Belize’s Philip Goldson Airport to reopen

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With lockdown restrictions around the world easing, Belize’s Prime Minister has announced that the country’s Philip Goldson International Airport will reopen on 15 August as part of the country’s five-phase reopening strategy for tourism.

Belize has enjoyed more than 50 days of a COVID-19 free environment and in addition to its low population density and its geographic location just a short flight away from most major US cities,  the country is well poised for post-Covid-19 travel. The reopening of the airport will allow for further travel relaxation around the country.

All passengers arriving in Belize will be required to adhere to health and safety measures implemented by the Government of Belize including social distancing, hand sanitisation, proper hygiene and the wearing of face masks in public spaces. They will be required to download the Belize Health App and complete the required information prior to boarding their flight to Belize. A unique ID number will then be allocated to the passenger and will be used for contact tracing while in the country. Passengers are also being encouraged to take a COVID PCR test within 72 hours of travel to Belize. Those who fail to provide a negative COVID-19 test will be tested on arrival and their own expense. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be placed in mandatory quarantine for at least 14 days.

In addition to government guidelines Philip Goldson Airport has implemented its own additional cleaning and santisation measures. These include: installation of barriers and sneeze guards between passengers and immigration and customs officers. Passenger luggage will also be sanitised prior to being taken inside the terminal.

The reopening of Philip Goldson Airport will also pave the way for the resumption of services at Belize’s regional hubs and airstrips dotted around the country.


London City gears up for reopening

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Having closed to commercial passenger traffic on 25 March in response to the coronavirus crisis, London City is preparing to reopen for passenger flights on 21 June.

Ahead of that date the airport has conducted  a survey that shows many of its customers plan to get back in the air as soon as possible.

The survey found that an overwhelming majority (79%) were either very likely or quite likely to travel when they are told it is safe to do so by the government and airports or airlines. Almost half of customers (48%) were very likely to do so.

And contradicting claims that business travel is over, 41% of London City’s flyers anticipate they will take a flight for business within the next three months.

Customers’ responses also revealed insights into what passengers expect from the new flying experience. With social distancing and personal hygiene at the front of everyone’s mind, 78% of London City’s flyers said they were more likely to avoid check-in desks, while 65% said having hand sanitiser stations in multiple locations is very important and 85% said they would be more likely to use an airport if they can get to their gate in 20 minutes or less. Additional cleaning of high-touch areas and surfaces was also deemed to be the single most important measure, with 68% of respondents calling it as very important.

Commenting on customers’ responses, Robert Sinclair, CEO London City Airport said: “This clear early demand from our passengers to get back to flying is really encouraging… We have worked hard to create a safe environment at the airport, so they can get back to flying in confidence. At the same time, we have to be careful not to sacrifice the speed through the airport which passengers have always valued and is now more important than ever, as these results show.”

Sinclair added that with the aviation market opening up across Europe this week, “It is my hope that air bridges can be agreed quickly with low risk European neighbours. This news would be a shot in the arm for the industry as well as for the wider UK economy.”

London First Transport Director, Adam Tyndall, added: “Both blanket Foreign Office advice not to travel abroad and the mandatory two-week quarantine for all arrivals into the UK should be limited to the highest risk countries. Aviation can play a vital role in the economic recovery – from exports and professional services through to universities and hospitality – but only if the government removes these indiscriminate constraints and reverts to a nuanced, risk-based approach.”

The first flights to resume at London City Airport will serve domestic routes. On 21 June British Airways plans to operate flights to the Isle of Man. New routes will also begin between central London and Teesside in the North East and Dundee in Scotland on 6 July. These will be operated by Eastern Airways and Loganair respectively.

To help boost regional connectivity, it is also expected that services to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin, will also return in July.

Nice Airport signs EASA’s COVID-19 charter

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Nice Côte d’Azur has become one of the first seven European airports to sign the COVID-19 charter drawn up by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

All signatories have promised to work with their national authorities to establish measures to support helath safety and report back on their experiences to help other organisations implement the same measures.

The airport unveiled its programme of health safety measures at the beginning of May, which include a robot that emits UVC rays into the atmosphere inside the airport. The health safety measures recommended by the Charter will complement those already in place at the airport and will be extended by a feedback process implemented by the airport.

Nice Côte d’Azur intends to actively pursue two objectives. First the implementation of better solutions to protect the health of passengers, crew members and employees at the airport. Then, to contribute a new definition of the health standards in European airports.

“Over the last few weeks, we have taken the initiative to put in place numerous measures intended to protect the health of everyone in our terminals, by practicising social distancing, disinfecting surfaces , for example with a UVC-emitting robot, or by treating the ambient air,” said Isabelle Baumelle, Director of Operations and Airline Development at Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. “But it is important for us to join a European programme in order to benefit from feedback and to measure the psychological effects of these measures on passengers. We are convinced that confidence and peace of mind are decisive factors for the resumption of air traffic,” she continued.

Other airports signed up to the Charter include AENA, Athens International Airport, Brussels Airport, Fraport AG, Milan Airport, and Paris CDG Airport. EasyJet, Wizz Air and Aegean Airlines have also signed the charter for their return to normal operations under COVID-19.

Cologne Bonn Airport prepares for reopening

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Preparations are underway at Cologne Bonn Airport for the resumption of passenger traffic. In preparation for the gradual return of airline services and to ensure passengers and staff can travel safely through the terminal, numerous measures are already being taken in the airport’s terminals.

‘We’re ready to go, and can’t wait for the terminals to be bustling again,’ said Johan Vanneste, CEO of Flughafen Koln/ Bonn GmbH. “To ensure our passengers feel at ease and reach their destination safely and in good health, we and our partners have taken a number of measures that will minimise the risk of infection at our airport as long as they are upheld.”

It is compulsory to wear a mask upon entering the airport’s terminals, both before and after passing through security. Restaurants and shops within the airport are required to comply with official requirements, such as reducing the number of seats, maintaining physical distance between guests and implement hygiene measures. Stickers on the floor remind passengers to maintain the necessary 1.5m distance, while barrier tape will also ensure more space between travellers. Airline staff and handling agents will sit behind protective screens at check-in counters. Access to the security checkpoint will be limited with passengers passing through one at a time. At present passengers are only allowed to take one piece of hand luggage with them through security. In the waiting areas every second seat will be blocked off to ensure physical distancing is adhered to. However, families and passengers travelling together will be able to sit together.

Posters, videos, flyers and announcements will continue to remind passengers to wash their hands and observe coughing and sneezing etiquette. Disinfectant dispensers had already been set up across the terminal at the start of the crisis, but more are being added. In addition, the airport has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in its terminal buildings, with particular care given to high-touch areas such as self-check-in screens and touchpoints, handrails and luggage trolleys.

He added that while the travel experience at Cologne Bonn Airport will certainly be different to the pre-coronavirus one initially, the airport is “making every effort to ensure our passengers feel relaxed and well taken care of as they start their business trip or long-awaited holiday. We’re also relying on passengers themselves being responsible – everyone has to do their bit in order for our measures to work. Let’s help each other to stay healthy.”

The airport is hoping for traffic to gradually ramp up over the coming weeks and months as airlines begin to resume operations. “Initially, we expect there to be a few additional flights in June, and are cautiously optimistic for the subsequent summer months. We hope traffic will gradually keep increasing,” said Vanneste.

Southampton and Guernsey airports team up to enable medical flight

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Southampton Airport and Guernsey Airport have joined forces along with Channel Island’s based airline Aurigny to ensure a special charter flight carrying medical samples to be tested at Southampton General Hospital was carried out efficiently and safely.

“We are extremely proud to have been providing lifeline flights to the Channel Islands throughout this difficult period,” said Neil Garwood, Managing Director of Southampton Airport. “It has never been more important to enable medical flights than during this pandemic response,” he added.

Southampton General hospital is one of the key medical facilities for the Channel Islands and as such is key in the islands’ response to the pandemic. The flight, which took place on Sunday 24 May, on a Dornier 228NG, was requested by authorities on Guernsey on the Saturday. “Our team pulled out all the stops working with Aurigny and Guernsey Airport to make sure this precious medical cargo reached Southampton in time,” added Garwood.

As a popular year-round air route for passengers arriving from the Channel Islands, Southampton Airport is a key access point to the south of England. Aurigny is currently operating daily services to Southampton from Guernsey for those with a requirement to travel during the Covid-19 pandemic, which includes vital medical appointments.

Header image: the Aurigny Dornier 228NG after landing at Southampton Airport

A statement from HMG Aerospace

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we find ourselves feeling increasingly proud of the industry’s ability to adapt, respond and become ever more resilient to the critical challenges that confront it. Although the long-term effects of this crisis will reach far and strike deep, many within the industry have already taken the first few steps back towards normal – or at least “new normal” – service. Ryanair has announced that as of July 1, it plans to reinstate 40% of its scheduled service. Wizz Air intends to increase operations from Gatwick Airport, and Boeing has asked its largest supplier of 737 MAX parts to restart manufacturing. Whilst many airlines have had to reshape and resize their operations, this forced restructure gives them the opportunity to strengthen their business model and consolidate their fleet. They will rebuild on stronger and hopefully greener foundations.

The pandemic has created a more charitable and democratic aviation industry. The web is awash with news stories detailing the contributions made by businesses around the globe to the fight against COVID-19. From helicopter manufacturers like Leonardo supplying HEMS helicopters for aircraft availability and mission effectiveness, to airlines like flydubai operating flights across four continents to repatriate citizens, the industry has shown willing to rally round and support those in need. In addition, there has been a significant increase in companies seeking to engage with their customers, offering them the chance to directly influence future business decisions. We have been particularly impressed by a recent Eurowings initiative, whereby the company utilises social media to ask its customers what services they would like the airline to provide both during and post-COVID-19. Discussions and decisions are being released from the confines of the corporate boardroom and presented to the people who will be most affected by them: the passengers.

Taking inspiration from the industry we serve, here at HMG Aerospace we have adapted in order to continue delivering. We have taken advantage of the various digital services available to ensure that our products are published on schedule and that our editorial content is topical, rich and often exclusive. From dynamic digital magazines to video interviews with senior aviation executives; from digital marketing solutions to news websites and weekly newsletters, not forgetting our participation in pioneering online broadcast events like FlightPlan by Inmarsat Aviation and APEX, HMG Aerospace remains as committed as ever to supporting and reporting on the industry.

On behalf of all the team at HMG Aerospace, keep safe and well.

Best wishes,

Mark Howells and Becky Howells