Editor’s comment: Sustainable team players

By Airports, FeaturedNo Comments

With passengers now looking to travel more responsibly than ever, stakeholders across the aviation sector are upping the ante when it comes to demonstrating their sustainability commitment.

Aviation fuel supplier Avfuel is no exception. In response to growing demand from its customers, including FBOs and airports, it has teamed up with Neste – the worldʼs leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) – to create a continuous supply of SAF in the US. Under the new strategic partnership, Avfuel will be branded a SAF distributor for Neste, and will sell it under the brand name Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Neste expects to have the capacity to produce some 1.5 million tons (515 million gallons) of SAF annually by 2023.

Avfuelʼs President and CEO, Craig Sincock, described the partnership as an “exciting development” and a “natural next step in response to aviationʼs growing demand for SAF.” He also said that, “Together, we are able to support aviationʼs sustainability goals and enhance supply availability at a commercial scale, filling an immense gap in the industryʼs supply chain.”

Marking a milestone as Avfuelʼs first customer to receive a consistent supply of SAF, Monterey Jet Center – an Avfuel-branded FBO based in California – is due to take delivery of the fuel in the first quarter of 2021. Prior to rolling out the programme to a larger customer base, Neste and Avfuel will work alongside Monterey Jet Center to ensure the entire supply chain, from production through to invoicing, functions smoothly.

Referencing the collaboration with Avfuel, Chris Cooper, Neste’s Vice President, Renewable Aviation, North America, highlighted that it’s about much more than just creating a supply chain. “We are really providing passengers with a meaningful way to reduce their carbon footprint when travelling on a business or private aircraft. Thanks to great partners like Avfuel, travellers who care about the health of our planet will be able to choose to board an aircraft flying on SAF.”

While it’s sometimes hard to find the positive stories amid the turmoil that continues to unfold across the aviation industry as a result of COVID-19, this latest partnership is certainly one to celebrate.

I hope you enjoy reading this week’s newsletter and for more on the relationship between fuel suppliers and FBOs as well as how these partnerships can benefit an airport, read our feature onʻThe perfect pairingʼ in the latest issue of Regional Gateway magazine.

Chloë Greenbank

Editor, Regional Gateway.

Waltzing Matilda Aviation expands presence at Helena Regional Airport

By Airports, Business AviationNo Comments

Waltzing Matilda Aviation (WMA) has acquired a majority ownership and management responsibility for Exec Air Montana- an aircraft charter and management (ACM) business at Helena Regional Airport in Montana, US, operating a fleet of six aircraft.

The acquisition accompanies the sale of Exec Air Montana’s full-service business aviation activities to Leading Edge Jet Center, a provider of business aviation and jet fuelling services throughout the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West regions, including FBOs, a part 145 aircraft repair station and Montana Medical Transport.

This acquisition positions WMA with a great platform for growth. Our partnership with Leading Edge Jet Center provides an opportunity to expand WMA’s presence in both the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West regions, strengthening our resilient value offering for customers. We are proud to bring WMA’s charter services, which grew over 80% above 2019 levels in 2020, to a new customer base at the Helena Regional Airport.

John Thomas, CEO of WMA.

Business aviation on track for upswing, but it will take time

By Business Aviation, FeaturedNo Comments

With much still remaining uncertain across the aviation sector, the roll out of vaccinations in countries around the world has certainly provided a sense of optimism. And as the business aviation sector looks to the year ahead, Rollie Vincent, JetNet iQ Director is forecasting an upswing for the sector in the latter half of 2021.

Commenting in JetNet iQ’s latest Pulse report he said: “If we cast our minds back 12 months, it would be reasonable to suggest that no one had the forecasting prowess to foresee the year we are just emerging from.” However, he also referenced that the industry is now seeing signals of change. “Amongst the most encouraging are reports of new customers coming into the business and general aviation industry for the first time.”

He also noted that many colleagues and friends in the corporate jet sales and transactions world had recorded a bumper finish to 2020 with more transactions in the last quarter than the rest of the year combined. He added that “Each of the major business jet manufacturers is currently releasing new aircraft models and variants – Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream and Textron – with very exciting advances and inclusions.”

Meanwhile Adam Twidell, PrivateFly’s CEO, argued that while the start of vaccination programmes is giving a sense of future optimism, recovery timelines remain hard to forecast. In his ‘private jet’ predictions for 2021 he said that, “While private aviation has seen increased demand from leisure clients, business travel as we knew it remains largely absent.” In 2021, he believes that many people will continue to work from home or remotely. “We’re already seeing clients with second homes in traditional summer destinations now travelling to them at anytime of the year and staying for longer – as they can work from there.”

He added that this blurring of work and leisure time will have an impact on routes and destinations. PrivateFly’s 2020 trends report has already highlighted that Nice has been more popular than Paris in recent months. “I think we’ll see this type of shift even further in 2021,” he said.

And with passengers increasingly looking to travel more responsibly and more thoughtfully, “a strong sustainability commitment is now an essential part of a private aviation service… with many more companies in our sector putting this front and centre of their proposition.” He also expects that with electric aircraft holding the key to a more sustainable aviation industry, the progress of this sector will accelerate in 2021 with Lilium, Joby, Eviation, MagniX, Pipistrel, Ampaire and XTI Aerospace all ones to watch within this space.

Twidell concluded that the pandemic is set to be a catalyst for change and with charter operators needing to combine to survive after such a challenging year we can expect to see “less fragmentation and the evolution of mega fleets… Big names – including our sister company Flexjet which has recently launched in Europe – will lead the way in setting standards.”

 

 

 

 

 

Atlantic Aviation expands presence at Montrose County Airport

By Airports, Business Aviation, FeaturedNo Comments

Atlantic Aviation has completed the acquisition of a 30,000 square-foot hangar, capable of housing a Gulfstream G650, at its Montrose County Airport (MTJ) in Colorado, US.

“With customers spending more time in the Rockies and the size of business aircraft increasing, the additional hangar space enhances our ability to serve the growing needs of the general aviation community at MTJ,” said Jay Hamby, Senior Vice President of the Mountain Region. “In addition to its existing amenities, Atlantic Aviation MTJ now features a total of 57,000 square feet of hangar space.”

To complement the new hangar, Atlantic is also constructing a state-of-the-art fuel farm at the Colorado hub that will add 52,000 gallons of capacity to its existing inventory. Expected to be in operation by the end of 2021, this new fuelling infrastructure will also help support one of the fastest growing airports in Colorado.

Commenting further on these new facilities, Hamby added: “We are pleased to be working closely with the Montrose County Airport Administration to complete these projects and to continue to support the growth of the greater Montrose community.”

Editor’s comment: It’s a (no frills) wrap!

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With the countdown to the end of the year now in full swing, this is typically a time to reflect on the highs and lows of the past 12 months. And it’s fair to say there have been rather more lows than highs for many in the aviation sector, but that doesn’t mean we can’t finish 2020 on a festively positive note!

Following the recent roll out of Pfizer’s vaccine, this week has seen regional hubs around the world, including Gerald R. Ford Airport in the US, stepping up to the challenge of serving as gateway’s to transport the vaccine, which needs to be stored at -70°C throughout the transportation process. The first cargo plane carrying Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for domestic use departed the Michigan hub on 13 December and is expected to be the first of tens of thousands of shipments that will deliver the life-saving vaccine to locations around the world.

Meanwhile, according to PrivateFly’s annual Private Jet Charter trends report for 202o, its clients have flown between an impressive 648 airports this year, which according to PrivateFly CEO, Adam Twidell, is three to four times more than major airline route networks.

“2020 has certainly been an unusual year, but I’m very grateful that private aviation has not seen demand fall in quite the same way as airlines or other travel sectors,” said Twidell. “In fact at PrivateFly we have seen increased demand for private jet travel during the pandemic.”

He added that, “Private aviation has always offered the convenience of using smaller airports to get closer to your destination, but this year we’ve provided a huge number of bespoke routings, due to repatriations and other atypical itineraries.”

Twidell concluded that with vaccines now on the horizon, “travel confidence is increasing and while much of the usual business travel provided by our sector is still on hold, we are optimistic for continued growth in 2021”.

Although commercial airlines have struggled for survival amid the impact of the global pandemic, according to LIFT Airlines co-founder, Gidon Novick, there has never been a better time to launch a new carrier. The start-up South African low-cost airline serving key domestic routes from O. R. Tambo including Cape Town and George Airport, flew its maiden flight on 10 December.  Its aim is to fly in the face of the “outdated supply-drive, high-debt airline model. Instead it’s time for a demand-driven business model. One that’s super-efficient, leverages off record low input costs and is both agile and flexible,” said Novick.

And despite Australia’s international borders remaining closed, the country is experiencing a surge in domestic travel with airports across the country welcoming the news that Jetstar, the homegrown low-cost carrier, is set to operate more domestic flights in February and March 2021 than ever before.

As we wrap up this crazy and challenging year, there’s no doubt that 2020 has been a reset for the industry. Nonetheless, as airports and airlines are already demonstrating, there is plenty to be hopeful for in 2021.

On that note I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support this year and to wish you happy holidays and a safe and prosperous 2020. The next Regional Gateway newsletter will be sent on 7 January, but you can still follow us online and on social media until then. In the meantime my parting gift to you for 2020 is the latest issue of Regional Gateway magazine, which is out now!

Best wishes,

Chloë Greenbank

Editor, Regional Gateway

Lynx FBO Network acquires new facility at Theodore Francis Green State Airport

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A portfolio company of The Sterling Group, Lynx FBO Network (known as Lynx) has acquired its ninth FBO location having purchased the FBO assets of Northstar Aviation at the Theodore Francis Green State Airport in Providence, Rhode Island.

“We are excited to further expand the Lynx FBO Network in the Northeast United States, and Providence will greatly enhance our East Coast presence. We look forward to working with the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, the local FBO team, and all stakeholders in continuing the great partnership Northstar Aviation has established over their tenure of more than 30 years at the airport,” said Chad Farischon, President and Partner of Lynx.

Meanwhile, Greg Elliot, a partner at The Sterling Group, described Providence as a “strategic location for Lynx that has been a top priority target for years. ” He added that, the team’s ability to “get this across the finish line during COVID shows our commitment and ability to continue to expand our network in any environment.”

Lynx is rapidly growing its network of FBOs in the general aviation industry with locations in Napa, California; Destin, Florida; Minneapolis (Anoka), Minnesota; Portland (Aurora), Oregon; Little Rock, Arkansas; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Morristown, New Jersey; and now Providence, Rhode Island. The FBO network’s vision is to build a values-based FBO network known for exceptional service and quality, a rewarding team member experience, and a commitment to continuing excellence.

World Fuel Service adds Gateway Aviation Windsor in Canada to its network

By Airports, Business Aviation, Ground handlingNo Comments

Aviation fuel supplier, World Fuel Services, has grown its footprint in Canada with the addition of Gateway Aviation Windsor, it’s newest supplied FBO at Windsor International Airport (CYQG).

Operators flying in to the FBO will be able to refuel with Jet-A and 100LL and they will now benefit from World Fuel products and programmes. It’s an ideal base for those travelling in the northeast between Canada and the US, particularly the Detroit, Michigan area.

“From our modern facilities to our dedicated team members, customers an expect a first-rate experience when travelling through Gateway Aviation Windsor,” said Mike Hogan, General Manager, Gateway Aviation Windsor, referencing the new partnership. The FBO features modern passenger and crew facilities, 20,000 sq. ft. of heated hangar, luxurious conference room, roof terrace and type 4 de-icing availability.

Meanwhile, World Fuel Service’s Senior VP for business aviation bulk fuel, Steve Drzymall, said: “We welcome Gateway Aviation Windsor into the World Fuel Network family. Their operational expertise, dedicated customer service and world-class facilities create a premium experience for our flight department customers and cardholders travelling in the region.”

Geneva Airpark

Geneva Airpark reaches new milestone with PART-145 certification

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Geneva Airpark

Geneva Airpark in Switzerland was awarded PART-145 certification by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) back in August. The certification has enabled the facility to provide line maintenance services for business jets to guarantee they comply with manufacturer’s manuals and to maintain the validity of each aircraft’s airworthiness certificate.

“Obtaining the PART-145 line maintenance certification is an important step for Geneva Airpark and its clients. It demonstrates our whole team’s high level of professionalism and our commitment to regularly develop additional services at the forefront of the requirements of the aeronautical sector, business aviation and its various stakeholders,” said Sophie Mabire, Geneva Airpark General Manager. “The capacity of the Geneva Airpark hangar is perfectly suited to line maintenance operations, alongside short, medium or long-term hangaring for the planes,” she added.

Line maintenance services for aircraft – including those manufactured by Bombardier, Gulfstream and Dassault – carried out within Geneva Airpark’s hangar include: Tire pressure, oxygen service and fuel drain.

Milano Prime strengthens BMW partnership with introduction of green vehicles

By Business Aviation, FeaturedNo Comments

Milano Prime, the sole airport manager of business and general aviation infrastructures for Linate and Malpensa airports in Italy, has further strengthened its partnership with BMW by renewing their contract and introducing electric passenger transfer vehicles.

As part of the renewed agreement Milano Linate Prime’s fleet of vehicles dedicated to business aviation flights and their passengers will now feature two new BMW i3 fully-electric cars. The adoption of the two new vehicles is in line with SEA Prime’s commitment to sustainability at Milan Linate and Malpensa airports, both of which are accredited to level 3+ of carbon neutrality on the airport carbon accreditation programme.

From the vehicle production, which uses 100% renewable energy and zero-emission circulation, to the reuse of various materials and recycling of 95% of car components at the end of use, the BMW i3 reflects the group’s approach to sustainable mobility.

“We are proud to announce the renewed collaboration with BMW, which allows us to offer excellent services to our customers and to pursue SEA Prime’s sustainability objectives,” said Milano Prime CEO Chiara Dorigotti. “We therefore continue to guarantee quality and safety: essential factors in recent periods, which have contributed to the recovery of business aviation traffic at Milano Prime.”

The partnership between the two companies began with the opening of the BMW Business Centre at Milano Prime’s Linate facility in 2016.

Faro Airport welcomes new OMNI Handling FBO

By Airports, Business AviationNo Comments

Faro Airport in the Algarve, Portugal, has celebrated the opening of OMNI Handling’s new fixed-base operator (FBO).  The new 150 sq.m landside FBO  features a passenger lounge, a rest area for crew, a fully equipped kitchen, an en-suite private bedroom and a very attractive outdoor terrace.

“Faro is where our activity has been growing most these past two years and it was only logical to invest here in a luxurious new FBO to the benefit of our trusted clients,” said OMNI Handling CEO Ricardo Pereira.

The FBO was designed by Portugal’s Mood 4 Wood. In addition MOVART Gallery, specialists in African contemporary art, was carefully selected by OMNI Handling to provide decorative pieces for inside the FBO. A key feature of the new FBO is a virtual golf simulator in a dedicated area allowing passengers to compete on world renowned golf course.

“Visitors play golf year-round here – what better attraction to offer this experience to our clients when visiting our FBO,” said OMNI Handling Director, Jerome Franier. When not used as a golf simulator, the practice area and giant screen can be converted into a cinema area.

Franier added, “The inauguration of the Faro FBO follows the recent opening of our two other lounges in Cascais and Madeira this year, setting new FBO facility standards for our passengers and crew in the region.”