Aviation coalition calls for UK Government to..

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Sustainable Aviation, a UK aviation coalition, has called for the sector to be at the heart of the UK Government’s green recovery plan.

In a letter to the Transport Secretary, the Sustainable Aviation coalition has argued that a joined-up approach to decarbonising aviation will enable the UK to rapidly bounce back from Covid-19.

To achieve this, the coalition has called on the government to capitalise on the UK’s world-leading position on sustaianable aviation fuel (SAF) technology by committing £500 million to support early stage projects. The move follows the news last week that Europe’s first municipal waste-to-jet fuel facility – Altalto Immingham – was granted resolution for planning permission in North East Lincolnshire.

Adam Morton, Chair of Sustainable Aviation, said: “In February this year, the UK aviation committed to net zero emissions by 2050 and laid out a plan to achieve this through investing in cleaner aircraft and engine technology, smarter flight operations, sustainable aviation fuels and high-quality carbon offsets and removals.

“Three months on, these actions all remain essential to delivering sector wide decarbonisation, particularly given the role UK aviation can play as an engine for rebuilding the economy. But to capitalise on these opportunities we need urgent action from government, particularly to support the commercialisation of SAF technology in the UK.”

The coalition is urging government to work with the industry to: Develop aircraft and engine technology R&D capabilities, ensuring the UK is among the first in the world to develop hybrid and electric aircraft. It also wants to see government accelerate airspace modernisation, to make use of new aircraft performance capability and reduce emissions and noise; and to progress robust carbon offset measures and carbon removal technologies.

Cologne Bonn Airport prepares for reopening

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Preparations are underway at Cologne Bonn Airport for the resumption of passenger traffic. In preparation for the gradual return of airline services and to ensure passengers and staff can travel safely through the terminal, numerous measures are already being taken in the airport’s terminals.

‘We’re ready to go, and can’t wait for the terminals to be bustling again,’ said Johan Vanneste, CEO of Flughafen Koln/ Bonn GmbH. “To ensure our passengers feel at ease and reach their destination safely and in good health, we and our partners have taken a number of measures that will minimise the risk of infection at our airport as long as they are upheld.”

It is compulsory to wear a mask upon entering the airport’s terminals, both before and after passing through security. Restaurants and shops within the airport are required to comply with official requirements, such as reducing the number of seats, maintaining physical distance between guests and implement hygiene measures. Stickers on the floor remind passengers to maintain the necessary 1.5m distance, while barrier tape will also ensure more space between travellers. Airline staff and handling agents will sit behind protective screens at check-in counters. Access to the security checkpoint will be limited with passengers passing through one at a time. At present passengers are only allowed to take one piece of hand luggage with them through security. In the waiting areas every second seat will be blocked off to ensure physical distancing is adhered to. However, families and passengers travelling together will be able to sit together.

Posters, videos, flyers and announcements will continue to remind passengers to wash their hands and observe coughing and sneezing etiquette. Disinfectant dispensers had already been set up across the terminal at the start of the crisis, but more are being added. In addition, the airport has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in its terminal buildings, with particular care given to high-touch areas such as self-check-in screens and touchpoints, handrails and luggage trolleys.

He added that while the travel experience at Cologne Bonn Airport will certainly be different to the pre-coronavirus one initially, the airport is “making every effort to ensure our passengers feel relaxed and well taken care of as they start their business trip or long-awaited holiday. We’re also relying on passengers themselves being responsible – everyone has to do their bit in order for our measures to work. Let’s help each other to stay healthy.”

The airport is hoping for traffic to gradually ramp up over the coming weeks and months as airlines begin to resume operations. “Initially, we expect there to be a few additional flights in June, and are cautiously optimistic for the subsequent summer months. We hope traffic will gradually keep increasing,” said Vanneste.

Wizz Air extends services with two new bases ..

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Wizz Air is expanding its operations opening two new bases at Larnaca in Cyprus and Milan Malpensa in Italy from July. The Hungarian low-cost carrier has also announced additional routes from London Luton Airport.

The airline plans to base five Airbus A320 aircraft at Milan Malpensa which will serve 20 new routes includeing Athens, Corfu, Eindhoven, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lisbon, London Luton, Menorca, Marrakesh, Porto, Pristina, Reykjavik – Keflavik, Rhodes, Santorini, Tallinn, Tel Aviv, Tenerife, Thessaloniki, Valencia, Zakynthos.

The carrier has also announced 10 new routes from its new base at Larnaca where it will base two Airbus A32- aircraft. These include: Athens, Billund, Copenhagen, Dortmund, Karlsuhe/ Baden-Baden, Memmingen, Suceava, Thessaloniki, Turku and Wroclaw.

Commenting on the new services from the Cypriot hub  in a statement on Linked in, Andys Frangos, Senior Manager Operations at Larnaca, said: “Great news, coming exactly at the time when the focus is on the post Covid-19 reactivation plan for the airport… Looking forward to welcoming more passengers to our beautiful island.”

Meanwhile a statement from Wizz Air read: “Once a game changer, always a game changer. While legacy airlines are being bailed out by governments all over Europe, we are happy to announced our new bases in Milan Malpensa and Larnaca.”

Swedavia appoints new director for Malmö Air..

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Karin Öhrström has been appointed as the new Airport Director for Malmö Airport by Swedish airport operator, Swedavia. She will assume her new duties on 1 September.

Öhrström holds a Master’s degree in engineering and has been in her current position at energy services provider, E.ON Energilösningar for more than 20 years. She is currently Head of Customer & Sales and brings extensive experience from her previous management positions and duties.

“I am both proud and pleased that we have recruited Karin as the new airport director of Malmö Airport,” said Susanne Norman, director of regional airports at Swedavia. “Her knowledge and experience will be a major addition to the airport and to Swedavia. Our ambition is to continue developing Malmö Airport as an important regional airport that contributes to acess in southern Sweden and to continue driving our climate change work,” Norman continued.

Öhrström will succeed Peter Weinhandl, who has been Malmö’s Airport Director since 2012 and will retire in September this year.

“This is a new and exciting industry for me, one that nevertheless has surprisingly many similarities with the energy sector. Swedavia has an inspiring social remit, a clear customer focus and wants to lead the way in areas that are important to me. This includes regional access and growth as well as the aviation industry’s transformation in the face of climate change, but also gender equality and sustainability. I am really looking forward to taking on my new duties together with all the employees at Malmö Airport,” said 49-year-old Öhrström.

Editor’s comment: The domestic boom

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While most commercial passenger travel has been on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this week has seen the return of domestic services for India’s aviation sector.

Despite the number of new coronavirus cases still rising in India, the resumption of domestic flights is a clear signal that the country is moving to end its lockdown and is bracing for what comes next. To ensure the safety and well-being of passengers and staff, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has issued standard operating procedures to all its airports. These includes the need for passengers to register with the Aarogya Setu app on their phones. The contact tracing app has been developed by the Indian Government to connect essential health services with the people of India in the fight against COVID-19.

In line with India’s return to domestic services, a survey carried out this month found that domestic travel in the US and Canada is also set to boom. More than 14,000 US and Canadian travellers were surveyed in the study conducted by AirportParkingReservations.com.

Some 57% of respondents said that if they were to travel in 2020, it would be domestically in the US and Canada.

“Our customers are telling us that they would like to travel soon,” said Carlos Chilin, General Manger of AirportParkingReservations.com and ParkSleepFly.com. “They’ve indicated that a big factor for their decisions will be the health and safety protocols implemented to make them feel protected. Tourist locations in the US have a big opportunity to capitalise on the pent-up demand that should come as travel increases.”

Of course, the demand for domestic travel is not just limited to air travel. While flights aren’t ruled out of the equation, 43% of respondents also said they were interested in taking a road trip in 2020.

But whatever the mode of transport, it’s perhaps no surprise that as travel restrictions are lifted around the world airports and airlines will see demand leaning towards domestic travel first.

Have a safe weekend,

Chloë Greenbank, Regional Gateway Editor.

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King Aerospace outgrowing hangarage at Ardmor..

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A provider of aircraft services for aircraft including maintenance and avionics King Aerospace is outgrowing its four hangars’ 200,000 sq.ft of space at Ardmore Airport, part of Ardmore Municipal Airport in Oklahoma.

The company is finalising its plans to build a new hangar that will add 90,000 sq. ft.– a 45% increase. The additional footage will accommodate multiple large aircraft and facilities that will support large aircraft interior projects. Construction is expected to take up to 15 months.

Dallas-based King Aerospace has been at the airport since 1993 having been attracted initially by the two runways. The longest at 9,000 ft accommodates commercial airlines and long-range business jets. At 3,500 ft. the other serves turboprop aircraft and light-to-midsize jets.

“We appreciate the city’s ongoing improvements to infrastructure and commitment to help companies like King Aerospace grow,” said King Aerospace’s President, Jarid King. ‘Our city partners are always there for us, helping in ways large and small.”

Located between Dallas Fort Worth Airport and Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma, King Aerospace’s corporate aircraft division supports VVIP aircraft, specialising in the Boeing Business Jet. It also serves as a primary subcontractor for the company’s military/ government aircraft division.

 

Porter Airlines defers resumption of services..

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Although Porter Airlines had initially planned to resume services next month, the Canadian regional carrier which is headquartered at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has deferred its return to service to 29 July.

“We want to see our planes in the sky as soon as possible and are actively working to prepare for our resumption of service,” said Michael Deluce, President and CEO of Porter Airlines. “However, the ongoing uncertainty presented by government travel restrictions, including border closures, is impacting our ability to operate flights,” he continued.

Seasonal summer markets that Porter intended to serve this year are being cancelled as part of this service deferral. Musoka, Ontario and Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, are the two destinations affected.

“We are closely watching developments and know that Porter will be an important part of providing people with travel options as the economy recovers,” Deluce said.

In advance of its return to service, the airline is preparing to introduce new health and safety measures. Details of these initiatives will be announced closer to when flights restart, so that plans are as closely aligned with the latest public health recommendations as possible.

Belfast City operates reduced schedule to Lon..

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In conjunction with Aer Lingus and to facilitate essential travel Belfast City Airport is facilitating a reduced flight schedule to London Heathrow.

In light of the ongoing pandemic, Belfast City has introduced measures throughout the terminal to protect everyone on site. These include perspex screens, additional hand sanitising units and markings to promote social distancing throughout the terminal. Passengers are also being asked to wear ‘face coverings’ when in the terminal and onto their flight.

Southampton and Guernsey airports team up to ..

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Southampton Airport and Guernsey Airport have joined forces along with Channel Island’s based airline Aurigny to ensure a special charter flight carrying medical samples to be tested at Southampton General Hospital was carried out efficiently and safely.

“We are extremely proud to have been providing lifeline flights to the Channel Islands throughout this difficult period,” said Neil Garwood, Managing Director of Southampton Airport. “It has never been more important to enable medical flights than during this pandemic response,” he added.

Southampton General hospital is one of the key medical facilities for the Channel Islands and as such is key in the islands’ response to the pandemic. The flight, which took place on Sunday 24 May, on a Dornier 228NG, was requested by authorities on Guernsey on the Saturday. “Our team pulled out all the stops working with Aurigny and Guernsey Airport to make sure this precious medical cargo reached Southampton in time,” added Garwood.

As a popular year-round air route for passengers arriving from the Channel Islands, Southampton Airport is a key access point to the south of England. Aurigny is currently operating daily services to Southampton from Guernsey for those with a requirement to travel during the Covid-19 pandemic, which includes vital medical appointments.

Header image: the Aurigny Dornier 228NG after landing at Southampton Airport

Indian airlines resume domestic services

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Following a two-month lockdown domestic flights in India have started to resume service.  In a statement on twitter on Monday 25 May, India’s Federal Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri said: “Today we restart domestic flights. India’s civil aviation is always at the forefront.”

Airlines are permitted to resume services on one-third of their approved summer 2020 schedules for domestic routes. Once domestic travel has eased, the issue of international travel can be addressed with the possibility of resuming international flights as early as June.

IndiGo, India’s largest airline is permitted to operate a maximum of 970 flights across 52 destinations. Vistara will be allowed to operate 448 flights across 25 destinations; Air India 340 flights across 37 destinations; and GoAir 178 flights across 19 destinations.

Guidelines have been issued that passengers, airports and airlines must follow including wearing face masks and arriving at the airport at least two hours prior to departure. Although airlines are not required to keep the middle seat vacant aircraft will need to be rigorously disinfected after every flight.

The decision to resume domestic services was not announced until Saturday with some states were reportedly unenthusiastic about opening up their airports in view of rising Covid-19 cases. Around 630 domestic flights on Monday 25 May were cancelled due to limited operations at major airports such as Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad.

According to some reports Kolkata and Bagdogra airports in cyclone-hit West Bengal were not operating any domestic flights between 25-27 May, bu twill handle a limited number of flights each daily from 28 May.

From 26 May Vijayawada and Vizag airports in Andhra Pradesh will handle just 20% of their pre-lockdown flights.

Flights have resumed despite the rate of coronavirus cases escalating in India with the death rate now exceeding 4,000.