FIA2022: Gulfstream’s G800 touches down at Farnborough on first international flight

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This weeks’ Farnborough Airshow has seen the all-new ultralong-range Gulfstream G800 touch down at Farnborough Airport after making its first international flight from Savannah.

“To take the G800 on this trans-Atlantic trip so close to first flight is extraordinary,” said Mark Burns, President Gulfstream. “The Gulfstream Farnborough Service Center is one of our newest and most modern, and it’s fitting that the G800 has made its international debut here.”

Since it opened two years in 2020, Gulfstream’s Farnborough facility has grown to more than 200 employees and earned 30 foreign regulatory approvals. The 225,000-sq.ft. facility accommodates up to 13 of Gulfstream’s larger aircraft, including the G650ER, G700 and G800, and offers maintenance, repair and overhaul services, as well as interior refurbishments and aftermarket modifications.

The BizAv aircraft company also announced on 19 July that the Gulfstream G650 and G650ER have been certified for steep approach landing operations by the European Union Aviation Safety Administration (EASA), unlcoking the ability for European operators of the utlralong-range aircraft to access even more airports around the world.

“We are pleased to be able to increase flexibility for our G650 and G650ER European operators by giving them access to  such airports as London City near the city’s financial district and even more remote airfields throughout Europe,” said Burns. “The G650 family’s high-speed performance advantage paired with this new certification will expand opportunities for our customers with more options for remote destinations.”

Signature partners with PS to elevate airport experience at Hartsfield-Jackson

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Private terminal operator, Signature Aviation, is collaborating with PS, the private luxury terminal service for commercial clients to provide an enhanced airport experience at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport.

The long-term lease agreement will see PS establish a second purpose-built private terminal in one of Signature’s two buildings at the Atlanta hub. The new terminal will provide private aviation customers with privacy, security and luxury. The PS experience includes beautifully designed spaces to recharge and unwind, chauffeured transportation to and from the aircraft door, private TSA and customs screening, state-of-the-art amenities, and an extensive menu of cocktails and chef-prepared meals available for both departures and arrivals.

Derek DeCross, SVP for Global Customer Engagement at Signature Aviation commented on his excitement for the partnership saying the collaboration celebrates two companies committed to providing exceptional customer experiences for travellers. “We are excited to bring this unique experience to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Int’l Airport and continue our mission to leverage our world-class infrastructure to reimagine and reinvent the travel experience,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Joshua Gausman, co-CEO of PS added: “The city of Atlanta is one of the few places where a PS terminal will be a perfect fit, and we’re excited to work closely with Signature here and in other key cities around the world. Our members often fly private and choose Signature, so creating ways to make commercial flight connections faster and easier makes sense.”

Gausman was joined by his co-CEO, Amina Belouizdad, who commented: “We have a lot of opportunity ahead to provide premium travellers from around the world with our unique PS experience and we are incredibly honoured to collaborate with Signature as PS continues to expand into other markets. With this joint effort, we have no doubt that we will continue to transform the industry through our unique value proposition and commitment to exceptional service, especially during a time when people are more attune to privacy and safety while travelling.”

BizAv operator, Jung Sky, fuels plans for growth at Varazdin Airport

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Business aviation operator, Jung Sky, is fuelling plans for growth at Varazdin Airport in Croatia having set up its maintenance base at the small regional hub.

With a thriving gastronomy and cultural scene, Varazdin is already one of Croatia’s more prominent industrial and business hubs and now the airport is hoping to leverage growth in these sectors by attracting more business aviation customers.

Jelena Sekelj, Director of Parkovi, the airport operator, said the airport is undergoing a renaissance. “After a period of nine months last year, during which the airport was without a certificate and basically non-existing in the aviation world, several infrastructural improvements that are in accordance with national and EASA standards were made and the certificate was regained.”

Sekelj added: “The most demanding challenges in terms of financial resources are yet to come, but we’re taking it one step at a time.”

Airport Manager, Karlo Pigac, noted that “the most important thing is that a lot of companies are showing interest in partnering up with us in order to position Varazdin Airport as a meaningful spot in the aviation community, especially business aviation. We’re happy to say that Jung Sky, one of the top private jet operators in this part of Europe, are shaping their maintenance hangar here and there are also others interested in exploiting existing hangars or investing in new ones.”

Among the work that needs to be undertaken at the airport are renovations on the terminal building, lighting and fuel supply upgrades. “In order for it to be a serious contender for business jets, Varazdin must be a 24/7 airport and we must set up the foundations for fully functional FBO services. We’re also working on improving the facilities for the passengers, the crews, police and customs officials and pilot students,” continued Pigac.

Expressing his optimism that the airport is well located geographically, Kresimir Jung, co-owner and one of the captains at Jung Sky said: “A lot of business jets need to make technical stops when flying from for example Greece or Turkey to Germany or England. Varazdin (LDZA) is right at Europe’s centre and perfect for refuelling. Also, with the right set of visionary investments, the airport can become a great alternative for the flights to the capital Zagreb, which is only 80km away, especially having in mind LDZA’s dense morning fogs, which often prevent aircraft from landing at Zagreb Airport.”

As far as Jung Sky’s maintenance plans at LDVA are concerned, phase one includes in-housing maintenance activities for their own fleet. Phase two is long-term and involves setting up their maintenance service for third parties.

“Maintenance is one of the key issues for the operators. Our goal for the future is to provide line and base maintenance for third parties and to be a reliable partner in that regard,” Jung concluded.

EBACE22: Milano Linate Prime expands Bombardier authorised service facility

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SEA Prime, the business airport manager, which manages the Milano Prime brand and oversees BizAv operations at Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa airports, has noted large traffic growth in the first few months of this year and has revealed plans to expand it Bombardier authorised service facility, which is managed by Sirio SpA.

During this year’s European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE)  which is taking place in Geneva from 23-25 May, SEA Prime outlined its plans for development supported by three pillars: Results, Opportunities and Innovation (ROI).

Following the positive results of 2021 – 74% of traffic over 2020 for both Linate and Malpensa, SEA Prime has seen this growth trend continued in both traffic (+57%) and tonnage (+81%) at Milano Prime in the first few months of 2022 compared to the same period of 2021. The growth was driven by international traffic (+69% compared to 2021). Key events in Milan, including the Design Week to be held in June, the Monza Grand Prix and September Fashion week, as well as the full reopening of Milan and Northern Italy to international tourism, are the main traffic drivers in 2022.

One of the key development opportunities for SEA Prime is the development of its infrastructure, starting with the construction of a 4,700 sq.m. hangar at Linate. Additional jets dedicate to business jets are also in the pipeline for the airport.

“The new hangar- designed for Sirio enhances and consolidates the Bombardier Authorised Service Facility, a key milestone in the expansion of Milano Prime’s services,” said Chiara Dorigotti, CEO of SEA Prime.

Meanwhile, Tom Engelhard, COE of Sirio SpA added: “We are delighted that, 20 years after Sirio leased the first hangar at Milano Prime Linate, we can now look forward to the next chapter with this new state-of-the-art hangar! Following a 15% increase of our maintenance man hours in 2021, our new hangar will allow our maintenance organisation to expand its capabilities and continue its growth.”

EBACE22: Cayman Islands CAA grants AOC to TAG Aviation

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TAG Aviation has been awarded an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI). The Cayman AOC will further enhance TAG Aviation’s aircraft management and charter service portfolio and complements the operator’s existing AOC’s from San Marino, Malta and the UK.

“The Cayman AOC allows us to extend the scope of TAG’s capabilities and widen our range of bespoke services by providing the flexibility of various operating solutions,” said Steven Young, President of TAG Aviation. The operator has already opened a dedicated Cayman office and registered its first managed aircraft – a Gulfstream 650 and will now be able to grow its commercial operations in the region.

Meanwhile, Richard Smith, Director-General of Civil Aviation added: “TAG has been a longstanding operator of Cayman Islands registered aircraft for private owners and we are delighted that they will now provide commercial air transport services under Cayman Islands jurisdiction. This evolution to commercial operations demonstrates mutual confidence held by our respective organisations in assuring safe and compliant operations. This also bodes well for the Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry with TAG being a leading operator of Cayman registered aircraft.”

Smith also acknowledged the strategic partnership between the CAACI and Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) that provides key elements required for the jurisdictional establishment for operators engage in commercial operations offshore.

Header image: Director-General, Mr. Richard Smith presenting Julyn Tan, Accountable Manager of TAG Cayman (SEZC) with the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) surrounded by representatives of the CAACI, the C.I. Government, TAG Aviation and CEC.


Gloucestershire Airport completes runway upgrades

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One of the UK’s busiest general aviation hub’s, Gloucestershire Airport has completed major upgrades to its crosswind and main runways, which involved runway resurfacing, the installation of new runway lighting, upgrades to signs and drainage and new below-ground infrastructure in readiness for a new radar system.

“The successful completion of these upgrades to airside infrastructure heralds the start of a new chapter for Gloucestershire Airport – possibly the single most transformative period in our recent history,” explained Karen Tyalor, the airport’s Managing Director. “Putting the airport firmly at the top end of aviation standards and technology, these vital upgrades elevate the quality and status of the airport and, together with ongoing work to deliver CGX Connect, serve as the catalyst enabling us to actively explore additional revenue streams and realise our long-term strategy for sustainable growth.”

The airport currently contributes around £52 millionn annually to the local economy and plays a key role in supporting significant projects, including cyber development at Golden Valley and Gloucester’s digital campus ‘the Forum’, both of which are now underway.

Funding for the runway refurbishments and improvements was made available by Gloucester City and Cheltenham Borough Councils (the airport’s joint shareholders) in recognition of the airport’s contribution and role in driving economic growth.

“Gloucestershire Airport is a unique and important asset for the country. With these refurbishment works now complete, we have in place the foundations on which to build the airport’s profile as a ‘gateway for growth’ – significantly contributing towards realising the county’s ambition for economic growth, providing connectivity to and from national and international destinations and establishing itself as a centre of excellence for all aspects of business aviation, aviation training and aviation-related research,” concluded Taylor.

Airport operations were able to continue while the work, which was carried out by VolkerFitzpatrick and project managed by Ridge & Partners, was ongoing.

Signature Aviation unveils permanent FBO facility at Birmingham Airport

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Private aviation terminal operator, Signature Aviation, has opened its newly constructed private aviation facility at Birmingham Airport in the UK. The new terminal provides a permanent home for Signature and a full revival of Signature Birmingham following a flood affecting its previous 1930s era terminal building.

“Signature rapidly mobilised to operate from a temporary facility immediately following the damage to our previous FBO,” said John-Angus Smith, Managing Director for Signature EMEA. “However, this opening solidifies our ongoing commitment to our customers and to Birmingham Airport as we look to the future.”

The entirely new site represents the airport’s newest FBO facility, featuring a 222 sq.m. building complete with a passenger lounge, refreshment area and a passenger security screening checkpoint. Pilots are also well catered for with their own lounge, and there is an electric vehicle charging station.

“The newly built FBO in Birmingham reflects the resilience of our team and the importance of this location within our EMEA network,” shared Daniel Myles, Signature Aviation Area Director UK. “General aviation continues to be a commercial driver to both the airport and Birmingham City and we look forward to greeting attendees of the upcoming Commonwealth Games and Women’s UEFA Football Championship this summer.”

London Oxford steps up infrastructure projects to support continued growth

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London Oxford Airport is continuing its infrastructural investments to support general aviation customers  as well as its expanding commercial business aviation activity.

Flight training activity is up nearly 50% compared with pre-pandemic levels in 2019 at the London hub, while business aviation experienced more growth in 2021 in percentage terms than other UK peer airports.

Having opened in October 2021, the airport’s new 63,000 sq.ft hangar is almost full. Another similar facility is in the pipeline while the airport has agreed to build a new aircraft maintenance and repair facility on the northeast corner of its site. The latter, which will be leased by a major OEM, will cover 14 acres and is expected to be built within 24 months.

Investment has also been committed for the relocation and extension of Oxford’s northern taxiway. Involving a near £6m investment and 8 months’ work, it will significantly speed up and handle aircraft movements on the ground more efficiently, especially on busy days when it’s not unusual to see 400 or so movements a day. More GA training aircraft will be able to do run-ups on the former crosswind runway, while all back-tracking will be eliminated on the main runway when the southern end is in use.

Noting that “business aviation is an important pillar of [the airport’s] business, James Dillon-Godfray, London Oxford Airport’s Head of Business Development, added that the relocation of the runway will allow for the re-development of the eastern zone for the anticipated evolution of the airport in the years to come.

In addition the airport’s new £1.7 million fire station build programme is due to go live in June with new fire tenders arriving later this year. Other recent onsite developments have included several of the airport’s tenants, including Up and Away Aviation and hull Air Crew, moving int a former CAE building, alongside the airport’s management team. This has made way for a new pilots’ lounge to be built behind FBO OxfordJet’s reception, while the space underneath the control tower is to become a smart new facility for general aviation users. A new technology park is also planned at the airport’s entrance.

When it comes to embracing sustainable growth at the airport, Dillon-Godfray explained the airport is looking at power self-generation and battery storage technology, versus being fully dependent on the national grid, which has limits in its capacity. Onsite solar farms are also being considered and the airport is also hoping to offer sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and be one of the first airports to offer SAF to helicopter users.

EBACE22: Flying Colours sees resurgence in regional jet conversions

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Peterborough Airport-based Flying Colours Corp is seeing a resurgence in regional jet conversions. The global aviation services company has confirmed an agreement with a new charter operator client for a CRJ 200* regional airline conversion. The client anticipates using the aircraft to satisfy rising charger demand from corporate customers, sports teams and music group tours and to strengthen its portfolio at a time when business aircraft in high demand.

“Business aviation needs an influx of available aircraft and the airlines are looking to sell,” said Eric Gillespie, Flying Colours Corp, Executive VP. “The regional jet conversion provides an excellent choice for owners seeking a fully customised aircraft and we have seen more inquiries in the last six months than the last few years. We can adapt the design to specific budgets, while delivering an as new aircraft, inside and out, for a competitive fee. In a market where good aircraft are hard to find and new production aircraft waiting times are long, conversions provide an excellent solution for operators who want to quickly access aircraft.”

Once complete, the new refurbished corporate shuttle interior will feature 29 seats, with six business jet seats and a divan at the front of the cabin and a further 20 seats configures airline style at the aft of the cabin. Gogo Avance connectivity will keep travellers productive and entertained while flying. Further cabin comforts include storage at the front and rear of the cabin, as well as a forward galley and washroom at the back.

The aircraft exterior will feature a new fuselage paint scheme, which will be applied at Flying Colours’ Peterborough Airport facility.


EBACE22: Irish business aviation association takes off

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The fledgling Irish Business Aviation Association (IBGAA) has marked its formal launch at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE), which is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland this week.

Formed amid the pandemic with founding members, including ACASS Ireland, Gainjet Ireland and Woodgate Aviation during September 2020, the association is also a member of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC).

“EBACE is the most relevant opportunity to meet with members, entice prospective members and highlight our conference and launch which we are very excited about,” said IBGAA’s Josh Stewart. The association’s debut conference will take place at Adare Manor (pictured) on 17 November in a partnership with EBAA.

Referencing the association’s conference later this year, Joe Buckley, another IBGAA founding member explained “our aim is to establish a must attend event on the international business aviation calendar at Adare Manor, or another of Ireland’s luxury castle hotels in the future, annually.

“Our conference will outline the advantages of using Ireland as a European base,” added Dave Scully, the association’s third founding member. “It is a highly attractive location for business aviation aircraft registration, ownership and aircraft leasing. Its gold standard registry, operated by the Irish Aviation Authority, is one of the most highly-regarded national aviation regulatory authorities in the world.”

The Irish Aviation regulator, Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, welcomed the establishment of the association. “Private jets are a long-established segment of the Irish aviation ecosystem and the formation of the IBGAA is a welcome development  in this space as Ireland looks towards the future and the recovery form the past years of stagnation in the sector.”

Head image: Adare Manor.