Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport unveils fully automated exit lane.

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As part of a mission to increase capacity in a secure and efficient manner, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Arizona has become the first commercial airport in the US’s southwest to install a fully-automated exit lane for arriving passengers.

“We are happy to find innovative ways to serve more passengers and improve on the hassle-free experience that travellers have come to expect at Gateway Airport,” said Jenn Daniels, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority chairperson.

The airport served nearly 1.4 million passengers in 2017, its second best year on record. The growth is attributed to 11 new routes launched by Allegiant Air and WestJet and by adding a fully-automated exit lane, airport management hopes to better serve the growing number of travellers choosing to fly from Gateway Airport

In addition to the automated exit lane Gateway Airport has expanded the TSA Security Screening Checkpoint lane, which will provide a larger, more efficient passenger queuing system.

“These projects were finished just in time for the busy spring travel season and were completed without any passenger disruptions,” added Daniels.

DWL Architects, DPR Construction and dormakaba (the global security group) were tasked with the design and construction of both projects, which were completed under budget and earlier than expected.

Explaining how both initiatives will enhance the passenger experience at the airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority’s executive director and CEO, J.Brian O’Neill stated:” These projects provide enhanced security, increased efficiency, and a better overall passenger experience.”

Jambojet spreads its East African wings to Entebbe Airport

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Nairobi based low-fare airline, Jambojet, has expanded its reach in East Africa with the launch of a double daily flight between Nairobi in Kenya and Entebbe in Uganda.

The new route marks the airline’s first destination outside Kenya. It had previously only operated flights to Eldoret, Kisumu, Malindi, Mombasa, Nairobi and Ukunda.

A subsidiary of Kenya Airways, the budget carrier’s chief executive, Willem Hondius, recently told reporters that he believes the regional flight will spur the airline’s growth, as well as foster regional integration at a national level.

“We are delighted to launch a direct service to Entebbe, a much-anticipated addition to our network where we will offer frequent and new flyers even more affordable fares. This new route will connect businesses in Kenya and Uganda while also appealing to leisure travellers, offering them the opportunity to experience the ‘Pearl of Africa’,” said Hondius.

The airline currently operates a young fleet of four Dash 8 Q400 aircraft, but Jambojet’s new route will be served with the airline’s recently acquired 78-seater turboprop Bombardier Next Gen Q400, which it plans to use to continue expanding its reach by venturing into other regional destinations.


Stornoway welcomes increased service to Manchester with Loganair

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The Scottish regional airline Loganair has released a new timetable designed to further improve links to Manchester and England’s North West region.

Last December the airline announced its first ever nonstop weekly service linking Stornoway in the Western Isles of Scotland with Manchester. From summer 2018 Loganair will increase flights on this route to two nonstop services per week.

Commenting on the increased service Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s managing director said: “This is fantastic news for the tourism industry on Lewis and the Western Isles in general. It also allows greater flexibility of business and leisure trips from Lewis to the North West of England.”

In addition to the Saturday service which operates throughout the busy summer season from 23 June through to 1 September, a Wednesday flight will now operate from 27 June to 29 August.

This combination of two flights a week will provide greater options, “increasing flexibility whether for those using the new nonstop links to access the wide variety of onward flights for both leisure or business trips from Manchester Airport, and for those from England’s North West using the new nonstop services to reach the beautiful Western Isles for long or short holiday breaks,” Hinkles added.

Huntsville welcomes daily nonstop service from Orlando

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Florida’s first commercial carrier, Silver Airways, will commence a new daily nonstop service between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Huntsville International Airport (HSV) in Alabama from 23 May 2018.

The new route will be operated on Silver’s new fleet of ATR-600 aircraft with introductory fares starting at just $99.

“We are thrilled to welcome Silver Airways as a new carrier for not only the Tennessee Valley region, but also the state of Alabama,” stated Betty Fletcher, chairman, board of directors, Huntsville International Airport.

The largest commercial airport in North Alabama, Huntsville serves more than 1.2m passengers annually and currently has non-stop services to nine destinations in the US including: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston and two airports in Washington.

Fletcher added that the “addition of Orlando to the list of nonstop destinations for our market is outstanding. This has been one of Huntsville’s most requested destinations by our passengers and so it is exciting to have this new carrier to fulfil that request.”

The new Orlando-Huntsville service will be complemented by one-stop connections from Huntsville to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Key West, which are all situated in Florida on the east coast of the US.

Adding to Fletcher’s comments, Huntsville Airport’s executive director, Rick Tucker, added “Attracting and sustaining new air service is a community-wide matter that affects each and every one of us – both the leisure traveller and the business traveller.

“Announcements like the addition of a new nonstop service from Huntsville to Orlando is an excellent first step to providing the citizens of the Tennessee Valley more air travel options and savings.”

Tucker also reiterated the integral role such links provide in boosting the local economy and in increasing access for both inbound and outbound traffic saying: “Support from the business community and our residents is integral to attracting and sustaining service like this in Huntsville and so we encourage everyone to fly HSV and Silver Airways so that we can continue to provide more air travel options to more destinations and with lower fares.”


Header image: Orlando Airport; Inset image (bottom) Huntsville Airport.

New Nashville-Atlanta low-fare link

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As of August 2018, Southwest Airlines will be adding five departures a day Monday through Friday between two southern states in the US – Nashville and Atlanta. The route will also be served three times a day on Saturdays and Sundays.

Reflecting demand from the low-fare carrier’s passengers to connect key markets the new route is in response to business community requests from both Nashville and Atlanta explained Trevor Stedke, vice-president of technical operations and Southwest’s executive ambassador to Nashville.

“We look forward to showing how our low fares, no change fees and hospitality will resonate and make travel easier between these two growing cities,” he said.

Stedke also commented that “the routes offered with the schedule extension through the third quarter of 2018 reinforce our long-standing commitment to connect people and communities to what’s important to them with friendly, reliable low-cost air travel.”

Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority president and CEO, Doug Kreulen, added that Southwest’s decision to add a nonstop service to Atlanta out of Nashville “will be welcomed by travellers to and from Nashville, particularly within the business community, which has long-sought more such services.

“This new route brings competition to that market and provides additional options for our passengers. As a valued business partner for more than 30 years at BNA, Southwest Airlines again demonstrates its continued commitment to and investment in our airport and the city of Nashville.”

Header image: Nashville International Airport

Liverpool welcomes the return of flights to Shannon

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Flights will resume between Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) and Shannon Airport on the west coast of Ireland later this year, thanks to Ryanair.

The low-fare Irish carrier will commence flights in Summer 2018, operating a three-times weekly service on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays until the end of October.

Commenting on the new service Paul Winfield, director of aviation development for LJLA, said: “We are delighted to see the return of Shannon to the Liverpool network for summer 2018. This new service will allow passengers from across the North West market to enjoy a faster, easier, friendlier experience when travelling to and from Shannon.

The route between the two regional hubs was last operated in 2014.

Alaska’s ANC sees US$7m cargo activity boost in 2017

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The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) saw a steady increase in cargo activity during 2017, with 79,595 cargo landings, an increase of 4.6% compared to 2016.

The increase in cargo landings brought an added US$7 million to the Alaska International Airport System. Passenger traffic in 2017 was stable at over 5 million, and ANC remained third in North America for concession sales per passenger at $13.93.

All ANC revenue is used to operate the airport as a self-sustaining entity, which is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration. The airport said the strong revenue numbers this year allows ANC to provide a low-cost environment for its customers.

“The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport continues to be a strong performer in Alaska’s economy,” said Alaska governor Bill Walker. “We highly value the central role that Anchorage plays in transpacific air cargo. As we continue to strengthen our relationships in Asia we will keep working hard for continued growth at ANC.”

In 2018 the airport is to see an additional Saturday flight to Minneapolis from Sun Country Airlines.

“We are excited that Sun Country is adding an additional flight this summer,” said ANC airport manager, Jim Szczesniak. “This flight will bring in more passengers and that will have a direct impact on Alaska’s tourism industry.”

The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is utilised by 22 major international air cargo carriers and nine domestic cargo carriers.

Billund Airport to welcome LOT Polish Airlines

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Denmark’s Billund Airport is to expand its hub connectors to 11 airlines starting on 2 July when LOT Polish Airlines commences operations from its Warsaw Chopin base.

Operating 12 times weekly, the Star Alliance carrier will service the route with a mixture of its E170 and E175 fleet.

“We are proud to welcome LOT to Billund and delighted that it has seen the potential in the West Denmark market,” says Kjeld Zacho Jørgensen, CEO, Billund Airport. “The airline’s schedule provides excellent connectivity to its destinations in Poland, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as all its intercontinental destinations in Asia and North America.”

Indirect traffic from West Denmark to Warsaw has grown by 22% last year. “More than 22,000 Polish people live in our catchment, and 40,000 West Danes visited Poland last year,” adds Zacho Jørgensen. “We also know that the potential demand on LOT’s onward network via its hub to destinations like Beijing, Singapore and New York is around 435,000 passengers per year.”

This new service joins the airports existing link to Chopin, flown twice-weekly by Wizz Air who also operate a three times weekly service to Gdansk, while Ryanair offers twice-weekly flights to Poznan.

Prior to LOT’s announcement, the Polish market was expected to be Billund’s 12th largest country market, offering close to 37,000 seats during S18, as a result of this expansion the country market is anticipated to top 50,000 seats this summer.

Allegiant plans new year-round base at VPS

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Low-fare airline Allegiant has announced plans to invest more than $49 million to establish a year-round base of operations at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) in Florida, which will house two Airbus aircraft.

The airport, which offers regional and low-fare services, will become the airline’s 14th year-round aircraft base. The carrier used the airport as a seasonal base during summer 2017.

As part of Allegiant’s growth in Florida, the company anticipates adding more than 65 new, high-wage jobs during 2018.

“We are excited to continue our growth in Florida’s Emerald Coast by establishing a full-time base at Destin-Fort Walton Beach,” said Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., Allegiant’s chairman and CEO. “The base will not only afford many more options when it comes to adding routes and expanding service, but will also give us the opportunity to contribute even more to the community and the state’s economy.”

The aircraft base is expected to bring an anticipated $418 million to the region’s economy in tourism revenue on a five-year horizon.

Allegiant employs more than 4,000 team members across the country, and plans to immediately begin hiring pilots, flight attendants, maintenance technicians and ground personnel to support its operations.

Allegiant’s service in Destin-Fort Walton Beach began with six routes in 2016, and expanded to 16 cities in 2017. In celebration of the new base, the carrier has announced new, seasonal services to five cities, bringing the total number of cities with service to the Emerald Coast to 21.

“We are thrilled! Allegiant’s model fits like a glove at VPS and a year-round base will bring monumental widespread economic impacts to our region. We look forward to Allegiant’s continued success at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport,” said Tracy Stage, Okaloosa County’s airports director.

The new routes will operate twice weekly, and will bring nearly 25,000 additional visitors to the area.

Florida Governor Rick Scott called Allegiant’s announcement, “a great reminder of how our tourism industry supports Florida business and communities and creates new opportunities for our families.”

Scott added: “Tourism partners like Allegiant work hand-in-hand with VISIT FLORIDA to bring more visitors to our state and we must make sure this success continues by fully funding VISIT FLORIDA at $100 million. I look forward to seeing Allegiant’s success in Destin and across the state as we continue to welcome families from all across the world to Florida.”

easyjet de-icing

London Southend opens purpose-built de-icing facility

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London Southend Airport has become the first airport in Britain to deliver a purpose built aircraft de-icing facility, aiming to increase efficiency and the speed of de-icing.

Instead of de-icing when the plane is on its stand and fully loaded with passengers, an aircraft can push back and taxi to the Centralised De-icing Facility. With engines running, the plane will be efficiently de-iced before taxiing for take-off.

This facility enables more aircraft to de-ice more quickly and to get to the runway for departure well within hold-over times.

The de-icing fluid is captured by the pads drainage and taken for specialist treatment before being safely disposed of.

Glyn Jones, chief executive officer of Stobart Aviation, the owners of London Southend Airport, said: “This new de-icing facility is another example of London Southend leading the way within the aviation industry, using innovative, brand new technology to provide a much better airport experience for our partners and passengers. For both travellers and airlines there is nothing more frustrating than bad weather leading to delays, so we’ve, quite literally, invented a solution to try and minimise that.”

Construction of the facility started in October 2017 and it has now been tested and approved by the airport’s airline partners easyJet and Stobart Air.

“We’re delighted to see the introduction of a new de-icing facility at London Southend Airport,” said Graeme Buchanan, managing director of Stobart Air. Stobart Air is dedicated to providing a convenient and seamless service to passengers and partners and this facility strengthens our position. In a UK first, the new de-icing facility is a demonstration of cutting edge technology and we will continue to push the boundaries of innovation.”

Captain Chris Foster, flight operations performance manager, easyJet, welcomed the new de-icing facility, and said: “The new facility has the potential to help us further improve our already industry-leading on-time performance, getting passengers flying with us from London Southend into the air and on to their destinations quickly and safely.”