Hamburg Airport expands retail and services offering

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Following the last 18 months when many of the shops at Hamburg Airport have been closed or operating on reduced opening hours, many of the retailers at the German hub have extended their opening hours again. What’s more there is greater diversity to the shops now available to those travelling through the airport, with the Marc O’Polo concession relocating to a new site and the popular electronics store tech2go soon to open a second store.

“Browsing through various exclusive stores before departure is, quite simply, part of the experience of air travel,” said Lutz Deubel, Head of Centre Mangement at Hamburg Airport, exclaiming his delight that the majority of shops have now reopened. “Once again, a diverse range of souvenirs, fashion and electronics awaits our passengers. Our world of shopping has become even more varied. In recent months we have welcomed four new tenants, with the latest arrival being Hamburg Transfers in Terminal 2. The New Marc O’Polo and tech2go shops, too, boast vivid new looks. Customers now have even more to discover here.”

Located next to the baggage reclaim in Terminal 2, Hamburg Transfers is a private chauffeur service which helps transport passengers between the airport and the city in comfort and style. They can also arrange sightseeing or city tours.

Meanwhile, tech2go offers an extensive range of electronic equipment including headphones, audio books and powerbanks and charging cables. The first store has proved so popular that a second shop is opening soon. Fashion label Marc O’Polo is moving to a larger store and now offers a wider range of clothing, bags and shoes.

Photo credit: Oliver Sorg

Manchester Airport’s MD delivers positive message on road to recovery

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With the last 18 months the toughest the aviation industry has faced in its entire history Manchester Airport’s Managing Director, Karen Smart, has revealed her perspective on the road to recovery underlining that sustainability will be a key theme for the entire industry and that she remains positive about aviation’s future.

“It has been heart-breaking to see our once thriving terminals at a fraction of their capacity, and in some cases mothballed completely.

“It has been equally as heart-breaking to see travel return to something much closer to “normal” across the continent, while we have felt stuck in first gear, despite the success of our vaccination programme and low infection rates in the most popular destinations for our customers.

“Prolonged restrictions on travel have undoubtedly held back our recovery to date, as customers found themselves grappling with confusing guidance or requirements, and the associated cost of testing.

“However, after changes to the Government’s travel restrictions were announced last week, we are feeling a sense of excitement about our airports starting to return to how we knew them before the pandemic.

“Bookings have surged on the back of the simplification of the traffic light system, and again after it was confirmed more destinations would move off the red list and that PCR tests will no longer be required for those returning to the country by the end of the month.

“And our excitement is two-fold, because we have been able to welcome back so many of our colleagues, who have spent time on furlough over the past 18 months or so. Being able to bring them back just at the time we will start to see travel resume in earnest feels extra special.

“For so many families, it must have been hard to decide whether to holiday at home, or just to give up on the idea of a trip away for another year. But, with all the positive developments I have referenced taking place, we are all hopeful we will see a meaningful increase in passenger numbers during the October half-term next week – and that it will be a springboard for bookings to continue to grow during winter and into 2022.

“That is reflected by the confidence we are seeing from our airline partners, as they either return to the airport, start new services from Manchester or increase frequency on existing routes.

“A great example – and a sign of its confidence in the North – is Aer Lingus choosing Manchester as its first transatlantic base in the UK, with flights starting on 20th October to Barbados. I look forward to December when the Irish flag carrier starts further services to Orlando and New York, with the latter being a key trade route for many businesses across the North.

“Other examples include the return of longstanding carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, both of which connect the North with the Far East and beyond. Our Middle Eastern carriers have grown back at a great pace as we recover, offering a range of options to the UAE, Doha and beyond, plus it’s great to have Ethiopian Airlines back ensuring we are connected to Africa.

“By the end of the year we will have a number of direct connections back to the USA. The States is one of our most important markets, with more than 1.6m passengers from our catchment travelling there each year pre-Covid from Manchester Airport. Not only are these links great from a leisure and tourism point of view, but they are also vital as we connect the North to key global powerhouses for trade and investment opportunities.

“I have to say one of the strangest experiences of the past 18 months was the opening of our new Terminal Two extension. It was more than five years in the making, but due to the pandemic the launch was put on hold for more than a year, and it finally opened on July 14th.

“Those of you who followed the story of our transformation programme will be aware we were gearing up to open the new terminal – the product of the largest investment we have made in our history – to much fanfare and, naturally, wanted as many customers as possible to experience it.

“The reality, in this strangest of all years, was far removed from that, with only three flights and a few hundred passengers on the opening day. That, though, did not detract from our sense of pride, or from how momentous an occasion it was for Manchester Airport.

“And, in actual fact, it is really nice to know that when people start to fly through Manchester again after such a tough period, the vast majority will get to sample this great new facility. It has the latest travel technology, offering passengers a great experience the moment they arrive, and feedback so far has been great.

“One thing that has of course been critical as we launched the new terminal – and across our site in general – is Covid-safety. We want customers to be excited to be travelling again, but feeling safe at all times. That is why we were one of the first airports to implement a range of safety measures including enhanced cleaning, mandatory face coverings, Perspex screens and only travelling passengers allowed in the terminal.

“As we emerge from the pandemic and recovery ramps up, sustainability will be a key theme for the entire industry. We’ve led the way in recent years at Manchester and at our other MAG airports, so it will be no different post-Covid. Our Corporate Social Responsibility report is due to be released in the coming weeks and will not only highlight our successes in this arena, but it will detail our commitment to the green agenda for the future.

“Looking ahead as we continue to recover, we can still go further, and so in the New Year we’ll be calling on the government to further simplify the travel system, so that international travel can start to feel as it was before the pandemic.

“It will be at least until 2024 that we see a return to pre-Covid passenger numbers, but we are hoping for many more new routes in the weeks and months ahead, ensuring we continue to connect the North to key global destinations. The next stages of our transformation programme will continue too, with new baggage systems being the next phase.

“Finally, I’d like to thank all our customers and partners for their commitment and understanding during the pandemic and would like to assure them that we have stringent safety measures in place, meaning they can travel with peace of mind wherever they are jetting off to from Manchester Airport.”

NBAA-BACE: Signature Flight Support marks SAF milestone and launches book and claim initiative

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Signature Flight Support has launched its Signature Renew Book & Claim programme at this year’s National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) being held this week in Las Vegas, US.

Similar to Avfuel’s scheme, which was also launched this week at NBAA-BACE, the Signature Renew book and claim programme enables private aircraft operators the flexibility to purchase the carbon reductions created by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) regardless of its physical availability at that same location.

The carbon reduction is made available for bulk purchase similarly to carbon offsets: however the environmental impact represents actual fuel consumed by aircraft.

According to Signature Aviation’s Interim CEO, Tony Lefebvre, “the launch of Signature Renew’s Book & Claim programme further demonstrates Signature’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050. Book & Claim will accelerate the adoption of SAF by providing an alternative mechanism to unlock the carbon reduction benefits of sustainable fuels, resulting in a cleaner environment starting today.”

Signature has also marked another milestone in its SAF journey having cumulatively uplifted more than 4 million gallons of SAF across its network since September 2020. This accounts for a more than 10,000 tonne CO2 reduction that would have otherwise entered the atmosphere.

In addition, Signature has partnered with Airbus to supply SAF to all new-build A320 series aircraft manufactured at its Airbus US Manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama.

NBAA-BACE: IBAC commits to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

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The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and its 15 member associations from across the globe have committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“This is an ambitious goal, but I am optimistic we can get there by working together,” said IBAC Director General Kurt Edwards.

“We as an industry have been successful leaders in new technology to drive fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Now we go to the next level by engaging key stakeholders with a common goal to decarbonise our industry.”

Four key areas had already been identified in the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change in 2009 as key to reaching the industry’s lower carbon goals. These four areas included: modern technology; sustainable aviation fuel (SAF); operational improvements and modernised infrastructure; and market-based measures (MBMs).

A substantial shift will be needed in all four areas to meet the 2050 goal, as well as an acknowledgement that offsets will most likely be necessary.

“With this further commitment, we have set ourselves an even greater challenge. We do have the keys to unlock a pathway forward with all the necessary tools at our disposal, and together with stakeholder collaboration and support we can achieve this important aspirational goal.”

NBAA-BACE: World Fuel Services launches web-based platform to enhance FBO operations

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Global aviation fuel provider World Fuel Services has unveiled its fbo360 at this year’s National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE). The web-based platform is the next generation of FBO software providing FBOs with full 360-degree visibility across their entire operation in real-time on any web-enabled device.

“We listened and learned from the ongoing inputs of more than 100 FBOs who have and continue to participate in the development, usability testing and product design feedback,” said Steve Drzymalla, Senior Vice President, Business Aviation Bulk Fuel Sales, World Fuel Services, commenting on the new platform.

Offering access to instant information and better communication, fbo360 enables customer service representatives and line service managers to see the history of aircraft movement details and therefore a complete view of what’s on the ramp at any time. The platform’s mobile-responsive design helps FBOs to provide a better experience for their customers by allowing the FBO to manage on-the-go and reduce both radio traffic and customer wait times, enabling a faster checkout process.

As well as managing fuel inventory, line service personnel can use the tool to manage tasks, hangar reservations and aircraft inventory. It is 100% paperless and eliminates errors created by manual processes like scanning receipts and inputting tickets in multiple places. Other key features include the ability to manage multiple locations under one account and data transfer with third-party integrations.

“The strength of industry knowledge and the resources invested in developing fbo360 should show the market the commitment that World Fuel has to be an innovator and leader in the FBO software space for years to come,” added Drzymalla.

NBAA-BACE: Avfuel launches book and claim programme and commits to sustainability

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Capping of an exciting 12 months of developments, global aviation fuel supplier Avfuel has made a formal commitment to sustainability during this year’s National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), which is taking place 12-14 October in Las Vegas, US. Its commitment includes a new sustainability mission statement, a book and claim programme to widen the benefits of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) globally and a pledge to offset emissions annually.

According to the fuel supplier it is committed to identifying, developing, providing and advocating for sustainable solutions. It will also promote environmentally responsible operations at its properties and throughout the Avfuel network.

Making SAF more attainable

The fuel supplier’s book and claim programme enables customers to buy a full load delivery of SAF and receive credit for the emissions reductions benefit it provides no matter where they are in relation to where the fuel is delivered.

“We’re thrilled to now make SAF more attainable for our customers worldwide,” said Keith Sawyer, Avfuel’s Manager of alternative fuels. “SAF is the most effective way to reduce a flight’s carbon footprint, and book and claim is the single-most effective way to make SAF attainable for customers no matter where they fly. SAF production is largely isolated to the Western US. Trucking the fuel to the opposite end of the country where a customer may want SAF is not only less efficient and costlier – particularly given the truck driver shortage – but also affects the lifecycle emissions reduction benefit of SAF. Rather than moving the molecules, it makes far more sense to move the accreditation.”

Using Avfuel’s book and claim programme customers can purchase SAF (the claim) no matter where they’re located – paying the premium cost for SAF over jet fuel and, in return, receiving the credit for its use and applying it to their ESG scores. This SAF is taken off the book at an airport where the physical SAF molecules are held and being uplifted by customers who are simply paying for jet fuel and do not get to claim credit toward using SAF in their ESG scores.

To ensure the SAF molecules aren’t double counted the entire system is conducted in a compliant manner. Only the SAF purchaser receives credit for that SAF’s emissions reductions. Sawyer explained that the programme is not unlike carbon offsetting whereby customers can pay to invest in green projects and receive credit toward carbon emissions reductions. “The difference is that emissions are being directly reduced by an operation through the use of SAF, rather than simply offsetting emissions that have already been produced,” he said.

Commitment to carbon offsets

To offset carbon emissions generated from its own activities from 2020 onwards, which includes energy used on Avfuel’s campuses and by company vehicles, as well as the fuel used in corporate aircraft and diesel used in leased refueler truck equipment across its network, Avfuel will purchase carbon credits to offset 8,164 metric tonnes of carbon emissions. The credits will be purchased through Avfuel’s new carbon credit provider, CBL Markets.

“At Avfuel we recognise the responsibility we have – especially as a fuel supplier – to operate with a sustainable mindset,” said Marci Ammerman, Avfuel’s VP of Marketing. “After carefully reviewing the emissions we produce as a company with third-party sustainability consultants, we felt it imperative to do our part in reducing our net carbon footprint. While we’ll continue to analyse how we can reduce our direct emissions as a company, we’re excited to promote a cleaner, brighter future by offsetting the emissions we do generate through the use of carbon credits, which fund green initiatives that wouldn’t otherwise take place.”

George Best Belfast City Airport partners with Danske Bank to open digital hub

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George Best Belfast City Airport has opened a new digital hub, known as the Drop Zone and sponsored by Danske Bank to help passengers stay connected.

Designed by Off the Wall and featuring 16 charging points, the Drop Zone offers passengers the chance to sit down while charging their personal electronic devices and using the airport’s free Wi-Fi.

Commenting on the new Drop Zone, which is located in the airport’s departures lounge, Mark Beattie, Operations Director at George Best Belfast City Airport, said: “Its prime location means that each person travelling out of Belfast City Airport, whether it’s for business or leisure, will be able to avail of the comfortable seating area and charging points.”

Belfast City Airport currently serves 18 destinations across the UK and Europe with its seven regional and blue-chip airline partners, including Aer Lingus, British Airways and KLM. The new facility will help the airport’s passengers keep up with work, access entertainment or simply stay connected during their journey.

“We’re really pleased to see the Danske Drop Zone come to life at George Best Belfast City Airport,” said Shaun McAnee, MD of Corporate & Business Banking at Danske Bank. “It is the latest initiative in our mission to help Northern Ireland grow again and provides an opportunity for anyone travelling for work or leisure to stay connected. As the economy opens up again it is important that we make it as easy as possible for our local business people to do business in other parts of the UK and beyond,” he continued.

Vilnius Airport seeks contractor for construction of new passenger terminal

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Part of the Lithuanian Airport network, Vilnius Airport is looking for a contractor to construct a new module of its passenger departures terminal in the northern part of the airport.

The new building will be of A++ energy class with the airport aiming to ensure the new terminal building is BREEAM Good certified. During construction of the new terminal the airport will need to remain operational as usual using the existing passenger terminal. In addition to the new terminal the reconstruction of the ground accessibility system in front of the airport will be carried out simultaneously. The engineering networks will be renovated, the pavement will be replaced, and a new much more efficient transport scheme will be developed.

The new two-storey departures terminal will sit between he existing departures and the VIP Terminal & Conference centre. The ground floor will feature a passenger check-in area with a self-service zone. There will also be common public spaces, cafes and other commercial areas and airline offices.

Luggage screening and sorting facilities, rooms for engineering systems are being designed in the eastern part of the building, while a passenger security screening area as well as departure and arrival gates for Schengen passengers are planned to be situated on the second floor. The new terminal will be connected to the existing passenger terminal by a spacious walkway, which will ensure comfortable connection between the two terminals. The new facility will also have two new air bridges.

“Already before the pandemic, Vilnius Airport had reached its capacity limits,” said Dainius Ciuplys, Head of Operations and infrastructure at Lithuanian Airports. “This development is very important both for us and the passengers. The new terminal will expand the operational and technological possibilities of the airport, which are related to the direct activities, and will allow to increase the range of non-aviation services. In the longer term, we will be able to easily initiate qualitative changes and introduce new enhancements in the existing terminal,” he continued.

With plans to start work next year, Vilnius Airport plans to select a contractor for the construction of the new terminal by mid-2022 with it going live by the end of 2024. Once complete the total area of all passenger terminals at the Lithuanian gateway will increase by a third. Passenger throughput will double – from 1,200 passengers per hour to 2,400

Bordeaux Airport inaugurates new pier

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As part of Bordeaux Airport’s modernisation plan, which is focused on service quality and environmental transition, its new pier, which was unveiled on 7 October, is the first High Environmental Quality (HEQ) facility at the French hub.

The fully transparent passageway links Hall A in Bordeaux Airport to its new international pier offering 3,000 m.sq. of new building, including 2,000 m.sq. of devoted passenger areas with four lounges offering panoramic views of aircraft taking off on the runway.

The new structure was designed with high-performance systems to ensure a comfortable indoor atmosphere, while boasting a distinctive and imposing façade of special glazing. Combining protection from solar over-heating and noise reduction, it provides a significant proportion of natural light, offset at nightfall or in cloudy weather by automatic variation in the LED lighting system.

The HEQ certification of the pier guarantees environmental and energy efficiency. Its annual energy use is 11% lower than that of an airport complying with the most recent thermal regulation. Regarding water use, it enables an annual saving of 1,000 m. sq. of drinking water, i.e. the equivalent of 200,000 lavatory flushes.

High-performance, environmentally friendly interior furnishings, including paint and suspended ceilings were chosen to emit as few pollutants as possible. Wood furnishings sourced from sustainably managed forests, and the linoleum flooring is composed of 90% fully natural and recyclable materials.

The new pier is one of several projects the airport is undertaking to enhance its service quality and strengthen the management of its environmental impacts. Despite the global health crisis the airport has pursed an active strategy for its environmental management with the goal of becoming a carbon neutral airport by 2030.

Header image: Bordeaux Airport’s new passenger pier ©@SA_ADBM

Iberia Airport Services looks back on a successful summer

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Iberia Airport Services (IAS), has revealed that it recovered nearly 70% of its 2019 activity over the summer.

The airport handling unit which serves more than 100 airlines in 29 Spanish airports, racked up 23 million passengers served over the summer 2021 months. From June through September IAS attended more than 93,000 aircraft and handled some 16.5 million pieces of luggage, which amounted to 70% of the activity registered in the summer of 2019.

The summer also saw impressive recovery of domestic travel, with IAS surp assing its summer-2019 totals in Ibiza, Asturias, Gran Canaria, Santiago de Compostela, Santa Cruz de la palma and Tenerife Norte airports. Around 86% of airlines beginning operations in Spain over the summer months, including World2Fly, Vietnam Airlines, EGO Airways and Lattitud, chose IAS as their handling services provider.

“This summer was the turning point in the recovery of our airport handling business,” said Iberia’s Airport Manager, Jose Luis de Luna. “Now we face the challenge of winning the biggest number of licences, in which we are bringing to bear innovative solutions based on the latest technology, which translates into better customer service, more efficient use of our resources, and a more sustainable footing for our business.”

Worth around €1000 million, Spain’s airport handling licences are awarded every seven years by the country’s national airport authority, AENA.

With the licences due for renewal this year, IAS is preparing its bids with the aim of strengthening its position with innovative solutions that can ensure better services tailored to individual customer needs.

During the pandemic the company acquired eight new electric powered pushback tractors, that are operated by remote control. The ‘greener’ GSE has already been used to move more than 3,000 aircraft at both Madrid and Barcelona airports.