Loganair to launch Glasgow to Derry service

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Scottish regional carrier, Loganair, is to provide a Glasgow to Derry service following Ryanair’s decision to discontinue the route. Loganair is to launch the link on 28 October – the day after Ryanair’s service ceases.

The regional carrier first served Derry in April 1979, becoming the first airline to operate to City of Derry Airport at the time.

Clive Coleman, contracts director for Regional & City Airports which manages City of Derry Airport, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Scottish Airline, Loganair, back to City of Derry Airport. Loganair, was a key partner in the airport’s early years and we are very pleased to announce their return.”

Loganair will use a 33-seat Saab 340 aircraft on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a larger, 50-capacity Saab 2000 aircraft used for Sunday evening services.

Derry will become Loganair’s 12th destination from Glasgow, the airline added Guernsey and Donegal to its Glasgow network this year and will resume non-stop flights in May from Glasgow to Bergen in Norway for a second summer season.

“Glasgow to Derry has always been a really popular route, given the close connections between the residents of the two cities,” said Jonathan Hinkles, managing director at Loganair.

He added: “We’re delighted to be returning to a route which we first initiated all those years ago, while also ensuring its continuation following Ryanair’s recent announcement. We very much hope that our decision to secure the future of this air link will be of keen interest to those with family ties and football affiliations, as well as people with business in the two regions.”

Francois Bourienne, Glasgow Airport commercial director, said the airport was thrilled its airline partner Loganair had decided to operate regular service to Derry, adding that the Northern Irish city is a “consistently-popular destination with our passengers.”

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Maolíosa McHugh welcomed the announcement, he said: “I am delighted that there will continue to be an air link between Glasgow and Derry as I know it’s a very popular route. The two cities have very strong cultural and historic links and it is important that these close connections are retained.”

Liverpool celebrates positive start to 2018

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Throughout January and February 2018, Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) has seen an average 3% increase in passenger traffic compared with the same period in 2017.

According to recently released figures showing 2% growth in January and 4% growth in February, almost 20,000 more passengers chose to use Liverpool this year compared to last year and it has been the busiest first two months of the year at the airport since 2010.

Describing 2018 as “already proving to be another good year for the airport with encouraging passenger numbers,” Paul Winfield, director of aviation development at LJLA cited this growth as an encouraging sign for the year ahead. “The airport has seen 70,000 more passengers use Liverpool than in February three years ago,” he added.

Many passengers have taken advantage of the airport’s routes to warmer climes with Alicante in southern Spain and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands proving popular destinations for those looking to shake off the winter blues. While links with popular winter resorts such as Geneva and Salburg have also proved popular with skiers from the region.

With six new routes already announced from Liverpool in 2018, growth in passenger traffic at the airport is set to increase further. Blue Air will operate new flights to Palma and Malaga, while easyJet will serve Pula in Croatia, Palermo in Italy and Dalaman in Turkey and Ryanair will fly to Shannon.

“The North West market is the largest aviation market outside London and by focusing on our best in class operational performance and high levels of customer satisfaction, Liverpool is becoming the ‘faster, easier, friendlier’ airport of choice for more and more passengers taking advantage of direct flights to over 60 short-haul destinations,” Winfield concluded.

Ryanair to close Glasgow International base

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Ryanair is to close its one-aircraft Glasgow International base from November 2018, with chief commercial officer David O’Brien suggesting this is a result of “the continuing burden of APD”.

The airline said one aircraft and five routes (Derry, Lisbon, Sofia, Riga and Berlin) will switch from Glasgow to Edinburgh Airport, however, Ryanair’s summer 2018 schedule from Glasgow International will operate as planned.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said it was “bitterly disappointed” by Ryanair’s decision to cut 20 routes at the airport from November 2018, adding that the decision, “Is not only damaging for Glasgow and wider Scottish connectivity; it will impact approximately 100 jobs locally. This is a result of the airline’s review of its single aircraft bases, however, we have been left in no doubt it is also a consequence of the Scottish Government’s inability to introduce its proposed 50% cut in Air Departure Tax (ADT).

“Despite clear and repeated warnings from both airports and airlines about the potential impact of this policy not being implemented, we are now faced with a stark scenario that includes the loss of 20 services and a significant number of jobs.

“This is the second example in as many months of an airline cutting capacity in Scotland because of the lack of movement on ADT. The reality is this capacity will be reallocated elsewhere in Europe to countries with more favourable aviation taxation policies to Scotland’s detriment. We cannot sit back and risk Scotland’s connectivity being further eroded. It is imperative there is immediate action on ADT.”

O’Brien said: “Ryanair regrets these cuts in the weaker Glasgow market where efforts to stimulate low fare demand are severely hampered by the continuing burden of APD.

“As a result, we will transfer our Glasgow International based aircraft to Edinburgh in November where we will offer 11 new low fare routes (45 in total including London Stansted) and deliver over 3.5m passengers per annum at Edinburgh Airport.”

The airline will continue to operate its three-times daily route to Dublin and twice-weekly services to Krakow and Wroclaw as normal.

Birmingham Airport welcomes Primera Air

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Birmingham Airport is to become a new base for low-fare airline Primera Air in two months, with direct services to New York, Toronto, Malaga, Barcelona, Palma and Crete from May.

The airline plans to keep expanding from Birmingham, and 50 new jobs have already been created in flight crew and operational positions.

Speaking at a business event, Anastasija Visnakova, chief commercial officer for Primera Air, said the airline was “proud and excited” to put Birmingham on its 2018 route map, adding: “With two transatlantic and four short-haul destinations we are opening our operations here and looking forward to further development of this Primera Air base.”

“This is an important first step for us and significant development for Birmingham Airport and region. With the technology that our brand new fleet offers expensive transatlantic travel becomes a thing of history.”

Chairman of Birmingham Airport, Tim Clarke, said: “Primera has seen the enormous opportunities available in the Midlands thanks to its strong trading and cultural links with the US and Canada, and the leisure travellers’ desire to escape to warmer Mediterranean climes.”

In the last year, the West Midlands exported £6.2bn worth of goods to the USA, second only behind the South East and exported £778.5m to Canada, the highest of any region in the UK.

Primera Air is also the partner airline for a three-year campaign working with Birmingham Airport, the West Midlands Growth Company, Shakespeare’s England, Marketing Peak District & Debryshire and Visit Britain, which aim to market Birmingham and the surrounding areas to a global audience and promote direct flights to the area.

Image inset: (From left to right) Councillor Bob Sleigh OBE, Councillor Brigid Jones, Anastasjia Visnakova, chief commercial officer of Primera Air and Tim Clarke, chairman of Birmingham Airport.

DCRA plans for terminal modernisation

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Following a record-breaking year serving 1,907,499 passengers in 2017, the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, USA, has announced plans for a terminal modernisation project.

Dane County executive Joe Parisi has allocated $25 million for a project to update and expand the airport’s terminal and infrastructure.

Phase I of the multi-year project will include the selection of consultants to complete the design, engineering, architecture, and timeline development, with a majority of construction, renovations, and retrofits beginning in 2019. The first phase of the project will also include replacement of aircraft boarding bridges which will begin in 2018.

“The Dane County Regional Airport is part of the economic engine of this region,” said Parisi. “We have world-class businesses here, and we are proud that we have a world-class hub for both business and leisure travellers. Growth and expansion of the airport is key to the quality of life and growing jobs right here in Dane County.”

Focus areas for the modernisation will include: gate seating areas, restrooms, security, safety and access systems, and eco-responsible HVAC systems for bridges, seating and common areas, and additional jet boarding bridges.

“As the Dane County Regional Airport continues to add flights to desired destinations and serve more travellers, updates and expansions are necessary for both the quality of the travel experience, as well as security and efficiency,” said airport director Bradley Livingston, AAE. “This airport is at the forefront of design and amenities, and we are committed to continuing to ensure that the Dane County Regional Airport remains the preferred choice for all travellers.”

The airport has seen strong growth, with the addition of non-stop flights to Las Vegas in 2017 and upcoming non-stop flights to Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Velana Airport expansion opens doors for future growth

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The gateway to the Maldives, Velana International Airport (VIA), which is located on Hulhulé Island near the Maldivian capital Malé, is all set for future tourism growth. The airport is undergoing an ambitious redevelopment plan at an estimated cost of between US$800m and US$1bn, with a new runway that is due for completion in the coming months.

Formerly known as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, the airport was renamed in January 2017, as part of a rebranding exercise to highlight the development and expansion of the airport. In addition to the new runway, which will be able to accommodate the Airbus A380, improvements include a new passenger terminal and a new cargo terminal.

Meanwhile new facilities at the airport will include state-of-the-art baggage handling systems, boarding gates and check-in desks and expanded retail offerings, as well as new navigation equipment, airfield and aerodrome lighting.

A popular holiday destination with its 26 islands, the Maldives reported a 6.8% leap in global tourists arriving in 2017. In line with this growth VIA’s expansion is set to see the airport’s capacity rise from 1 million to 7 million passengers.

As well as being an international exit and entry point for the Maldives, the airport serves as an important hub for domestic traffic. There are currently 12 existing smaller airports across the Maldives, although more are being built each year, and an increasing number of seaplane landing sites.

Two independent seaplane operators fly currently from VIA – Trans Maldivian Airways and Island Aviation services. To accommodate the increasing domestic and seaplane traffic, a new seaplane terminal and floating dock facility, as well as three designated water runways will also feature in the airport’s expansion programme to replace the existing seaplane facilities and ensure efficient seaplane operation.

“The new seaplane terminal will be the centre of day-to-day operations to transfer tourists to and from resorts by seaplanes,” said Adil Moosa, managing director of Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL).

Highlighting the need for improved cargo facilities, Maldives Economic Minister, Mohamed Saeed, also stated that construction of a bigger cargo terminal will open up the gateway for a re-export market in the Maldives.

According to MACL, after the expansion of the cargo terminal about 120,000 tonnes of air cargo is expected to be processed every year through Velana Airport.

UK and Irish airports persevere with flight operations despite heavy snowfall

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Airports throughout the UK and Ireland are facing a third day of disruption as heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures have seen cancelled and delayed flights affect operations.

Airports including London City, Norwich, Cork, Shannon, Bristol, Inverness, Glasgow, Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester have all seen disruptions to airline services.

In East Anglia, staff at Norwich Airport spent five hours clearing the runway early in the morning on Tuesday 27 February to try and ensure flights to and from the city’s airport could run.

Richard Pace, managing director of the airport, said the runway opened at 9.30am on Tuesday, but that flights to Manchester, Edinburgh and Amsterdam were delayed, while some flights to and from Aberdeen had been cancelled. He stated:

It’s not just a case of clearing the snow once. Because it’s falling, more accumulates and you just have to keep working.

It’s not like a road. Once we decide to close a runway we have to get it completely clear of snow before we open it again.

Despite the downpour of snow bringing large parts of the UK’s North East to a standstill, only a handful of flights were cancelled at Newcastle Airport which currently remains operational. A statement issued by the airport read: “Heavy snow showers are continuing in the North East. Our operational teams continue to work hard to keep disruption to a minimum and keep the runway clear.”

Similarly in Birmingham a spokesperson confirmed that the airport remained open saying: “There’s no snow in Birmingham although very cold, but it’s normal operations currently. The cancellations are due to bad weather in other destinations such as Ireland and Scotland.”

 

A number of Scottish airports were forced to ground their flights and even close as staff combatted the snow.

Glasgow Airport closed for the day at 3pm, on Wednesday 28 February, after forecasters issued severe and red weather warnings. Although airport staff had worked furiously to get flights up and running after services were suspended earlier in the day, they were forced to call it a day just before 3pm.

Bosses tweeted “Due to continued severe weather conditions and the large number of flights which airlines have had to cancel, there will be no further flights to or from Glasgow Airport for the remainder of the day.”

Aberdeen Airport meanwhile has managed to clear the runway and reopen after being forced to close earlier in the day, although some flights are still subject to delays and cancellations.

London Oxford Airport seemed less sympathetic to its fellow airports tweeting: “Avoid Snowmaggedon and charter a plane right now from London Oxford Airport – the runway’s clear and ready to go.”

In Ireland, Shannon Airport was providing passengers with a free jump start facility and de-icing spray, while Cork Airport was closed briefly in the morning on Wednesday 28 February to allow maintenance crews to clear snow and slush from the main runway and taxiways. Aer Lingus cancelled flights to Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester based on weather conditions at the destination airports.

Kevin Cullinane, Cork Airport’s head of communications told Regional Gateway:

Our maintenance crews have been working continuously for over 24 hours to keep Cork Airport operational and have done Trojan work in very testing conditions.

With more heavy snow, gale force winds and bitterly cold temperatures marking the arrival of Storm Emma  this evening, the Met Office has issued a ‘red severe weather’ alert for parts of Scotland and airports remain on high alert advising passengers to check their flight status before travelling to the airport.

Header image: Cork Airport in the snow

King Mswati III Airport plans network expansion

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Constructed to replace Matsapha Airport and enhance Swaziland’s position as a tourist destination, King Mswati III International Airport has been serving as a base for commercial flights since 2014.

Offering a gateway to the country’s game parks, including KwaZulu-Natal game reserve, Maputo, Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls, the airport was built with a capacity for 300,000 passengers per year.

However, the airport has been dubbed a “white elephant” by critics as to date the only passenger airline to serve the airport is Swaziland Airlink – a joint venture between the Swaziland Government and Airlink – which only operates daily flights between King Mswati III Airport and OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.

There was hope that a new Swazi carrier, Swazi Airways, would commence operations in 2017 and would serve the airport as the country’s flag carrier operating flights across Africa and the Middle East. But Swazi Airways never took flight and was closed down in July 2017.

At the end of last year, SWACCA commissioned Lufthansa Consulting to conduct an Air Service Development Study to boost air services at the airport and develop it’s potential as a gateway to the kingdom.

Experts identified potential new routes and performed a detailed assessment of the market, gaining valuable insights into market opportunities for targeted airlines to launch new services to Swaziland.

Acting on the results of this study and together with Lufthansa Consulting, SWACCA has now contacted airlines in the region to develop routes from Manzini in the Kingdom of Swaziland to Cape Town and Durban in South Africa, as well as to Harare in Zimbabwe.

Solomon Dube, the director general, SWACCA said: “Swaziland is faced with a unique problem of having a very low demand for air traffic services. Currently very few travelelrs use air transport, yet the potential is very promising. People have the desire to fly, especially to and from the SADC region.”

 

Bristol strengthens links with Shannon

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A new Ryanair service between Shannon in Ireland and Bristol in the UK’s South West will bring connectivity between the two cities to an all-time high.

The low-fare Irish carrier already operates flights to Dublin, Cork and Knock from Bristol and the twice-weekly service to Ireland’s third busiest airport will take the total number of flights from Bristol per week to more than 100.

Commenting on the new service from Bristol, Nigel Scott, Bristol Airport’s business development director, said:

“Frequent flights between Bristol and Ireland help foster strong links for business and tourism, which is why Ryanair’s new Shannon service is such great news. Shannon is a convenient gateway from which to explore Ireland’s South West, just as Bristol Airport is the ideal starting point for Irish visitors to the South West England and South Wales.”

Air links between Bristol and Ireland date back to 1936, when Aer Lingus operated its very first international route from Dublin to the city’s airport. As well as catering for business travellers, the links also support significant two-way tourism.

Ireland is Bristol’s fifth biggest market for overseas visitors according to the International Passenger Survey. In the first three quarters of 2017, Irish visitors to the South West of the UK spent a total of £29.86m.

 

 

Marseille Airport partners with WSP for airport extension

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Located in the South of France, Marseille Airport is being extended so that it can handle up to 12 million passengers per year.

The primary gateway to France’s Provencal region, Marseille Airport (AMP)has made a significant investment in restructuring its terminal and facilities and appointed renowned architectural firm, Foster + Partners, to lead the design of the new extension.

Design trio
WSP, alongside Tangram Architects have been selected to join the Foster + Partners team in delivering the project. Didier Moulart, WSP’s Lyon office business development manager described the partnership as “a real success story for our business”.

It started over five years ago when we discovered that Marseille Airport would be making a significant investment in the next few years. We already had rich experience in the aviation sector through the work on Lyon airport, one of our long-term projects.

Explaining the decision behind appointing the consortium to work on Marseille Airport’s new building, Pierre Regis, chairman of the management board for the client, AMP said:

“We chose the Foster + Partners consortium for two main reasons. First, because you have designed a high-quality project which meets all our expectations and our brief; and secondly, because we feel a good spirit of collaboration in your team, with strong capability and capacity.”

Linking old and new
Linking two existing terminal buildings with a new hall named the ‘coeur’ or ‘heart’, will simplify passenger flow and provide “a more welcoming gateway to the region,” according to Grant Brooker, Foster + Partners’ head of studio.

What’s more arrivals and departures will be combined within one space, which will allow the centralisation of numerous operations within the airport, such as security management.

The new building will feature a 22m-high glazed hall, with a continuous grid of glass skylights clad with stainless steel to act as giant lanterns, bringing natural light and air into the building. Meanwhile large indoor trees will create a calming, green environment.

“The new terminal features a panoramic terrace overlooking the airport and the landscape beyond, and is entirely top lit, capturing the bright Provencal sunlight and paying homage to the bold architectural spirit of Pouillon’s original building,” continued Brooker.

Due to open in 2023, the ‘Coeur’ is the first phase of the project, then the second phase –a 13,500m2 jetty which will provide new stands for aircraft – will open in 2027.

WSP has been tasked with designing both the new terminal and pier, as well as taxiways and aircraft stands with support from UK-based specialists in airfield design. One of the biggest challenges in delivering the project, according to WSP, is that the airport will remain operational throughout the construction phase. But Moulart concludes “It is one of the most important projects in Marseille, and an example of how we are growing our business in this beautiful region of Provence.”