NBAA-BACE: Signature Flight Support marks SAF milestone and launches book and claim initiative

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Signature Flight Support has launched its Signature Renew Book & Claim programme at this year’s National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) being held this week in Las Vegas, US.

Similar to Avfuel’s scheme, which was also launched this week at NBAA-BACE, the Signature Renew book and claim programme enables private aircraft operators the flexibility to purchase the carbon reductions created by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) regardless of its physical availability at that same location.

The carbon reduction is made available for bulk purchase similarly to carbon offsets: however the environmental impact represents actual fuel consumed by aircraft.

According to Signature Aviation’s Interim CEO, Tony Lefebvre, “the launch of Signature Renew’s Book & Claim programme further demonstrates Signature’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050. Book & Claim will accelerate the adoption of SAF by providing an alternative mechanism to unlock the carbon reduction benefits of sustainable fuels, resulting in a cleaner environment starting today.”

Signature has also marked another milestone in its SAF journey having cumulatively uplifted more than 4 million gallons of SAF across its network since September 2020. This accounts for a more than 10,000 tonne CO2 reduction that would have otherwise entered the atmosphere.

In addition, Signature has partnered with Airbus to supply SAF to all new-build A320 series aircraft manufactured at its Airbus US Manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama.

NBAA-BACE: IBAC commits to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

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The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and its 15 member associations from across the globe have committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“This is an ambitious goal, but I am optimistic we can get there by working together,” said IBAC Director General Kurt Edwards.

“We as an industry have been successful leaders in new technology to drive fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Now we go to the next level by engaging key stakeholders with a common goal to decarbonise our industry.”

Four key areas had already been identified in the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change in 2009 as key to reaching the industry’s lower carbon goals. These four areas included: modern technology; sustainable aviation fuel (SAF); operational improvements and modernised infrastructure; and market-based measures (MBMs).

A substantial shift will be needed in all four areas to meet the 2050 goal, as well as an acknowledgement that offsets will most likely be necessary.

“With this further commitment, we have set ourselves an even greater challenge. We do have the keys to unlock a pathway forward with all the necessary tools at our disposal, and together with stakeholder collaboration and support we can achieve this important aspirational goal.”

NBAA-BACE: World Fuel Services launches web-based platform to enhance FBO operations

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Global aviation fuel provider World Fuel Services has unveiled its fbo360 at this year’s National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE). The web-based platform is the next generation of FBO software providing FBOs with full 360-degree visibility across their entire operation in real-time on any web-enabled device.

“We listened and learned from the ongoing inputs of more than 100 FBOs who have and continue to participate in the development, usability testing and product design feedback,” said Steve Drzymalla, Senior Vice President, Business Aviation Bulk Fuel Sales, World Fuel Services, commenting on the new platform.

Offering access to instant information and better communication, fbo360 enables customer service representatives and line service managers to see the history of aircraft movement details and therefore a complete view of what’s on the ramp at any time. The platform’s mobile-responsive design helps FBOs to provide a better experience for their customers by allowing the FBO to manage on-the-go and reduce both radio traffic and customer wait times, enabling a faster checkout process.

As well as managing fuel inventory, line service personnel can use the tool to manage tasks, hangar reservations and aircraft inventory. It is 100% paperless and eliminates errors created by manual processes like scanning receipts and inputting tickets in multiple places. Other key features include the ability to manage multiple locations under one account and data transfer with third-party integrations.

“The strength of industry knowledge and the resources invested in developing fbo360 should show the market the commitment that World Fuel has to be an innovator and leader in the FBO software space for years to come,” added Drzymalla.

Nice Cote d'azur

Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur Group marks another milestone in carbon neutral journey

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The French airport group, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur, which owns and operates Golfe de Saint-Tropez, Cannes-Mandelieu and Nice Côte d’Azur airports has taken an essential next step towards achieving its goal of full net-zero emissions by 2030. The group has been awarded Airport Carbon Accreditation level 4+ certification, making it the first airport group in France, and the second in Europe, to receive this level of accreditation.

The group started its reforestation operations either on site or adjacent to the three aiprorts in its portfolio in 2020, which has created natural carbon sinks capable of absorbing up to 300 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year as the trees grow.

Despite the growth in air traffic for all three hubs, emissions have been cut and absorption has been increased directly in the surrounding region.

“Receiving the Airport Carbon Accreditation level 4+ is not just a medal or a pretence covering up a greenwashing operation,” explained Franck Goldnadel, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur. “It represents the international recognition of a sincere commitment and an ambitious and unprecedented action plan.

When we reduce the absolute value of our direct emissions, we help to protect our region. This involves taking numerous actions, being innovative and looking for solutions that help to reconcile air transport with air quality requirements on a daily basis. This is the course of history, and we want to be its laboratory.”

Meanwhile, Golfe de Saint-Tropez Airport has become the first airport in France in a position to claim net-zero emission, without any offsetting. Since taking over the Golfe de Saint-Tropez Airport in 2013, the group has slashed the airport’s direct emissions by 62%. In 2020, the airport’s residual emissions totalled less than 17 tonnes, a s a large-scale operation was launched to reforest 1 hectare of woodland, representing the capacity to absorb almost 30 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. These actions enable the airport to achieve net-zero emissions carbon-neutrality without any offset, and to ultimately absorb part of the emissions from semi-cruising aircraft.

Commenting on how the airport, for which Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur conducts all the ground operations itself, has been used as a test bed for new ideas and innovations where the airport group can trial solutions and implement its carbon-neutral policy. “The progress we have made and its benefits for the region have motivated us to go even further on all our airports in order to ultimately achieve net zero, without any offset, and to step up the efforts being made in the entire aeronautical industry to make the energy transition.”

Sustainable measures that have been adopted at the airport include replacing high-energy light bulbs with LEDs, creating light wells in the offices to limit the use of artificial lighting or insulating certain parts of buildings. Other simple, but more costly solutions, such as consuming only renewable energy and electrifying the fleet of ground vehicles and runway machinery have also been introduced. Four vehicles have been equipped with anti-smog devices, which immediately reduce emissions of NOx and fine particles by 67% to 94%.

CCTV cameras at the airport have also been replaced with infrared cameras making it possible to switch off the powerful spotlights used to secure the airport at night. Without this artificial light, and with the silence produced by closing the runways at night, local bird species are able to enjoy the peace and quiet.

“The actions we have taken over the last few years have helped to reduce emissions on a worldwide scale, by consuming exclusively carbon-free electricity, and to improve air quality in the region, by adopting solutions that drastically reduce emissions of NOx and fine particles,” added Isabelle Vandrot, Head of Sustainable Development and Environment at Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur.

Falcon Field Airport in Arizona celebrates opening of new Avflight facility

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Having established operations at Falcon Field Airport in Mesa, Arizona in December 2020 Avflight has now opened a new facility at the dedicated business and general aviation hub. The opening ceremony was held during the Arizona Business Aviation Association’s in-person meeting, which was held at the airport at the end of June.

The new facility includes a 5,000 sq.ft. FBO terminal, more than 500 sq. ft. of office space available for leasing and 11,000 sq.ft. of hangar space with plans to expand to accommodate a growing customer base at the Mesa gateway.

Featuring a modern aesthetic in keeping with the Avflight brand, the state-of-the-art FBO terminal features passenger lounges, snooze rooms, showers, a kitchen, a flight planning room and a conference room. Conveniently located on the airport field the Avfuel-branded location allows for direct access from road to ramp with ample parking space.

“The Avflight team is honoured to serve as a premier gateway to Mesa and the greater Phoenix region,” said Garrett Hain, Avflight’s Vice President of finance. “When we moved onto the field in December, we sought to bring our passion for aviation and comprehensive knowledge of aviation services – backed by the resources afforded by a network of 23 premier FBOs – to the FFZ field. Our goal was, and continues to be, to build on the foundation of Falcon Field Airport’s offerings with new facilities and a dedication to customer care. We’re here to be a true, trusted partner, dedicated to supporting the airport’s growing customer base with first-class services and amenities.”


Telluride Regional Airport receives delivery of SAF from Avfuel

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Avfuel-branded Telluride Regional Airport has become the first airport and FBO in Colorado to make sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) available to its customers. The FBO received its first demonstrative delivery of SAF from Avfuel in Februrary, with two more deliveries made in March.

Telluride Regional Airport has since begun to receive regular deliveries of Neste’s branded SAF from Avfuel. The first load arrived on 15 April, with each truckload of the Neste MY SAF providing a 22 metric ton reduction in carbon emissions over its lifecycle, which is equivalent to the amount of carbon sequestered by 28.7 acres of US forests per year.

Telluride Regional Ariport can now consistently provide SAF for all jet and turbine aircraft that land at the airport in order to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainability goals.

“Our community desires to do its part in reducing carbon emissions,” said Kenneth Maenpa, Telluride’s Airport Manager. “As such, we are proud to be the first airport in Colorado to provide sustainable aviation fuel. Avfuel has worked diligently on the logistics for delivering SAF to Telluride Regional Airport, and we’re excited to announced this significant milestone that’s been three years in the making.”

Keith Sawyer, Avfuel’s Manager of Alternative Fuels, added: “Avfuel is thankful for the true partnership it has with the Telluride Regional Airport team, working together to provide cleaner solutions in one of the world’s most stunning natural environments. We congratulate the airport on being the first to provide SAF in the state of Colorado, which not only provides significant emissions reductions, but also raises awareness on the environmental benefits and safety of the product.”

Open 365 days a year, the Telluride Regional Airport is North America’s highest commercial airport at 9,070 feet above sea level and is a self-sustaining operation.

Signature Flight Support expands network with addition of Chantilly Air Jet Center

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Chantilly Air Jet Center, the newest full-service FBO serving the Washington, DC metro area has joined Signature Flight Support’s Signature Select network.

Based at the Manassas Regional Airport, Chantilly Air is an IS-BAH Stage 1 certified FBO. The 11,000 sq. ft. FBO terminal provides a range of amenities including a pilot lounge, snooze rooms and shower facilities. There is also a fitness centre for crew and passengers, as well as conference rooms and a refreshment galley. The greenfield facility also includes a 60,000 sq. ft. hangar and significant office space for rent, in addition to the provision of traditional FBO services, including fuelling, hangarage, a Part 145 repair station, as well as aircraft charter and fleet management.

Expressing his enthusiasm for joining the world’s largest network of FBOs, Tim Sullivan, COO Chantilly Air Jet Center said: “Chantilly Air is a family-owned entity that started in 1990. Building on our 30-year reputation as an aircraft charter and management provider, we look forward to becoming an FBO of choice for the metro DC area, as well as having a long and mutually beneficial partnership with the Signature network.”

Manasssas Regional Airport itself provides easy access to the I-66 and I-95 corridors, northern Virginia and downtown Washington, DC. It is the busiest general aviation gateway in the state of Virginia,and  is a towered airport with US Customs and Border Protection to accommodate international arrivals.

“We are pleased to welcome Chantilly Air to Signature Select and the global Signature Flight Support network,” said Mark Johnstone, CEO, Signature Aviation. “Chantilly Air’s reputation for ramp safety and adherence to industry best practices resonates with our own Signature Service Promise. I am confident their enrollment in the Signature Select programme will unlock significant mutual benefit for both of our customers and organisations.”

Jet Aviation achieves IS-BAH Stage II registration for San Juan FBO

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As the first FBO in Puerto Rico to qualify for IS-BAH Stage 1 registration in 2018, Jet Aviation’s San Juan facility at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport has now achieved stage II registration. The business aircraft handling standards are a global industry best practice for business aviation ground handlers.

Jet Aviation’s San Juan FBO is a full-service handling operation at one of the most convenient US points of entry for international flights.

“Between hurricanes, the ownership change and all the new systems that came with it, our team here in San Juan has had much to contend with the past few years and yet continues to raise the bar with new offerings and premium service delivery,” said Hector Vasquez, Senior Manager FBO. “The rigorous IS-BAH Stage II audit was a first for most of the team and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Featuring a pilot suite with a shower and snooze room, flight-planning stations, an executive passenger lounge and corporate meeting facilities, Jet Aviation’s San Juan facility is the only FBO in Puerto Rico with an onsite US Customs and Border Protection terminal. It also offers parking, refuelling services, aircraft maintenance and it recently extended its service offering to include airline and cargo fuelling in addition to cargo handling.

In June 2020 Jet Aviation also completed a new 20,000 sq. ft. hangar following the destruction of its old hangar during Hurricane Maria in 2017. The new facility can accommodate up to three small-to medium-sized aircraft and three large aircraft, up to the size of the Gulfstream G650 or the Global Express.

With this latest IS-BAH approval, Jet Aviation has a total of 29 IS-BAH registered FBOs around the world, including 10 in the US, 12 in EMEA and 7 in APAC.

WestJet unveils flagship lounge at Calgary Airport

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Canadian carrier, WestJet, is set to reveal its flagship lounge – the WestJet Elevation lounge at Calgary Airport in Canada.

Located in the airport’s domestic terminal and accessible to guests departing from Concourses A, B, C and Concourse D of the international terminal, the lounge will open to the public on 2 November in partnership with the Calgary Airport Authority.

“The WestJet Elevation Lounge is a global first and we are excited and proud that YYC Calgary International Airport is its home. WestJet is YYC’s biggest airline – by seats, by departures and by destinations served. Having the flagship WestJet Elevation Lounge here in Calgary means our mutual guests will have a new premium travel experience with great local amenities at the highest health and safety standards,” said Rob Palmer, Vice President of Commercial, Strategy and Chief Financial Officer at Calgary Airport Authority.

Featuring Canadian-inspired details, the lounge boasts more than 9,300 sq. ft of premium space and panoramic views. The flagship space was designed in collaboration with global architecture and design firm Gensler with a brief of incorporating the needs and safety of guests and frequent travellers.

Describing the opening of the lounge as a “pivotal moment” WestJet, Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet CCO, said: “It was only fitting to open this flagship space within our home hub in Calgary. The lounge will provide our top-tier Westjet Rewards members and business cabin travellers with a safe and comfortable place to rest, rejuvenate and work when visiting Calgary.”

Signature Aviation sees traffic increase

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According to Signature Aviation, which operates the world’s largest FBO chain – Signature Flight Support, business aircraft activity continues to show an improving trend.

The company saw a 38% decline in revenues during the first six months of 2020 as a result of country lockdowns and travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In April the company noted a 77% reduction in activity year-on-year. However business aviation is now showing signs of recovery with May down an average of 58% from the same period in 2019. In June it was down just 32%.

Mark Johnstone, Signature Aviation’s CEO commented: “Since our AGM statement in mid-May, flight activity across our global network has continued to show an encouraging recovery and, in the US, with the support of the CARES Act, we have now called back all our furloughed staff. As we look forward, I remain confident in the resilience and potential of our market leading FBO business model, the quality of our unique network, the strength of our liquidity and therefore our ability to continue to invest in and grow our attractive and high return business.”

To further demonstrate the company’s positive outlook, Johnstone confirmed that Signature Aviation has recently reached an agreement to acquire two FBOs in Geneva and Sion in Switzerland. He added, “Finally, and as a precautionary measure given the macroeconomic uncertainties, we have secured a covenant waiver from our relationship banks for December 2020 and June 2o21.”

The company has also continued to invest growth capital during the COVID-19 period, recently opening its newly constructed Atlanta FBO, which has been built to LEED silver standard.