Porto offers best value car parking for all European airports

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According to a study conducted in Q3, 2022 by confused.com car parking at Porto Airport in Portugal costs 97% less than local parking. The hub was also found to have the cheapest airport parking among 32 European hubs. A total of 32 airports were ranked according to the price difference between airport parking and nearby public car parks on Parkopedia.

At Porto, customers looking for short stays pay £3.44 at the airport, instead of the local average of £115.01. This was alsmost five times cheaper than parking at Alicante Airport in Spain (£16.36). Porto Airport also has the most affordable on-site parking for week-long stays, charging £24.08 for seven days. Nearby parking was found to cost £805.07 (£780.99) more expensive for the same amount of time.

Ranking second for cheapest parking was Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, Sweden, which was found to charge 77.09% less than the nearby average for parking. Nice Cote d’Azur Airport in France was found to cost 58.82% less than the nearby average. Customers parking at the French hub typically pay £17.21 for 24-hour stays, instead of the local average of £41.81.

Dublin, Munich, Athens, Barcelona El Prat, Malaga, Fontanarossa and Dusseldorf airports all featured in the top 10 cheapest hubs for parking.

London airports however have the highest prices in Europe for on-site parking. Gatwick, Stansted and London Heathrow charge the highest price increase for their on-site parking in comparison to the local average. Short-stay parking at Gatwick Airport costs £45 (five times more than the local average of £8.20). This is an increase of 448.78%.

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com commented: “Holidaymakers are no doubt trying to save money where they can. And this will include parking costs. But airport parking, while expensive, can be worth the money for peace of mind when travelling as it’s often hassle-free and secure.

“With airport parking being quite a significant expense, many may be attracted by the cheaper alternatives, such as off-site car parks. However, these do come with some risks.” He pointed out that for passengers wanting to save money on car parking it is tempting to opt for off-site options. However security at some of these facilities could be compromised and passengers should check the security measures in place before booking and avoid leaving any valuable inside.

He also noted that car doors should be locked and alarms working when using parking facilities. “It’s also advised to check your mileage when returning to your car. This is because some unofficial car parks could be charging less for your stay, but actually using your car whilst you’re on holiday.”

African airports demonstrate commitment to reducing carbon emissions

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With the global airport community gathering in Marrakesh, Morocco this week for Airports Council International (ACI) World’s Annual General Assembly, airports on the continent continue to demonstrate their commitment to reducing carbon emissions . The Airport Carbon Accreditation has announced new entries and upgrades to higher levels of accreditation.

Currently, there are now 25 African airports in 13 countries addressing their carbon emissions at one of the sic levels available through the Airport Carbon Accreditation framework. They jointly cover more than 40% of African air passenger traffic.

Expressing his delight at the increasing number of African airports joining and progressing on the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, Ali Tounsi, Secretary General of ACI Africa said: “These achievements show that airports in the region are already contributing in very tangible ways to ICAO’s Long Term Aspirational Goal of net-zero CO2 for international aviation by 2050 – as they are addressing and eliminating emissions under their own control, while also increasingly working with businesses operating at their premises to influence further CO2 reductions. We celebrate the achievements of the carbon accredited airports and encourage all African airports to join the momentum.”

Conference host, Moroccan Airports Authority (ONDA) has met all the requirements to accredit two more airports within its network: Rabat-Salé Airport and Fès Saïss Airport on the scheme’s Level 1 ‘Mapping’. In addition, ONDA’s two primary hubs, Marrakesh Menara and Casablanca Mohammed V succeeded in upgrading to Level 2 ‘Reduction’  – the level at which airports are required to provide evidence of tangible CO2 reductions of emissions under their direct control.

Meanwhile, Monastir Habib Bourguiba International Airport (pictured), which is operated by TAV Airports joined the programme at Level 2, following in the footsteps of Enfidha Hammamet International Airport, the first airport to be accredited in the continent. It was also the very first to reach Level 3 ‘Optimisation’, which means it is activating its business partners and stakeholders operating at the airport site to get them involved in measuring and reducing their own carbon emissions as well as the airport’s own scope 1 and 2 carbon reductions.  Meanwhile Abidjan Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport in Côte d’Ivoire, remains the only carbon neutral airport in Africa.

European airports welcome ICAO’s long-term net zero goal

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Airports Council International (ACI) Europe has welcomed the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO’s) Long Term Aspirational Goal for global aviation to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. The announcement follows a two-week long political negotiations aligning international aviation’s climate objective with the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement – as well with the net zero pledge made by the aviation industry last year.

Olivier Jankovec, ACI Europe Director General commented: “ICAO’s global commitment to aviation’s net zero future is a key milestone for the industry for the climate. The industry’s ambition is now finally being met at the political level globally. We now need ICAO to urgently work on concrete implementation  policies and actions – guiding States across the World towards delivery and supporting the industry in the transition.”

More than 270 airports in ACI Europe’s network have already individually committed to the net zero 2050 pledge, representing 75.5% of European air passenger traffic (as per 2019 traffic levels) with nearly 50% of airports who now have even more ambitious net zero targets in their sights.  In addition airports have been delivering tangible CO2 reductions for more than a decade through the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, which launched in 2009. While the initiative has expanded beyond Europe and is now adopted by airports around the world, it also demonstrates how decarbonisation happens at varying speeds across world regions. As such climate policy framework needs to take into account regional differences in progression.

At the Euorpe level, the EU institutions are working to accelerate the implementation of the European Green Deal, including proposals on how to reach -55% CO2 emissions by 2030 through the Fit for 55 regulatory package. The European aviation eco-system supports this ambition and is working with the institutions on necessary adjustments to the files.


ACI Europe joins alliance for Zero-Emission Aviation

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The end of September saw ACI Europe join the Alliance for Zero-Emission Aviation (AZEA), a voluntary initiative led by the European Commission bringing aviation stakeholders together to prepare Europe for hydrogen and electric flight.

The Alliance will build on the findings of the industry-led Destination 2050 roadmap as regards the emission reduction potential of alternative propulsion technologies, notably hydrogen and electric powered aircraft. It aims to leverage the investments and technological developments pursued through EU aviation research programmes, including Clean Aviation and the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking and coordinate efforts across the aviation eco-system. In addition, AZEA plans to address the regulatory and financial challenges involved so as to pave the way for the next generation of sustainable aircraft to come to market as commercially viable products.

Commenting on the the association’s decision to join the alliance, Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe, said: “Europe’s airports have long been at the forefront of climate mitigation efforts, including through the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, the ACI Europe Net Zero pledge and the Destination 2050 alliance. Nonetheless, emissions from flights remain the biggest chunk of aviation’s carbon footprint and with today’s announcement we show our unwavering commitment to working together with industry partners to address it. Supporting the development and deployment of alternative propulsion technologies is a natural continuation of our work to limit the industry’s impact on the climate.”

By joining forces with AZEA’s wide range of partners ACI Europe will further boost the alliance’s knowledge base in terms of airport infrastructure and will support the planning and readiness of European airports for the major changes new technologies will trigger.

A dedicated taskforce spearheaded by ACI Europe and comprising AENA, Aeroporti di Roma, Brussels Airport, Dublin Airports Authority, Geneva Airport, Groupe ADP, Munich Airport, Royal Schiphol Group, SEA Milan Airports and Swedavia will drive the airport industry’s contribution to the alliance under the supervision of the association’s Environmental Strategy Committee.

Jankovec added: “We believe that there is a strong business case behind developing environmentally sustainable aircraft. Industry preparedness and in particular infrastructure readiness will be crucial in securing its market viability and success. Airport infrastructure projects are developed to last decades, so it is of fundamental importance that the development of hydrogen and electric powered aircraft technologies goes hand-in-hand with the adaptation and development of the necessary airport infrastructure. We will be there to secure that crucial part of the process.”

Smiths Detection launches Open Architecture initiative

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Smiths Detection, which specialises in threat detection and security screening technologies, has launched an Open Architecture (OA)  initiative. Named the Ada Initiative after Ada Lovelace, a 19th Century English mathematician and writer, who was the first person to publish an algorithm, it will benefit customers across Smiths Detection’s markets in aviation, ports and borders, as well as defence and urban security.

Hardware, software and algorithms from different product suppliers can be plugged together using OA. By driving the continued development of OA, Smiths Detection will work with both start-up and established third parties for technology to be seamlessly and safely integrated with Smiths Detection’s own software and equipment.

Richard Thompson, VP Marketing Smiths Detection said: “In security operations, where there are often fragmented physical and digital components from different suppliers, OA can help get the most out of all these elements. With the Ada Initiative we are working to ensure all components seamlessly and compliantly work together, so customers can achieve operational efficiencies, improved safety outcomes and work with a more relevant, precise data ecosystem.”

He added that, “throughout this initiative, we’re working with a growing number of stakeholders to ensure we achieve a responsible, reliable and practical interoperability of technologies, and deliver ever higher standards of safety, infosec and operational benefit to users.”

UK airports celebrate return of VAT free shopping

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In a breakthrough for the UK’s aviation industry, the UK Government is re-introducing tax-free shopping for international visitors.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced the move in his ‘mini budget’ statement to the House of Commons on 23 September.

In addition to VAT-free shopping for non-UK visitors, Kwarteng added that plans are afoot to “replace the old paper-based system with a modern, digital one and this will be in place as soon as possible. This is a priority for our great British retailers, so it is our priority too.”

The VAT refund is expected to cover goods purchased on the High Street and includes airside shopping post-security at airports and other departure points of sale.

Speaking on behalf of Airport Operators Association (AOA) members, Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the association said: “We are pleased that the government has listened and reintroduced VAT free shopping for international visitors. The imposition of VAT placed our airports at a significant competitive disadvantage compared to our European neighbours and its reintroduction will provide a real boost to our aviation, travel and tourism industry as we continue to rebuild from the impacts of the pandemic.”

Dee added that the government must now go further and act on arrivals duty free in the upcoming Budget.

“The renewed focus on infrastructure projects, creation of investment zones and broader fiscal measures are welcome and must be used to support the recovery of UK airports and place our aviation industry back at the heart of the UK economy,” she concluded.

AviAssist launches new course for Africa’s ground handling industry

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AviAssist has launched a new product for Africa’s ground handling industry to help address one of the main threats to safety identified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The new online course on Aeronautical Knowledge for Ground Handling was announced during the 6th Aviation Africa summit, which took place 12-13 September in Kigali, Rwanda.

AviAssist worked with NAC2000 – the only IATA (ISAGO) certified ground handler in Zambia to develop the course as well as industry experts in the Netherlands. Jonathan Lewis, NAC 2000 Managing Director commented: “It is difficult and expensive to continuously train new staff members at both operational and mid management levels.”

He added that, “Many skilled employees have left the industry and are not coming back. Recruiting, training and accrediting new staff can take up to six months. So, it is critical that we retain current staff and find more efficient ways of onboarding new personnel. This course takes away some of the pain for us of onboarding new staff and will help us retain staff too.”

The blended learning course, which was tested by new and experienced ground handling staff in four African countries, consists of curated videos that are watched on demand over a two-week period. The videos are complemented with assessor led live sessions during which participants are assessed for their knowledge. Combined the two elements provide an appreciation of the risks and safety components related to the daily working environment at the airport.  The course modules include human factors, dangerous goods, airside safety, container and pallet inspection and aircraft performance with weight and balance.

Speaking at Aviation Africa, Tom Kok, Director of AviAssist said: “We are thrilled that sponsoring of the course by Willis Towers Watson and aircraft manufacturer ATR enabled us to keep the price point for this course low at US$99 per person with a special 25% discount available to Aviation Africa visitors. That means it’s also accessible to smaller handlers and even individuals keen to develop their resume.”

Keeping the cost of the course down also means employers can benefit from affordable induction training which will also help motivate staff and outline further professional development opportunities.

The first intake for the course is on 1 November.

Aviation Africa: West and central African airport leaders gather in Rwanda

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The Union of West and Central African airport managers (UGAACO) has hosted its first ever Salon Mondial des Infrastructures Equipment et Services Aeroportuaires (SMIESA) at this year’s Aviation Africa, which took place from 12-13 September at the Kigali Convention Centre (KCC) in Rwanda.

SMIESA’s aim of brining together stakeholders from across Africa’s airport community to network, share insights and devise strategies on how the industry can accelerate its recovery, promote sustainability and enhance the customer experience.

The two-day events saw a busy conference agenda with topics covering Africa’s aim of becoming a major player in aviation globally, the promotion and development of seamless collaboration and innovative technologies, the advancement of single African skies under the SAATM agreement and raising awareness of aviation activities in Rwanda’s.

Daniel Lefebvre, UGAACO president and general manager for AERCO, which operates three airports in the Republic of Congo, opened the SMIESA summit urging stakeholders within Africa’s aviation community “to welcome sector-specific events as they are a must for the future development of the country’s airport sector.”

He also highlighted Rwanda’s role as a leader in Africa’s aviation sector and underlined the need for African countries to take charge of manufacturing and promoting airport products and services across the continent.

Sustainability was a key topic at the conference, as was the need to embrace the digitalisation of the sector and funding and business models for airports.

With the inaugural SMIESA co-located with the sixth Aviation Africa summit, the event was deemed a huge success. “For the last two days stakeholders have come together to address the challenges we face in the airport community with one voice,” said Charles Habonimana, Managing Director, Rwanda Airports Company. “I am delighted we have been able to host the first ever SMIESA here in Rwanda and we look forward to building on this event for future summits.”

Aviation Africa: Aviation leaders gather in Rwanda for Aviation Africa

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Under the theme of Africa’s new dawn: Aviation’s resilience, recovery and growth in a post-pandemic era, aviation leaders from across Africa and beyond have gathered in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, this week for the 6th Aviation Africa summit.

This year’s event, which is taking place on the 12 and 13 September, at the Radisson Blu Kigali Convention Centre is being co-located with the first ever Salon Mondial des Infrastructures Equipments et Services Aéroportuaires (SMIESA) – the World Airport Infrastructure, Equipment and services exhibition – which is aimed at stimulating technology transfer in Africa by promoting the establishment of manufacturers (equipment and service providers) and promoting African airports and related services under the theme: Supporting the airport industry’s recovery, addressing its needs and scaling up.

With the last Aviation Africa Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 30 months ago this year’s event is set to be a well attended event with more than 1000 attendees from 84 countries and 96 exhibitors from 30 countries. MRO services are a big component in the exhibition hall this year while a model of Rwanda’s planned Bugesera Airport is being presented for the first time by DAR, the design, planning, engineering and management services company, in the main foyer.

Referencing how the summit in Addis Ababa was one of the last aviation events before air travel all but ground to a halt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alan Peaford, Aviation Africa Summit Chairman said: “We talked at that event about the threat of Coronavirus and what it could mean to our industry, but few of us thought it would be so devastating, would take so long, or would change the way we think about travel going forward.”

He added that this year’s summit will “welcome delegates from the airports industry from our collocated UGAACO event; we welcome air chiefs from African defence forces; we welcome government ministers, regulators and industry associations and we welcome government ministers, regulators and industry associations and we welcome the people of the industry and invite you to share ideas, make new friends and think about the cooperation we need to survive the next stage of our industry’s life.”

To officially open the summit, HE Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, delivered a key-note speech on 12 September in which he highlighted that despite the challenges of COVID travel and tourism in Africa are getting back to normal and aviation is slowly building back too.

“Recovery means increasing connectivity, stimulating demand and creating jobs and the African Continental Free Trade Area and open skies will help lead our businesses to regional and global supply chains boosting trade and investment. This is why the full implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) must remain a top priority,” he said.

Kagame also declared that stakeholders must address the shortage of skills across Africa’s aviation value chain, as he said: “A career in aviation remains a hugely attractive career option for young people in Africa and this summit is the right platform to drive the conversation around employment and skills.”

Meanwhile looking ahead he noted that “the use of data and digital technologies are key to making the aviation sector in Africa as safe as possible, as well as more reliable and affordable.”

Header picture: HE Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda.

Ryanair to close Athens base this winter

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Popular low-fare carrier, Ryanair, is due to close its Athens base for the winter season 2022/23 making it a summer-seasonal destination for the airline.

The airline is due to close its base from 29 October, 2022 stating that the airport’s ‘dysfunctional’ charging structure which favours German operators is to blame.

Eddie Wilson, Ryanair’s CEO said: “Athens Airport is a prime example of how the Green government and German high-cost ownership is failing to deliver for Greece’s people and economy.”

He added that the “failure of engagement by the Greek government has already led to Ryanair’s closure of our Rhodes base this summer and has now forced us to close our Athens base this October and reallocate this capacity to lower cost competing destinations, such as Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal.”

The announcement is a blow to Ryanair’s previously outlined growth plans, as the Greek government has failed to lower its airport charges and help boost traffic in the post-pandemic recovery (as Croatia and Portugal have done, amongst others).