Rapiscan’s Orion systems certified for ..

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Having already been certified for use in European airports, Rapiscan Systems’ ORION 920DX, 927DX and 928DX screening systems have now qualified for the US Transport Security Administration (TSA) Air Cargo Screening Technology List (ACSTL) – the official list of certified, approved and qualified technologies that can be used for air cargo screening.

The ORION systems are intended for baggage, parcels and small cargo checkpoints in aviation, transportation and logistics. They offer high-performance scanning and imaging solutions.

Operators are provided with images in Classic 4-colour format, as well as a proprietary Spectrum 4-colour option – tools that enable operators to easily identify baggage and parcels that require additional inspection.

Each system is also capable of Remote Status Monitoring and Remote Archive Review, allowing operators to view real-time or previously-captured images from a secondary workstation, providing an additional layer of image analysis, threat identification and enhanced security.

“We are very excited that TSA has qualified these products,” said Mal Maginnis, President, Rapiscan Systems. “Our teams work extremely hard to create exceptional products which use state-of-the-art technology to provide reliable and effective high-speed screening. We’re very proud that our work meets some of the world’s most rigorous performance standards.”

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority p..

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San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (SDCRAA) has appointed consultancy firm Jacobs to provide design services for its airside programme, as part of the airport’s $3 billion expansion programme to enhance the airfield and replace its ageing Terminal 1.

Since 2005, Jacobs has provided strategic consulting services, leading the development of the the ongoing Airport Development Plan (ADP) and successfully delivering the State Final Environmental Impact Report, and working to finalise the Federal Environmental Assessment for the ADP.

SDCRAA estimates the contract, with a value not-to-exceed $35 million, will span five years with the option for two one-year extensions. It includes the relocation of existing parallel Taxiway B to meet FAA standards, building  a second parallel taxiway to enhance capacity, a new aircraft parking apron to accommodate a future 30 gate Terminal 1 replacement and the capture, storage, treatment and reuse of all storm water on the airport site.

Ron Williams, Jacobs People & Place Solutions Senior Vice President and West Regional Director, commented: “This landmark programme will enhance airfield safety while providing sustainable solutions, including the largest water capture, treatment and reuse system to be installed at an airport in the US.”

Utilising aircraft simulation and modelling techniques to maximise aircraft movement around construction areas, early design efforts will address construction impacts on operations. This will ensure that San Diego Airport can remain open for business while construction work is ongoing.

London Luton Airport supports local community

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As the lockdown in the UK continues, and with almost 70% of its workforce no longer involved in the day to day running of the airport, London Luton Airport has pledged support for its local community.

Although a minimum level of staffing is required to ensure essential operations including repatriation, medical, military and cargo flights can continue, the airport’s passenger traffic is nearing zero. Subsequently some of the airport’s medically trained firefighters will be redeployed with the East of England Ambulance Service to assist them with their duties. Additionally, the airport has also created an online volunteer hub, which aims to provide at least 100 volunteers to 18 local charities and organisations.

The airport’s car park has also been offered as a coronavirus testing site if required and its equipment and facilities have been registered for central government, local authorities and health services to use if needed.

These measures complement support that’s already being offered to the local community by the air transport hub, including donating food items from the airport’s restaurants to local homeless charities.

“The desire from our teams and partners to support those in greatest need during these extraordinary times fills me with admiration for people and the wider airport community,” said Alberto Martin, Luton’s CEO.

Milano Prime implements new health and emerge..

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Responsible for managing business and general aviation infrastructures at Milan’s Linate and Malpensa airports, Milano Prime (part of Italy’s SEA Prime brand), is addressing the current global health emergency by implementing preventive measures and ensuring it can facilitate emergency medical flights and repatriation services when needed.

“SEA Prime’s primary objective in this situation is to safeguard the health of passengers, crew, operators and colleagues who work every day to ensure the operations of Milano Linate Prime and Milano Malpensa Prime,” said Chiara Dorigotti, CEO of SEA Prime.

The Malpensa Prime terminal at Milan Malpensa Airport has so far remained open 24/7 throughout the coronavirus crisis. It has managed several repatriation flights for Italian citizens wanting to return home. It has also helped facilitate emergency medical flights that have been used to transport patients, devices and medical operators.

Linate Prime meanwhile is currently only operational for medical flights and services. Maintenance flights for aircraft based at the airport are also permitted to ensure that fleets remain airworthy.

“In addition to providing staff with anti-contagion protection devices, safety is guaranteed by direct measures and information for both staff and operators, by the installation of sanitizing gel dispensers and by the introduction of protocols for cleaning and sanitizing spaces.”

Overall, since air transport restrictions were introduced, more than 400 movements have been handled at the two airports. While Milano Prime acknowledges this is a drop compared to last year, this can in part be attributed to the existing limitations as a result of COVID-19, but it’s also in line with the trend registered at European level.

The team at Milano Prime also underlines that high safety standards and health protocols will be implemented and guaranteed from the recovery of operations to the reaching of pre-pandemic levels.


Emirates introduces rapid COVID-19 testing at..

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Emirates has become the first airline to conduct on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers departing from Dubai Airport. The initial round of blood tests, which were all conducted by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) on passengers travelling to Tunisia on an Emirates flight on 15 April, were all carried out at the Group check-in area of Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3. The results were available in 10 minutes.

According to Adel Al Redha, Emirates COO, the initial testing process went smoothly thanks fo the support of DHA and Dubai Airport. “We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, this will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers travelling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates. The health and safety of staff and passengers at the airport remain of paramount importance,” said Al Redha.

The Middle Eastern carrier has also adapted its check-in and boarding facilities at the airport to accommodate social distancing. Protective barriers have been installed at each check-in desk and gloves, masks and hand sanitisers are mandatory for all employees at the airport.

In addition, passengers are also required to wear their own masks when at the airport and on board the aircraft and follow social distancing guidelines. All Emirates aircraft will go through enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes in Dubai, after each journey.

Commenting on the successful implementation of rapid COVID-19 testing at the airport for departing passengers, HE Huaid Al Qutami, Director-General, DHA, said: “To tackle COVID-19, we have been proactively working with various governmental organisations and the private health sector and we have implemented all necessary measures from public health protection to provision high-quality health services in line with the latest international guidelines. We believe strongly that the most effective solutions require close partnerships with other public and private sector organisations.”

Editor’s comment: One good deed deserves an..

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As the world continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and adapts to a new kind of normal, it’s been heartwarming to see how those in the global airport community have been rallying to support their colleagues both in and outside the aviation industry. And it’s proof that what goes around comes around.

At the beginning of last year, when the partial shutdown of the federal government in the US led to Transport Security Administration (TSA) employees continuing to work without pay, airport employees and concessionaires worked alongside their local communities to stock food banks and deliver supplies for TSA employees.

Just over a year later and in airports across the US, TSA staff are returning the favour for fellow airport workers who have seen their hours cut or who have been laid off as a result of reduced passenger demand. At Dulles International Airport in Washington TSA employees have established a food pantry (pictured above) to assist employees in the airport community.

“During the furlough we set up a TSA food pantry and the community donated in mass,” said Eric Chin, TSA Assistant Federal Security Director for Screening at Dulles Airport. “The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and vendors at the airport purchased meals for TSA officers during that time. Now we’ve seen hundreds of layoffs taking place in the airport community and we figured we would do what we could to give back and help.”

It’s a similar story at T.F Green Airport in Rhode Island, where TSA officers have chipped in and purchased takeaway pizzas for their fellow airport workers, including wheelchair passenger attendants and environmental service providers, who have seen their hours cut and paychecks reduced.

The TSA officers “discussed giving back to those in the airport community who had helped them during the government shutdown,” explained Christopher Primiano, TSA’s Stakeholder Liaison at Green Airport. “Airline and airport employees have been hit hard by the effects of COVID-19. Passenger loads have plummeted, airlines have drastically cut their flights and no one knows when things may start to return to some form of normalcy.”

The airport’s Supervisory TSA Officer, Joseph Mancieri, added: “It felt good to give back to those who helped us during our difficult time during the furlough. We are all in this together as a family working at Green Airport.”

Meanwhile, on the ‘other side of the pond’ in Sweden, the airport operator Swedavia has responded to the increased need for personal protective equipment (PPE) by donating face masks, protective eyewear and single-use gloves to healthcare facilities across the country. The equipment is all part of a given supply of PPE ordinarily found at Swedavia’s 10 airports. In Belgium, Liege Airport, which has been selected as an official hub in the transportation of critical supplies, has opened a pop-up ground handling facility to assist with increased cargo loads including the shipment of urgent medical equipment to be distributed throughout Europe.

And in the UK, ADS, Airlines UK and AOA have joined forces to support each other in calling on the British government to further co-ordinate actions and take greater steps in supporting the UK’s aviation industry and ensuring its future recovery.

We may be in unprecedented times with airports facing an uncertain future, but the airport community is a close-knit one. So it’s brilliant, albeit unsurprising, to see airports responding to the current challenges not only with solidarity but also with their continued efforts to serve others.

Best wishes, 

Chloë Greenbank, Regional Gateway Editor.

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Liege Airport unveils pop-up handling facilit..

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In yet another example of how airports are responding rapidly to the coronavirus crisis, Liege Airport in Belgium has unveiled a pop-up cargo handling facility that will remain operational until 31 May, 2020.

Designed to increase the airport’s capacity to handle medical supplies for distribution in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe, the pop-up facility is housed in building B24, which is part of an agreement between Liege Airport and Volga/ Air Bridge Cargo (ABC) to lease warehouse spaces in line with ABC’s plans to develop Liege as its European hub.

Originally planned to start in April 2020, ABC’s project has been pushed back to June, which created the opportunity to open a temporary facility. Ground handler, Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), had already been appointed as the designated operator for the Air Bridge Cargo hub and will continue to manage the warehouse. Aeroservices will operate the ramp and charter operators are invited to contact WFS or Liege Airport for ad hoc operations.

The pop-up ground handling initiative is all part of the airport’s overall goal to unite its stakeholders and increase the airport’s capacity to facilitate the transportation of critical medical supplies and equipment, in support of Belgium and the rest of Europe in the fight against COVID-19.

Liege airport has also been selected by the United Nations specialised agencies the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), alongside seven other airports around the world, to serve as a hub in the transportation of critical supplies including masks, gloves and testing kits intended for medical staff.

Swedavia’s airports donate PPE to healt..

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Airports within Swedavia’s portfolio are responding to the increased need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare employees in Sweden by donating equipment including face masks and protective eyewear.

Ordinarily there is a given supply of PPE at Swedavia’s 10 airports. In response to the COVID-19 crisis Swedavia is donating all PPE and other equipment it can spare to healthcare facilities throughout the country. Around 100 multiple-use breathing masks or respirators, 1,000 pairs of protective eyewear and 100,000 single-use gloves are being donated. Other equipment which is being donated includes 100 pairs of retractable bands usually used to separate queues at Stockholm Arlanda Airport and which will now be used within drop-in clinics in Stockholm’s metropolitan area.

Commenting on the current situation and the airport operator’s initiative Marie Wiksborg, Director of Business Support and Security at Swedavia, said: “This is a very difficult time for all of society, when collaboration and cooperation between people, institutions and organisations are more important now than ever. We at Swedavia naturally want to do what we can to contribute, and donating personal protective equipment that can be of greater use right now in Swedish healthcare seems the obvious thing to do.”

Aviation organisations unite to put pressure ..

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As is a familiar scene around the world, airlines in the UK have grounded hundreds of flights and airports are operating at minimal capacity as a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.

Requests for ticket refunds are already outnumbering flight bookings, the tourism industry lies dormant and aircraft manufacturers face significant cashflow issues. The dramatic impacts of the pandemic are likely to be only the start as it is expected that passenger demand will return slowly, once consumers have regained their confidence to travel and restrictions are lifted.

On behalf of the UK’s aviation industry and those working within it, the premier trade organisation for aerospace, defence, security and space sectors (ADS) alongside Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association (AOA) are jointly putting pressure on the government to extend support schemes before companies face difficult decisions affecting their workforces. They argue that other countries, including the US, Australia, France and Norway, are acting decisively, with unprecedented financial support for airports and airlines. If the UK Government doesn’t take clear steps the UK aviation, aerospace and travel sectors are at risk of being left behind in the recovery.

Aviation is frequently described as one of the engines of the UK economy with around 1.6 million jobs and £92 billion in GDP dependent on aviation, aerospace and the tourism sectors. It enables other businesses to reach customers, trade goods and build new relationships.

While ADS, Airlines UK and the AOA welcome the steps taken so far by the UK Government they also highlight that further urgent steps and better coordinated actions are urgently needed to support the industry and subsequently the UK’s future recovery.

Specifically the three organisations are calling on the government to extend the business rate relief measures already taken for retail, leisure and hospitality to include aviation, as the Scottish Government has done. They are also asking to extend the Job Retention Scheme beyond May and allow for more flexibility, enabling UK aviation and aerospace businesses to avoid unwanted redundancies, safeguard our staff’s regulatory compliance and scale up operations in the coming months. They also want to make financial support schemes to all businesses, amend the current caps on lending to boost accessibility and ensure flexibility is built into the support to ensure it can be repaid in line with the sector’s recovery.

Finally, there is a call for the government to work internationally to ensure a coordinated approach is taken to the lifting of travel restrictions and other related measures to boost consumer confidence.

Tucson Airport

Tucson Airport spreads message of goodwill

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Tucson Airport

Tucson Airport in Arizona has issued a statement noting that 2019 marked its 5th busiest year. What’s more, says Danette Bewley, President and CEO of Tucson Airport Authority, “A mere two months ago we were cautiously optimistic we would see continued growth, and possibly serve more than 4 million passengers this year.”

However, she added, “Along with all of you, our landscape changed suddenly.” As a result of the current coronavirus crisis the airport’s passenger numbers have plummeted more than 90% and there are days, Bewley states, the airport has just hundreds instead of thousands of passengers compared with the same day a year ago. This, she adds, “is nearly the same story at airports across the United States and around the globe.”

Despite the drop in demand for air travel, airports continue to be considered essential critical infrastructure, so as with other air transport hubs Tucson remains open and operating. Employees of the Tucson Airport Authority, airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), food and retail concessions, car rental companies, ground transportation providers and other tenants continue to report for work each day to fulfill their respective logistics roles in ensuring safe, secure operations and to assist in the transport of passengers and cargo. Tucson Airport is also home to the headquarters of the 162nd Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard, which the airport is also supporting so it can continue with its training, air defense and homeland security mission.

“The crisis has affected us all in different ways,” Bewley concludes. “It is truly inspiring to see how the Tucson region has come together.”