UK airports disappointed with government’s ..

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The Government has decided not to support airlines and airports with one, comprehensive package but instead, will review each case individually.

Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), Karen Dee commented, “After having publicly announced a support package for airports and airlines, we’re surprised by where we find ourselves today. Our industry will now have to fight on its own to protect its workforce and its future.”

Dee added that, “With passenger numbers approaching close to zero, UK airports have seen a major drop in revenue. They are taking unprecedented steps to safeguard airport staff and operations through this crisis, which could include in some cases considering shutting down for a period of time.” This, she warned, could have “major impacts for UK communities and businesses.”

Citing how airports continue to operate as  gateways for lifeline services to the Highlands and Islands communities and UK Crown Dependencies as well as freight services that ensure supplies arrive in the UK, Dee highlighted how airports also serve as operational bases for UK Search & Rescue services, for offshore oil, gas and wind farms that provide vital energy supplies. However, with UK airports now experiencing a significant decrease in passenger numbers and therefore, a major drop in revenue several have been forced to temporarily close to safeguard employees and operations.

Emphasising that other countries across Europe have recognised the vital role airports play and are rallying to support them. Dee warned that he UK’ Government’s case-by-case approach “will mean that it will not be feasible to provide the support necessary in the coming days”. Subsequently airports will struggle to provide critical services and effect the UK’s recovery from the current epidemic. A comprehensive support package for airlines and airports would have provided financial support and it would have put in place the necessary measures to support airports, ground handling agents, air navigation service providers and others in their operational recovery once the pandemic recedes.

AOA  has urged the Government to reconsider and at the very least provide a comprehensive package of support for airports and ground-based services  to ensure the successful recovery of the aviation industry. It would increase the flexibility of the employment retention scheme, extend business rate relief, allow VAT and other tax deferrals, suspend regulatory costs where possible and provide relief from airport policing costs.

Star Air soars across India

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Star Air has become the first regional airline in India to launch services between Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Kishangarh (Ajmer-Rajasthan).

The airline launched its service on 18 February 2020. Mr Shrenik Ghodawat, MD of Star Air commented, “Star Air is the first airline, which has fulfilled the aspirations of millions of people, by starting the first-ever direct flight services between Indore and Kishangarh (Ajmer).”

Additionally, in response to passenger demands, Star Air is launching a route between Belagavi and Kishangarh via Indore, commencing from 16 March 2020. The extension of flights between Kishangarh to Indore will eliminate around 10 hours of transport for customers, expecting to reach people from the South and West Maharashtra, North and West Karnataka and many districts around Indore, providing easier connectivity to more rural areas.

The new service is likely to provide tourist with easier access to destinations, consequently benefitting the cities economies will an increase to tourism. The airline has aimed to make “currently suffering” routes become reliable and direct.

Eastern Airways adds to Southampton Airport

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Eastern Airways is due to commence a route between George Best Belfast City Airport and Southampton, commencing 23 March 2020.

The connection, previously flown by Flybe, will operate up to seven flights per week.

“Southampton has been a popular route from Belfast for a long time…This new service to be operated by Eastern Airways will importantly reconnect Northern Ireland with the south coast of England,” said Katy Best, Commercial Director at Belfast City Airport. Upon the announcement, she added “we look forward to further building upon this route network with the airline.”

Following Flybe entering administration, Eastern Airways returned to its own standalone booking system and also launched connections from Southampton to Manchester and Newcastle, expecting frequency and the number of destinations to increase. An additional route to Teesside International Airport has also been introduced to provide passengers with a connection to Aberdeen.

Roger Hage, Eastern Airways’ General Manager of Commercial and Operations commented, “Adding a Belfast City service from Southampton Airport, along with our new Manchester and Newcastle services…is a significant expansion with up to 70 departures a week in total. We are ensuring Southampton is reconnected to the regions throughout England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

The Belfast route is expected to benefit leisure passengers that are connecting to cruises, providing inbound passengers with London rail connection within the hour and access to cruise ships via the port.

Bromma Stockholm Airport “Most Improved..

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Sweden’s Bromma Stockholm Airport has been named Europe’s Most Improved Airport in the Airports Council International’s (ACI’s) 2019 annual ranking of global airports that provide the best customer experience for passengers.

Last year the airport welcomed some 2.4 million passengers, the majority of which were domestic passengers. The award is as a direct result of Swedavia’s efforts to modernise airport facilities and improve customer experience in recent years said Mona Glans, Airport Director at Bromma Stockholm Airport. These improvements have included five new gates, a new arrival hall, which was inaugurated in 2018, a renovated security checkpoint for more efficient passenger flow and an overall refurbishment of airport facilities.

“Naturally we are proud and pleased  that our work to improve the customer experience is appreciated by our passengers and that the airport has now been honoured with this award,” said Glans. “This is the result of great effort and teamwork and something the whole airport has contributed to,” she continued.

Mona Glans, Airport Director at Bromma Stockholm Airport highlighted that Swedavia has been working on modernising airport facilities and improving customer experience over recent years. This has included implementing five new gates, an arrival hall, a renovated security checkpoint for higher efficiency and an overall refurbishment.

“Naturally we are proud and pleased that our work to improve the customer experience is appreciated by our passengers and that the airport has now been honoured with this award,” commented Glans. “This is the result of great effort and teamwork and something the whole airport has contributed to.”

Alongside its effort increase passenger satisfaction, Swedavia is working hard to achieve sustainable growth. The airport operator is aiming for all ten of its airports to have zero carbon emissions from their own operations by the end of 2020. It has also been actively promoting the industry’s transition to sustainable aviation fuel, with the expectation that 5% of all fuel supplied to aircraft at Swedish airports will be fossil-free within the next five years.

Quebec City Airport takes ASQ win

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Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) has been called the best airport in North America in the 0-2 million passenger category in the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey.

It’s the fourth time the airport has been named ’best in its class in North America’, having previously received the prestigious award in 2010, 2011 and 2013. But this year is the first time the airport has won the award since opening its new terminal building. The ASQ survey is based on passenger satisfaction levels, which are closely linked to the improvement of the airport and enhancement of the passenger experience since the terminal building’s expansion and reorganisation. There have been upgrades in the stores, restaurants, waiting areas and accessibility of the airport, which has also enhanced the overall passenger experience by improving the process at check-in, security checkpoints and customs.

“Caring for our passengers is one of our guiding principles. We work hard to make YQB an airport of choice by fostering a human element that is as ambitious as its region and connected to the needs of its passengers,” commented Stephane Poirier, President and CEO of YQB. “The ASQ survey results are important performance indicators for our organisation. They allow us to prioritise our actions and ensure that we are investing our efforts where it counts so that we can work towards our goal of being an airport that makes people in the greater Quebec City area proud.”

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority c..

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The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has received a 2020 Climate Leadership Award for its Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management.

The Airport Authority obtained the award during the Climate Leadership Conference in Washington on 6 March for its efforts in reducing direct and indirect emissions by 80% from 2015 to 2035. By 2018, it had already achieved a decrease of 44%. It is developing strategies to reduce its carbon footprint by using cleaner fuels, using cars with a higher mile per gallon rating and utilising more ridesharing, also replacing individual rental car company shuttles. In addition, 15% of electricity demand is now supplied by solar power with plans for a 2 megawatt battery storage system in 2020. The authority is also committed to converting around 80% of ground support equipment to alternative fuels by 2024, opting for electric vehicles where possible.

“It’s an honour to have to have the Airport Authority as well as our leadership recognised at this year’s Climate Leadership Conference and Awards,” said Kim Becker, President and CEO of the Airport Authority. “The Airport Authority is committed to sustainable business practices and works closely with our community, stakeholders and employees to address and limit environmental concerns at the airport.”

The Climate Leadership Conference aims to gather innovative leaders from business, government, academia and non-profit communities to address solutions concerning climate change. Awards are presented to those who have aided movements in reducing carbon pollution and addressing global warming.

Bob Perciasepe, President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) highlighted that long-term success means working towards climate impacts and a decarbonised economy. He stated, “The only way to take advantage of the clean energy transition is to be clear-eyed about climate challenges. San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has demonstrated outstanding leadership in this and will be ahead of the game in the clean energy economy.”

Brendan Reed, the Airport Authority Director of Planning and Environmental Affairs, was also presented with an Individual Leadership award for his efforts in environmental operations and strategies. He led the Good Traveller Program which allows passengers to purchase offsets that go towards carbon reduction projects, assisting in the funding and development of a Climate Resilience Plan to secure business in future climate conditions, as well as leading an initiative to build stormwater systems to capture, store and reuse up to 39 million gallons of rain per year.

“Planning for long-term prosperity means accounting for climate impacts and a decarbonised economy,” said Bob Perciasepe, President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). “The only way to take advantage of the clean energy transition is to be clear-eyed about climate challenges. San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has demonstrated outstanding leadership in this and will be ahead of the game in the clean energy economy.”

Allegiant Air announce new base in Concord

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Allegiant Air has announced its plans to open an operations base at Concord-Padgett Regional Airport in North Carolina. The airport will become the airline’s 21st base.

The company is investing $50 million in the project, expecting to create at least 66 high-wage jobs and house two Airbus aircraft. Allegiant commented that it will focus on linking its customers to small-to-medium cities to provide more travel opportunities and aims to launch its North Carolina base on 7 October 2020.

Since establishing its service Allegiant has flown more than one million passengers through Concord including 353,000 in 2019 alone.”

“With a growing and diverse population seeking affordable vacation travel, and as a regional destination for race enthusiasts, arts fans and more, Concord is an ideal location for an Allegiant base,” said Keith Hansen, Allegiants VP of Government Affairs. “Having locally-based operations will mean opportunities for expanded hours, as well as more – and more frequent – flight offerings for residents and visitors alike.”

The partnership involved voices within Concord City Council and Cabarrus County Commissioners.

Allegiant successfully improved the tourism industry in Cabarrus County, accumulating $469 million in visitor spending in 2018, “positively impacting the local economy and quality of life in our community.” It is hoped that the company will have the same impact in Concord.

The company has announced plans to begin hiring pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and ground personnel to support the operations.

World Fuel Services

World Fuel Services takes on UVair Fuel Divis..

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World Fuel Services

Miami-based World Fuel Services has fully acquired the UVair Fuel Division from Universal Weather and Aviation for $170 million.

The deal makes World Fuel the exclusive contract fuel provider for Universal Weather and Aviation. Fuelling arrangements will be managed as they were previously but now with the access to World Fuel’s global fuel supply network, adding to UVair’s existing 5,000 worldwide locations.

Fixed-base operators (FBOs) will be able to use World Fuel Network’s marketing tools and World Fuel Rewards to reach a larger audience, providing customers with World Fuel Rewards, more contract fuel locations and the addition of Avcard, an aviation retail credit card, to their portfolio.

“Universal has the industry’s most comprehensive end-to-end mission management infrastructure, integrating more phases of the mission, and supporting more global trip legs, than anyone else,” added Evans. “With this new agreement, our customers will continue to benefit from having Universal seamlessly manage their trips, while at the same time enjoying the advantages of World Fuel’s global fuel supply network to better support their evolving needs.”

As well as working with World Fuel Services to provide fuel supply to customers, Universal intends to continue its international planning services. The company now aims to invest in areas that are receiving high demand in growth including FBO ground service locations, digital platforms, Trip Support Services, group transportation division and catering networks.

Universal Chairman, Greg Evans said that the company has “big plans moving forward” and that the sale will allow his company to focus on growth and expanding digital offerings.

“We are pleased to welcome the UVair team to the World Fuel Services organisation,” stated Michael J. Kasbar, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of World Fuel Services. “This strategic acquisition will further enhance our global business and general aviation fuel platform.”

Universal Aviation expands in the Caribbean

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Global FBO operator, Universal Aviation, has expanded its network in the Caribbean by partnering with local ground handling service provider, Cayman Dispatch Services (CDS), in the Cayman Islands.

CDS is based at Owen Roberts International Airport (MWCR) in Grand Cayman and provides over and under-wing services to aircraft. This collaboration will expand the Universal Aviation network to 20 locations within the Latin American and Caribbean region, in addition to its other locations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

“The Cayman Islands is experiencing record growth in travellers via both airlines and business jets,” said Adolfo Aragon, Senior VP at Universal Aviation. “The addition of a new location in the Cayman Islands with a partner with a great track record in the country like CDS enhances our ability to provide our clients with a consistent level of service that meets the growing demand.”

CDS is a Universal Certified member, passing the FBO’s standard for ground handling quality, training, safety, consistency, customer service and regulatory compliance.

Jonathan Ebanks, Deputy Director at CDS stated, “We look forward to beginning our exciting work with Universal, the airport and the Government of the Cayman Islands, to address the growing demand of business aviation in the country.”

Doncaster-SHeffield

Doncaster Sheffield Airport plans for new rai..

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Doncaster Sheffield Airport owners, the Peel Group, alongside Sheffield City Region and Doncaster Council  have submitted an outline business case to deliver a new national and regional rail connection to Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

 

The GatewayEast Growth Hub Rail scheme will introduce 4.5 miles of new track, connecting the East Coast Mainline (ECML) and the Lincoln line to a newly built station at Doncaster Sheffield Airport. The project aims to reduce congestion on the ECML and encourage growth in infrastructure for Sheffield and the surrounding areas. It is hoped that the railway will be operational by 2025.

 

The scheme is expected to have a “positive economic impact” as it has the potential to deliver 33,000 jobs in the North within the next decade – 10,000 would be deliverable in the next five years – in engineering, aviation manufacturing, energy and construction. Additionally, as the number of people who can access the airport through sustainable transport increases from 2.4 million to 9 million, it will also have an impact on the environment. There is to be an expected reduction of 18,000 car journeys which ultimately will result in the elimination of around 23,000 tonnes of CO2 in the UK’s road network.

 

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster said, “This GatewayEast Growth Hub Rail scheme is ‘oven-ready’ and demonstrates how Doncaster can deliver the North’s essential economic growth ambitions, delivering jobs and housing locally and by unlocking further economic potential at the airport, our borough, Sheffield City Region and across the North. The rail connectivity will quadruple access to the growth hub for jobs and flights by a sustainable travel mode.”

 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted an overall rise of passengers in the aviation industry to 8.2 billion by 2037 but showed a decrease in the demand within the UK industry. In response to this potential undersupply of future aviation, the scheme looks to connect the airport directly to East and West Coast mainline at high speed in order to increase its accessibility.

 

Peter Kennan, Board Member on the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership commented, “The importance of rail access to Doncaster Sheffield Airport cannot be underestimated…and development of ground transportation to the airport and its surrounding commercial and residential developments will be a major spur to further significant growth in jobs and economic opportunity all in an environmentally sustainable way.”

 

Dan Jarvis, MBE MP Mayor of the Sheffield City Region commented, “The benefits to communities and businesses through connecting the country’s fastest growing regional airport to the national and regional rail network are huge. We have to make sure that we get people off our roads and onto sustainable public transport. This investment would help make that a reality.”

Doncaster-SHeffield