Partnership with Wizz Air sees Menzies expand presence in Middle East and Europe

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Menzies Aviation has been awarded a contract by ultra-low-fare airline, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, to provide a range of ground handling services at Kuwait International Airport.

The agreement marks Menzies’ first contract with the airline outside of Europe and builds on the two companies’ existing relationship which spans several European cities including London, Budapest, Prague, Cluj, Timisoara, Iasi and Sibiu.

“We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Wizz Air with this new Wizz Air Abu Dhabi contract in Kuwait,” said Charles Wyley, Executive VP Middle East, Africa and Asia, Menzies Aviation. “It demonstrates the confidence Wizz Air has in the ability of the Menzies team to provide a safe, secure and consistent quality service.”

As part of the new contract Menzies will deliver ramp, passenger, security and ticketing services for seven flights a week for the LCC.

Menzies has also secured a new European location with Wizz Air in Nice, where it will provide passenger ramp services for more than 1,800 flights per year.

Wyley conclude: “We look forward to continuing to grow our relationship with Wizz Air in the region and beyond.”

Veovo partners with OneAlpha to optimise airport slot management

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Veovo has teamed up with airport slot management and capacity planning company, OneAlpha, to give airport operators the ability to streamline the slot approval process, while maximising the use of runway, apron and terminal capacity and resources.

The collaboration supports OneAlpha’s vision to share its platform with the world’s best airports, while the integration of its tools with Veovo’s AODB and Resource Management System removes system and communication barriers between airlines and airport slot and planning teams for faster, more accurate decision-making in dynamic-operating environments.

Carl Jones, CEO of OneAlpha said: “We’re delighted to partner with Veovo to make it even easier for airports to access our next-generation slot coordination and airport capacity technology through Veovo’s software portfolio. By bringing our tools together, we can offer operators and their partners greater confidence and reliability in their planning by ensuring schedule demands always match capacity for smoother planning and operations.”

OneAlpha’s cloud-based slot management tool automates the slot request-to-approval process from one central tool, checking requests against runway, apron and terminal capacity and saves time for slot coordinators and management teams. Once the slot has been confirmed, the integration with Veovo’s powerful resource management tool enables a seamless handover to strategic planners to optimise resource planning in and outside the terminal, including stands, gates, counters and baggage belts.

Additional benefits to the partnership include support for long-term planning and regulatory reporting. OneAlpha’s tool allows operators to forecast the impact of infrastructure improvement or maintenance works on capacity, enhancing operational and commercial decision-making. What’s more, with resource usage data fed from Veovo’s RMS fed back into the slot planning process, airports can simplify regulatory reporting and fine-tune future slot allocations.

“The strategic partnership with OneAlpha is an important step forward in removing many manual airport processes to facilitate better, faster operational decision-making across all time horizons, from slot management and capacity planning to the day of operations,” concluded James Williamons, CEO, Veovo.

Ink Innovation selected to improve OTP at regional hubs in Finland

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The Finnish independent ground handling provider, Inter Handling, has selected Ink Innovation’s Departure Control System (DCS) to improve the on-time performance (OTP) at Turku and Mariehamn airports in western Finland.

Inter Handling partnered with ground handling systems specialist, Nordic Aviation Support, to seal the deal with Ink.

Commenting on the deal, Blaine Powell, Chief Sales Officer of Ink Innovation said: “Together with our business partner Nordic Aviation Support we are glad to support Inter Handling’s future growth plans both now and well into the future.”

Ink DCS will be used to connect passengers between the regional hubs of Turku City and the Aland Islands. The flexibility of Ink’s solution will help deliver an enhanced experience through its ability to handle passengers via desktop and mobile. The system will also enable Inter Handling to scale its operation and react quickly to passenger demand on the day of departure.

“To optimise processes and infrastructure for Inter Handling Finland, we needed to deliver a practical, future-fit solution,” said Ola Strangeways, CEO & Founder of Nordic Aviation Support.

“We chose Ink because of the high versatility of its mobile platform and the rapid roll-out of a mere five days. Inter Handling will also leverage additional functionalities to help improve the aircraft turnaround process, resulting in better on time performance and reduced fuel burn for its airline customers.

As a cloud-hosted departure and control platform capable of running across a range of devices, Ink DCS combines a Plug-and-play Web Check-in, Desktop DCS, Disaster Recovery, Ink Mobile, Kiosk Check-in and Bag Drop according to each station’s needs in a single connected platform. It is certified on all major CUTE platforms: SITA, RESA, Rockwell Collins, Aena and Amadeus.

Alstef deploys improved baggage sortation software at Montreal-Trudeau

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Alstef Canada has introduced an improved version of its BAGSORT – Sortation Allocation Control (SAC) software at YUL Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, which is operated ADM Aéroports de Montréal.

The baggage handling specialist installed the Canadian hub’s current baggage handling system (BHS)  for its transborder terminal and since 2009 has overseen its transborder BHS, inclusive of the Automatic Bag Drop (ABD) stations.

The latest BAGSORT SAC upgrade enables the US Customs Border Protection (CBP) to perform pre-clearance of passengers on Canadian soil, which requires processing data related to baggage and passengers. The solution also controls the Early Bag Storage system (EBS) comprise of 450 individual conveyors.

Describing the latest collaboration as a “major project”, which involved the software development team in France the Canadian local IT and operations team, Paul Marty, Alstef Group IT Software Project Manager added: “Teamwork was fundamental to ensure the knowledge transfer of the development team to the operations team and go guarantee a smooth roll-out.”

This latest project further underlines Alstef’s commitment to working with airports in Canada. The company has completed more than 15 projects throughout Canada including 15 CATSA-funded checked-bag screening machine upgrades which required significant baggage system modifications. “We focus on long-term relationships,” said Steven Tanguy, Managing Director, Alstef Canada.

“We have completed multiple, repeat projects at many regional airports throughout Canada and have been present at all of the main hub airports including Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, since entering the market in the early 2000s,” Tanguy concluded.

London Stansted benefits from new remote technology management

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London Stansted is using a remote management technology from APT SKIDATA to provide visibility and control over the estate’s 14 car parks and 330 associated devices and systems.

Building on its existing long-standing relationship, Stansted approached APT SKIDATA to understand how it could further improve the service delivery capabilities of its Landside Operations team, reduce complexity of managing multiple systems and increase overall efficiency.  The objective was to deliver a better customer service, keep costs down and improve system resilience.

APT SKIDATA deployed its web-based management system, sweb Control, to enable the hub serving the UK capital to manage the intercoms, CCTV and the parking systems across the entire estate remotely. Subsequently the Landside Operations team can respond quickly and easily to customer interactions, providing a high level of service.

Charmaine Sweeney, Control Room Manager for Landside Operations, said the team is responsible for managing one of the largest surface car park operations in Europe, with more than 44,000 spaces: ” The car parks are widely acknowledged as the first touch point for many of our passengers… and the centralised management platform from APT SKIDATA hasa enabled the team to continue delivering the consistently high standards of customer experience our guests expect.”

The sweb Control platform is hosted and managed by SKIDATA in an accredited data centre. This provides the Stansted Ariport IT team with confidence that the platform is secure, resilient and will meet their IT compliance standards.

ASTM launches petroleum lab professional certification

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Global standards organisation ASTM International has launched a series of certification specially designed for petroleum lab professionals.

The new programme covers product areas including aviation fuel, diesel fuel and others. The credentials offered are meant to help both labs and individual technicians demonstrate their awareness and commitment to industry standards.

“Requested by leading oil producers and lab professionals, the new ASTM Petroleum Laboratory Professional Certification programme is a cost-effective way to ensure quality assurance and evaluate and improve individual performance,” said David von Glahn, ASTM International’s Director of Education and Credentialing.

Covering 10 different product areas and ASTM standards the programme is available for online purchase.

Industry stakeholders collaborate on opportunities for SAF production in Ireland

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A number of aviation stakeholders, including the international aircraft leasing company Avolon, Boeing, ORIX Aviation, SFS Ireland and SkyNRG are collaborating on a feasibility study into the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Ireland.

The study is being led by SkyNRG and SFS Ireland and is expected to be completed in 2023 with the goal of identifying market level opportunities in Ireland for an investable commercial-scale SAF production facility.

“The aviation industry will rely on a number of pathways to meet its net-zero 2050 targets and collaboration with global experts to help drive innovation in SAF is key to being successful,” said Philippe Lacamp, SkyNRG CEO. “We are proud to be working with Avolon, Boeing, ORIX Aviation and SFS Ireland on this feasibility study. Each new SAF research project brings us one step closer to identifying what production pathways and sustainable feedstocks are available and helping evaluate how best to assist the aviation industry in meeting mandated targets.”

Lacamp was joined by Boeing VP, Environmental Engagement and Business Development, Sheila Remes, who said: “We will need a massive increase in the amount of SAF if we are to reach our industry’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Scaling SAF is paramount. Ireland’s growth in renewable energy makes it a prime location for SAF production with zero climate impact.”

Similarly, Andy Cronin, Avolon CEO, added: “It’s imperative that the aviation sector delivers on its promise to invest in innovation to reduce its carbon footprint. We are delighted to be partnering with a team of global experts that have a shared ambition of being at the forefront of sustainable innovation that will reshape the future of aviation. The path to net zero requires a combination of new technology, aircraft and large-scale deployment of SAF, and this project will help deliver sustainable solutions to accelerate decarbonisation.”

European Travel Commission forecasts 75% recovery for sector by end of 2022

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The European tourism sector successfully endured another challenging summer despite worsening inflation and staff shortages threatening its recovery.

According to the most recent edition of the European Tourism Trends & Prospects quarterly report from the European Travel Commission (ETC), Europe’s travel bounce-back will continue in the remaining months of 2022 with the region expected to recover close to 75% of 2019 inbound travel volumes this year.

However, warnings have also been cast that with a looming recession and higher inflation rates across Europe this winter a drop in consumer spending and tourism demand could delay, but not derail the sector’s recovery. The prolonged war on Ukraine and additional travel restrictions for Russian tourists across Europe will also push back the recovery in Eastern Europe.

Luís Araújo, ETC’s President commented: “European tourism is proving exceptionally resilient to inflation. While the cost-of-living crisis is causing many to change their approach to travel, it is not dampening their desire to explore Europe completely. Short-haul travel will be a lifeline for the sector over the next months, as more travellers opt for shorter and closer trips.”

ETC predicts that in the face of economic uncertainty and surging inflation, short-haul trips, which tend to be more economical, will be the preferred travel option. Overall the price of holidays will be key among households grappling with having less disposable income. This could however be to Europe’s benefit as intra-European holidays alongside domestic travel tends to be cheaper than longer-haul alternatives. Short-haul travel currently makes up around 72% of total visits in Europe and is set to grow in popularity for the remainder of the year.

With long-haul travel into Europe still hampered by restrictions and lingering negative sentiment from Asia and the Pacific, the Chinese market has shown minimal progress towards a recovery due to the slower removal of travel restrictions.

However, amid the strength of the US dollar, which has appreciated around 20% against the euro over the last year, transatlantic tourism will get a boost from American holidaymakers. A strengthened dollar has already proven a lifeline to many European destinations, with the latest data showing that three in five reporting countries have recovered at least 70% of 2019 US travel volumes so far this year. A number of destinations exceeded 2019 travel demand. Turkey saw the strongest rebound, followed by Portugal, Lithuania, Montenegro and Poland.

Porto offers best value car parking for all European airports

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According to a study conducted in Q3, 2022 by confused.com car parking at Porto Airport in Portugal costs 97% less than local parking. The hub was also found to have the cheapest airport parking among 32 European hubs. A total of 32 airports were ranked according to the price difference between airport parking and nearby public car parks on Parkopedia.

At Porto, customers looking for short stays pay £3.44 at the airport, instead of the local average of £115.01. This was alsmost five times cheaper than parking at Alicante Airport in Spain (£16.36). Porto Airport also has the most affordable on-site parking for week-long stays, charging £24.08 for seven days. Nearby parking was found to cost £805.07 (£780.99) more expensive for the same amount of time.

Ranking second for cheapest parking was Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, Sweden, which was found to charge 77.09% less than the nearby average for parking. Nice Cote d’Azur Airport in France was found to cost 58.82% less than the nearby average. Customers parking at the French hub typically pay £17.21 for 24-hour stays, instead of the local average of £41.81.

Dublin, Munich, Athens, Barcelona El Prat, Malaga, Fontanarossa and Dusseldorf airports all featured in the top 10 cheapest hubs for parking.

London airports however have the highest prices in Europe for on-site parking. Gatwick, Stansted and London Heathrow charge the highest price increase for their on-site parking in comparison to the local average. Short-stay parking at Gatwick Airport costs £45 (five times more than the local average of £8.20). This is an increase of 448.78%.

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com commented: “Holidaymakers are no doubt trying to save money where they can. And this will include parking costs. But airport parking, while expensive, can be worth the money for peace of mind when travelling as it’s often hassle-free and secure.

“With airport parking being quite a significant expense, many may be attracted by the cheaper alternatives, such as off-site car parks. However, these do come with some risks.” He pointed out that for passengers wanting to save money on car parking it is tempting to opt for off-site options. However security at some of these facilities could be compromised and passengers should check the security measures in place before booking and avoid leaving any valuable inside.

He also noted that car doors should be locked and alarms working when using parking facilities. “It’s also advised to check your mileage when returning to your car. This is because some unofficial car parks could be charging less for your stay, but actually using your car whilst you’re on holiday.”

Skyports partners with Groupe ADP and Volocopter to launch European vertiport testbed

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Thursday 10 November saw Skyports mark a milestone for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) when it partnered with Groupe ADP and Volocopter to launch its vertiport testbed at Pontoise-Cormeilles airfield in Paris.

Speaking at the launch, Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports said: “The Pontoise-Cormeilles terminal is a physical demonstration of the fact that innovation won’t occur in isolation; it requires collaboration from a multitude of area experts, including operators, vehicle manufacturers and technology developers, each of which have  an important role to play in achieving the ultimate objective of commercial AAM services. With the completion of the terminal, we will now begin comprehensive testing of procedures and technologies in a realistic aviation environment, creating a space for Skyports and consortium partners to accelerate the industry.”

The launch event provided an opportunity to demonstrate the end-to-end passenger journey, from arrival at the terminal to aircraft boarding. A model of the VoloCity, which is being developed as Volocopter’s first certified aircraft for commercial services, was featured at the launch, in addition to a crewed test flight of the 2X model. The latter is the only aircraft currently authorised by the French civil aviation authority DGAC for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) test flights in France. Other demonstrations included flight monitoring capabilities and digital operating systems, including Skyports’ vertiport operating system and the VoloIQ.

The Re.Invent Air Mobility testbed (as the facility is named) is currently the most extensive technology-enabled test site for AAM in Europe. The consortium behind it is formed by French airport operator Groupe ADP, Choose Paris Region and RATP Group and is made up of 30 ecosystem partners. It focuses on a range of topics to facilitate the development of the industry, including vehicle department, vertiport infrastructure, airspace integration and public acceptance.

Augustin de Romanet, Groupe ADP Chairman and CEO added: ” In Pontoise-Coremeilles, we are taking a new decisive step in the development of electric air mobility. The passenger terminal marks the final stage in the development of the Pontoise testbed, and the completion of a volocopter flight fully integrated into the airfield’s airspace is the epitome of a year of very ambitious test campaigns. We are now looking ahead to 2024: the development of all use cases, including health and logistics. ”

Volocopter’s CEO, Dirk Hoke, also attended the opening where he described the testbed as a “stellar example of ecosystem partners collaborating to accelerate the realisation of UAM. We can test processes, integrate new and old systems, and simulate different operational scenarios to create trust and positive awareness of all stakeholders. Together we will succeed in providing an additional emission-free transport option for the public. Every test is one step closer to commercialisation in time for 2024.”

Make sure you’re subscribed to Regional Gateway magazine to read our exclusive interview with Duncan Walker in the December issue.