Menzies Aviation expands operations in Canada with Flair Airlines

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Global aviation logistics provider, Menzies Aviation, has expanded its partnership with Flair Airlines across Canada, having been awarded full-service ground handling agreements by the Canadian ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC).

The expanded agreement encompasses nine of the 19 hubs in Flair Airlines’ network. Menzies will provide passenger and ramp services to Flair at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Ottawa International Airport and Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport from May; at the airports of Saint John, Charlottetown and Victoria from July; and at Abbotsford International Airport from August.

This will build on the existing partnership between Menzies and Flair at two key Canadian stations, with Menzies having supported the carrier at Toronto Pearson International Airport since February, and at Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport since August 2000, where the Menzies team is currently preparing for the return of flight schedules.

“It is with great pride that we announce the expansion of our partnership with Flair Airlines across Canada. These new contracts demonstrate Flair’s trust in Menzies to support their growth ambitions, and are testament to the excellent standards of service that have been provided on the ground by Menzies professionals at Toronto and Saskatoon,” said John Redmond, Executive Vice President, Americas.

With a strong presence in the Canadian market across the ground services, cargo services and fuelling sectors, this recently expanded agreement will see Menzies now be operating at a total of 21 airports in Canada.

Avfuel welcomes first branded location in Central America

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Aviation fuel supplier Avfuel has expanded its operations by welcoming LAATS FBO at Guatemala La Aurora International Airport to its branded network.

As an Avfuel-branded location, LAATS FBO will gain access to Avfuel’s suite of operational solutions, including payment processing and leading trainer programmes. It also means the FBO’s customers will now be able to access rewards through AVTRIP.

Commenting on how the fuel supplier is proud to have expanded its presence into Central America, Joel Hirst, Avfuel’s Vice President of Sales said: “The entire LAATS FBO team – under the vision and leadership of CEO Mario Juarez – provides its customers with an exceptional level of support, aligning perfectly with the values behind the Avfuel brand.”

With more than 20 years of experience in the aviation industry, LAATS FBO is Guatemala’s leading ground service provider. It established the country’s first true FBO and hangar complex – with the airport’s only VIP lounge. The LAATS FBO facility provides a range of amenities including: relaxing lounges for both passengers and crew; a conference room; office space; a bistro bar and gourmet dining; complimentary snacks; a well-equipped business centre, as well as entertainment and media equipment and WiFi; and ramp access.  Arriving guests benefit from immigration and customs as well as dedicated concierge services, car rentals and limousine services as well as laundry services.

The FBO also offers aircraft handling and secure parking, fuel coordination, flight planning services, permits coordination, ground power units, line maintenance, aircraft cleaning and weather briefings. Furthermore, with a complete fleet of ground support equipment, the LAATS team is on hand to provide an array of specialised services, including presidential and diplomatic services, ambulance flights and charter flights.

“Every decision we make at LAATS FBO is made with our customers and our community in mind,” said Karen Nichols, LAATS FBO Manager. “We are optimistic that this new partnership with Avfuel will enable us to add to our repertoire of industry-leading services and further connect our local economy with global partners.”

Goldhofer’s Phoenix E towbarless aircraft tractor passes test phase with flying colours

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The Phoenix E towbarless aircraft tractor from Goldhofer has successfully completed its test phase and is now ready for action on the airport apron.

The AST-2 towbarless tow tractor was originally unveiled at Inter Airport Europe 2019 and is the flagship product among Goldhofer’s towbarless aircraft tractors. It offers speeds up to 32km/h for maintenance tows and also offers some of the best versatility in its class, handling the full range of today’s aircrafts with a maximum take-off weight of 253 tonnes. The challenge for the Goldhofer engineering team in developing the battery-powered Phoenix E was to produce an electric version to match the existing diesel tractor.

The electric tow boasts the same range of performance in terms of tractive power, maneuverability and reliability. It also offers additional advantages, such as lower operating costs and longer maintenance cycles. Plus, a triple-circuit breaking system ensures excellent tracking performance and maximum travel safety at all times. The Phoenix E also comes with Godlhofer’s IonMaster technology – a high-performance electric drive concept that works with extremely efficient 700 V lithium-ion batteries, which have proven themselves in the application of electric buses, meeting the high standards of safety.

The vehicles can be easily charged at all standard AC and DC charging points with up to 150kW. Compared to diesel-powered vehicles, the system offers neormous energy savings, very high total vehicle efficiency, and noise emissions approaching zero. And like the diesel version, the Phoenix E satisfies the highest standards of safety, with premium components and a full range of service and maintenance tools.

Menzies Aviation commits to carbon neutral operations by 2033

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Aviation logistics specialist, Menzies Aviation, has committed to making 100% of its operations carbon neutral by 2033, which also happens to be the company’s 200-year anniversary. According to Menzies, it is the first aviation company to make this ground-breaking commitment to carbon neutrality.

To reach carbon neutrality Menzies will focus on investing in electric ground support equipment (GSE), reducing emissions through identifying operational efficiencies and balancing remaining emissions with carbon offsetting initiatives. The transition to lower emission and electric GSE is key to reducing carbon footprint and supporting customers’ sustainability ambitions and in 2020 Menzies made significant progress in upgrading equipment as part of new contracts. It’s new contract with Qatar Airways at Gothenburg and Stockholm airports has enabled Menzies to invest in three new electric baggage tractors and two new electric aircraft loaders, as well as an electric towbarless tractor in Stockholm. Meanwhile in South Africa, a new contract with Mango Airlines saw the Group purchase 15 new electric belt loaders and 12 new electric baggage tractors across three airports – Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. And in North America, Menzies has replaced and retired older, less efficient GSE across four locations with plans to do so in more locations across the region.

Alongside investment in new equipment, Menzies will also support teams with implementing processes to make zero fuel spills a daily target throughout the business as well as local initiatives to reduce energy use and lessen environmental impacts.

Commenting on how the the company’s carbon neutral goal coincides with its milestone anniversary in 2033, Philipp Joeinig, CEO and Chairman of Menzies Aviation said: “As flight volumes recover we see an opportunity to rebuild the aviation industry to be more sustainable, and we will be taking advantage of this to promote greener operations across our entire business. With our Sustainability Strategy and Programme now in place, we have clearly defined targets and supporting action plans to help realise them, however it is critical that we build relationships across the aviation ecosystem, from trade bodies to suppliers, to ensure that we can collectively remove barriers to green innovation and adoption.”

E-mobility on the rise at Munich Airport with all-electric de-icing vehicle

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Munich Airport’s fleet of de-icing vehicles have been boosted by the arrival of the all-electric ‘Elephant e-BETA’ from Danish manufacturer, Vestergaard. EFM, the company responsible for de-icing and aircraft towing at the German gateway has been using the environmentally friendly vehicle since the beginning of the week.

The ‘Elephant e-BETA’ is the first electric de-icing vehicle, according to Vestergaard. The spray arms and nozzles, which are driven by electric motors, perform the de-icing of aircraft silently and effectively. At the heart of the vehicle is a lithium-ion battery power pack that enables the electric de-icing of around 10 to 15 aircraft. This enables the vehicle to complete about two to three hours of operation without needing to be recharged.

The vehicle still drives to the de-icing areas with a conventional diesel engine, so can be used flexibly, but at the site itself, the engine is switched off and the all-electric de-icing begins. Compared with conventional de-icing vehicles, the electric version can avoid up to 87% of the CO2 emissions caused by a traditional vehicle and has achieved good results in the handling of sensitive aircraft in the test phase so far.

With a vision of operating in a CO2 neutral manner by 2030 at the latest, the new electric de-icing vehicle fits in perfectly with the airport’s climate strategy.

Eight Turkish airports to benefit from Amadeus collaboration

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Following an agreement with Turkish Ground Services (TGS) to enhance the agility of operations, passenger and flight services at eight Turkish airports will now be managed with Amadeus Technology. The airports include: Istanbul, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen, Ankara Esenboğa, Izmir Adnan Menderes, Antalya, Adana, Milas-Bodrum and Dalaman airports.

In response to fluctuating passenger numbers, cost pressures and significantly higher levels of disruption as a result of the current global health emergency, TGS will move to Amadeus Altéa Departure Control for Ground Handlers, empowering agents with a single, intuitive, interface to handle the passengers of any airline flexibly. Innovative new features mean TGS can now handle unexpected or charter flights more easily, so the ground handler can respond quickly as airlines adapt their plans due to the pandemic.

“TGS is a major ground handler in Turkey with an impressive passenger focused approach,” said Bruno Spada, Executive VP, Airport IT, Amadeus. “We’re pleased to be partnering to enhance TGS’ flexibility, to reduce costs and to help the company best respond to the ongoing impact of the current health emergency.”

The move to partner with Amadeus further supports TGS’ value for airlines by removing the need for them to deploy local IT infrastructure and network connections at the airports TGS serves. In addition, TGS will better personalise its passenger services according to the unique business rules of each individual airline, delivering a better overall passenger experience. TGS will also benefit from Amadeus’ unique community model approach, whereby an enhancement proposed by one community member is then made available for the benefit of all following technical development.

Nurzat Erkal, CEO, Turkish Ground Services commented: “Moving to Amadeus delivers increased flexibility across the board. Our agents can detect passenger issues earlier, which reduces flight delays and we can even handle ad hoc, charter or unexpected flights at the last minute. This additional flexibility is welcome during the current period of significant disruption.”

Jetex teams up with Shell to help customers offset carbon emissions

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Following an agreement with aviation fuel supplier Shell, Jetex customers are now able to choose to fly with a reduced carbon footprint from six key global locations by choosing to offset the carbon emissions of their travel. The new service is available initially at Jetex’ facilities at Dubai, Paris, Singapore, Dublin, Dusseldorf and Salah airports.

With the International Air Transport Association (IATA) committed to reducing the industry’s carbon emissions by 50% by 2050, the agreement demonstrates how general aviation service providers can support this ambition. As a vital catalyst for growth, providing access to markets, supporting jobs and promoting travel recovery, private aviation has multiple positive economic effects. However, it also contributes to the production of carbon emissions.

Every day, more than 200 aircraft fuelled by Jetex take to the sky around the world. As part of the agreement with Shell, the new tool allows Jetex customers to calculate their flight emissions associated with the use of jet fuel and reduce them by choosing to invest in environment conservation programmes. The programmes are certified by international organisations such as the Verified Carbon Standard, as well as Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard. They include the protection or redevelopment of natural ecosystems – such as forests, grasslands and wetlands – to lower concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. To recognise customers’ input, Jetex will be issuing certificates and acknowledging individual contributions.

“With private aviation growing, we are even more aware that our future has to be sustainable. Solving the complex issue of climate protection requires a multifaceted response, and offsetting emissions on flights is just one step that we are adopting to reduce our environmental impact,” said Adel Mardini, Founder & CEO of Jetex. “By working with Shell, we have carefully chosen environmental programmes to ensure they are proven and deliver CO2 emissions reductions as well as benefits to the communities and local biodiversity.”

Meanwhile, Anna Mascolo, President of Global Aviation at Shell, said: “Until sustainable aviation fuels and technology are developed at scale, carbon offsets will play a key role in helping the aviation sector achieve net-zero emissions.”


Aurrigo launches autonomous luggage and cargo transport solution

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Autonomous vehicle specialist, Aurrigo, has launched Auto-Dolly, its autonomous luggage and cargo system that promises to offer a range of operational and financial savings to the aviation sector.

The new system will provide airports with the opportunity to move luggage and cargo around indoor and outdoor settings without the need for human operators, as it has the ability to navigate autonomously from one task to another, collecting and dropping off the luggage or cargo automatically using a powered roller deck and the unique ability ‘crab’ sideways when docking and parallel parking. It is also capable of operating in snow, heavy rain, direct sunlight and fog.

Trials of the Auto-Dolly have already shown that this technology can reduce the number of traditional tugs and trailors used to transport luggage and cargo by two thirds, as well as substantially cutting carbon emissions.

“The aviation sector is going through one of the worst periods in living memory. When it emerges, ti will need to explore ways where it can achieve cost savings and increase operational efficiencies, including turning around planes and getting them away on time,” said David Keene, Chief Executive of Aurrigo. He added that Auto-Dolly will revolutionise airports by improving efficiency in the way aircraft luggage and cargo is handled. In addition, it virtually eliminates all human contact from the baggage and cargo process and is able to carry a load.

“Our autonomous vehicles are controlled by our AI based cyber secure fleet management system called Auto-Connect, which intelligently assigns Auto-Dollies in the optimum way to meet the strict operational deadlines at the airport,” added Keene.

Alongside the Auto-Dolly, Aurrigo has also launched its Auto-Sim product – an airport simulator tool allowing customers to baseline current operations and then model how to migrate from manual methods through to a fully automated Auto-Dolly.

“Engagement with lead customers, together with continuing on-site airport trials, have been fantastic and we’re now in the position to launch our Auto-Dolly solution to the world,” concluded Keene. “This could equate to hundreds of millions of pounds of cost reduction every year for the airport industry, plus the  huge environmental savings gained by reducing the overall emissions of the fleet of today’s inefficient tractors and trailors.”

Air bp installs carbon emissions reducing technology on all fuel hydrants in Portugal

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International aviation fuel products and service supplier, Air bp, is rolling out its innovative start-stop technology on all its fuel hydrant dispensers in Portugal – the first country in the fuel suppliers operated network to achieve this milestone.

Reducing carbon emissions of each vehicle by an average of 25%, Air bp’s start-stop technology automatically shuts down and restarts the vehicle engine to reduce the amount of time the engine spends idling, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions. The overall saving is estimated to be 3.4 tonnes of CO2e  per vehicle per year.

Effective immediately, the start-stop technology will be installed on all Air bp’s newly procured hydrant dispensers. The overall aim is to have all existing hydrant dispensers across its global operated network, that are less than 10 years old, retrofitted with the technology by the end of 2021.

Having achieved carbon neutrality across its global operated airport into-plane fuel facilities in 2016, the start-stop technology is one of several elements that form part of Air bp’s carbon management plan.

“Our carbon management plan is a key part of Air bp’s global operations. In 2016, we made a 10-year pledge to retain our carbon neutral accreditation. In relation to start-stop technology, over the past two years we have worked hard to achieved this first milestone and continue to work determinedly towards achieving our aims,” said Gigi Yuen, Air bp’s Global Carbon Neutral Lead.

Other initiatives that are used by the company to reduce carbon emissions across its global operated facilities include: reducing the number of road journeys made by trucks; using electric powered vehicles and using an in-line magnetic filter, Magna-Strain, within pipelines to reduce the electrical demand on pumps.

Kaunas Airport welcomes new world-class aircraft paint shop

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Following a dynamic growth trajectory in recent years, MAAS Aviation has opened a purpose-built world-class aircraft paint shop at Lithuania’s Kaunas Airport.

The facility is the first of its kind in Lithuania and demonstrates MAAS Aviation’s expanding global footprint. It now has 11 paint shops (three in Hamburg, two in Kaunas, two in Maastricht, one at Fokker Woensdrecht and three in Mobile Alabama) and this latest addition increases their overall capacity in Europe by 40%. Alongside the latest technologies, the new facility also includes systems to ensure safe and secure operations and to manage the environmental impact of the company’s activities.

All MAAS Aviation facilities are certified to EN9100, ISO9001 and ISO14001 standards and with a multi-million euro investment from MAAS Aviation, the new twin-bay narrow body paint shop is capable of accommodating up to two A321 sized aircraft simultaneously.

According to Tim Macdougald, COE of MAAS Aviation, the central/ eastern European location of Kaunas was chosen as a result of several influencing factors including the universal willingness of Lithuanian authorities to bring a new industry to Lithuania. “I’d particularly like to mention Invest Lithuania and the Airport Authority of Lithuania for supporting a project that spearheads the development of aviation services at Kaunas; and to FL Technics for committing to build a partnership with MAAS to combine our services with theirs for the benefit of airline and lease customers; and to Ryanair for its continued business and trust in being our launch customer at the site.”

Macdougald added that MAAS Aviation’s business benefits from long term customer contracts – including with Airbus. “The standard of our facilities reflects our design expertise and includes full climate control paint shops, computerised building management systems and datalogging, high-lux lighting, and fully-lined clean paint shops. Our use of aircraft access docking systems eliminates the risk of damaging aircraft during painting due to the avoidance of moving equipment.”

The build at Kaunas Airport was completed on time and within budget with Macdougald crediting its professional team spearheaded by Cobalt Law in ensuring the project ran smoothly from a legal and contractual perspective and its design team headed by Ian Guinness of MRO Facilities International.

The 40% increase in MAAS Aviation’s European MRO capcity enables the company to capture more business during the peak seasons. “Our partnership with FL Technics will combine our services for the benefit of airline and leasing company customers – together we will offer an outstanding aircraft redelivery centre-of-excellence at Kaunas Airport.”

The company forecasts that this year across all 11 of its facilities it will paint up to 300 aircraft with turnover expected to exceed $28 million.