The University of Illinois-Willard Airport in the US has unveiled its state-of-the-art US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility, which was funded and completed by the airport’s full-service FBO, Flightstar Corporation. The new facility is capable of clearing private aircraft, crew and passengers arriving directly from international departure points.
“We are very excited for the completion and opening of the CBP general aviation facility,” said Tim Bannon, Willard Airport Executive Director. Prior to the opening of the new facility all private aircraft arriving from international departure points were required to first stop at other ports of entry before arriving in Willard.
“The addition of CBP services will be an asset to both the airport and our community,” Bannon continued. “This is the first time private aircraft travelling from international locations will be able to land directly at Willard Airport to complete international arrival border formalities.”
Crediting the airport’s strong partnership with Flightstar, Bannon underlined that the FBO had fully funded the construction of the facility and will pay for ongoing operational costs associated with the CBP operations at Willard. The CBP facility will be staffed from 9am to 5pm from Monday through Friday. Outside these hours, services will be provided based upon CBP officer availability.
SEA Prime, which manages business and general aviation infrastructure at both Linate and Malpensa airports through its brand Milano Prime, has collaborated with the San Donato Group to offer COVID-19 tests at both its Milano Prime facilities.
The San Donato Group is an Italian hospital group that will oversee the testing process. The nose-pharyngeal swab tests can be carried out at facilities located at both Milano Prime’s terminals at Linate and Malpensa. Alternatively passengers can opt to have the swab performed at their own address or at the San Donato Group’s own outpatient centres – Punti Raf First Clinic of San Raffaele and Palazzo della Salute GSD.
The new dedicated service confirms SEA Prime’s commitment to the wellbeing and safety of their customers and staff. In addition to offering international arrivals an additional channel to meet mandatory testing requirements it also provides benefits for departing passengers in terms of health and safety.
Jota Aviation is opening an operational base at London Biggin Hill Airport. The specialist charter and cargo carrier is currently based at London Southend Airport.
Commenting on the move, Andy Green Jota Aviation’s CEO said: “With its proximity to the capital, London Biggin Hill is the ideal location from which to continue the growth in our operation. This is a very positive move for us, and we look forward to offering all our customers the quick reaction dispatches we are known for. I am excited to soon be providing outbound and inbound flights from our new base.”
Robert Walters, London Biggin Hill’s Commercial Director, added that, “As the only dedicated business aviation airport in the capital to remain open for essential flights throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been able to provide a secure commercial and operating environment for the Jota Aviation team, and we look forward to witnessing the company’s continued success.”
Header image: Left to Right – Andy Green, CEO Jota Aviation and Robert Walters, Commercial Director at London Biggin Hill Airport.
It’s been a week that’s seen yet more fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic with British Airways’ boss Alex Cruz stepping down and Singapore’s Transport Minister stating that the country’s aviation sector can no longer wait around for a vaccine. However, there has at least been some good news for regional hubs serving general and business aviation…
In China, Nanchang Changbei International Airport has welcomed an agreement between Sino Jet – Asia’s largest and fastest growing business jet operator – and Jiangxi Airport VIP Service Company to build and manage the first FBO facility at the airport. The investment forms part of Sino Jet’s expansion into mainland China ahead of an expected 20% year-on-year increase in business jet use in Jiangxi Province over the next three years.
“Despite the strong demand for business aviation in Nanchang, growth is slowed by a lack of facilities when compared with other regional airports. Sino Jet’s investment stems from our confidence in the growth potential of Jiangxi Province as part of China’s growing business aviation ecosystem,” said a spokesperson for Sino Jet. The jet operator believes that with the appropriate investment, Nanchang can become a regional hub for business aviation in south-west China.
Despite current global economic challenges, China’s business aviation sector is the most likely global market to achieve growth in the next six years according to the ‘Review of China’s Aviation Industry Development and Market Outlook Forecast Report.’
It’s not just in China that regional airports have had cause for celebration either. In the US, Flying Cloud Airport in Minneapolis has welcomed the opening of Jet Linx’s newest private terminal – the 19th such facility for the aircraft management and Jet Card membership company.
Explaining that this latest opening represents another step in the company’s strategic growth and national expansion plan, Jet Linx President and CEO, Jamie Walker, said: “With the growing demand for personalised private aviation services, it is a pleasure to introduce our unique business model to the region.”
And back across the pond in the UK, London Oxford Airport has welcomed the expansion of Synergy Aviation’s services. The independently owned UK charter and aircraft management company has positioned a Cessna Citation CJ2 (G-JNRE) at the London hub, supported by a full-time, locally based crew. Synergy already has a Citation Bravo 550 based at Oxford and an additional G-JNRE that is looked after by JMI International, the Citation MRO specialist based at the airport.
“We are delighted with the services we receive from London Oxford Airport – in support of our busy charter operation and for regular maintenance inputs via JMI,” said Synergy Owner and Chairman, Glen Heavens.
With COVID-19 here for the foreseeable future, Heavens notes that with Synergy now operating from four London bases, it has seen a notable increase in enquiries for its services. “We have responded by adding additional flight crew and increased our AOC coverage to operate a wider number of aircraft, including heavier business jets.”
James Dillon-Godfray, Head of Business Development at London Oxford Airport, added: “Since the onset of the pandemic, the demand for private travel is unquestionably on the up with the assurances of bare minimal contact possible when utilising such jets.”
It’s certainly good to hear some positive news for a change!
Robert Sinclair, London City Airport’s CEO has urged the new Global Travel Taskforce to move quickly to get business air travel back up and flying again. He said that he hoped the group would “acknowledge the fundamental importance of business air travel to the economic recovery prospects of the UK and other sectors such as hospitality and leisure.”
Prior to the pandemic data shows that the UK’s domestic aviation sector contributed £15 billion to the UK economy. New polling shows that demand for air travel among UK business leaders continues to be widespread. A new report by WPI strategy reveals the majority of UK business leaders see air travel as key to their future economic prospects and would return to the skies if quarantine measures were eased.
With 515 business leaders the report revealed that 88% of business leaders with more than 250 employees believe air travel is important to the future success of their business. Meanwhile 48% thought the government’s travel and quarantine restrictions were the single biggest barrier to business air travel, while 76% believe that airport testing would increase confidence when travelling.
“The UK aviation industry is the third largest in the world and a global success story,” said Sinclair. “But it is not just an industry itself, it also acts as an enabler of other industries such as trade, tourism, hospitality, imports, exports and conferences. We know that the demand for air travel is there, but restrictive quarantine measures are currently holding business leaders back from flying, and the UK economy from beginning its recovery.”
He added that he hoped the Global Travel Taskforce moves quickly to introduce a roadmap for aviation which sets out how a testing regime can be implemented quickly. “Doing so could deliver a much-needed shot in the arm for business air travel, boosting economic growth across every region and every sector.”
Warner Rootliep, Managing Director of KLM Cityhopper echoed Sinclair’s comments saying: “KLM has a long standing commitment to serve the UK regions. We have rebuilt our regional presence in the UK over the last few months, reopening all routes. Connecting the UK regions to the world through our hub in AMS is of vital importance to the regional economy of these communities, especially in these challenging times… We hope the Taskforce will be able to define a roadmap that will allow us to eliminate the quarantine measures and reinstall travel confidence so that we can continue to rebuild our regional frequencies that is so vital for the regional economy.”
World Fuel Services is expanding its network of supplied locations with the addition of Fly Jet Center and Beach Aviation Services at Myrtle Beach Airport, Grand Strand Airport and Conway-Horry County Airport and Huron Regional Airport.
All three of Beach Aviation Services locations (Myrtle Beach, Grand Strand and Conway-Horry County) are situated close to South Carolina’s beautiful stretch of coastline, known as the Grand Strand. While Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand offer complete aircraft services with NATA-certified staff, Conway-Horry is the smaller of the three regional hubs and offers a complete line of aircraft services with NATA-certified staff.
“From our modern facilities to our dedicate team members, customers can expect a world-class experience when travelling through Beach Aviation Services. We look forward to our new relationship with World Fuel Services and the continued success of MYR and CRE as the premier general aviation gateway to coastal South Carolina,” said Scott Van Moppes, AAE Director of Airports, Beach Aviation Services.
Fly Jet Center’s Huron location in South Dakota meanwhile is a great destination for quick turn arounds. In addition to refuelling services Fly Jet Center offers pilot services, rental cars, catering, a heated hangar, ground handling and a private jet charter service.
Commenting that, “Air travel has become ever more utilised as a primary means of transport, bringing business, people and ideas to other’s doorsteps,” Matt Holtzen, Fly Jet Center’s President added that the agreement with World Fuel Services will “ensure our continued success.”
Meanwhile, Steve Drzymall, Senior VP for Business Aviation Bulk Fuel, World Fuel Services stated: “These new locations will provide our flight department customers and cardholders with exceptional facilities and customer service for anyone travelling to these regions.
Addis Ababa-based flight support, charter and aviation consultancy, Krimson Aviation, has marked its fifth year of operations by celebrating one of its busiest weeks since opening.
“My team is at the forefront of East African aviation and works continuously to meet and exceed customer expectations,” said Dawit Lemma, Founder and CEO of Krimson Aviation. He was commenting on how the company is now looking to further enhance the business aviation offering in Ethiopia.
“For the next five years our aim is to support the improvement of infrastructure at Addis Ababa Bole Airport, and we plan to advocate for, and get involved in, development of a first rate FBO and MRO facility at the airport.” In addition to Ethiopia the business now operates in ten African countries, including South Sudan, Djibouti and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). And in recognition of the company’s ability to offer consistent services to international standards, in 2018 Krimson was granted one of only five Ethiopian CAA aviation licenses.
“As home to the African Union and hosts to an increasing number of international investors and tourists we are perfectly positioned to maximise the opportunities presented by business aviation in the region,” continued Lemma.
Despite the pandemic Lemma also enthused that he can see great potential going forward. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Krimson had already established itself as experts at handling medevac flights. Lemma and his team collaborated with local regulators to modify protocols to streamline the process of handling such flights, which became invaluable during the height of the pandemic as Addis Ababa was a hub for medevac and repatriation flights.
Tamarack Aerospace has expanded operations at its Sandpoint Idaho Airport facility in the US. The company has tripled its existing office space in addition to acquiring a third hangar in their facility complex and is currently recruiting for sales and engineering positions.
Specialists in active winglet technology Tamarack Aerospace’s recent expansion is part of a larger plan to accommodate continued growth.
“We’re in a hiring phase now and as we close out 2020, we expect to add even more to the team as our sales numbers continue to steadily grow and new projects come online late this year and early next year,” said Tamarack President, Jacob Klinginsmith.
The Idaho facility expansion follows the recently announced Tamarack European Installation Centre at the Jet Maintenance International facility at London Oxford Airport, which opened for operations in July.
“We’ve been focused on rebuilding our team this year, which is the core of our business, along with our outstanding customer community,” added Tamarack Founder and CEO, Nick Guida. “Now we’ve reached a point where we are outgrowing our space, so the added offices and hangar allows us to keep growing.”
The Transport Security Administration (TSA) has granted Waltzing Matilda Aviation (WMA) approval to operate its on-demand jet charter services into Washington DC’s Ronald Reagan Airport.
The move means significant improvement to convenience for WMA’s clients to the DC area, with the ability for future clients to avoid having to arrive at Dulles Airport. WMA believes this select accessibility will lead to a further uptick in its business to the DC area, which is deemed a major destination for Boston-based business travellers.
WMA has also announced it saw a record level of flight activity in July 2020 as it continues to rebound from COVID-19. CEO, John Thomas, said: “Our July charter revenues were over three times the level of July 2019, which has further cemented our position as the largest light to mid-sized aircraft jet charter operator based at Bedford. This increase has been partially fuelled by a strong resurgence in business-related travel.”
Atlantic Aviation at New Castle Airport in Delaware, US has received a delivery of 7,300 gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from Avfuel Corporation.
Following a number of demonstrations with FBOs, airports, OEMs and charter companies the delivery on 9 September marked the fuel supplier’s first such delivery for a corporate flight department.
Commenting on how Avfuel is excited to be expanding its portfolio, Avfuel’s VP of contract fuel, Jonathan Boyle said: “It’s indicative of the continued interest we’re seeing in sustainability measures throughout business aviation. We are appreciative of the Atlantic Aviation team and our loyal customer for their collaboration in this important demonstration. Avfuel is proud to partner with these operations as a step toward making sustainable aviation fuel more attainable.”
To tackle the greatest hurdle to SAF’s wider adoption – availability – Avfuel is raising awareness of the fuel with the hope of inspiring commitments to further encourage production. The company has a team working to source, test, blend and ship SAF for special offtake demonstrations and events for the business aviation community.