Long Beach Airport unveils new ticketing lobby and baggage inspection facility

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Situated in California, Long Beach Airport has unveiled its new ticketing lobby and checked baggage inspection system (CBIS). The two projects are part of a wider $110m Terminal Area Improvement Programme to make strategic pre-security enhancements at the regional hub.

Mayor Robert Garcia explained that the new facilities will provide an even better experience for passengers. “These two projects reflect a $52m investment in our airport’s infrastructure, funded from airport revenue and federal grant funding.”

Designed by Corgan and constructed by Swinerton, the ticketing lobby, which officially opened on 4 May, complements the adjacent historic terminal and builds on the airport’s status as a first-class gateway to Southern California. Features of the 16,700-sq.ft facility include common use ticket counters and self-service kiosks, non-porous, anti-microbial surfaces, ample space for improved passenger circulation, improved baggage checking and optimised energy performance, LED lighting and reduced indoor and outdoor water usage.

Meanwhile, the state-of-the-art CBIS facility, which is connected to the ticketing lobby, allows the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) to more efficiently screen checked baggage. It replaces what was originally designed to be an interim facility after 9/11.

These two latest projects are the first two components of Phase II of the Terminal Area Improvement Programme. A baggage claim facility is currently under construction and is expected to be complete before the end of 2022. Phase I of the Terminal Improvement Programme was completed in 2012 and included a passenger concourse featuring modern design, local eateries and an innovative outdoor design with a spacious post-security garden.

Commenting on the latest development projects for the nearly 100-year-old air transport hub, Airport Director, Cynthia Guidry said:”I am honoured to now contribute significant modernisation projects to the airport’s rich aviation history. This renews the passenger experience and positions Long Beach Airport for the future.”

The airport’s historic terminal building is also due to undergo major renovations.

Charlotte Douglas unveils latest phase of Concourse E expansion

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Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina has unveiled its 34,000 sq. ft Concourse E Expansion. The $50m construction project adds one gate to the north end of the concourse and relocates nine existing gates to the new space for operational efficiency and to prepare for jet bridges.

Concourse E is the airport’s busiest concourse serving more than 300 daily arrivals and departures and houses regional jets operated by American Airlines affiliates.

While work is ongoing on the expansion’s four new concessions that will open throughout the course of the year new amenities  in the newly expanded facility include a pet relief area, mother’s room, restrooms with touchless fixtures, a family restroom, seats with integrated power, LED lighting and new wayfinding signage.

Meanwhile the ceiling is adorned with 29 suspended brown glass sculptures (comprised of 5,000 pieces of blown glass) by local artist, Michael Davis of Durham. Lights illuminating the glass sculptures change colour every four hours.

The expansion project also enables the installation of jet bridges on all Concourse E gates by 2023.  Additional plans for the existing Concourse E include new carpet, terrazzo flooring in the walkways, LED lighting and more seating with integrated power. Renovations are scheduled to begin in late summer and wrap up at the end of 2025.

Charlotte Douglas Airport unveils The Club lounge

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Situated in North Carolina, Charlotte Douglas International Airport has partnered with the airport lounge and travel experience provider, Airport Dimensions, to open a new lounge – The Club CLT. The lounge was developed in partnership with architecture and design firm, Corgan.

The lounge brings a taste of southern hospitality to passengers and has been thoughtfully designed to reflect the best of the character and heritage of the local region. A light-reflecting gold metallic ripple ceiling creates the impression of a sparkling sky while stone flooring with curvilinear gold inlays represents the excitement of the region’s first gold rush in 1799. At the entrance a porch swing evokes a welcoming North Carolina ambiance, while the menu offers a range of local specialities, including mouthwatering favourites such as fried green tomato sliders served with spinach, jack cheese and bacon sriracha aioli and Carolina bowl pulled pork, alongside warm sweet corn bread and juicy fried pickles with a spicy dip. All food is sourced during the peak growing seasons in Charlotte from within a 250-mile radius.

A full-service bar offers a range of premium beverages, including signature cocktail – the CLT Margarita, a variety of locally brewed beers and wines. Passengers can also make the most of the Ready 2 Order platform which will enable them to order food and beverages using a QR code.

In the business area of the lounge, a full-surface sculpture by artists Anne Moran and Robert Brown, consist of various metals that create a unique and abstract luminescent effect. Private work pods will also feature prints from noted landscape photographer Dave Allen, capturing vistas including the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“The Club design aims to showcase Charlotte’s incredible location and provide a haven in the traveller’s journey. We are pleased the design vision was carried out in every detail, from the mountain-scape facade down to the brass inlays at the bar, every facet of the lounge is curated and designed to offer travellers a holistic experience through a series of aesthetics and hospitality moments,” said Ginger Gee DiFurio, VP and Design Director at Corgan.

Facilities available to lounge guests can also make the most of a family room, private showers and a range of seating options with universal plug-and-play outlets present in every seat.

Airport Dimensions plans to continue to growing its lounge network with the The Club SFO at San Francisco Airport , which is also being developed in partnership with Corgan, due to open in 2023.

Speaking on the opening of the new lounge at Charlotte Douglas, Nancy Knipp, President Americas at Airport Dimensions, commented: “This latest launch adds to Airport Dimensions’ growing presence in the US and strengthens our position as the leading lounge operator in the region. This is the first of many lounges that will offer a truly elevated experience, in which the style is bespoke to the location while the quality of digital and physical facilities will delight regular and occasional visitors. The new project will leverage our market-leading expertise in developing unique airport spaces.”

Rolls-Royce and Air bp partner on SAF agreement for engine tests

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Engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce has inked a deal with Air bp for all of aviation fuel supplied for engine testing at the engine manufacturers facilities in Derby and Bristol, UK and Dahlewitz, Germany will be a 10% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) blend. Deliveries will begin this summer with the 10% neat SAF element totalling around three million litres a year.

Derived primarily from waste-based sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oils the SAF supplied by Air bp will be blended with traditional aviation fuel.

As part of the deal Air bp will also provide the fuel for the first run of the Rolls-Royce UltraFan demonstrator engine, which will be carried out entirely on 100% SAF later this year. The largest aero engine in the world, the UltraFan will deliver improved fuel burn efficiency and 100% SAF capability.

“This agreement delivers on a commitment we made that the fuel for testing and development is a 10% Sustainable Aviation Fuel blend by 2023,” said Chris Cholerton, President – Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce.

“We want to encourage the use of SAF throughout the aviation industry and this agreement is an example of the firm commitments fuel producers require to support their continued production investment.

“I will be proud and excited to see the UltraFan on our state-of-the-art testbed running for the first time on 100% SAF, creating a new chapter in engineering excellence and sustainable aviation history.”

Meanwhile, Air bp’s Global Sustainability Director, Andreea Moyes, commented: “We are delighted to be supporting Rolls-Royce to achieve their sustainability goals. As bp transitions to an integrated energy company, we are leveraging our expertise in the sourcing of renewable feedstocks, SAF production, logistics and end customer supply. Our ambition is to be the decarbonisation partner in the aviation industry and we are working at pace to promote SAF availability, accessibility and affordability to support global aviation in realising its low carbon ambitions.”

Recently refurbished Samarkand Airport celebrates opening of terminal

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The operator of the recently expanded and modernised $80 m Samarkand International Airport in Uzbekistan, has officially unveiled the grand opening of the airport’s new terminal.

The public-private partnership (PPP) responsible for the project involves Air Marakanda and state partner Uzbekistan Airports JCS. The construction work was carried out by Uzbekistan EPC company Enter Engineering and was based on architectural design by the Turkish design and engineering company, Kiklop Construction.

Air Marakanda’s Deputy General Director of Operations, Hilmi Yilmaz, said: “I am certain Samarkand International Airport, as one of the region’s most important infrastructure facilities, will stimulate economic growth and business development in the adjacent areas, creating jobs for the local population and benefit society as a whole. An airport is the first thing you see when you arrive in a country and the last thing you see when you leave. Samarkand International Airport will become a ‘visiting card’ of Uzbekistan.”

As a gateway to the historic Silk Road city Samarkand – the airport will now be able to handle triple the number of visitors that it could previously. Independent research conducted by Lufthansa Consulting, has forecast an annual increase in passenger traffic from 480,000 to two million. In addition the number of regular flights will increase from 40 to 120 per week, with a total of 24 new aircraft parking spaces available.

Intentional standard modernisations at the airports include easy access for passengers with limited mobility, 29 check-in desks, eight boarding gates, ten passport control booths, six E-gates for departing passengers and 15 passport control booths for arriving passengers. A total of 3.1km of runway were also added.

Kenneth Kaunda Airport opens Pearl Lounge

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National Aviation Services (NAS) – one of the fastest growing aviation services provider’s in the emerging markets – has opened a Pearl Lounge at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Zambia.

The 588 sq.m. facility includes comfortable seating, food and beverages, free Wi-Fi and a children’s play area. It is part of five-year tender awarded to NAS and NAC2000 in 2021 to build and operate a departure lounge catering to passengers travelling out from Lusaka in the airport’s new terminal, which opened in August last year. The tender is in line with Zambia Airports Corporation Limited’s (ZACL’s) efforts to upgrade its international airports.

Frederick Mwalusaka, Zambian Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Logistics, applauded the joint venture between NAS and NAC200 saying: “This is a good example of local and foreign partnerships that create more quality products and services and employment opportunities in Zambia. It is the hope that such ventures within our new airport are the beginning of a new era for travel from Lusaka.”

Describing the launch as “significant,” Guy Michel Yazbek, Group Director, Lounges & Meet and Assist Services at NAS underlined that with the airport serving as a hub for domestic and international flights “the new lounge is the perfect space for passengers to relax and unwind or catch up on last minute work before they fly.” He also reiterated NAS’ commitment to Zambia and its willingness to expand its participation in the Zambian aviation industry.

The new Pearl Lounge is one of over 50 lounges operated by NAS across its network in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. Its extended portfolio of services includes comprehensive ground handling, cargo management, technology solutions and training among others, currently serving more than 100 airline customers across more than 60 airports.



Albuquerque unveils $85m airport transformation plan

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City officials have unveiled an US$85m renovation project for Albuquerque International Sunport in New Mexico, aimed at upgrading the airport’s safety and security infrastructure and reimagining its food, beverage and retail offerings.

Albuquerque mayor Tim Keller said: “The Sunport is the gateway to our city and our state and a renovation of this magnitude to the infrastructure of the building and the area where travellers spend most of their time is long overdue. With this project, we are continuing to drive forward and improve the safety and ease of the traveller experience from the kerb to the gate.”

The renovation project comprises three main components: relocating the TSA screening checkpoint; modernising the Sunport’s fire suppression, HVAC, plumbing, mechanical and electrical infrastructure; and re-imagining the airport’s food, beverage and retail opportunities.

The first phase will focus on relocating the TSA screening checkpoint north towards the escalators, designing for greater efficiency for passengers and TSA agents. The second phase, which will be largely behind the scenes, will involve modernising the airport’s infrastructure will bring these systems up to modern building codes and will also convert lighting throughout the terminal to LED.

“This is a major project that will level-up our Sunport for traveller safety and ease every time they fly,” said CABQ Chief Operations Officer Lawrence Rael. “But most significantly, we are making changes behind the scenes – upgrading safety and building infrastructure to continue our work running a state-of-the-art travel hub for the southwest.”

Meanwhile, the final phase will see the airport’s retail and food and beverage area undergo a revamp with expanded opportunities for both dining and shopping.

“While we are still in the early stages of this project, we’re eager to be working with experts in airport concessions to reimagine our current offerings and explore the possibilities with a new footprint on the third level,” said Richard McCurley, Interim Director of Aviation for the City of Albuquerque. “The iconic culture and sense of place we all love about the Sunport will be top of mind in the design and planning stages, and we will continue our focus on local businesses and brands unique to Albuquerque and New Mexico.”

Originally developed pre-9/11, the Sunport’s current concessions programme has not seen any significant changes or improvements in the last two decades. Moving the TSA checkpoint forward will create a 24% larger post-security footprint, allowing for additional amenities in the area of the terminal where passengers need it most.

Local architecture firm, FBT Architects, has been tasked with conducting surveys and developing initial concepts and designs for the redevelopment. Works are expected to begin in January 2023 and will be funded with revenue generated by the CABQ Department of Aviation and federal funds.

Gerald R Ford Airport’s digital twin to assist with autonomous solutions

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To explore the viability of introducing autonomous solutions to airside operations at Gerald R Ford International Airport, Aurrigo is creating a digital twin of the US airport.

The UK-based developer of autonomous vehicles plans to use its Auto-Sim software to create an airside digital twin of operations at Gerald R Ford International Airport in Michigan. It will replicate the airport’s busiest periods, which could include 112 aircraft movements, requiring upwards of 1,000 individual activities to be serviced.

Creating a virtual airport twin will help Aurrigo identify cost savings, enhance customer experience and achieve a host of environmental improvements, as well as lay the foundations for how the airport could implement autonomous operations in the future.

The initiative is part of the Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship (FLITE), which provides pilot-testing opportunities to companies bringing emerging air travel solutions to market.

A PlanetM Testing Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will enable Aurrigo to build a model of airside operations, covering roadways, intersections, stands and all operational vehicle types and movements.

David Keene, CEO of Aurrigo, said: “The world’s airports are all facing the same challenge of providing greater levels of customer service with the most cost-effective use of resources and minimal environmental impact. It’s a careful balancing act and one brought into even sharper focus with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Auto-Sim will enable Ford International Airport to be the first in the US to complete a real-world feasibility study of a current airport using digital twin technology.”

A team of simulation engineers and project managers based at Aurrigo’s engineering centre in the UK will work with Ford International Airport planning staff to integrate vehicle fleet capacity and flight schedules so they can simulate airside servicing to benchmark current operations and predict future scenarios.

In addition to modelling operations, the Auto-Sim can simulate effects of staff shortages as a result of flight delays, de-icing schedules for departing aircraft and extreme weather conditions.

Keene added that the digital model will allow airport planners to “model the operational processes, financial implications, customer journey experience and environmental impact of implementing new technology without the risk of expensive mistakes.”

Contemporary sleeping pods unveiled at Vienna Airport

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Fabio Rocchetti, Director of Operations of Zzzleepandgo, Julian Jäger, Joint CEO and COO of
ViennaAirport, Albrecht Clary-Aldringen, Managing Director Zzzleepandgo GmbH in Austria,
Filippo Schirmo, COO and Business Developer of Zzzleepandgo. 

Passengers travelling through Austria’s Vienna Airport and in need of a quiet space or a quick nap can now take advantage of rentable sleeping pods (cabins) in Terminal 3.

Italian startup Zzzleepandgo has installed 16 “smart lounges” to offer passengers a peaceful place to work, rest or even stay overnight. Each pod features a place to rest or lie down, electricity, USB ports and free WLAN, as well as a foldable table and shelves for storage. Passengers can also make the most of a multimedia entertainment system to stream films and music as well as to control ventilation, lighting and opaque curtains for privacy.

To book a pod, passengers need to register at their chosen sleeping cabin via a modern touchpad and virtual reception which reads their passport, credit card and, depending on the requirements, their COVID-19 certificate. Once registration is complete the door to the pod is opened. Cabins and cleaned and disinfected after each use. Hire for the pods starts at €9 per hour and €48 for the whole night.

Julian Jäger, Vienna Airport’s Joint CEO and COO, said: “Effective immediately, we are offering all passengers a new, convenient service in the terminal. Passengers who stay at the airport for a longer period of time can now bridge the waiting period in a relaxed and peaceful manner in the modern sleeping cabins developed by Zzzleepandgo. The number of travellers at Vienna Airport will also increase substantially when the summer flight schedule takes effect and we look forward to the time when more passengers are convinced of the advantages of the Zzzleepandgo offering.”

Founded in 2015, Zzzleepandgo is an Italian brand that started life as a university student’s project. The company designs, produces and administers high-tech sleeping cabins for facilities including airports.

In 2022 Zzzleepandgo plans to operate facilities at 16 different airports in nine different countries, including Milan-Malpensa, Venice, Verona, Warsaw and Rio de Janeiro-Galeao as well as Vienna.

Maldives Airports Company unveils first phase of VIP terminal at Velana Airport

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Lounge operations have commenced at Velana International Airport’s new Maamahi Executive Lounge, following the completion of phase one of the VIP terminal building.

The four-storey VIP terminal facility is being developed as a two-phase project with world-renowned architect, Yuji Yamazaki. Designed to deliver a luxurious experience encapsulating the spirit and style of the Maldives, the interior design was overseen by AECOM while Beijing Urban Construction Group was tasked with construction.

Phase one of the VIP terminal is housed on the ground floor and is dedicated to VVIP services. It is approximately 3,200 sq m and once the total project is complete it will provide 6,800 sq m of space.

The second phase of the project will see two more floors being developed with construction work due to start in early 2022. Services on these two floors will be dedicated to VIP customers.