Four Virginia airports to receive runway funding

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Four airports in Virginia, in the US, are to receive federal funding totalling $12,223,523 for runway investment.

Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced the funding, which will be awarded through the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Programme, and will support efforts to extend, rehabilitate and reconstruct runways and a taxiway at the four airports.

Blue Ridge Airport, an FBO and public use airport in Henry County, is to receive $5,106,058 in funding to reconstruct its runway.

Virginia Highlands Airport in Washington County, which serves the business and general aviation community, is to receive $4,311,000 to extend its runway.

Culpeper Regional Airport in Culpeper County will receive $1,050,000 to rehabilitate its taxiway and William M. Tuck Airport in Halifax County will receive $1,756,465 in funding to rehabilitate its runway.

In a statement, Warner and Kaine said: “We are thrilled to announce funding to support airports in Virginia so they can make important improvements to their infrastructure. We know these grant dollars will help these airports continue to offer good service, attract business and tourism, and ensure the best travel experience for Virginians.”

Written by: Kimberley Young

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Wizz Air adds new routes to Romania from LJLA

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Wizz Air is to launch three new routes from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to the Romanian cities of Bucharest, Cluj and Iasi, with the new services to commence at the end of October 2018.

Including these new services, Wizz Air now offers a total of 17 weekly flights from Liverpool, with more than 290,000 seats on sale in 2019 on flights to and from Liverpool.

This represents nearly 17% growth compared to 2018, with Wizz Air’s expansions operations at Liverpool John Lennon Airport benefiting the region’s tourism, hospitality and aviation related industries.

“Wizz Air is well established in the North West having operated services from Liverpool for almost 14 years and we are delighted to see this latest phase of their development with these 3 new routes complimenting their existing 4 destinations currently served from Liverpool,” said Paul Winfield, director of aviation development for Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

He continued: “There is a strong demand for flights between the North West and Romania, giving more passengers the opportunity to take advantage of our faster, easier, friendlier customer experience, where 93% of passengers currently pass through security in less than 5 minutes.”

Written by: Kimberley Young

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Milas-Bodrum to become regional hub for aircraft maintenance

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AMAC Aerospace has unveiled its new wide-body hangar in Milas-Bodrum. The new 4,626 sq. m hangar will serve AMAC Aerospace’s maintenance services in the Middle and Far East.

Talking at the inauguration of the new facility earlier in July, Kadri Muhiddin, group executive chairman and CEO of AMAC Aerospace, said: “we are aiming to turn Mugla into an aircraft maintenance base in the region. Our goal is to bring private and passenger planes here.”

Situated between Bodrum and Milas on the Southwest coast of Turkey, the airport is operated by TAV Airports. This will be the first time that a mixed business model has been used for the hangar facility. During the winter months the hangar will be used to carry out commercial line and base maintenance. Then during the summer months, the MRO services will focus on VIP business maintenance. Visiting aircraft owners spending their holidays on the Turkish Riviera will also be able to use the hangar for maintenance on their private jets.

Describing how he wants Turkey and Mugla “to become a regional hub for aircraft maintenance”, Muhiddin added: “Thanks to AMAC Aerospace Turkey, private jet owners will not have to go to Europe for the maintenance of their jets. We will be able to carry out the maintenance for all aircraft – from small sized jets to wide-body to aircraft.”

Written by: Chloe Greenbank

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Monterey Airport to gain new Denver service

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Monterey Regional Airport is to see a new, twice daily nonstop service between the airport and Denver International Airport from 4 October with United Airlines.

United’s new service from Monterey will connect California’s Central Coast with the airline’s Denver hub and complements United’s existing flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“I’d like to thank United Airlines for their commitment to the Central Coast market as demonstrated by today’s exciting announcement” said Carl Miller, chairman of Monterey Peninsula Airport District.

Miller added that the new service from United “is a great indication of their confidence in our region and our community.”

The Denver flights offer customers almost 100 connection opportunities throughout the US Midwest and East Coast.

The executive director of Monterey Regional Airport, Michael La Pier thanked the Board of Directors of the Monterey Peninsular Airport District for their “tireless effort” to make the airport a “key and vital contributor to the economic vibrance of the Central Coast region.”

He continued: “They recognise the importance convenient and reliable air service plays in the continued success of our major employers in both the hospitality and agriculture industries and are committed to constant improvement in the airport and the services we offer.”

La Pier also thanked businesses that contributed financial support and time: “Attracting new air service of this importance is a difficult proposition and requires a committed community effort. The entire community should be proud and, hopefully, very excited today.”

Flights are now available for purchase, and with the new service, passengers from Monterey Regional Airport can connect directly with five of the West Coast’s busiest airports.

Janet Lamkin, United’s president of California said: “We are pleased to respond to the needs of our customers by expanding our presence in Monterey and offering our customers more service and more opportunities to connect to United’s domestic and international route network.”

Written by: Kimberley Young

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Miami-Opa locka named Florida’s best general aviation airport

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Miami-Opa locka Executive Airport (OPF) has been named the state of Florida’s general aviation airport of the year. The award was given in recognition of the airport’s outstanding achievements in airport safety, aesthetics and overall management.

Congratulating the airport and its team Miami-Dade County’s mayor, Carlos A. Gimenez described “OPF as an invaluable asset to our local aviation system, as well as a growing economic engine for northern Miami-Dade County.”

The largest of Miami-Dade County’s four general aviation airports, OPF saw annual flight operations grow 1.5% to 136,556 in 2017. The airport offers three full-service fixed-base operator (FBO) facilities for private jet flights – the construction of a new US$24 million Fontainbleu Aviation facility at OPF was completed in 2017. It also has a dedicated US Customs and Border Protection clearance office, the busiest US Coast Guard Air/ Sea Rescue station in the country and the county’s Police and Fire Rescue Aviation units.

Miami-Dade Aviation Director, Lester Sola, reiterated the mayor’s praise for the airport team saying “in addition to serving as a reliever airport for Miami International, OPF is generating significant private real estate investment and job creation within our community.”

Written by: Chloe Greenbank

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Airlines voice concern over ATC strikes

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Airlines and tourism associations have expressed major concerns over the impact of ongoing Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes in Europe.

International Airlines Group (IAG), Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz Air have all submitted complaints to the European Commission against France, arguing that the strikes restrict the principle of freedom of movement within the EU. In a statement the airlines said so far this year French ATC strikes have increased by 300% versus 2017.

The airlines stated they, “Are not questioning the right to strike but believe France is breaking EU law by not enabling flights over the country during strikes. Passengers on overflights are being denied their fundamental freedom to travel between member states not affected by strike action.”

“The right to strike needs to be balanced against freedom of movement. It’s not only customers flying in and out of France who are affected during French ATC strikes,” said Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive. “Passengers on routes that overfly France, especially the large airspace that covers Marseille and the Mediterranean, are also subject to delays and massive disruptions. This affects all airlines but has a significant negative impact on Spain’s tourism and economy.”

Johan Lundgren, easyJet’s chief executive, said: “We fully respect the right to strike and have been in constructive dialogue with the EU and the French government to address the issue of ATC strikes. Unfortunately, our passengers have felt little progress so far, which is why we felt it is necessary to take this next step – particularly given the sustained industrial action this year which has totalled 29 days to date.”

According to Eurocontrol, more than 16,000 flights had been delayed by June this year due to ATC strikes, affecting more than two million passengers.

Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary called the disruptions “unacceptable,” adding: “We call on Europe’s Governments and the EU Commission to take urgent and decisive action to ensure that ATC providers are fully staffed and that overflights are not affected when national strikes take place, as they repeatedly do in France.”

József Váradi, Wizz Air’s chief executive, said the issue “Must be a priority for the European authorities to ensure European citizens and businesses are no longer held hostage to national industrial relations issues.”

Meanwhile, tourism associations in the EU are also voicing concerns over the impact of ATC strikes.

The Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism (NET) a group of European tourism trade associations, is joining Airlines for Europe’s (A4E) efforts to minimise the strikes’ impact on travellers and tourism across the EU.

Thomas Reynaert, managing director of Airlines for Europe (A4E) said: “2018 is shaping up to be one of the worst years ever for ATC strikes in Europe. We stand together with NET, its members and Europe’s tourism industry as a whole in calling on authorities to take immediate action to improve the situation and reverse the trend.”

In a statement A4E said the strikes disrupt airline operations as the carriers need to pay compensation for the delays and rebook passengers on alternative flights. The association also argues that diversions to avoid closed air space result in longer flights, burning more fuel and resulting in higher CO2 emissions. A4E says the strikes also impact on tourism, putting small and medium-size businesses at risk, as well as impacting tour operators.

A4E proposed solutions including a mandatory 72-hour individual notification period for employees wishing to strike, protection of overflights (while not at the expense of the country where the strike originates) and improved continuity of service for passengers.

The association also suggested investment is required in technology, processes and human resources to help make Europe’s air traffic management system more capable of coping with the increasing traffic.

Written by: Kimberley Young

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Cardiff Airport unveils ambitious plan to become a key gateway to the UK

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Cardiff Airport has outlined ambitious plans to become an outstanding capital city airport ‘connecting Wales to the World and the World to Wales’.

The draft masterplan was launched by Rt Honourable Carwyn Jones, first minister of Wales; the cabinet secretary for economy and transport, Ken Skates, airport chairman Roger Lewis and airport CEO, Deb Barber. It underpins how the airport must be integrated into both local and national planning and sets out the airport’s mission to be a sustainable airport business generating significant economic benefit for Wales.

This masterplan has been created to set out milestones up to the year 2040 that enable us to meet our vision for the future and position Cardiff Airport as a key part of the UK’s transport strategy. We have ambitious plans for growth which can only be achieved if we enhance our infrastructure and create a five-star airport experience for customers that’s efficient, modern and enjoyable.

Deb Barber, CEO, Cardiff Airport.

With aspirations to grow from 1.5 million passengers (which it currently caters for) to 3 million passengers per annum, the airport’s facilities must not only meet growing passenger numbers, but also the modern travellers’ expectations.

The masterplan highlights Cardiff’s potential as an international gateway, building upon its efficient, safe and secure 24/7 operations, and its potential for attracting new airlines, securing new routes and providing customers travelling to and from the region with more choice. It also highlights the need to diversify the airport to create and develop opportunities for aviation, cargo, education, technology and innovation.

The plan also features a proposal for a new terminal incorporating smart technology to be built to create a ‘memorable first and last impression’ for those arriving and departing from Wales. Plus, it underpins the need to improve the airport’s green credentials so that it can meet environmental and social commitments.

Meanwhile a new four-star hotel will be the airport’s first on-site hotel, offering more choice in local accommodation from which visitors can explore the region. It will also cater for business travellers requiring meeting rooms and conferencing facilities.

Describing the plans as “ambitious yet achievable”, first minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, said these improvements “will enable the airport to continue its development of further aviation links to the rest of the UK, Europe and beyond, which will improve its competitiveness and attractiveness as a gateway to international travel and trade.”

Written by: Chloe Greenbank

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Milan’s airports to host World Routes 2020

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It might have a reputation as the fashion capital of the world, but Milan is now raising its stake in the aviation sector too. During a press conference on 25 July, it was announced that Milan has been chosen as the host city and destination for the 26th World Route Development Forum in 2020.

Both Milano Malpensa and Milan Linate airports (which are operated by SEA and serve Milan and the Lombardy region) will be the host airports during the event, but the city is also serviced by Orio al Serio airport, which is managed by SACBO.

Milan is the perfect city to host the event as it is the 3rd most populated region of Europe with 10 million inhabitants and combined, Linate, Malpensa and Orio al Serio welcome over 39 million passengers annually. The development of these three airports is key to Milan’s status as a cutting-edge metropolis that is easily accessible by air from destinations around the globe. SEA’s aim is to further connect the city to the world, especially to Asia and the Americas, and hosting events such as World Routes will help achieve this.

“We have to consider positively any international event that brings an important and wide visibility in Milan and Lombardy,” said Attilio Fontana, president of Regione Lombardia. “World Routes is an event that will contribute to increase the economic development of our territory. The airports and any activity linked with them are central and important for any productive sector: for this reason it is important to sustain their development and make them as competitive as possible.”



Header image: Milan Malpensa Airport; inset top: Orio al Serio Airport; bottom inset: representatives from SEA, Milan and the Lombardy region and World Routes during a press conference to announce the host of World Routes 2020.


Written by: Chloe Greenbank

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Cork welcomes return of Boston link for summer 2019

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Cork Airport is reinstating its link with Boston Providence, Rhode Island,  courtesy of Norwegian Airlines for summer 2019. The summer schedule will commence in April and run through to October.

“We welcome the Cork to Boston Providence route announcement for 2019 coming, just as we celebrate the first year of this significant and successful service,” said Kevin Cullinane, head of communications at Cork Airport.

Norwegian launched Cork Airport’s first nonstop transatlantic flight to Boston in July last year, using its B737 MAX jets.

Although demand on this route hasn’t proved so popular during the winter months – causing Norwegian to cancel its flights from Cork and Shannon to Providence, Rhode Island, from November to March – there is huge demand in both directions during the summer months.

Cullinane added that Tourism Ireland recently confirmed an increase of 12.4%  of inbound passengers from North America in the first five months of 2018. “With Cork Airport being uniquely placed at the beginning of both the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East, this route has made it even easier for US visitors to come to the south of Ireland and experience all it has to offer.”

“This route also offers affordable transatlantic travel for those travelling to the east coast of America to experience the magnificent US summer holiday destinations such as Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.”

Describing Norwegian’s aircraft as “modern and spacious with unrivalled service,” Thomas Ramdahl, CCO Norwegian, said “this is a great time to book affordable flights to the US.”



Written by: Chloe Greenbank

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WheelTug improves turnaround times and ground operations at airports

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With passenger traffic forecast to double over the next two decades, airports that operate more efficiently will attract more traffic (both as a hub and a destination). Cue the aviation electric taxi innovator, WheelTug, which showcased its cutting-edge e-taxi technology at this year’s Farnborough Airshow.

More than 20 airlines have already signed with WheelTug, which is currently in the certification process and is expected to enter service, initially for Boeing 737NG aircraft, by 2019. flydubai is the latest carrier to sign up to the innovative solution.

This week the Dubai-based carrier signed up to reserve 60 WheelTug systems for its fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 and Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft. It hopes that the innovative system will help make its ground operations more efficient, cost effective and reliable.

“With its innovative use of technology, we look forward to seeing what efficiencies WheelTug’s systems can bring to flydubai’s fleet of 61 aircraft,” said Mick Hills, senior vice president engineering and maintenance, flydubai.

The cutting-edge system uses high-performance electric motors, installed in the nose gear wheels of an aircraft to provide full mobility and enhanced autonomy while on the ground. It enables pilot-controlled forward and reverse movement in gate and terminal areas without tractors or jet engines. Currently around 2% of pushbacks take more than 13 minutes, the effects of which can quickly cascade system-wide. Aircraft fitted with WheelTug technology can reliably push back in 60 seconds without the need of a tractor.

A WheelTug spokesperson explains that one of the advantages for airports is that the retrofit system is leased to airlines/ operators on a savings per minute basis, so there is no charge to airports. It also enables airports to motivate and incentivise airlines to adopt e-taxi systems.

Plus, it is beneficial in terms of its environmental impact. It reduces ground noise, improving the environment for both passengers and neighbours and reduces emissions. And of course, when it comes to the all important passenger experience, flights that leave when scheduled, push back quickly and arrive on time will keep passengers happy and coming back for more.

Written by: Kimberley Young

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