the existing runway and connecting taxiways. The current airfield ground and approach lighting systems are also due to be replaced, while a new air traffic control tower and air traffic management system will be introduced.

“We are excited to see the fruition of the close collaboration with the department of Civil Aviation of the Emirate of Fujairah during the planning phase over the past few years,” said H.E. Abubaker Seddiq Alkhoori, chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports.

“Abu Dhabi Airports is determined to play a key role in the expansion program for Fujairah International Airport,” he continued, explaining how the airport group will lend its expertise in delivering mega infrastructural projects by providing administrative assistance as well as managing the construction phase.

Commenting further on the signing of the contract, H.E. Mohammed Abdullla Alsalami, chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation of the Emirate of Fujairah, also stated:

This milestone signals the start of our journey towards delivering an advanced airport infrastructure able to cater to the changing needs for the Emirate of Fujairah. The expansion program for Fujairah Airport is a vital component of our ability to grow and attract stakeholders, and thereby play a role in supporting the UAE’s leading position in the aviation industry.

ACI World declares that airport traffic is on..

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According to an economic report by Airports Council International (ACI) World, the continued recovery in manufacturing and global trade, alongside a rise in business confidence, has fostered investment and growth in airports around the world.

ACI’s preliminary statistics reveal that airport traffic around the globe has grown consistently over the last three years, with passenger traffic growing 6.6% in 2017.

Stability in the industry has not only reinforced the value of investment, but robust competition continues to shape the industry and its capacity to generate revenues. These positive results are coupled with the news that aeronautical revenue generated from airport charges per passenger in real terms has remained stable – around US$10 per passenger. According to ACI, this underlines that the calls for tighter economic regulation for airport charges are unfounded.

The report also found that all eyes need to continue looking towards emerging and developing economies (particularly in Asia-Pacific) when it comes to the future growth in air transport demand. By 2040, airports in emerging and developing economies are expected to occupy 62% of global passenger traffic, as opposed to 45% in 2016.

Commenting on how airports are essential to the economic development of cities and regions, Angela Gittens, director general ACI World, said: “Since 2010, global passenger traffic has been growing at an average of 5.5% annually, which is testament to the resilience of the industry.

“While there are predictions of looming challenges on the horizon – including inflationary pressures and a protectionist threat in some major economies – passenger traffic has remained on an upward trajectory across the globe at airports in response to demand in both advanced and emerging economies.”

But, she warned, to keep up with this demand, airports must invest, improve and grow. “Charges and non-aeronautical revenues are major sources of funds for airports to invest in infrastructure and service improvements. Disproportionate efforts to restrict or regulate this should be avoided, especially considering airport charges have remained both stable and reasonable in response to the strong competitive pressures that now shape the airport industry.”

The report’s findings also highlighted that airports are asset-intensive businesses that require years to recuperate their capital investments in infrastructure such as runways and terminals. With a demand for increasing levels of investment to maintain and enhance capacity at an appropriate level of service quality, airport charges and non-aeronautical revenues are a major source of funds for investment.

It came as no surprise that the report also revealed that customer experience remains a top priority for airports. With the industry experiencing efficiency gains on an operational level, this is a positive sign that airports have clearly focused their efforts in the improvement of airport operations to better serve their customers.








Cranfield Airport one step closer to Air Park

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Situated in central Bedfordshire in the UK within the campus of Cranfield University, Cranfield Airport has had outline planning permission granted for a new Air Park.

Formerly known as the College of Aeronautics, Cranfield University specialises in aerospace, engineering, technology and management and plans for the Air Park will help the university realise its goal of developing and maintaining the airport for its research objectives.

“This is an exciting time for Cranfield Airport,” said Rob Abbott, director of aviation operations at Cranfield University. “Together with the installation of the remote control tower, the development of these new facilities will mean Cranfield Airport is one of the UK’s premier private business airports, underlined by its strategic location.”

A crucial step in developing the airport as a state-of-the-art base for private jets, the project will see the airport gain new aircraft hangars and an associated business terminal, as well as new office spaces, a hotel and various upgrade works. Developed over two separate phases, the Air Park is expected to be completed in  in 2024 and has the potential to generate more than 600 new jobs in the region.

Explaining that the development project will enhance the economy of both Cranfield and the wider region, Central Bedfordshire Council’s director for regeneration, Jason Longhurst, said: “Cranfield is at the cutting edge of innovation and aerospace research and development, so these are plans that chime with our growing high-performance technologies sector, which has demonstrated significant growth.”

New drone species spotted at Southampton

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Bird spotters and passengers passing through Southampton Airport on the south coast of England may have noticed a new species hovering around. Designed to look like a falcon, Robird is actually an ornithopter – a type of drone that is used to mimic the actions of a bird of prey in efforts to deter real birds from airports.

Preventing bird strikes (when a bird collides with an aircraft during take-off or landing) is a constant battle for airports, with traditional bird scaring methods losing their impact over time and airports often resorting to lethal deterrents to avoid a threat to flight safety.

In partnership with NATS and Clear Flight Solutions, Southampton Airport has trialled Robird as a deterrent that keeps birds including corvids, birds of prey, pigeons and gulls well away from the airport’s flight paths  without causing them any harm.

Dan Townsend, Southampton Airport’s airside operations and safety manager, said: “At Southampton Airport, we invest every effort to make sure our airfield is as safe as possible. Robird is an innovative idea that we’ve found to be an effective and durable way to reduce bird strikes – so you could say this idea really has wings.”

Nico Nijenhuis, CEO, Clear Flight Solutions, added: “It has been a pleasure working with Ferrovial and Southampton International Airport. The professional approach to integrating Robird into airside operations has led to a European first, with fantastic effects on bird problems and bird strikes. We are looking forward to continuing our co-operation with both parties.”

Cork welcomes new link with Lisbon

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Currently serving 2.3 million passengers a year, Cork Airport is on a mission to steadily grow its destination network and has unveiled a new link with Lisbon Portela Airport courtesy of Aer Lingus.

The new service will commence on 26 October 2018 and will operate twice weekly on Mondays and Fridays.

“We look forward to working closely with Aer Lingus to ensure the success of this latest new route to their network out of Cork,” said Daragh Hanratty, head of aviation marketing at Cork Airport. She added: “We will continue to seek out further opportunities for expansion where demand can be proven.

“The people who support Cork Airport as Ireland’s second largest international airport constantly request greater connectivity, and this decision by Aer Lingus is a welcome boost.”

Cork Airport’s managing director, Niall MacCarthy also welcomed the new route explaining that it has come in response to strong consumer demand for additional flights from the southern Irish gateway.

“This new route will be very popular for leisure and business in both directions. This announcement is an excellent development for Cork Airport and the 2.4 million passengers we serve across the south of Ireland.”



Swedavia welcomes growth across its airports

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The Swedish airport group, Swedavia, which owns and operates ten airports across Sweden, has recorded an increase in the number of passengers who flew to or from its airports in March 2018, when compared with the same period in 2017.

A total of 3,470,000 passengers flew through Swedavia’s airports throughout March this year, a 3% increase on March 2017. International passenger volume was up 9% to 2,259,000, while domestic passenger volume fell 6% to 1,210,000.

Swedavia’s two primary airports showed stable growth in passenger volume throughout the month, with Stockholm Arlanda Airport showing an increase of 5% in the number of passengers to 2,225,000 passengers and Göteborg Landvetter Airport showing an increase of 4% to 530,000.

Relatively small changes in passenger volume were noted at Swedavia’s other airports, except at Bromma Stockholm Airport, where volume fell 7% to 214,000 passengers.