Shell Aviation teams up with Luxaviation on FBO collaboration

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Business aircraft and helicopter operator, Luxaviation, has joined forces with Shell Aviation, a global supplier of aviation fuel and lubricants, to unveil a long-term strategic FBO collaboration. Beyond their existing respective FBO and fuel supply networks the two companies plan to expand by investing in new FBO locations.

“For more than a decade, Luxaviation Group has implemented multiple initiatives to reduce the impact our business activities have on the environment, creating added value for our customers, employees and investors,” said Patrick Hansen, CEO of Luxaviation Group. “The strategic alliance with Shell Aviation is the mere start of a game changing cooperation of two players in the industry nurturing a common ambition for a future sustainable aviation industry. Our teams are looking forward to summon our respective strengths for the benefit of our customers.”

With the collaboration aiming to lay the foundations for a long-term cooperation, both Luxaviation and Shell will look to progress and transform traditional business into worldwide dynamically developing operations and product portfolios.

“By bringing together Luxaviation’s extensive FBO network with our global expertise in fuel supply and airport operations, we are confident this agreement will provide genuine value to our customers,” added Anna Mascolo, President, Shell Aviation. “As well as providing a secure supply of fuel, we’re looking forward to working closely with the Luxaviation team as they look to expand and enhance the high levels of service that customers have come to expect from their FBO locations.”

ACE21: Surviving the pandemic and beyond

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This week has seen the Air Charter Expo (ACE) take place as a hybrid event with those attending the expo at London Biggin Hill joined by delegates from around the world online. Proving a popular event, this year’s expo recorded some 1,100 physical attendees with hundreds of additional delegates tuning in online for the conference sessions.

Sustainability was a key focus on the agenda with VoltAero flying in it’s hybrid-electric Cassio 1 demonstrator (the second time the aircraft has crossed the English Channel) for the static display. VoltAero’s CEO and Chief Technology Officer, Jean Botti, also took part in the conference’s Green Charter 2021 panel discussion. He was joined by Faradair’s Neil Cloughley and representatives from Tecnam to discuss new electric aircraft technology and how operations can become more environmentally sustainable.

Green charter

A session on green operations saw Air bp discuss the role of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in helping the industry reduce its carbon emissions and highlighted the fuel supplier’s ‘book and claim’ solution. The initiative enables Air bp to deliver SAF into the supply chain at one airport location and ‘book’ the carbon reduction associated with it into a registry. A customer can then ‘claims’ those carbon reductions by purchasing the benefit of the lifecycle carbon reductions that have been registered alongside their traditional jet fuel.

Meanwhile, 4Air’s President, Kennedy Ricci, revealed his organisation’s ratings framework to help organisations meet and even exceed the industry’s sustainable goals. He described the ratings framework as an opportunity to “look at the pillars of sustainability and build those into an adaptable and flexible programme.” Nicholas Kroll, Luxaviation’s recently appointed Head of Sustainability added that “the first step operators need to take when addressing sustainability is to look at their operational environment and engage with the different stakeholders (customers, suppliers, employees and local residents),” as he underlined that climate change is a problem that affects everyone across the supply chain.

Sustained growth

Looking at the overall state of the industry Wingx’s Managing Drector, Richard Koe, described the forecast for the business aviation sector as looking extremely positive. Despite a 71% drop in activity in Q1 2020 compared to 2019 movements, business aviation has since seen a strong rebound in traffic with activity now exceeding the levels seen in 2019. Similarly cargo activity is now exceeding 2019 traffic and special missions such as crisis missions and medical shipments have also seen strong growth. Scheduled activity however is still trending around 42% behind 2019 figures, which is primarily due to travel restrictions, lack of demand and aircraft being grounded. Through July 2021 Koe stated that the European charter market has an estimated worth of €1.58 billion.

Looking at what the longer term growth forecast is for the charter sector, VistaJet’s Executive Vice President, Programme Sales, Francesca Swan, pointed out that having a global fleet has meant that VistaJet has been able to shift its fleet around in response to market demand around the globe, which has served the company well over the last 18 months. She also revealed that the company is seeing enormous growth in North America and Europe and is currently 50% up on 2019 figures with ad-hoc acquisitions planned to support this continued growth. She also noted that “pre-pandemic 90% of customers who could afford to weren’t flying privately. However, with commercial routes still not fully recovered and some having been stopped for the foreseeable future these passengers are turning to private aviation.” And while she believes the industry will see sustained growth going forward, certain regions will be more cautious than others.

Clive Chalmers, VP Charter, UK, AirPartner, commented on the balanced demand he is seeing explaining that while some markets have dropped off, others have picked up. “For example traffic from the events and entertainment sector has disappeared, but because scheduled services have been less reliable we’ve seen a pick up in traffic from the energy and sporting sector,” he said. Admitting that the industry still faces a harsh winter as corporate travel still hasn’t recovered he did however say that he had a “positive and optimistic outlook for long-term growth.”

And in line with the East Midlands Airport-based airline RVL Group’s plans to gear up for new commercial opportunities, David Lacy, RVL’s Head of Business Development, stated that being flexible with operations and having an “eclectic fleet of aircraft” has been key to their growth during the pandemic. “July through September 2020 we doubled our cargo revenue due to COVID charters for medical shipments and even the transport of waste water.” He added that the number of COVID tests being transported has meant regular flights every day to accommodate those thousands of tests. Concluding that the cargo market is still showing signs of growth beyond COVID shipments Lacy stated that he forecasts “sustained growth, but with peaks and troughs” with strains in global supply chains creating challenges as well as opportunities for the charter market.

Header image: From left to right: David Lacy, RVL Group, Clive Chalmers, AirPartner, Francesca Swan, VistaJet and Richard Koe, WINGX.

Air bp’s book and claim solution makes SAF more accessible for all

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Certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), Air bp’ book and claim solution provides customers with wider market access to SAF across a number of locations.

One of the big challenges with SAF, according to Air bp, is that current volumes and existing supply points are limited. Subsequently, delivering SAF far from those supply points can be an expensive process. In addition, long supply chains can create increased carbon emissions, which would reduce the overall carbon savings form the use of the SAF. With SAF only currently available at a small number of locations across Europe and North America, Air bp’s book and claim solution allows customers to access SAF carbon reductions without being physically connected to the supply site.

Essentially this means that bp is able to deliver the SAF into the supply chain at one airport location and ‘book’ the carbon reduction associated with it into a registry. Then the customer at another location can ‘claim’ those carbon reductions by purchasing their traditional jet fuel along with the benefit of the lifecycle carbon reductions that have been registered in that registry.

A global multi-stakeholder organisation that supports the SAF and wider bioeconomy sector with sustainability solutions, partnerships and certification, RSB will certify Air bp’s book and claim SAF sales based on its’ own robust procedures and manage the book and claim registry.

The solution is particularly relevant to the private aviation sector where volumes are smaller and typically purchased over a wide number of locations. So, if SAF isn’t available at the location a customer is flying from, they still have the opportunity to purchase the carbon reductions for SAF that is placed into the supply chain where it is most cost effective and where carbon emissions from the transport of the product can be reduced. The book and claim customer is then issued a certificate by the registry showing the volume of SAF delivered and the corresponding lifecycle carbon emission savings. In addition to providing a wider range of customers access to the benefits of SAF, book and claim also helps Air bp to develop a greater understanding of SAF demand.

JOhn Wayne Airport

John Wayne Airport records significant increase in passenger traffic in July

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JOhn Wayne Airport

Los Angeles’ John Wayne Airport has noted that passenger traffic in July 2021 (890,185 passengers) increased 272.3% when compared with July 2020 passenger traffic (239,120 passengers). The figures for this year mark a decrease of just 5.9% when compared to July 2019 when 946,111 passengers travelled through the airport.

Commercial aircraft operations increased 85.9% commuter aircraft operations increased 14.6% when compared with July 2020 levels. Comparing July 2021 to 2019 levels, commercial aircraft operations of 7,294 decreased 5.5 % and commuter aircraft operations of 527 increased 0.8%.

In addition, the airport also noted that total aircraft operations increased in July 2021 compared with the same month in 2020 with 31,998 take-offs and landings in July this year compared to 23,694 total operations in July 2020 (a 35% increase). Aircraft operations also increased 16.3% compared to July 2019 when the airport saw 27,520 aircraft operations.

General aviation activity, which accounted for 75.5% of the total aircraft operations during July 2021, increased 25.4% when compared with July 2020, and increased 25.8% when compared to general aviation activity of 19,194 in July 2019, which accounted for 69.7% of total aircraft operations.

covid testing at heathrow collinson

AOA and Airlines UK respond to Global Travel Taskforce checkpoint

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covid testing at heathrow collinson

Ahead of the UK Government’s final checkpoint review for its Global Travel Taskforce, Airline Operators Association (AOA) and Airlines UK have sent a letter on behalf of UK aviation to the UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. The letter urges the government to “fundamentally rebalance its approach to international travel and enable a more meaningful recovery of aviation.”

Signed by Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive, Airlines UK and Karen Dee, Chief Executive, AOA, the letter noted that the “UK is an outlier, both compared to the UK’s approach to domestic restrictions and internationally. While festivals and nightclubs have been able to reopen without restrictions, aviation continues to be held back by complex and burdensome rules and costly testing requirements.”

It also highlighted that summer 2021 was “a worse summer for our industry than summer 2020 – making us unique in the UK economy. Europe has shown the way to safely re-open travel and has seen a much faster recovery in international travel volumes and passenger numbers. The UK is being left behind despite its world-beating vaccination programme.”
Commenting on the UK’s travel rules being disproportionate to any health benefit, the letter also said that “despite the huge cost to travellers, only a minority of positive cases are sequenced (just 0.03% of test from green arrivals in July), and no VoCs are being detected for the vast majority of countries.

With nearly 60% of staff in the air transport sector on furlough at the end of June – the highest of any sector – there is genuine concern there will be further job losses as furlough ends especially with a challenging winter season ahead.

Vaccination success

Recognising the success of the UK’s vaccination strategy and the approach to domestic restrictions, Dee and Alderslade propose the following measures for the UK’s air transport sector: Fully vaccinated travellers and anyone travelling from low-risk countries should now be able to travel without restrictions of testing; just like domestic UK travel; Greater certainty and predictability so that travellers and families are not constantly looking over their shoulders in case of rule changes, disruption or significant unexpected costs; VoCs kept at bay through a red list, applicable only to the highest-risk countries.

Traffic light reform

Meanwhile Manchester Airport Group’s CEO, Charlie Cornish, is calling for the UK’s traffic light system to be reformed urgently and ahead of the scheduled 1 October review date. Reiterating how ONS data from June shows that aviation remains the worst hit UK sector, MAG is calling on the UK Government to bring in a simplified two-tier system and remove mandatory testing requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals from countries without new, concerning COVID-19 variants.

“Fully vaccinated British residents can only look on in envy as people across Europe enjoy the freedom to travel easily to low-risk holiday destinations,” said MAG CEO Charlie Cornish.

“With restrictions almost entirely removed across the UK, now is the time to give people back those freedoms to explore, relax and visit loved ones.

“The UK’s over-cautious and unnecessarily complex traffic light system is confusing to customers and places needless barriers in the way of them booking travel.

“The impact that is having on our sector is clear, with traffic levels recovering at a much greater rate across Europe than here in the UK.

“Meanwhile, the rest of the economy has been opened up to those who are double-jabbed, leaving travel as the only sector whose recovery is being held back for no logical reason.

“A simpler, more sensible approach to international travel must be adopted as soon as possible, and Government has the opportunity to deliver that in response to proposals put forward by MAG and others in our sector in the weeks ahead.”

ANSL partners with Cranfield to launch new ATM course

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Air Navigation Solutions (ANSL) has partnered with Cranfield University to launch an Air Traffic Management (ATM) Occurrence Investigator Course.

Developed by Pam Laycock, ANSL’s Lead Investigator and Chris Kimber, Unit Lead Investigator for Gatwick in collaboration with Dr Leigh Dunn, Lecturer in Aircraft Accident Investigation at Cranfield, the course will provide trainee investigators with practical, hands-on experience of carrying out a high-fidelity ATM occurrence investigation and writing a comprehensive investigation report.

“We realised that developing a course which combines theory with a simulated investigation would help us to both train our own staff and equip the industry with more highly competent investigators, enabling constructive learnings to be taken from incidents across the country. That is what ANSL, in partnership with Cranfield University, has created,” said Kimber.

Dr Leigh Dunn added: “When designing our investigation training courses, we are looking to teach the fundamental techniques of investigation fine-tuned to the specific industry that the delegates work in. This is what makes the partnership between Cranfield University and Air Navigation Solutions, with its in-depth understanding of the ATM industry, a perfect match. Together we have produced a hands-on training course that will provide ATM investigators with the skills that are required to conduct thorough and credible investigations.”

Following a successful pilot of the course earlier this year in February, which was attended by 12 delegates from Jersey Airport and ANSL, the course will run at the end of November.

“The course tutors and specialist contributors provided a comprehensive introduction to the range of skills required to carry out investigations including analysis tools, interviewing techniques and report compiling. The course comprised a great mix of practical and theoretical training and is highly recommended,” said John Daly, an Air Traffic Controller at Jersey Airport.

Spanish airports report 32% recovery in traffic compared to 2019

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For August of this year, the airports in Aena’s network recovered more than 60% of the traffic for the same month in 2019 with 18,011,330 passengers and 189,070 aircraft movements recorded across its Spanish airport portfolio. The cumulative amount through August equates to a 32.2% recovery in traffic compared to 2019.

All terminals in Aena’s network are in service due to the increased demand during the summer season. Of the total passenger traffic, 17,930,455 people travelled on commercial flights, 7,631,734 of them on flights from or to a Spanish airport and 10,298,721 to or from an airport abroad.

In the first eight months of 2021, more than 60m passengers passed through Aena’s airports (67.8% less than in 2019); 892, 063 aircraft movements have been recorded (44.3% less) and 612,985 tonnes of cargo were transported (a decrease of 8.8%).

The airport registering the largest number of operations in August was Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas, with a total of 23,371, down 37.1% compared to August 2019. Palma de Mallorca recorded 23,243 movements (-19.3%) and was followed by Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat with 21,857 (-33.1%). Malaga-Costa del Sol, recorded 13,033 (-16.7%) operations; Ibiza 12,160 (-0.8%); Gran Canaria 8,699 (-18%); Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernandez 7,828 (-27.2%); Valencia 6,645 (-10.3%); Tenerife Norte-Ciudad de La Laguna 5,947 (-12.4%); and Menorca 5,247 (-5.3%).

As for freight traffic, the airports in Aena’s network handled 79,746 tonnes, 4.8% less than in 2019. Again Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas was the airport with the most cargo traffic with 41,948 tonnes, 5.4% less than in 2019.

A statement for the airport operator read: “In light of the fact that the state of the alarm declared in Spain in 2020 lasted until 21 July, with the ensuing home lockdown and the prohibition on all non-essential travel, and that the pandemic entailed restrictions on mobility around the world, the comparison with the 2020 data has been eliminated, as this year is considered an outlier.”

Pictured: Alicante Airport

Riga Airport’s rapid exit taxiway now open for aircraft operations

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Having been constructed with the support of the Cohesion Fund (CF), Riga Airport’s new rapid exit taxiway is now open for operations having seen an airBaltic aircraft become the first to use the facility early on Thursday 9 September.

The rapid exit taxiway permits decreasing the distance of aircraft movement on the runway and taxiway, therefore decreasing the amount of fuel and time consumed during the land manoeuvres, and subsequently the amount of emitted pollutants – CO2, hydrocarbons and particles.

“The new rapid exit taxiway is another purposeful step of Riga Airport towards the development of sustainable airfield infrastructure,” said Laila Odina, Chairperson of Riga Airport Board. “Being an airport that has undertaken to reach the zero-emission level by 2050, Riga Airport invests in the acceleration and efficiency of airfield processes thereby minimising the amount of emitted pollutants. This is an investment in the future that cares for the environment and decreasing the climate changes.”

Construction works were carried out by road construction company, SIA Binders with the total project costing around €2.6m. The CF support has also been used to reconstruct the public access roads and modernise the rainwater sewerage and lighting infrastructure.

Manchester welcomes return of Saudia link to Jeddah

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Fondly referred to as ‘the UK’s gateway to the North’ Manchester Airport is set to welcome to return of Saudia for the first time in 21 months as the Middle Eastern airline relaunches its direct service to Jeddah.

The first flight is scheduled to depart on 15 December from the recently reopened Terminal Two, which has been expanded and modernised as part of a £1bn transformation programme. The service will run three times per week on the iconic Boeing-787 Dreamliner, with the frequency of flights subject to review dependent on demand.

The route – which is the only direct link to Saudi Arabia offered by a UK airport outside of London – originally began operations in 2014 and had been steadily growing ever since. In 2019 more than 97,000 passengers used the service. However, the route was temporarily suspended as a result of travel restrictions introduced in response to COVID-19.

“The return of Saudia to Manchester Airport is wonderful news and demonstrates the renewed confidence amongst passengers and airlines as we begin to emerge from the pandemic,” said Manchester Airport’s Managing Director, Karen Smart. “This is a route that is hugely important to communities across the North, given it is the only direct service to Saudi Arabia outside of London,” she continued.

Noting that she also hoped the route would become a permanent fixture in 2022, she explained that the service “is also has substantial economic benefits to our region, given the ever-growing trade and investment partnership between the UK and Saudi Arabia.”

Located on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, Jeddah is one of the country’s most popular destinations for inbound tourists. Just one hour away from Mecca by car, it also offers plenty of attractions of its own, including seafront resorts, museums, galleries, traditional cuisine and the 7th century walled city of Al-Balad, with buildings constructed from coral.

Seattle Airport introduces mobile food ordering and gate delivery service

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In a bid to ensure as seamless a passenger journey as possible Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has introduced a mobile food ordering service that includes gate delivery. Fifteen restaurants are signed up to the service to offer mobile or online ordering.

The OrderSEA robot, Gita, which had a soft launch earlier this summer has already clocked up 1,200 orders, including 500 for gate delivery. Among the most popular food options for travellers using the service were McDonald’s, Pei Wei, Mi Casa Cantina, Ballard Brew Hall and Rel’Lish Burger Lounge.

“Technology can make your airport experience more flexible and less stressful,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Sam Cho. “OrderSEA means travellers can skip standing in a crowded line, the least fun and most stressful part of any trip.”
Powered by Servy’s Grab Airport Marketplace in partnership with AtYourGate, OrderSEA enables passengers to place orders online at or the FlySEA app. They can then pay securely for their order from their phone and choose between pick-up after the TSA security checkpoints or delivery to their gate. Jeff Livney, Chief Experience Officer at Servy explained that “through our Grab Airport Marketplace platform, OrdersEA offers a safe and convenient touch-free alternative to traditional payment options enabling travellers and airport staff to easily place meal orders from digital devices for pick-up, with the option of having their choices delivered to them in airport.”

Newly opened Tundra Taqueria, operated by Concessions International in the N Gates, just joined Order SEA. “Concessions international works with Grab on electronic ordering solutions here at SEA as well as many other markets across the country,” said Concessions International Director of Operations Evan Ault. “This service allows us to reach many guests that may not be inclined to, or have the time for, a full ‘in-restaurant’ dining experience while travelling. The OrderSEA programme makes to-go ordering, payments and even gate delivery a breeze for our guests. It also integrates with our point of sale systems in most locations to make transactions and payments seamless on our end. We are excited to be able to participate in Order SEA at our locations like Tundra Taqueria and Trail Head BBQ, and we are proud to provide a simple, concise and useful to-go ordering experience to travellers that utilise the service.”