Sheltair celebrates hangar expansion programme

By Airports, Business Aviation, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Sheltair Aviation has marked a milestone in the development of a 30,000 sq. ft. hangar at Savannah/ Hilton Head International Airport.

Equipped with 28-ft tall doors, the large cabin class-size hangar expansion has been designed to accommodate the latest generation of aircraft, such as the Gulfstream G650 and Global 7000. The $5.5 million project is anticipated to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022 and will support both based aircraft and transient operators in Savannah/ Hilton Head Airport.

Commenting on the new facility, Todd Anderson, COO of Sheltair said: “We are focused on investing in new facilities to better serve the general aviation industry across our network… This hangar expansion will allow us to accommodate Savannah’s growing business sector while actively participating in the long-term economic development of the airport and the community.”

The multi-million-dollar investment will enhance Sheltair SAV’s award-winning FBO services while fulfilling the growing need for additional aircraft storage in the area. The facility’s tenants and guests will enjoy Sheltair Savannah’s premium services, while Sheltair’s FBO base also offers guests access to a state-of-the-art terminal building, US customs, executive board rooms and easy access to downtown Savannah.

“We greatly appreciate Sheltair’s decision to once again invest millions of more dollars in aviation development here at our airport,” said Greg Kelly, Executive Director of the Savannah Airport Commission. “We are fortunate to have a great partnership with them as they are one of the top FBOs in the country. We look forward to continued success and growth with Sheltair in the years to come.”

Modern Aviation to acquire three Sacramento FBOs

By Airports, Business Aviation, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Modern Aviation has agreed to acquire Superior Aviation Company’s (SACjet) three Sacramento FBO operations from Sacramento International  Jet Center Incorporated at Sacramento International Airport, Mather Jet Center at Mather Airport and Patterson Aviation Company at Sacramento Executive Airport.

“We founded Modern Aviation to develop a national network of FBOs,” commented Modern Aviation’s CEO, Mark Carmen, commenting on the agreement. “The opportunity to acquire SACjet’s three Sacramento FBOs and build upon their well-deserved reputation for client service is another important milestone in executing our strategy. SACjet has a world class staff of professionals at these airports where customers receive world class service every day. Modern intends to hire all of SACjet’s current operational employees. One of the benefits of our consolidation strategy is that it creates more career growth opportunities for our team members and more touchpoints for our customers.”

Since their first acquisition in 2018, Modern has grown to nine locations, including two locations in New York pending airport approval. The three new additions in Sacramento will bring Modern to 12 locations.

Noting that Sacramento is a highly attractive and growing private aviation market, Carmen remarked that these new FBOs “provide world class service to a wide range of customers, including general aviation, business aviation, sports team and other VIP charters, military, cargo and commercial airlines. Similar to our other locations, we look forward to developing a strong relationship with the Sacramento County Airport System.”

Modern expects the purchase agreement to close in, if not before, Q3, 2022 following the review and approval of appropriate government agencies.

Farnborough Airport collaborates with yacht brokerage company to boost luxe yachting lifestyle

By Airports, Business Aviation, Featured, NewsNo Comments

London’s dedicated business aviation hub, Farnborough Airport, has teamed up with the yacht brokerage company, Edmiston, to create a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the largest ever air-side advertisement on the airport’s radar tower, as part of a new fully immersive guest experience.

Passengers using the airport will find the award-winning terminal’s welcome wall and customer service vehicles featuring Edmiston’s iconic red branding, a newly designed Edmiston Lounge, and in July, the terminal’s 18m high air-side radar tower will also showcase the yacht company’s branding.

The Edmiston Lounge features a fully bespoke design, decked out with luxurious fabrics and furniture paired with Edmiston photography, a travel library, works of art and yacht models. In July, Edmiston’s creative branding placement will wrap two sides of the airport’s radar tower. The banner scales 18m high and 18m wide, making it the largest ever air-side advertisement in a UK airport.

“We believe there is great brand synergy between Edmiston and Farnborough Airport in offering exceptional service and an unrivalled private travel experience,” said Simon Geere, CEO of Farnbourh Airport. “We are delighted to launch our collaboration with Edmiston, and we look forward to welcoming clients travelling through our airport as they await their departure.”

Meanwhile, Jamie Edmiston, CEO of Edmiston said: “Guests travelling through Farnborough Airport can now experience a slice of the Edmiston lifestyle whilst waiting for their flight. We will offer them the greatest service and comfort when using the jet terminal, much as they would receive on one of our yachts, providing a completely seamless service from sky to sea.”

The creative branding sees two high-end luxe travel brands coming together to offer guests an immersive experience by adding extra touch points throughout the customer journey.

Gloucestershire Airport’s flagship commercial development nears completion

By Airports, Business Aviation, Featured, NewsNo Comments

UK-based Gloucestershire Airport’s flagship commercial development, CGX Connect, has reached a critical delivery milestone with access to the site now complete and the ability to proceed with future development unlocked.

Once complete the development will provide around 30,000 sq.m. of flexible floor space in  a prime location for businesses operating in the logistics and industry sectors, while also potentially creating up to 1,500 employment opportunities. £1.885 in Growth Deal funding was supplied by GFirst LEP to support the infrastructural work needed to deliver CGX Connect.

Karen Taylor, Managing Director for Gloucestershire Airport commented: “These are exciting times for Gloucestershire Airport and CGX Connect. We’ve already seen strong interest in CGX Connect from businesses in Gloucestershire and the West Country, as well as those with national operations.

“Now that there’s vehicular access to the site, we expect things to move quickly. Before now no one could access the site to build. This access road will unlock future development and brings us one step closer to realising a landmark development with the potential to unlock so much growth for the region.”

She added, that these are transformational times for the airport. “CGX Connect, along with ongoing work to upgrade the airport’s runways, will elevate the quality and status of the airport as a ‘gateway for growth’ for the many significant developments being brought forward across the region.”

Alongside CGX Connect, work to upgrade the airport’s runways is well underway  and due to complete this summer. The airport’s crosswind runway has already reopened. Work is currently ongoing to resurface the main runway, install new lighting, upgrade signage and drainage, and install below ground infrastructure.

Schaumburg Regional Airport’s revv aviation joins Avfuel’s network

By Airports, Business Aviation, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Having assumed operation of the FBO at Schaumburg Regional Airport in Illinois, revv aviation has now also joined the Avfuel-branded network.

The addition of Schaumburg brings revv aviation’s Avfuel-branded locations to six, joining Chicago/ Aurora (also in Illlinois), Janesville in Wisconsin and three Iowa locations: Council Bluffs, Davenport and Muscatine.

Commenting on the addition of the FBO to its network, Avfuel’s Senior Vice President of Sales, Joel Hirst, said: “The Schaumburg airfield serves a burgeoning area and its addition to the Avfuel network will provide premier service options for Avfuel’s flight department customers.

Comprising 13,052 sq. ft, the Schaumburg facility offers a passenger terminal, an executive conference room and hangar space able to accommodate up to medium-sized aircraft, like a Citation Ultra.

Noting that the airfield is currently under-utilised, Guy Lieser, CEO of revv aviation said: “Schaumburg is the closest northern airport to the city of Chicago and its three-million people. We see tremendous opportunity to serve both the local community and Chicago’s business centre.”

revv aviation was chosen by the village of Schaumburg (formerly Carver Aero) to take over operations after the previous operator left the facility. “Our goal is to work with the village regarding additional hangar construction, as well as increasing our flight school, charter services and maintenance operations.”

In keeping with its foundational business strategy, revv aviation continues to expand its Midwest FbO footrpint, connecting small towns and providing a full offering of aviation services for student pilots, business and private aviation travellers and aviators.

Kongsberg to modernise Concord-Padgett Regional Airport’s air traffic control system

By Airports, ATM, Business Aviation, Featured, NewsNo Comments

The City of Concord in North Carolina has teamed up with Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, a global provider of high-technology and mission-critical systems, to agree a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to enable the installation and eventual certification of the Kongsberg Remote Tower System at the airport.

Acknowledging the importance of addressing rising costs for its bricks and mortar tower, Concord Airport Director, Dirk Vanderleest, said: “It’s important to identify innovative means to meet our changing airport operating environment. Remote Towers have been designed to enable more efficient, cost-effective air traffic management which is welcomed news for our airport and many others across the country. We look forward to working together with Kongsberg, the FAA and our ATCs on this exciting project.”

Kongsberg Remote Towers will replace the traditional airport air traffic control towers with a virtual or remote tower and are operated by controllers from a remote tower control centre, which may be located at the airport or at an alternative site.

Providing secure, high fidelity video presentations from a camera sensor, the installation and evaluation of the Kongsberg Remote Tower moves the airport and the US a step closer to enabling remote towers and their built-in smart technical capabilities.

Kongsberg’s 360-degree camera sensor will be used to replace the information controllers presently gather by looking out the tower cab windows. The remote tower system also provides added capabilities that will increase the controllers’ areas of visibility and enhance it with infrared capabilities, increasing aviation safety – all in support of the remote tower technology being evaluated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“Kongsberg Remote Tower system is operational in Europe, and we are proud to bring this ground-breaking technology to Concord-Padgett Regional Airport,” said Kjetil Reiten Myhra, Executive Vice President, Integrated Defence Systems, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. “Kongsberg will be working closely with the local air traffic controllers to customise and adapt the system to support FAA Remote Tower Type Certification. We look forward to providing US airports with viable alternatives to traditional air traffic control towers and controllers with modern technology to perform their safety-critical services.”

Eirik Tord Jensen, President of Kongsberg Defense Systems, USA, added: “The fact that we have entered into a formal, long-term agreement with the City of Concord shows the progress and commitment being made between the parties and Remote Tower technology. Remote Tower technology represents a cost-effective solution for the future of air traffic management. Now the team moves on to the next major milestone of making the Kongsberg Remote Tower an operational installation to begin its FAA Type Certification in 2023.”

 

Shawnee Regional Airport’s KSNL Aero ready to support regional aircraft operators

By Airports, Business Aviation, Featured, NewsNo Comments

With demand for air travel surging across North America, KSNL Aero is expanding its operations by offering maintenance support to regional aircraft operators at its Shawnee Regional Airport facility in Oklahoma. The Shawnee-based aviation company, which provides a range of maintenance support, tooling and spare parts for a variety of turbine, regional, turboprop and reciprocating engine aircraft is looking for new regional aircraft customers to support.

“We have a loyal customer base that is made up of aircraft owners and operators across North America,” said Darrin Lofton, KSNL Aero President. “Increasing our MRO presence within the regional aircraft market is a natural next step for our maintenance facility – allowing new customers to experience our high level of aircraft maintenance and quality support which our current customers know KSNL Aero for.”

An FAA certified part 145 maintenance and repair station, KSNL offers a 26,000 sq.ft. hangar and services include 100 hour, annual, phase, progressive inspection or maintenance check requirements.

Regional aircraft types play a vital role in the US’ aviation industry with several communities exclusively served by regional aircraft types. Regional aircraft types serve more than 90% of US cities with regular flights and over 70% served only be regional flights.

Volare Aviation opens helicopter facility at Oxford Airport

By Airports, Business Aviation, Featured, NewsNo Comments

London Oxford Airport in the UK has welcomed the unveiling of Volare Aviation’s dedicated helicopter facility. As the only private aviation company to deliver aircraft sales, charter, aircraft management, engineering and refurbishment under one roof, has formally opened a dedicated helicopter maintenance, management and refurbishment facility in one of its hangars.

Up to 12 twin-engine executive helicopters can be worked on simultaneously in the 16,000 sq. ft. space, with the business offering expertise in interior and exterior work on pre-owned Leonardo, Airbus and Sikorsky models – from leather stitching on seats through to paint work.

Volare Aviation Founder and Chairman, Dustin Dryden commented: “Opening this new helicopter facility enables us to deliver one of the most comprehensive services on the market to helicopter owners. From this fully accredited facility, with international approvals including EASA, UK and US FAA, we have the ability to purchase, refurbish, manage and maintain owners’ helicopters all under one roof – from one location.”

With a significant part of London Oxford Airport’s ongoing strategic plan being investment in new hangarage with the addition last year of seven new ICAO/ EASA/ CAA-compliant helipads, Dryden added, “It’s a pleasure  to continue our long-term partnership with London Oxford Airport, now in our ninth year, as we expand our facilities hand-in-hand with the airport’s growth and this pent-up demand for on demand, private aviation.”

Meanwhile, James Dillon-Godfray, Head of Business Development at London Oxford Airport noted that the new helipads have facilitated safer interaction with fixed-wing operations at the airport where interlining between jets and helicopters often takes place to enable 22-minute shuttle runs to and from the London Heliport. “Clients can also benefit from mitigated handling fees if they fly into the airport on a business jet and then take the London Helicopter shuttle,” he concluded.

Frazer-Nash helps UK airports prepare for zero-emission aircraft

By Airports, Business Aviation, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Frazer-Nash Consultancy, a systems, engineering and technology company, has supported the Connected Places Catapult (CPC) with its Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) project, which aims to prepare UK airports for zero emission aircraft.

Funded by the Department for Transport, the project has seen CPC working to better understand the actions needed to prepare UK airport infrastructure to meet the industry’s decarbonisation goals. The project has had a particular focus on new hydrogen and battery-electric aircraft.

Having supported the project for Frazer-Nash, Jack Geldard said: “The current climate crisis and sustainability challenges that the UK aviation and aerospace industry is facing are significant, particularly considering the increasing demand for air traffic and strict emission targets.”

With the decarbonisation of aviation a phased transition, the project has considered the intermediate technologies – for example, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) derived from food or agricultural waste – which it will be necessary to implement now to reach the net-zero targets set out in the UK Government’s industrial strategy.

Geldard added that to address the challenges faced by the industry on its lower carbon journey and to decarbonise the future of mobility a “system of systems” approach will be needed.

Warning that “decarbonisation is highly complex,” he added “No straightforward solution exists. We’re working with CPC to help untangle this complexity for airports, and to give the aviation and aerospace sector a clearer view on the actions necessary to reach zero emissions while managing rising air traffic demands.”

Frazer-Nash has supported CPC by exploring the requirements for introducing hydrogen and electric-powered aircraft into commercial airport infrastructure and general aviation, including identifying the risks and opportunities of adopting zero emission aircraft into airport environments. “We have supported the development of technology roadmaps for the integration of these new systems and their associated infrastructure into existing airport environments.

“The focus of the study was hydrogen and electric (battery) aircraft, although interoperability with kerosene and SAF has also been considered, given the necessary phased transition towards decarbonised, zero emission flight.”

He added: “We’ve looked at a range of use cases, from general aviation airfields to major commercial airports, considering their existing infrastructure and adaptation requirements for new forms of zero emission aircraft. In parallel to working on the ZEFI programme, our engineers are providing systems engineering and assurance support to hydrogen and electric aircraft manufacturers and critical infrastructure organisations, giving us a unique insight into the challenges facing the aerospace and aviation sectors presently.”

With various factors to be considered and developed for the aviation industry to its net-zero targets, the roadmap highlights the different approaches and timelines for hydrogen and electric infrastructure, alongside the expected entry into service dates of zero emission aircraft that need hydrogen fuel or electrical charge.

Header image: The Velis Electro – the world’s first certified electric plane, intended primarily for pilot training.

BBGA 2022: Business aviation feels impact of Russian sanctions

By Airports, Business Aviation, Featured, NewsNo Comments

With Russia ranking 10th globally in terms of business jet activity prior to the invasion on Ukraine, the country’s bizav market had been recovering well in recent months. According to WingX MD, Richard Koe, movements were up 25% (accounting for around 4,000 flight sectors) throughout January and February 2022 compared to the same period in 2019. Koe was speaking during a special briefing held at the British Business & General Aviation Association (BBGA) and hosted by The Emerald Network on 10 March.

Around 12% of all ultra-long-range jets flown globally were connecting with Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine, while European exposure to Russian/ Ukrainian business jet activity was about 7%. Vienna had the largest exposure in Europe to business jet flights from Russia/ Ukraine – (11% in 2021) and London Luton Airport had the largest exposure in the UK.

Until a month ago, the forecast was for solid growth in Russia and the global business aviation sector, however there will be “severe repercussions” as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The first week of March saw a dramatic shift in activity with Russia’s business aviation market plunging and its country connections impacted by banned airspace and operating restrictions.

Koe noted that some 469 business aircraft appear to be connected currently to Russia and Ukraine, of which 50 are known to be Russian owned. Around 25% of these aircraft are on Russia’s register, while others are on the Malta, San Marino and Austrian registers.

Amid the current sanctions, Aoife O’Sullivan, a partner in The Air Law Firm and BBGA Chair, warned of the increased need for careful due diligence and “know your customer (KYC) compliance.” She underlined that while “rigorous KYC has always been a requirement under anti-money laundering legislation, the Russian sanctions regime highlights the need for these processes and procedures and why they are so important.”

One of the concerns for operators and airport officials is how to determine whether an aircraft is Russian owned or not especially when many private jets are flying at short notice. On 8 March a Luxembourg-registered Bombardier Global 6500 jet was impounded at Farnborough Airport in the UK having flown from Teterboro Airport in the US. It was believed to have links to a Russian oligarch and is one of the 50 aircraft WingX had identified as Russian owned.

Luxaviation UK CEO, George Galanopoulos expressed his concern for carrying out due diligence especially when fractional ownership can complicate the assessment as he said determining who owns an aircraft “is incumbent on government… we’re not MI6”. There is also concern he said around reclaiming assets that have been grounded in Russia and maintaining Russian-owned aircraft which have been grounded in the UK and elsewhere. A point that was reiterated by Marwan Khalek, Gama Aviation’s CEO who noted that while there’s a moral argument, there’s not a blanket ban on trading with every Russian citizen.

Khalek also said that while some registries are moving fast to deregister aircraft, that’s not necessarily the right step to take. “It needs to be a systematic process and aircraft need to be maintained.”

The Civil Aviation Authority’s Head of Airline Licensing, David Kendrick, agreed that “things are moving at pace in terms of sanction regimes, however we don’t want to see aircraft being left in bits.” He likened the situation to the yachting sector, where crew are allowed to remain on yachts to ensure maintenance.

The best bet Kendrick said is “to apply caution when applying sanction regulations and seek the necessary legal advice. Make sure you work systematically through your decision to accept or refuse an aircraft. So when the UK Border Force or DfT ask the question, you’re able to give a reasonable answer as to why you made the decision you did.”

In terms of overall bizav operations, Osprey Flight Solutions, Matthew Borie, revealed that the lack of access to Russian airspace will continue to impact on the business aviation market. “It will add 1.5 hours flying time from Europe to Beijing, two hours to Tokyo and polar routes could be up to three hours longer,” he said. Alongside increased fuel and operational costs he said this would also incur additional requirements for crew rest and planning. In addition, he noted that as a large land mass Russia was previously considered a low airspace risk. “Using Russian airspace allowed for shorter flying distance and fuel burn, but also less exposure over conflict zones. Operators need to be more dynamic now in their ability to manage the risks of not flying over Russia.”