Work begins on Clay Lacy’s $20m development at Waterbury-Oxford Airport

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Private aviation operator Clay Lacy is expanding its presence at Waterbury-Oxford Airport in Connecticut having broken ground on its $20 million FBO facility.

“We’re breaking ground on what will be one of the finest FBOs and aviation facilities in the country,” said Brian Kirkdoffer, President and CEO of Clay Lacy Aviation. “It will expand and enhance all of the services that we provide. Oxford will be an incredible economic and employment engine, attracting and supporting the finest aircraft and flight operations in the world.”

The first 11-acre phase will feature a passenger terminal, executive offices and a 40,000 sq.ft. hangar. It will also result in 200 new high-paying jobs with an annual payroll in excess of $32 million and 420 indirect jobs during the construction process. The new full-service FBO and maintenance facility is expected to be completed in spring 2024.

Kevin Dillon, Executive Director, Connecticut Airport Authority, said: “Investments like this serve a very significant role in the overall economic development mission of the Connecticut Airport Authority. It elevates the stature and status of the airport and allows us to attract activity all over.”

All the facilities under construction will be built in accordance with Clay Lacy’s Sustainability Strategy and will be certified carbon neutral. The facilities include solar panel provisions, electric vehicle charging, electric aircraft charging, efficient building design and sustainable aviation fuel.

In addition to the construction of its new facility and to foster the next generation of aviation professionals, Clay Lacy Aviation has established an annual scholarship and internship programme with CT Aerotech, which operates a two-year Airframe Mechanics and Aircraft Maintenance Technology programme in Hartford, Connecticut.

As part of its commitment, Clay Lacy will provide $16,000 in annual scholarships and $10,500 in on-the-job internships.

“We’ve established a great pipeline to support Connecticut and its economy,” said John Ryan, Principal, CT Aerotech of the partnership and internships with Clay Lacy. “This scholarship programme just further strengthens that resolve to put people here in Connecticut to work and get these jobs.”

Van Nuys Airport reopens runway following six-month reconstruction project

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California’s dedicated business and general aviation hub, Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles has reopened one of its runway’s following six months of reconstruction and refurbishment work.

The $13.1 million project saw the entire 4,000 ft long runway being rebuilt, with new LED lighting, airfield signage and surface markings and a run-up safety area being installed. The base of the runway was made of 100% recyclable materials.

“As one of the busiest general aviation airports in the country, Van Nuys Airport is proud to provide our tenants and visitors with facilities that will enhance safety and efficiency for decades to come,” Justin Erbacci, CEO for Los Angeles World Airports, told reporters.

Meanwhile, Curt Castagna, President of the Van Nuys Airport Association, said: “LAWA’s investment in this runway asset, together with the commitment of its tenant business partners at VNY who are leading efforts to introduce environmental improvements, maximises the airport’s status as a leading centre for new industry pilots, jobs and positive economic benefits to the city of Los Angeles.”

A celebration ceremony was held at the airport on Monday 8 August.

Agility acquires Menzies creating a force to be reckoned with for aviation services in 58 countries

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UK-based John Menzies PLC has been acquired for £763 million by supply chain services, infrastructure and innovation company, Agility. The latter will combine the business with its National Aviation Services (NAS) company to create a world leader in aviation across 58 countries. In 2021 the combined revenues of Menzies and NAS exceeded $1.5 billion.

The combined company will operate as Menzies Aviation and will provide air cargo services, fuel services and ground services at airports spanning six continents. The new company will have approximately 35,000 employees and operations at 254 airports handling 600,000 aircraft turnarounds, 2 million tonnes of cargo and 2.5 million fuelling turns per year.

Having previously held the position of NAS CEO, Haassan El-Houry now becomes the Chair of the combined company. “Menzies and NAS will create the world leader in aviation services,” he said.

“We will have the scale and resources to expand and grow as the industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Commercial aviation is a key engine of global economic growth and our customers need partners they can count on as flight volumes return.”

The company’s customers will include Air Canada, Air China, Air France-KLM, America Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, easyJet, Emirates, Ethiopian, FlyDubai, Frontier Airlines, IAG, Jazeera, Qantas Group, Qatar Airways, Southwest, Turkish, United Airlines, WestJet and Wizz Air.

Menzies Aviation CEO, Philipp Joeinig, who will be the CEO of the combined company commented: “Agility’s backing gives us the resources to provide innovative solutions for growing and forward-thinking customers, and to develop our talent, technology and sustainability; critical factors for our future success. It also means we are well positioned to support our customers in tackling supply chain challenges and labour shortages.”

Meanwhile, Agility Vice Chairman, Tarek Sultan described this as a new chapter for Agility, Menzies and NAS. “By acquiring Menzies and combining it with NAS, Agility has the opportunity to unlock greater value in both. Agility has a strong track record of sustainable and responsible growth over the last two decades, driven both organically and through mergers and acquisitions, and this latest deal is part of our strategy to further accelerate that growth. For Agility this deal creates the largest owned and operated – “controlled” – business in Agility’s portfolio by revenue, headcount and global presence. We’re looking forward to seeing the new Menzies soar with Agility’s backing.”

London Biggin Hill hosts careers open day to attract new employees

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London Biggin Hill Airport is hosting a Careers Open Day on 12 August to provide an opportunity for prospective applicants to meet aviation professionals from across the airport and learn more about their roles as well as the current vacancies on offer.

Attendees will also be able to attend CV workshops, hear about interview top tips and have informal chats with colleagues and representatives from the business aviation hub’s resident aerospace companies, including Bombardier and Castle Air.

“We are currently recruiting for a range of aviation roles at London Biggin Hill,”said David Winstanley, CEO at London Biggin Hill. “This is an opportunity for anyone interested in beginning or developing a career in aviation to learn more about the industry, and also about our business.

“London Biggin Hill is on a path to growth as we look to become London’s pre-eminent business aviation airport and leading centre for aviation, technology and enterprise. We look forward to sharing more about how you can join us on this exciting journey, and welcoming visitors to the airport.”

Fraport Greece marks new Paris link by supporting turtle conservation project

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Following the launch in July of Air France’s link between Paris and Zakynthos, airport operator Fraport Greece has teamed up with the French carrier to actively support the ARCHELON non-profit association to protect sea turtles and their habitat on the Ionian island.

Zakynthos is the sixth destination among the 14 regional airports operated by Fraport Greece – following Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos – directly linked by Air France to the french capital.

Jointly established with Air France, Fraport Greece’s support for the turtle conservation project provides for a sponsorhip programme that covers the expenses of six volunteers in order to support actions for raising awareness of visitors to ARCHELON beaches and hotels, through further strengthening of the existing team of researchers and volunteers.

Since the early 1980s ARCHELON has had a continuous presence in Laganas Bay, Zakynthos, carrying out research activities related to monitoring and protecting sea turtle reproduction, while systematic nest counts started in 1984. The aim is to cultivate responsible tourism, which will lead to limiting the impacts of tourism on the environment, ensuring a sustainable future for sea turtles in Zakynthos.

Fraport Greece’s Executive Director, Commercial & Business Development, George Vilos, stated: “We are particularly pleased that airlines of Air France’s calibre are developing and expanding their presence at Greece’s 14 regional airports. Son, on the occasion of the new direct flights between Paris and Zakynthos, which started in early July, we are very pleased to announce our partnership with Air France in support of the work carried out by ARCHELON. It should be noted that this initiative is fully in line with Fraport Greece’s central strategic priority of promotion of sustainable development, protection of the environment and implementation of actions that benefit the local communities where we are active.”

Meanwhile, Yiannis Pantazopoulous, Regional Director of Air France- KLM, added: “We are very proud to support the awareness programme of ARCHELON in collaboration with Fraport Greece on the island of Zakynthos. Such initiatives, in addition to helping the environment, which is our main goal, also inspire more people to make more sustainable choices. Endangered species protection should raise awareness among both locals and visitors. All of us, as travellers, must respect the areas we visit and the environment we live in and during our holidays.”

Riga Airport celebrates strong 2022 to date with impressive passenger growth in July

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Preliminary data from Riga Airport has shown that the Latvian gateway handled 2.8 million passengers in the first seven months of 2022, a 302% increase on passenger traffic in the same period in 2021.

In July alone, 606,000 passengers were handled by the airport (an increase of 104% compared to the same month last year). July also saw 72% of the pre-crisis number of passengers and 64% of the 2019 figures in the annual breakdown. The flow of transit passengers at the airport has also seen a slow increase after this traffic dropped significantly following Russia’s war on Ukraine. With airlines creating new transit route offers, more than a fifth (23%) of travellers used Riga as a point of transfer to further destinations in July.

AirBaltic has played a significant role in transporting passengers to/ from the hub, carrying 331,600 passengers in July from the airport. The airline also performed the largest number of flights – 2880 flights (56%); while low-fare carrier Ryanair accounted for 168,400 passengers (28%), operating 974 flights (approximately 19% of all flights served).

In total, July saw 5,100 flights handled at Riga Airport with 30,600 flights handled in the first seven months of the year.

Hans Airways readies for proving flight from Birmingham Airport in UK

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Hans Airways – a new long-haul airline serving routes between the UK and India, celebrated the arrival of its first Airbus A330-200 on UK soil this week. The new aircraft, which flew in from Palma Airport in Mallorca, was welcomed by the airline’s CEO Satnam Saini, COO Nathan Burkitt and CCO Martin Dunn.

Hans Airways has collaborated with maintenance and repair overhaul (MRO) specialist STS Aviation Services for re-registration tasks and entry into service modifications ahead of its route-proving flight for the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the coming weeks.

Commenting on its arrival in Birmingham, Saini said: “Our first widebody Airbus arriving in the UK is a big and significant milestone on Hans Airways’ journey to launch. These past 12 months we are pleased to have added a wealth of competence and experience to our leadership and management team and recruited and trained up a full complement of exceptional pilots and cabin crew, who will be ready to fly as soon as the airline’s AOC is awarded.”

Prior to arriving in Palma, the aircraft underwent a thorough 200-hour inspection in Abu Dhabi (UAE) by Etihad Engineering before returning to Spain (its original country of registration) for final contractual, administration, financial transfer and customs clearance.

“We are delighted STS has been selected as a long-term key maintenance supplier to support Hans Airways Airbus A330,” said Colby Payne, Head of Sales for STS. “As a result of this partnership, we have accepted the first aircraft for a maintenance visit at our state-of-the-art, wide-body aircraft MRO facility in Birmingham and look forward to supporting Hans Airways with further projects as its growth continues.”

Initially, and once it has been awarded its AOC alongside similar accreditation from India’s DGCA, Hans Airway is planning a four times weekly service between Birmingham in the UK and Amritsar in North India. A major commercial and cultural centre in the heart of Punjab, Amritsar is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh religion and home to the Harmandir Sahib, famously known as the Golden Temple.

Sichuan Airlines resumes service to Finland supported by Aviator Airport Alliance

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Offering a full range of aviation services at 15 airports across the Nordics, Aviator Airport Alliance (which is part of Avia Solutions Group) has supported Sichuan Airlines on its first flight after lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

The airline has received full ground handling and de-icing services at Helsinki Airport from Aviator since establishing a partnership in 2019 and is currently operating one flight per week from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in China to Helsinki in Finland.

Mikko Asikainen, Safety & Compliance Manager at Aviator, said: “We are delighted to welcome our partners Sichuan Airlines back in Helsinki. Since the beginning of the global pandemic China was very strict in imposing restrictions to fight the spread of the virus, thus now Sichuan Airlines are returning to Helsinki Airport to continue operations. We are grateful for this continuous trust from the airline and are excited to continue providing them with services of the highest standards.”

In addition to ground handling and de-icing services, Aviator provides services including passenger and baggage handling, cargo and full-freight handling and station services and it also offers airport security and the Nordic Dino aircraft washing robot.

Bamboo debuts flights in Cambodia, connecting Hanoi and Siem Reap

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Bamboo Airways made its inaugural flights from the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi to the popular tourist hotspot of Siem Reap in Cambodia on 7 August.

Siem Reap Airport, which is operated by Cambodia Airports (a Vinci Airports concession) welcomed the return of international flights in December 2021, following a 20-month hiatus resulting from COVID-19 and its impact on air travel. The hub which serves as a gateway to one of Camodia’s main tourist highlights currently accommodates routes from/ to Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hanoi and two domestic airports.

Bamboo’s new service connecting Hanoi and Siem Reap is being flown on an Embraer-190 aircraft and will be conducive to restoring point-to-point connectivity between two of Asia’s most appealing cities. It will also strengthen travel options for passengers and boost tourism growth by taking advantage of two international airport hubs.

“This first nonstop Hanoi-Siem Reap flight is Bamboo Airways’ next effort in our journey of expanding our international presence,” said Thach Pierre Hoang, Deputy CCO of Bamboo Airways. “We are more than delighted to offer 5-star oriented services at Siem Reap International Airport and look forward to leveraging this valuable partnership with many more upcoming routes in the future. In addition, we expect our new Vietnam – Cambodia route will fulfil its crucial role as aviation bridge and make a substantial contribution to the development of both countries in all aspects such as tourism, economy and culture.”

Farnborough appoints contracts for design and build of new £55m hangar

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Dedicated business aviation hub, Farnborough Airport in the UK has appointed contractors McLaughlin & Harvey and Gebler Tooth for the design and construction of its new £55m 175,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art and sustainably designed hangar development, Domus III.

The airport has been working closely with the contractors to create a plan that will increase hangar space by more than 70% while complementing the airport’s existing award-winning facilities and helping the airport prepare for the growing presence of the next generation of business jets.

In line with the airport’s other hangar facilities, which have been rated by BREEAM, the world’s leading sustainability assessment for infrastructure and buildings, the new hangar is expected to achieve some of the highest environmental standards. It will feature translucent automated doors, which will stretch the entire length of the building, to optimise natural light and reducing lighting usage. Aircraft will b able to manouevre easily thanks to the unhindered access provided by the door design, which will also help mitigate unnecessary emissions from aircraft handling activities.

“We want to be known as a global showcase for airport sustainability and the new hangar has been meticulously designed with this in mind,” said Simon Geere, Farnborough Airport’s CEO. “This investment will also provide a substantial boost for employment and economic growth in the region, whilst continuing our journey in providing the very best-in-class facilities to our customers at Europe’s number one business aviation airport.”

Construction of the new hangar is due to commence in August 2022 with completion scheduled for Q1 2024 with David Tooth, Founding Director of Gebler Tooth, David Tooth concluding: “We are delighted to be involved in this significant development at Farnborough Airport. Our team has worked closely with the airport and contractors teams to date to reach this stage and we are excited to see the project through to completion.”