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.

Embraer Profit Hunter at London Oxford

London Oxford Airport welcomes Embraer’..

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Embraer Profit Hunter at London Oxford

Currently on a world tour visiting prospective airline customers, Embraer’s EMB-195 E2 Profit Hunter touched down at London Oxford Airport on Monday 16 March. The striking black and gold inspired Lion design drawing admiring crowds as it landed on the 1,552m runway, showcasing its unique characteristics to land on a short runway.

The aircraft has already stopped at Hydrabad Airport in India and Dubai World Central Airport, UAE. It arrived in London on 16 March having taken off from Larnaca International Airport in Cyprus (taking off just before the country closed the airport for international arrivals) and will be heading to Cape Verde on 19 March.

The Profit Hunter is the largest commercial airliner ever to land at the Oxford hub, which during late 2010 was a temporary home to an Embraer Lineage 1000 (a VIP version of the EJ-190 commercial variant).

James Dillon-Godfray, London Oxford’s Head of Business Development, stated: “We are delighted to welcome this stunning commercial aircraft to Oxford. It shows the extraordinary field performance of this family of jets.”

The twin engined, single aisle, fly by wire, state of the art Embraer E190-E2 with its high-aspect ratio wings, is the largest variant of Embraer’s family of upgraded E-Jets, delivering lower operating costs, significantly reduced emissions and noise levels. The Pratt & Whitney PW1900G geared fan powered aircraft features Honeywell Primus Epic avionics and a new flight management system.

“Tech Lion” is the latest of the specially painted jets that form Embraer’s E2 demo series, which includes a tiger, an eagle, and a Great White shark.

AOA warns UK airports could close without gov..

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The Airport Operator’s Association (AOA) has warned that UK airports may face closure if the government doesn’t intervene.

“Governments across the world are supporting their national aviation industries, as many parts of the global travel industry have come to a halt,” said Karen Dee, CEO of the AOA, commenting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “As some airlines call on the UK Government to act similarly, we are clear that airports will shut down in weeks unless urgent action is taken to support the industry.

“The UK’s airports are critical national infrastructure, fulfilling a vital public service, and are on the frontline of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is essential that airport businesses remain operating and are able to weather this storm, so that they can provide the connectivity which drives growth, employment and prosperity after the crisis has abated.

“With travel bans proliferating and passengers unwilling to fly, traffic through airports has plummeted. UK airports are taking immediate and drastic action to cut costs and are scaling back investments in light of the situation. Due to the fixed costs of operating airports, the government will need to provide additional support.

“The government must step in to see airports across the four home nations through the current crisis, and make an unequivocal commitment to doing whatever it takes to sustain the UK aviation industry.”

Among other measures the AOA suggests that the government should be ready to provide or organise emergency financing as a measure of last resort. It also suggests that business rates and other government rates and taxes on airports should be suspended and that there should also be a deferral of payments of all VAT, corporation tax and other taxes for the duration of global flight restrictions.

“For the sake of the UK economy it is essential for the UK Government to catch-up to its peers across the continent and provide support to the sector and the wider economy through financing, guarantees, grants and tax relief.

Dee concluded by underlining that, “To help kick-start aviation again once the pandemic is retreating, the government should suspend Air Passenger Duty for six months.”

airBaltic to temporarily reduce services

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Due to the development of the ongoing coronavirus crisis and its impact on the global aviation sector, airBaltic has made a decision to temporarily decrease its overall capacity by a further 30% and to temporarily reduce its fleet to a total of 22 operating aircraft between March 29 and May 31, 2020. The move will see the airline cancel more than 2,000 flights.

“The health and safety of our employees and the public is airBaltic’s highest priority,” said Martin Gauss,airBaltic’s CEO. “The situation is changing very quickly, and we are forced to make some hard but necessary decisions. For now, we have reduced the capacity and cancelled flights, unfortunately we have to temporally reduce our team as the scale of operation is decreasing significantly. These are temporary measures during the crisis, and we need to be ready to get back on our growth path once the situation improves.”

In line with network adjustments, airBaltic is also having to temporarily reduce the number of its employees by up to 400. The company will seek voluntary solutions, unpaid leave, non-extension of probation time and termination.

However, the airline was also quick to point out that it has a well-developed crisis plan. Since 28 February, an action group C19AG has been established at the company, which regularly evaluates the latest situation to ensure it takes the necessary measures.


Signature Flight

Clear Channel Airports extends partnership wi..

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Clear Channel Airports (CCA), the US-based airports business of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, has renewed its contract with the global FBO network Signature Flight Support to transform the media and marketing approach for over 140 private aviation terminals throughout North America and the Caribbean.

Signature Flight Support’s new advertising programme will include new custom digital networks of LCD and LED screens across the top 20-25 private aviation terminals around the country. Many of the high-end brands that have consistently advertised across these private aviation terminals increased experiential and select exclusive foundation partner opportunities will be available.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with Signature Flight Support,” said Morten Gotterup, President, Clear Channel Airports. “Their network of FBOs presents the world’s leading brands and products with the absolutely unique ability to interact with the world’s highest net worth individuals, partners and families as well as in many cases their staff representatives,” he added.

“We will be working very closely with the Signature Flight Support team to create truly innovative and unforgettable advertising and sponsorship opportunities from new experiential activations to exclusive brand partnerships. Our partnership is poised to create some groundbreaking initiatives in the private airport advertising sector.”

Meanwhile Shawn Hall, CCO, Signature Flight Support said “We are thrilled to build upon our long-standing partnership with Clear Channel. Together, we are focused on maximising the opportunities that only our unparalleled network can deliver to the world’s leading brands.” He added: “We’re excited to bring to life new and innovative approaches to advertising in our FBOs, along with exclusive experiences and surprise and delight moments that engage and excite our customers. We look forward to collaborating with like-minded brands and partnering with them to deliver compelling, multi-year campaigns and activations.”

Signature Flight
OTG shopping

Checkout-free shopping arrives in US airports

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OTG shopping

Hospitality group OTG is introducing Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in its CIBO Express Gourmet Markets at two US airports enabling passengers and visitors to shop faster by selecting their items and walking out.

The new technology was rolled out at Newark Liberty’s Terminal C on 16 March with additional stores at the New York hub as well as LaGuardia Airport following suit.

By using Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in these markets, busy airport travellers can quickly enter the store using their credit card, grab the items they wish to purchase, and just walk out for maximum speed and convenience.

“We’ve found that shoppers truly appreciate checkout-free retail experiences, so we’re thrilled to be working with an innovative company like OTG to bring our proven Just Walk Out technology to their airport stores,” said Dilip Kumar, Vice President, Physical Retail & Technology at Amazon.

Rick Blatstein, CEO of OTG, explained that the introduction of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in OTG stores is expected to revolutionise the airport experience for passengers. He added that this work with Amazon is another step in OTG’s ongoing commitment to providing a frictionless experience.

“We’re incredibly proud to be integrating Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology into the OTG airport experience,” he said. “OTG has always embraced technology as a means of optimising the airport experience so that we can give our guests their time back. By using the world’s most advanced shopping technology in our CIBO Express Gourmet Markets, we’re doing just that by putting our guests in full control of their time.”

According to OTG, its reimagined airport terminals are designed to be perfect gateways to the cities and regions they serve, integrating here-and-now technology, iconic design and locally sourced dining and market options that create a true sense of place. Reinforcing this philosophy the adoption of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology showcases the company’s approach to leveraging advanced and innovative technologies to create a seamless airport experience and to offer its airline carrier partners terminals that travelers want to visit.

Editor’s comment: Use-it-or-lose-it

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Regional Gateway editor Chloë Greenbank summarises the latest happenings across airports serving business, regional and low-fare routes.
With the global aviation community badly hit by the impact of the current coronavirus outbreak, airline regulators in the EU have agreed to temporarily suspend airport use-it-or-lose-it slot rules.
The rules, which require airlines to use 80% of their allocated slots or face losing them to a competitor, had resulted in an increasing number of “ghost flights,” whereby aircraft have been operating with very few or no passengers at all in a bid to retain their airport slots.
The temporary suspension will allow airlines to respond to market conditions with appropriate capacity levels without the risk of losing take-off and landing privileges in the future.
Industry bodies, including the European Regional Airlines Association (ERA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), have welcomed the regulatory decisions waiving airport slot rules. However, Airports Council International (ACI) World has urged for caution. It has issued a statement calling for a proportionate slot allocation that will preserve global airport connectivity.
“A global suspension of slot rules would jeopardise the ability for countries to stay connected with the world, which will in turn have knock-on effects to economies,” the statement read.
ACI World’s Director General, Angela Gittens, added: “Airports rely heavily on airport charges to fund their operating and capital costs and operators find themselves under intense pressure during periods of traffic decline. Airport revenues must be sufficiently protected to ensure safe and sustainable operations. Measures to limit the collection of airport charges would be ill-advised.”
Suggesting that a market-by-market review would be the best option when it comes to assessing slot usage requirements, Gittens stated: “An evidence-based review would examine infection rates, load factors, forward booking forecasts, and the impact on the environment of continuing certain services.”
These are unprecedented times and with the breaking news this morning that the US will ban all flights from mainland Europe (excluding the UK) to the US as of midnight on Friday 13 March, the need for the airports, airlines and regulatory bodies to pull together and strengthen co-operation has never been stronger.
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.

European airports faced with COVID-19 crisis

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The rapid spread of the COVID-19 epidemic around the world is affecting airports around the world with the global aviation community now facing a full blown crisis.

Addressing the situation in Europe Olivier Jankovec, Director General at ACI Europe said: “For now, airports in Italy are clearly the most affected. Even before the decision to place the whole country under lock down, Italian airports were already confronted with a dramatic free fall in passenger traffic.” He added that now they are “bracing for a total collapse in air connectivity and the prospect of losing most of their revenues.”

Elsewhere in Europe, the situation for airports is rapidly deteriorating. “Airlines are drastically cutting capacity and cancelling air services as they respond to falling demand resulting from loss of confidence, changes to corporate travel policies, and governmental measures which directly or indirectly restrict mobility in their efforts to contain the spread of the virus,” he said.

ACI Europe’s initial assessment of the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the region’s airport operators show a loss of -67 million airport passengers in the first quarter of 2020 and an overall diminution of -187 million passengers for Europe’s airports in 2020. In financial terms a loss of -€1.320m in revenues in Q1 alone compared to a normal financial quarter.

The immediate cash flow pressures faced by airports has led to some adopting cost cutting measures. These include voluntary unpaid leave, recruitment freezes and the deferral of non-essential investment. Beyond the short-term impact on their financial standing, the COVID-19 epidemic could have lasting implications particularly for smaller and regional hubs, as future investments in sustainability, capacity and digitalisation all depend upon financially robust and stable businesses.

London City Airport wins operational excellen..

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London City Airport (LCY) and Alcumus Info Exchange, a software-led risk management solutions provider, have won an operational excellence award in recognition of the airport’s ‘Permit to Work’ scheme and the contribution of technology to improving risk management in the transport sector. The award was given by independent research firm Verdantix.

The Permit to Work scheme has enabled LCY to have a clear image of the work that is taking place on site at any given moment and enabled the airport to assess and understand the potential implications on day-to-day operations, customer experience in conjunction with existing assets and infrastructure. More than 2,200 people work around the clock at the London hub.

The airport is currently undergoing a £500m development programme with eight aircraft stands, a new taxiway and brand-new passenger terminal all in the works. Normal operations will continue at the airport while the work is ongoing and the implementation of Alcumus Info Exchange’s software will provide LCY with an exact overview of which contractors are on site, where they are and will be working, the type of work taking place, how long the projects will take and the risks that are associated with the tasks and the areas that they are in.

Commenting on the partnership Caroline Maltby, Interface and Process Manager at London City Airport said: “This enabled us to work across a range of our teams and display the information they need in order to keep all our staff, contractors and stakeholders safe while on site.”


$150m raised for airport logistics fund

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Realterm, a value-added real estate operator in the US, has raised $150 million in capital commitments, through its wholly owned subsidiary Aeroterm, for its Realterm Airport Logistics Properties, L.P. (RALP) fund. RALP has raised close to $750 million in external commitments to capitalise its investment activities.

Realterm currently manages more than $5 billlion in assets through five logistics-oriented private equity fund series. This includes RALP, which is comprised of 133 properties at 36 airports and serves as the investment platform for Aeroterm’s development, acquisition, financing and long-term management activities in North America. Aeroterm focuses on the development, redevelopment and acquisition of on-airport air cargo and aviation-related support facilities, including cargo buildings, hangars and flight kitchens. The new capital commitments will contribute to around $300 million of projects currently in design or construction across RALP’s North American portfolio.

“Almost five years after our formation of RALP, we are pleased to have provided top quartile returns to our limited partner’s while servicing our airport and tenant customers with premier sustainable facilities built for the rapidly growing aviation industry,” said David Rose, Managing Director and Senior Fund Manager.

“Our ability to help foster job growth, sustainability and efficiency across North American airports continues to have a tangible positive impact on both our LP’s missions and the airports and surrounding communities who partner with us,” added Rose. “We are set to deliver five new LEED-certified industrial buildings that will transform each airport’s ability to grow both cargo and passenger volumes for many years,” he concluded.