Four airports in the Bahamas confirm delivery of Oshkosh ARFF vehicles

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Oshkosh Airport Products has delivered four of its Striker ARFF vehicles to four airports in The Bahamas, including: Leonard Thompson International Airport in Marsh Harbour, Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau, Exuma International Airport in Moss Town and North Eleuthera International Airport.

Made up of 16 main islands The Bahamas’ Airport Network is comprised of 20 international airports, which receive scheduled commercial air services from the US, Canada, Europe, and Latin America. The airports serve more than 3.5 million air travellers each year.

“The Oshkosh custom designed and purpose built ARFF chassis with the TAK-4 independent suspension offers superior mobility and payload capacity to complete demanding missions.” said Jack Bermingham, Business Unit Director for Oshkosh Airport Products. “We remain dedicated to providing exemplary service and partnership to support any of their needs in the years ahead.”

Header image: The Commonwealth of The Bahamas have taken delivery of four Oshkosh Airport Products Striker® 4×4 ARFF vehicles

Riyadh Airports Company sees strong passenger rebound at King Khalid

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Riyadh Airports Company (RAC), which operates King Khalid Airport in Riyadh has seen passenger traffic soar at the Saudi Arabia gateway with passenger numbers rebounding to pre-COVID-19 levels and commercial revenues in March topping those recorded in the same month in 2019.

March this year was the most successful month of duty-free sales ever recorded at the air transport hub with duty-free sales showing a growth rate of 62% compared to March 2019 (and a growth of 243% compared to March 2021). Other areas that also performed strongly were food and beverage (F&B), which was up 12%, retail and services up 14% and car parking up by 29% in March 2022 compared to March 2019.

CEO of RAC, Egn. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Maghlouth highlighted that these figures illustrate the underlying growth in the region’s aviation sector.  He was joined by Ayman Aboabah, VP Operations who said: “The strength of passenger recovery in March is an excellent result, delivered as a product of our collective and coordinated efforts. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our stakeholders and partners, and build further on the excellent recovery as the year progresses.”

With the regional travel market showing strong signs of rebounding, RAC’s Acting VP Commercial also expressed his optimism for the future saying: “We are confident these results are just the tip of the iceberg, and that we will see new records throughout the year.”

airBaltic launches Tampere hub with seven new routes

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Latvian low-fare carrier airBaltic has opened its Tampere base in Finland – the airline’s first base outside the Baltic states.

Speaking at the opening of the new base, airBaltic CEO, Martin Gauss, said: “The opening of the new base provides new travel opportunities for both our current and future passengers. We hope that the passenger demand will gradually grow, therefore we may launch additional new destinations to various business hubs and leisure destinations over time.”

Initially the airline will serve seven direct routes in addition to continued operations to Riga in Latvia. The new links being served from Tampere include: Oslo, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Munich, Malaga, Rhodes and Amsterdam. The latter will commence in June, while all other links are being served from May.

Mari Nurminen, VP for Central and Eastern Finland Airports and Tampere-Pirkkala Airport Manager at Finavia commented: “We are delighted to celebrate airBaltic’s new base at Tampere-Pirkkala Airport. This launch marks a great milestone in the long cooperation between Finavia and airBaltic. Seven new routes bring a great variety of European cities close to both leisure and business travellers of Tampere, which we can all be very happy about.”

Toulouse welcomes return of Air Transat link to Montreal

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Air Transat has resumed its service between Toulouse in France and Montreal in Canada. The direct flights are being operated four times a week on an Airbus A231 aircraft.

Describing the bond between France and Canada as “precious”, Cyril Cousin, Director of Air Transat France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany, said: “It is a real pleasure for us to restore our direct flights from Toulouse, a route that has been integral to our programme for more than 30 years and which we now operate exclusively. We know that travellers whether on vacation or reuniting with loved ones, particularly appreciate the ease of getting to their final destination non-stop.”

Meanwhile, Philippe Crebassa, Chairman of the Managemetn Board of Toulouse Blagnac Airport said: “This reopening was eagerly awaited and we are delighted to see Air Transat’s aircraft again. We welcome with open arms our Canadian friends to our region. This link will also allow those living in Toulouse to discover the beautiful province of Quebec, as well as enable travel for professionals, family members and friends living either side of the Atlantic to reunite.”

Passengers will be able to make the most of Air Transat’s Canadian network from Montreal thanks to the carriers domestic network in Canada.

Bali’s Denpasar Airport celebrates return of Emirates

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For the first time since the suspension of flights in 2020 due to the global pandemic, Emirates has returned to Denpasar International Airport in Bali. Flight EK398 was welcomed at the Indonesian gateway on 1 May by a spectacular water cannon salute.

Reflecting the island’s unique culture and rich heritage, the airline’s operating cabin crew and passengers were treated to a warm welcome with the traditional joged bumbung dance performance and a cake cutting ceremony.

The return of Emirates’ service to Bali, comes as a result of easing international travel restrictions and the ramping up of global operations.

To provide its passengers with the highest safety standards at every single stage of the journey, Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of health and safety measures. Custoemrs travelling from Dubai can also take advantage of the contactless biometric path at Dubai International for a quicker journey at the airport with minimum to no human interaction.

Christchurch Airport declares itself climate positive

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Christchurch Airport in New Zealand has marked a new milestone in its lower carbon journey having gone beyond being carbon neutral to become climate positive.

The airport has had greenhouse gas (GHG) footprints independently measured and audited since 2006. It was recognised as  world leading in airport decarbonisation in late 2020, when it became the world’s first airport to achieve Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 4. It now mentors other air transport hubs around the world, including New York’s JFK, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia in the US, as well as Bristol in the UK, Perth and Brisbane Airports in Australia and the Irish Airports Group, on how to reduce emissions.

“Achieving this next level in our journey is critically important, because airports and aviation support economic activities that earn the most export dollars per tonne of carbon and support improved wellbeing for future generations,” said Christchurch Airport’s Chief Executive, Malcolm Johns, commenting on the airports climate positive achievement.

He added that the airport will continue to address its emissions reductions, ahead of science-based targets aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

“This includes working with airline partners to accelerate the decarbonisation of the aviation sector,” he said. “Emissions by aircraft while in the air are a big part of the remaining challenge. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers have plans to accelerate the development and deployment of lower-carbon technology.”

In December 2021, the airport announced its Kowhai Park project – to be New Zealand’s largest solar energy array at 400 hectares on the airport premises.

“By developing renewable energy, we will have the potential to provide 100% renewable electricity or hydrogen for aviation in Christchurch, and a renewable energy source to power low carbon ground transport and industry for Christchurch.

“We see Kowhai Park as a step beyond carbon neutrality and a way we can catalyse the low carbon future of the Canterbury region.”

Christchurch is working with Hamburg Airport in Germany as a leader in applying hydrogen within airport operations to combine their knowledge and accelerate adaptation. The New Zealand hub is also supporting permanent native forestry restoration to remove GHG emissions from the atmosphere with Johns highlighting, “Our ambition is to go beyond ‘neutral’. We want to have a positive net benefit on our environment so are aiming at 25% beyond neutral.”

He concluded: “Investing in New Zealand based permanent native forestry restoration to remove carbon from our atmosphere beyond our own footprint. This will also actively assist biodiversity, habitat restoration, landscape resilience improvements, soil health and water quality.”


Planes have airports but eVTOLs now have an Urban-Air Port

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Monday 25 April saw UK-based developer of ground infrastructure for air taxis and autonomous delivery drones, Urban-Air Port, open Air-One – a world-first demonstration of a fully-operational hub for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.

With Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) predicted to become a trillion-dollar market within the next two decades the launch of Air-One heralds a tipping point for the age of zero-emission, low-congestion urban transport.

Situated in a car park in Coventry, a short walk from the city centre’s main train station and surrounded by busy roads and a built-up urban environment, getting Air-One up and established has been no feat. Addressing media and delegates attending the official unveiling of his vertiport, Ricky Sandhu, Urban-Air Port Founder and Chief Executive, said the project had been a truly collaborative effort. He credited his entire team of 25 staff, as well as the UK Government, Supernal and Hyundai (who are working with Urban-Air Port to develop plans for AAM, including eVTOL aircraft), Coventry City Council and Coventry University for their support in the establishment and unveiling of Air-One. The international business division of Munich Airport is also closely cooperating on the launch of the infrastructure to help ensure the project becomes a blueprint for future vertiport developments.

“From design, through to fabrication and now into operation, Urban-Air Port has delivered Air-One in just 15 months, setting the standard for deployment globally and opening up a world of possibilities for rapid response air mobility,” said Sandhu.

Introducing his Chief Development Officer, Stuart Bloomfield, to the audience Sandhu also proudly noted that “the order book already contains orders currently valuing £65 million.”

The circular shaped “vertiport” or “urban air port” as Sandhu prefers to call it is a 1,700 sq.m. structure featuring a take-off and landing platform in the centre that can be raised up and down to launch eVTOLs, such as air taxis, as well as drones. In the departure/ arrivals area surrounding the landing platform, passengers and customers will be able to browse carefully selected, sustainable fashion brands and enjoy sustainably sourced food as well as beverages at the Urban Air-Port cafe. Electric charging points for cars will be featured in the car park, so that those dropping off passengers or collecting deliveries can charge their vehicles while waiting.

“Our non-aeronautical brand, Urban-Air Choice, is key to our model. We want customers to come and charge their cars here, grab a coffee and use our app to purchase the brands being showcased here so it can then be dispatched by drone delivery,” Sandhu tells Regional Gateway.

Despite a booming market and a strong pipeline of eVTOLs entering commercial operations this decade, the lack of ground infrastructure remains one of the single biggest barriers to growth, according to analysis by NASA. Air-One demonstrates how purpose-built ground infrastructure can unleash the potential of AAM to decarbonise transport and cut air pollution and congestion, whilst providing seamless passenger journeys and deliveries.

Urban-Air Port is accelerating plans to develop 200 vertiports worldwide with infrastructure already planned elsewhere in the UK, the US, Australia, South Korea, France, Germany, Scandinavia and South East Asia.

Designed to be highly flexible and to cater to different markets, Urban-Air Port vertiports can be deployed at short notice to enable drones and other eVTOL aircraft to collect and transport emergency supplies, equipment and people in disaster situations such as floods or earthquakes. They can also be operated completely off-grid using on-site hydrogen fuel cell, zero-emission generation technology.

The company’s revenue model is based on offering varying models ranging from simply purchasing Urban-Air Port infrastructure, through to a full-service offering that includes site-specific design development and ongoing operations and maintenance for their ground, air and digital infrastructure solutions.

Flights of large cargo drones by Malloy Aeronautics, as well as Skyfarer and West Midlands Police, were demonstrated during the launch.

“Our vision is that AAM and Urban-Air Port infrastructure will be so integrated into our built-up environment that you won’t even see it. They will be like a train station or bus stop – immersed in a city environment, on rooftops, on rivers, city boxes. The cool thing is that this technology and this infrastructure will mitigate drones flying everywhere, as there will be key points to fly to and from. It will become normalised,” Sandhu concluded.

Schaumburg Regional Airport’s revv aviation joins Avfuel’s network

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Having assumed operation of the FBO at Schaumburg Regional Airport in Illinois, revv aviation has now also joined the Avfuel-branded network.

The addition of Schaumburg brings revv aviation’s Avfuel-branded locations to six, joining Chicago/ Aurora (also in Illlinois), Janesville in Wisconsin and three Iowa locations: Council Bluffs, Davenport and Muscatine.

Commenting on the addition of the FBO to its network, Avfuel’s Senior Vice President of Sales, Joel Hirst, said: “The Schaumburg airfield serves a burgeoning area and its addition to the Avfuel network will provide premier service options for Avfuel’s flight department customers.

Comprising 13,052 sq. ft, the Schaumburg facility offers a passenger terminal, an executive conference room and hangar space able to accommodate up to medium-sized aircraft, like a Citation Ultra.

Noting that the airfield is currently under-utilised, Guy Lieser, CEO of revv aviation said: “Schaumburg is the closest northern airport to the city of Chicago and its three-million people. We see tremendous opportunity to serve both the local community and Chicago’s business centre.”

revv aviation was chosen by the village of Schaumburg (formerly Carver Aero) to take over operations after the previous operator left the facility. “Our goal is to work with the village regarding additional hangar construction, as well as increasing our flight school, charter services and maintenance operations.”

In keeping with its foundational business strategy, revv aviation continues to expand its Midwest FbO footrpint, connecting small towns and providing a full offering of aviation services for student pilots, business and private aviation travellers and aviators.

Sky Harbor first in Phoenix to benefit from US federal funding

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Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is to benefit from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for its renovation project. The airport is the first City of Phoenix project to receive the federal funding.

The renovation project includes the construction of a long-awaited cross-field taxiway connecting the north and south airfields. Estimated to cost $260 million, the 2,000-foot taxiway will join the two airfields allowing for better aircraft flow and airfield operations. Design has begun on the project and federal environmental approvals are expected later this summer. Approximately $194 million is anticipated to come from monies set aside by the infrastructure package with the balance being met by Passenger Facility Charges and airport revenues.

Phoenix Mayor, Kate Gallego, commented: “This airfield project is another step in connecting Phoenix to the world. As one of the first projects for the city identified for delivery under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this new taxiway will reduce aircraft taxi time, improve utilisation of all runways, and add capacity for our airline partners. Infrastructure investments like this make our city even more attractive to the global aviation industry including travellers using Sky Harbor.”

Possible future projects to support the airport’s anticipated growth in passenger traffic could include a second north concourse at Terminal 3, a pedestrian bridge between Terminals 3 and 4, infrastructure improvements at Terminal 4, as well as upgrades to lighting, new solar installations, and the replacement of fleet vehicles with electric vehicles. Some $5 billion has been set aside in federal funding to be distributed in competitive grants for airport terminal projects, alongside other competitive grant opportunities for projects that promote sustainability.

Manchester Airport welcomes return of Air Canada link to Toronto

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Manchester Airport in the UK is set to welcome the return of Air Canada’s non-stop seasonal route between the UK’s northern hub and Toronto in Canada. The service will be operated five times weekly on an Airbus A330-300 aircraft accommodating 297 passengers with a choice of three classes of service.

Flights between the two cities have been optimised to benefit from connectivity to Air Canada’s extensive North American network, including 46 airports in the US.

Describing the resumed services as “very exciting”, Stephen Gerrard, Air Canada General Manager Sales, UK and Ireland, added: “Our non-stop flight between Manchester and Toronto will provide our customers in the north west of England with a direct link to Canada and beyond.”

Meanwhile, Manchester Airport’s Interim Managing Director, Ian Costigan, said: “The service to Toronto is fantastic news for companies large and small across the North who do business with Canada, and also for tourism and those visiting friends and family. It is also great to see the carrier return with its mainline service, offering a high-quality product with both business and premium economy classes.”