Stansted Dementia Friends

London Stansted trains 1,000 staff as Dementia Friends

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London Stansted Airport has reached a new milestone as more than 1,000 members of staff have been trained to become Dementia Friends, completing awareness training to support passengers with hidden disabilities travelling through the airport.

The airport is working with the Alzheimer’s Society to train all its staff, from security officers and office workers to firefighters and engineers, aiming to become a dementia-friendly community. The scheme will now be rolled out further, with the airport encouraging the 200 on-site businesses to make all 12,000 people working at the airport dementia-aware.

“An airport can be particularly stressful for a passenger living with dementia, so we’ve teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Society to make sure that they get the best support possible at every point during the airport journey,” said Lucy Martin, Accessibility Manager at London Stansted Airport. “Our aim is to train all our staff across all levels and roles and encourage the 200 on-site companies to adopt the training too and work with us towards London Stansted being a dementia-friendly airport.”

The training considers the whole airport environment and the challenges it can present to people living with dementia.

Mark Neville, Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Communities Coordinator for Essex, said the step showed a “united approach” from the airport, adding, “We know that busy environments, like airports, can often cause confusion and stress for people living with dementia. By having a better understanding of the condition and making adjustments, big and small, airport colleagues can make this experience much smoother.”

The scheme is one of several London Stansted has in place to improve accessibility of the airport for people with hidden disabilities.

Heathrow airport

Heathrow Airport responds to Judicial Review findings

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A judgement by the UK’s Court of Appeal has applied the brakes to the expansion of Heathrow Airport with a third runway, finding that the government’s policy on the new runway was “unlawful” as it did not take climate commitments to the Paris Agreement into account.

The judges declared the government’s decision to allow the expansion was unlawful, preventing the project from going ahead until a review finds it fits the relevant provisions and the UK’s climate policy.

Commenting on the findings of the Judicial Review, a Heathrow spokesperson said: “The Court of Appeal dismissed all appeals against the government – including on ‘noise’ and ‘air quality’ – apart from one which is eminently fixable. We will appeal to the Supreme Court on this one issue and are confident that we will be successful.”

“In the meantime, we are ready to work with the government to fix the issue that the court has raised,” the spokesperson continued, adding that Heathrow had been a leading force in encouraging the UK aviation sector to commit to a plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Accord. “Expanding Heathrow, Britain’s biggest port and only hub, is essential to achieving the Prime Minister’s vision of Global Britain. We will get it done the right way, without jeopardising the planet’s future.”

The airport suggested the outcome requires the government to undertake more work to ensure a third runway would “definitely be compatible with a strategy to mitigate climate change under the Paris Agreement.”

In a summary of the judgements, the Court of Appeals stated: “We have not decided, and could not decide, that there will be no third runway at Heathrow,” adding that a national policy statement supporting the project is not “necessarily incompatible with the United Kingdom’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change under the Paris Agreement…”

The airport announced on 20th February that it has become one of the world’s first major aviation hubs to become carbon neutral for its infrastructure, and the first to target zero carbon by the mid-2030s.

The Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, tweeted: “Airport expansion is core to boosting global connectivity. We also take seriously our commitment to the environment. This Govt won’t appeal today’s judgement given our manifesto makes clear any Heathrow expansion will be industry led.”

In 2018, MPs voted in support of the government’s proposal for a third runway at Heathrow, and the expansion plans have also received support of regional airports in the UK.

Madrid Airport new terminal design

Editor’s comment: Ebbs and flows

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The Regional Gateway team take a look at the latest happenings across airports serving business, regional and low-fare routes.

Following the news last week that European airports are experiencing a slowdown in passenger traffic, you may be excused for feeling somewhat blue.

Despite the challenges, there is a glint of sunshine through the clouds as a number of airports, in Europe and worldwide, have launched ambitious plans this week to accommodate growth and boost passenger numbers.

Aiming to create the “best airport experience in Europe,” Malta International Airport has launched a “radical” programme for development, addressing the airport’s continuing traffic growth (the airport saw passenger figures rise 7.4% in 2019).

Plans include a major expansion of the terminal floorspace, with the designs set to draw inspiration from the clear sea and skies of the Maltese Islands.

Across the pond in Arizona, the Prescott Regional Airport – Ernest A. Love Field has begun construction of a new $13.9 million passenger terminal to replace the current facilities built in the 1940s. The airport has recorded a “dramatic” increase in passengers opting for commercial air services since SkyWest Airlines, operating as United Express, began service in August 2018 – with more than 73,000 passengers utilising the service since then.

Once built, the new terminal will enable the airport to continue serving the current commercial air service but has also been designed to allow for simple expansion to accommodate future growth.

Finally, the sun appears to be shining for Bern Airport in Switzerland as it looks ahead to the anticipated summer launch of start-up ‘virtual airline’ flyBAIR.

Following the collapse of Swiss regional carrier SkyWork Airlines in 2018, the airport has faced a rocky few years with the loss of scheduled flights. The carrier was based at Bern Airport and flew to 19 European destinations.

Bern Airport holds a majority share in the flyBAIR start-up, which plans to market flights from Bern to holiday destinations around Europe.

The start-up aims to run a “lean operation” and has partnered with regional carrier Helvetic Airways to operate the flights. The airline has been supported by crowdfunding, securing over 1,300 shareholders and has also received strong interest from the Swiss population, with flight bookings “over expectations”.

Having secured the co-operation agreement with Helvetic, the start-up airline appears to be moving closer to its summer launch, while Bern Airport is one step nearer to seeing scheduled flights once again.

It may not have been a smooth journey for the Swiss airport and there may yet be challenges ahead, but it is cheering to see regional airports, airlines and the communities they serve pulling together to secure links to the world.

And finally… It is with a heavy heart that we bid a fond farewell to our esteemed Senior Reporter Kimberley Young. She has worked tirelessly across the Regional Gateway portfolio over the past two and a half years and has been an asset to the team. She will be sorely missed and we wish her the very best going forward.

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.

Regional Gateway - SkyWork Airlines ceases operations

Bern Airport looks ahead to flyBAIR launch

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Bern Airport subsidiary flyBAIR, has formed a co-operation agreement with regional carrier Helvetic Airways, ahead of its summer launch.

flybairThe start-up Swiss company plans to launch in May 2020, offering flights from Bern to Jerez, Crete, Kos, Mallorca, Menorca, Olbia, Preveza and Rhodes – as well as from Sion to Mallorca.

The airline has been supported by crowdfunding and has attracted a total of 1,398 shareholders to support the ‘virtual airline’. Flughafen Bern AG holds 15.3% of the share capital as the largest shareholder of the regional company. The airline will operate through a model whereby flyBAIR will be responsible for the marketing of operations, working with partners operating the flights.

Helvetic Airways will carry out flyBAIR’s planned flight connections from Bern and Sion using an Embraer E190-E1 aircraft, with Urs Ryf, delegate of the flyBAIR board of directors, commenting, “With Helvetic Airways we have found a partner that represents the Swiss values that also identify flyBAIR.”

Originally German Airways and Lions Air were set to operate the flights but could not keep the existing contract. Ryf explained that in Helvetic Airways flyBAIR has found a partner “Who knows regional airports very well,” and knows the Swiss market.

Bern Airport has faced a challenging few years following the bankruptcy of SkyWork Airlines in August 2018, and the resulting loss of scheduled flights.

SkyWorks was one of two airlines operating from Bern Airport and also had a base at the airport, operating flights to 19 European destinations.

In July 2019 the airport revealed it had faced a “difficult” financial year since the grounding, reporting that “the company closed that fiscal year with an annual loss of almost one million Swiss Francs.”

On the reveal of the flyBAIR project in 2019, André Lüthi, Board of Directors of the new airline called it a “Berner project for Berners” adding, “Now we all have a unique chance to show that we have sensible and ecologically justifiable public traffic in Bern want: as a tourist region, as a federal capital with a hub connection to the world.”

New Delhi Airport

Groupe ADP to acquire 49% stake in GMR Airports

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Airport developer and operator, Groupe ADP, has signed a share purchase agreement to acquire a 49% stake in the Indian group, GMR Airports.

The agreement has been made at a total purchase price of 107.8 billion INR (approximately 1,360 million euros).

The agreement is subject to certain conditions and will be carried out in two phases. The first phase will be carried out in the days following the announcement for a 24.99% stake, with a second phase for 24.01% subject to regulatory conditions – notably, obtaining the customary regulatory approvals for this type of project, particularly from the Reserve Bank of India. This will be concluded in the upcoming months.

Once completed, GMR Airports will be jointly owned with GMR Infrastructure Limited, which will retain a 51% stake and control over the company, and Groupe ADP which will be granted highly extended governance rights.

Groupe ADP suggested the acquisition is in line with the company’s international development strategy, based on the acquisition of airport clusters in dynamic regions. Air traffic in India is expected to rise by 6.5% per year on average between 2018 and 2038, with international traffic alone expected to grow at an average pace of 6.7% per year.

Augustin de Romanet Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aéroports de Paris SA-Groupe ADP said: “This acquisition comes with a robust industrial partnership and enables Groupe ADP to build, only two years after taking control of TAV Airports, a unique worldwide network of airports with a solid industrial expertise and strong development capacities. Medium and long term growth driver, this acquisition is a transforming position for the group in one of Asia’s most dynamic and promising countries.”

GMR Airports has a portfolio of seven airports in India, Philippines and Greece, and a subsidiary specialised in project management. Three of the airports are currently operated by GMR Airports including Delhi International Airport and Hyderabad International Airport in India, and the Mactan-Cebu Airport in the Philippines.

The remaining four airports are either under development (including Goa and Heraklion) or have been added to the portfolio after a bidding process (Nagpur and Bhogapuram) and will be operated by the group once works are completed.

GM Rao, Chairman, GMR Group commented: “The partnership with Groupe ADP is in line with GMR’s business direction to become a global airport developer and operator. We have been on a journey of defining airports of the future with key focus on passenger experience by leveraging enhanced technology and offering superior amenities. With Groupe ADP, GMR will have smoother access to global markets, opening up newer avenues of business growth.”

During the financial year 2019, GMR Airports recorded a total revenue of 715 million euros and reported an EBITDA of 205 million euros.

Through the acquisition, Groupe ADP will be granted extended rights including the presence of board members at GMR Airports’ board, equal to that of GMR Infrastructure Limited board members. It will also have the right to appoint predetermined executives within GMR Airports.

Image: Delhi Airport.

Avalon Airport self-service solutions from Elenium Automation

Avalon Airport invests in self-service check-in solutions

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Avalon Airport has partnered with Elenium Automation to introduce self-service check-in kiosks and bag drop in an Australian first.

The low-cost airport in Melbourne currently serves flights for Jetstar, AirAsia and Citilink, and to meet growing passenger and airline demand, is investing in self-service and automation technology from Elenium Automation to replace manual check-in desks.

The new technology is set to drive greater efficiency, increase the terminal capacity potential as well as boost passenger experience.

“We are focused on automation and technical innovation to offer airlines and their passengers a fast, seamless and relaxed journey through the airport,” commented Avalon Airport CEO Justin Giddings, calling the partnership with Elenium “ideal… to help us realise this vision.”

Avalon Airport is the first in Australia to adopt Elenium’s full suite of automation technologies, including self-service check-in kiosks, bag drop technology, Common User Self Service (CUSS) platform and ‘Flight Deck’ software, which the company said will give the airport’s operational team an overview of events across the kiosk and bag drop portfolio.

“We were also the first international terminal in the country to install a CT Scanner,” Giddings continued. “It’s important to us that we continue using state of the art technologies in order to enhance our customer experience.”

Elenium’s solutions at Avalon will cover 16 common use, self-service kiosks to provide a fast, user-friendly check-in. The kiosks can be moved around the airport for use by different airlines as needed, and will also feature a retractable keyboard to allow the kiosks to be turned into an agent terminal.

The company will also deliver eight hybrid bag drops that can operate in either full self-service, or agent-assisted mode.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Avalon Airport and demonstrating that significant efficiency and passenger experience gains can be achieved in airports of all sizes,” said Elenium Automation CEO and Co-founder, Aaron Hornlimann, adding that the solutions are designed to be “accessible, user-friendly and easy to implement.”

Elenium suggests its self-service and automation technologies can reduce passenger congestion by up to 60%, while delivering an enhanced customer experience.

Last year, Avalon Airport became the first in Australia to be approved for permanent use of its CT Scanner in its international terminal. The past few months have marked a busy period for the airport as it welcomed its inaugural flight from Indonesian low-fare airline Citilink, and celebrated an award for Major Airport of the Year from the Australian Airports Association (AAA) 2019 National Airport Industry Awards.

Sabiha Gocken Airport

Pegasus Airlines aircraft in incident at Sabiha Gocken Airport

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An aircraft operated by Pegasus Airlines has skidded off the runway and broken into three pieces on landing at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport on 5 February.

The aircraft was carrying 177 people – 171 passengers and six crew, according to Governor of Istanbul, Ali Yerlikaya. There have been three fatalities reported and a number of people have been injured.

The airline confirmed the fatalities in a statement on 6 February, stating: “There have now been three fatalities, as confirmed by official sources. Pegasus Airlines shares in the profound sorrow of all the people affected by this tragic accident.”

The Governor of Istanbul, Ali Yerlikaya, tweeted: “As of 19:40, we sent 52 injured people from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to the surrounding hospitals by ambulance.”

Turkey’s transport minister has been quoted as suggesting the incident was a result of a “rough landing.”

It is thought the flight had just arrived from Izmir when the incident occurred. Images from the site show emergency response teams helping passengers from the aircraft.

Flights at Sabiha Gökçen Airport have been diverted, held or cancelled.

Kalaburagi Airport inaugurated under UDAN

India plans for 100 more airports under UDAN by 2024

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The Finance Minister of India has revealed a proposal for 100 airports to be developed by 2024 as part of the country’s regional connectivity scheme.

Presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 which has been structured around the theme of “Ease of Living,” the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed a series of moves aimed at “energising the Indian economy.”

The budget included the goal of developing 100 more airports by 2024 through the UDAN scheme, which aims to improve regional connectivity and access to flights across the country. The minister commented in her presentation that India’s air traffic has grown rapidly compared to the global average, with the numbers of aircraft in-fleet expected to rise from 600 presently to 1200 in this time.

The minister said the aims of the budget include improving physical quality of life through infrastructure investment, adding that infrastructure was crucial to economic development.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation is also launching ‘Krishi Udaan’ to transport horticultural and perishable products by air from produce-areas, aiming to particularly benefit the north-east and tribal districts.

Meanwhile, also included in the budget, the Finance Minister has proposed allocating Rs 2,500 crores for the tourism sector to boost international and domestic tourism and boost the attractiveness of India as a destination. India moved up in the Travel & Tourism Competitive Index (World Economic Forum) from 65 in 2014 to 34 in 2019.

Speaking last month at a launch event for Wings India 2020, a flagship event of the Indian Civil Aviation industry which will be held in March, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri highlighted the potential of aviation and said: “India, being the third largest domestic Civil Aviation market in the world and showing a robust growth, is poised for greater heights.”


Image: Kalaburagi Airport inaugurated under UDAN in 2019.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport redevelopment plan

Doncaster Sheffield Airport reveals £10m development plans

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Doncaster Sheffield Airport has revealed a £10 million terminal redevelopment plan with investments including improvements and new facilities based on passenger feedback.

The plan has been created in response to growing passenger demand and forms part of the airport’s 20-year Masterplan. The airport saw passenger numbers reach 1.45 million over the year and figures are set to double in the next five years.

Improvements includes upgrades such as an expansion of the retail food and beverage offering, new gate bridges and an expansion of the arrivals hall and security search area, with many of the proposed improvements set to be completed for Summer 2021.

“Doncaster Sheffield Airport already boasts a modern purpose-built terminal building facility involving over £100 million of investment just fifteen years ago. It is so important that as we grow, we continue to maintain our award-winning passenger experience,” commented Robert Hough CBE, Chairman of Doncaster Sheffield Airport. “Today’s announcement follows £3.5 million invested to create additional parking spaces to keep up with customer demand and £2m investment in our on-site solar farm that will generate 25% of the airport’s energy.”

The UK’s Aviation Minister, Paul Maynard, visited the airport as part of the Government’s Regional Connectivity Review to discuss how the airport can support strategies to ‘level up’ the North.

The airport suggests it plays a key role in reducing the number of car journeys of passengers travelling to the south “due to an under-provision of airline seats in Yorkshire.”

The airport’s Chairman, Hough, added: “We are pleased that the Aviation Minister recognises our position as a key part of the solution for the UK’s aviation needs and addressing the imbalance of just 1.2 seats per head of population in Yorkshire versus 10 in the South.”

The airport described plans which have the potential to unlock 33,000 gross jobs over the next 10 years – 10,000 within the next five years, in engineering, manufacturing aviation, energy and construction. The scheme to bring an East Coast Mainline station into the site would expand the airport’s public transport catchment area to circa 9 million people within a 90-minute travel time – equivalent to the catchment of Manchester Airport, and utilising existing runway capacity capable of handling 25 million passengers.

Nick Fletcher, MP for Don Valley commented: “The airport and surrounding area have the capacity to bring much-needed jobs and skills to the region. Over 1,000 jobs and 100 businesses are already supported across the site and the potential is far greater.”

The creation of an East Coast Mainline station would provide public access to and from towns and cities across the east of the country, relieving congestion on the Mainline, and would make Doncaster Sheffield Airport the second airport in the UK to have direct mainline rail access – through a scheme deliverable in the next five years.

Aviation Minister, Paul Maynard, said the airport provides a “vital service” connecting communities and business across the UK, adding: “We are absolutely committed to enhancing regional airports and air services and our regional air connectivity review will help deliver on the Prime Minister’s pledge to level up the whole of the UK economy.”

Hough added: “We are committed to our part in delivering the opportunity here around DSA which with the right support from government can start making an impact on people lives in the North now, not years ahead.”

Southampton Airport Aviation Minister

Local businesses leaders support Southampton Airport growth

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Business leaders from Southampton in the UK are supporting calls to strengthen regional connectivity following a visit from the UK’s Aviation Minister to Southampton Airport.

The visit formed part of the Department for Transport’s Regional Air Connectivity Review, launched in January as part of measures to support regional connectivity across the UK.

“Strengthening regional connectivity is absolutely crucial to enabling growth, developing business links and bringing prosperity to our region,” said Neil Garwood, managing director of Southampton Airport.

“We are pleased that the government is recognising this and urge our local authorities to recognise this, too.”

Adding that the airport has a “vital role” to play in connectivity, he continued, “The city needs to make the right choices about investment, and smart, forward-looking decisions that will enable the region to grow and prosper in a balanced and sustainable way.”

Last year the airport submitted planning application to enable an extension of the runway, which would allow the airport to increase passenger numbers from two to three million per year, increase route choice and destinations. Garwood commented: “With the extension of our runway, the airport and the region will be able to harness the revolution in aviation that will bring cleaner, greener and quieter travel – benefiting regional airports to a far greater degree than the larger hub airports.”

“We want the city to grow, develop and prosper,” he said, warning however “there is an alternative future without the runway extension where we don’t see growth and the city becomes disconnected.”

“Now is the time for us all to come together and support each other to secure the investment and growth needed to provide a prosperous future for this fantastic city.  As we look ahead to our City of Culture bid, let’s ensure our city is well and truly open for business,” he continued.

Local businesses expressed support for the airport, including: Exxon Mobil Fawley; Associated British Ports, Carnival UK; Ordnance Survey; The Ageas Bowl (RB Sport & Leisure Holdings); Meachers Global; DP World Southampton; Solent Stevedores; Savills; Barker-Mill Estates.

Gary Whittle, Commercial Director of Meachers Global Logistics, an independent freight and transport logistics provider, said: “The connectivity Southampton Airport provides is vital for us to continue to attract and service customers throughout Europe and beyond.”

Whittle said flying from Southampton reduces time, money and emissions for the company over travelling to and from London airports, adding: “Moreover, the additional routes that will be made possible through the expansion of the airport will play an important role in our own future growth and success, and the success of many other businesses in the Solent region.”

Eastleigh MP, Paul Homes shared his support for the airport’s growth plans, calling regional connectivity a “vital lever to future prosperity”.

The airport is soon to gain a new regional connection from Eastern Airways which has announced a direct route connecting Southampton Airport with Teesside International Airport.