Gloucestershire Airport completes runway upgrades

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One of the UK’s busiest general aviation hub’s, Gloucestershire Airport has completed major upgrades to its crosswind and main runways, which involved runway resurfacing, the installation of new runway lighting, upgrades to signs and drainage and new below-ground infrastructure in readiness for a new radar system.

“The successful completion of these upgrades to airside infrastructure heralds the start of a new chapter for Gloucestershire Airport – possibly the single most transformative period in our recent history,” explained Karen Tyalor, the airport’s Managing Director. “Putting the airport firmly at the top end of aviation standards and technology, these vital upgrades elevate the quality and status of the airport and, together with ongoing work to deliver CGX Connect, serve as the catalyst enabling us to actively explore additional revenue streams and realise our long-term strategy for sustainable growth.”

The airport currently contributes around £52 millionn annually to the local economy and plays a key role in supporting significant projects, including cyber development at Golden Valley and Gloucester’s digital campus ‘the Forum’, both of which are now underway.

Funding for the runway refurbishments and improvements was made available by Gloucester City and Cheltenham Borough Councils (the airport’s joint shareholders) in recognition of the airport’s contribution and role in driving economic growth.

“Gloucestershire Airport is a unique and important asset for the country. With these refurbishment works now complete, we have in place the foundations on which to build the airport’s profile as a ‘gateway for growth’ – significantly contributing towards realising the county’s ambition for economic growth, providing connectivity to and from national and international destinations and establishing itself as a centre of excellence for all aspects of business aviation, aviation training and aviation-related research,” concluded Taylor.

Airport operations were able to continue while the work, which was carried out by VolkerFitzpatrick and project managed by Ridge & Partners, was ongoing.

Signature Aviation unveils permanent FBO facility at Birmingham Airport

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Private aviation terminal operator, Signature Aviation, has opened its newly constructed private aviation facility at Birmingham Airport in the UK. The new terminal provides a permanent home for Signature and a full revival of Signature Birmingham following a flood affecting its previous 1930s era terminal building.

“Signature rapidly mobilised to operate from a temporary facility immediately following the damage to our previous FBO,” said John-Angus Smith, Managing Director for Signature EMEA. “However, this opening solidifies our ongoing commitment to our customers and to Birmingham Airport as we look to the future.”

The entirely new site represents the airport’s newest FBO facility, featuring a 222 sq.m. building complete with a passenger lounge, refreshment area and a passenger security screening checkpoint. Pilots are also well catered for with their own lounge, and there is an electric vehicle charging station.

“The newly built FBO in Birmingham reflects the resilience of our team and the importance of this location within our EMEA network,” shared Daniel Myles, Signature Aviation Area Director UK. “General aviation continues to be a commercial driver to both the airport and Birmingham City and we look forward to greeting attendees of the upcoming Commonwealth Games and Women’s UEFA Football Championship this summer.”

Texton Aviation expands footprint in Spain with mobile serve location in Madrid

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Textron Aviation continues to expand its footprint across Europe having opened a new mobile service location in Madrid, Spain.

The Madrid-Barajas Airport location will act as an extension of its factory service centre in Valencia, to initially support in-region customers who own Cessna Citation jets and Caravan turboprops. The new location will offer additional flexibility to customers and complement the company’s Aircraft on Ground (AOG) response.

The mobile service location can conduct minor service tasks including troubleshooting and AOG support at any given time. With this expansion, Textron Aviation is increasing its team support in Madrid with the addition of two technicians and one office administrator. The company has more than 450 Textron Aviation employees in Europe providing customers local access to factory-direct epxertise.

London Oxford steps up infrastructure projects to support continued growth

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London Oxford Airport is continuing its infrastructural investments to support general aviation customers  as well as its expanding commercial business aviation activity.

Flight training activity is up nearly 50% compared with pre-pandemic levels in 2019 at the London hub, while business aviation experienced more growth in 2021 in percentage terms than other UK peer airports.

Having opened in October 2021, the airport’s new 63,000 sq.ft hangar is almost full. Another similar facility is in the pipeline while the airport has agreed to build a new aircraft maintenance and repair facility on the northeast corner of its site. The latter, which will be leased by a major OEM, will cover 14 acres and is expected to be built within 24 months.

Investment has also been committed for the relocation and extension of Oxford’s northern taxiway. Involving a near £6m investment and 8 months’ work, it will significantly speed up and handle aircraft movements on the ground more efficiently, especially on busy days when it’s not unusual to see 400 or so movements a day. More GA training aircraft will be able to do run-ups on the former crosswind runway, while all back-tracking will be eliminated on the main runway when the southern end is in use.

Noting that “business aviation is an important pillar of [the airport’s] business, James Dillon-Godfray, London Oxford Airport’s Head of Business Development, added that the relocation of the runway will allow for the re-development of the eastern zone for the anticipated evolution of the airport in the years to come.

In addition the airport’s new £1.7 million fire station build programme is due to go live in June with new fire tenders arriving later this year. Other recent onsite developments have included several of the airport’s tenants, including Up and Away Aviation and hull Air Crew, moving int a former CAE building, alongside the airport’s management team. This has made way for a new pilots’ lounge to be built behind FBO OxfordJet’s reception, while the space underneath the control tower is to become a smart new facility for general aviation users. A new technology park is also planned at the airport’s entrance.

When it comes to embracing sustainable growth at the airport, Dillon-Godfray explained the airport is looking at power self-generation and battery storage technology, versus being fully dependent on the national grid, which has limits in its capacity. Onsite solar farms are also being considered and the airport is also hoping to offer sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and be one of the first airports to offer SAF to helicopter users.

EBACE22: Flying Colours sees resurgence in regional jet conversions

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Peterborough Airport-based Flying Colours Corp is seeing a resurgence in regional jet conversions. The global aviation services company has confirmed an agreement with a new charter operator client for a CRJ 200* regional airline conversion. The client anticipates using the aircraft to satisfy rising charger demand from corporate customers, sports teams and music group tours and to strengthen its portfolio at a time when business aircraft in high demand.

“Business aviation needs an influx of available aircraft and the airlines are looking to sell,” said Eric Gillespie, Flying Colours Corp, Executive VP. “The regional jet conversion provides an excellent choice for owners seeking a fully customised aircraft and we have seen more inquiries in the last six months than the last few years. We can adapt the design to specific budgets, while delivering an as new aircraft, inside and out, for a competitive fee. In a market where good aircraft are hard to find and new production aircraft waiting times are long, conversions provide an excellent solution for operators who want to quickly access aircraft.”

Once complete, the new refurbished corporate shuttle interior will feature 29 seats, with six business jet seats and a divan at the front of the cabin and a further 20 seats configures airline style at the aft of the cabin. Gogo Avance connectivity will keep travellers productive and entertained while flying. Further cabin comforts include storage at the front and rear of the cabin, as well as a forward galley and washroom at the back.

The aircraft exterior will feature a new fuselage paint scheme, which will be applied at Flying Colours’ Peterborough Airport facility.


EBACE22: Irish business aviation association takes off

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The fledgling Irish Business Aviation Association (IBGAA) has marked its formal launch at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE), which is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland this week.

Formed amid the pandemic with founding members, including ACASS Ireland, Gainjet Ireland and Woodgate Aviation during September 2020, the association is also a member of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC).

“EBACE is the most relevant opportunity to meet with members, entice prospective members and highlight our conference and launch which we are very excited about,” said IBGAA’s Josh Stewart. The association’s debut conference will take place at Adare Manor (pictured) on 17 November in a partnership with EBAA.

Referencing the association’s conference later this year, Joe Buckley, another IBGAA founding member explained “our aim is to establish a must attend event on the international business aviation calendar at Adare Manor, or another of Ireland’s luxury castle hotels in the future, annually.

“Our conference will outline the advantages of using Ireland as a European base,” added Dave Scully, the association’s third founding member. “It is a highly attractive location for business aviation aircraft registration, ownership and aircraft leasing. Its gold standard registry, operated by the Irish Aviation Authority, is one of the most highly-regarded national aviation regulatory authorities in the world.”

The Irish Aviation regulator, Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, welcomed the establishment of the association. “Private jets are a long-established segment of the Irish aviation ecosystem and the formation of the IBGAA is a welcome development  in this space as Ireland looks towards the future and the recovery form the past years of stagnation in the sector.”

Head image: Adare Manor.


London City Airport aiming to be first net-zero airport in the UK capital

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London City Airport has published a new sustainability roadmap underlining its plans to become the first net-zero airport in London by the end of the decade.

The steps outlined in the roadmap include phasing out gas for heating its buildings, ensuring all airport vehicles become electric and plans to become a zero waste and zero single use plastic business. In addition, on scope 3 emissions – indirect emissions that occur in the company’s value chain – the air transport hub aspires to be the most sustainably connected airport in the UK, with 80% of all journeys to and from the airport to be made by sustainable transport modes by 2030. The airport is also working closely with industry partners, and UK Government, to understand how the airport can facilitate low to zero emissions flight as technology comes on stream.

Robert Sinclair, London City Airport’s CEO, commented: “As we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic, it is imperative that we rebuild in the right way.

Given our size, location and the nature of our route network and operation, we are ideally placed to help shape the next phase of aviation innovation in London, establishing it as a global leader of the net-zero economy, supporting innovation, research and development and creating jobs for the amazing young people of this city.”

According to recent YouGov poll of more than 400 people  commissioned by London City Airport, passengers consider sustainability to be one of the top issues in aviation. Data also shows that most respondents expect the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to become available in the UK within the next 10 years.

In addition, most respondents also anticipate that zero emission flights would be rolled out within the next 20 years. This comes ahead of an upcoming industry report, which London City is part of, that outlines how zero emission flights can be introduced across the UK’s domestic aviation market.

The roadmap also explains how the airport will continue to work with and invest in its local communities and help young people achieve their potential. Plans are underway to build an onsite skills and training centre and an ambition for all on-site partners to pay the London Living Wage by 2026.

Missoula Montana Airport partners with View Smart Windows

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Missoula Montana Airport (MSO) has partnered with View Smart Windows to improve energy efficiency and the passenger experience.

The windows have been installed in the airport’s South Concourse Terminal, which is currently undergoing an expansion project due for completion in early June, 2022. View Smart Windows are a key component of the airport’s expansion project, which aims to lower the airport’s carbon footprint and establish the regional hub as a flagship airport.

The windows use artificial intelligence to automatically adjust in response to outdoor conditions, providing continuous views of the surrounding Missoula Valley and Northern Rockies, while blocking heat and glare to optimise passenger comfort and reduce energy consumption from lighting and HVAC as much as 20%.

Depute Director, Tim Damrow, commented,” MSO is the gateway to Western Montana, and we wanted the new terminal to showcase the region’s spectacular natural beauty.” He noted that the windows help deliver a truly state-of-the-art facility that is energy-efficient and enclosed in floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views.

A study on natural light and the airport experience found that passengers who boarded at gates with View Smart Windows were 68% more likely to report a higher satisfaction rate and rated the airport as 33% more modern, efficient, bright and comfortable.

“MSO recognises that the airport’s of the future will be designed to measurably enhance the passenger experience and improve facility operations,” said Kristi Crase, Strategy Director, Aviation at View. “Airports across the country are rapidly adopting View’s smart building technology, and we are thrilled to partner with MSO to transform Western Montana’s biggest airport into a destination in itself.”

MSO joins a growing list of airports throughout the country that have installed View Smart Windows. Other air transport hubs with similar windows include Bostan Logan, San Francisco, New York LaGuardia, Dallas Fort Worth, Charlotte Douglas, Chicago O’Hare, Phoenix Sky Harbor , Seattle-Tacoma, Memphis International, Spokane airports and Bozeman Yellowstone airports.

Sheltair celebrates hangar expansion programme

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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

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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.