Toulouse welcomes return of Air Transat link to Montreal

By Airports, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Air Transat has resumed its service between Toulouse in France and Montreal in Canada. The direct flights are being operated four times a week on an Airbus A231 aircraft.

Describing the bond between France and Canada as “precious”, Cyril Cousin, Director of Air Transat France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany, said: “It is a real pleasure for us to restore our direct flights from Toulouse, a route that has been integral to our programme for more than 30 years and which we now operate exclusively. We know that travellers whether on vacation or reuniting with loved ones, particularly appreciate the ease of getting to their final destination non-stop.”

Meanwhile, Philippe Crebassa, Chairman of the Managemetn Board of Toulouse Blagnac Airport said: “This reopening was eagerly awaited and we are delighted to see Air Transat’s aircraft again. We welcome with open arms our Canadian friends to our region. This link will also allow those living in Toulouse to discover the beautiful province of Quebec, as well as enable travel for professionals, family members and friends living either side of the Atlantic to reunite.”

Passengers will be able to make the most of Air Transat’s Canadian network from Montreal thanks to the carriers domestic network in Canada.

Rennes Bretagne extends partnership with Alstef for trial of baggage handling vehicle

By Airports, Baggage handling, Featured, NewsNo Comments

Baggage handling group, Alstef, has agreed to trial its innovative BAGXone (automated guided vehicle or AGV) at Rennes Bretagne Airport in France. The AGV is dedicated to automated hold baggage handling in the terminal

The trial is part of an AirportLAB experimentation agreement between Alstef and Rennes Airport (whose two shareholders are VINCI Airports and the Ille-et-Vilaine Chamber of Commerce and Industry). The first phase, which took place in 2021, was the operational testing of a BAGXone in the baggage delivery room at the reclaim area.

The success of the initial trial paved the way for continuation to the next phase. Now the operational testing of the latest BAGXone develops will be deployed in 2022 and underlines VINCI Airports’ desire to make its airports testing grounds for service or operational innovations.

As an extension of the trial, Alstef Group will also implement the first operational installation of BAGXone aat Belgrade Airport in Serbia by the end of the year. It is anticipated that the AGV will perform the transfer of post-screening suspect baggage to the search room and then facilitate their return (after verification) to the final sorting area.

Bordeaux Airport inaugurates new pier

By Airports, Design, Featured, NewsNo Comments

As part of Bordeaux Airport’s modernisation plan, which is focused on service quality and environmental transition, its new pier, which was unveiled on 7 October, is the first High Environmental Quality (HEQ) facility at the French hub.

The fully transparent passageway links Hall A in Bordeaux Airport to its new international pier offering 3,000 m.sq. of new building, including 2,000 m.sq. of devoted passenger areas with four lounges offering panoramic views of aircraft taking off on the runway.

The new structure was designed with high-performance systems to ensure a comfortable indoor atmosphere, while boasting a distinctive and imposing façade of special glazing. Combining protection from solar over-heating and noise reduction, it provides a significant proportion of natural light, offset at nightfall or in cloudy weather by automatic variation in the LED lighting system.

The HEQ certification of the pier guarantees environmental and energy efficiency. Its annual energy use is 11% lower than that of an airport complying with the most recent thermal regulation. Regarding water use, it enables an annual saving of 1,000 m. sq. of drinking water, i.e. the equivalent of 200,000 lavatory flushes.

High-performance, environmentally friendly interior furnishings, including paint and suspended ceilings were chosen to emit as few pollutants as possible. Wood furnishings sourced from sustainably managed forests, and the linoleum flooring is composed of 90% fully natural and recyclable materials.

The new pier is one of several projects the airport is undertaking to enhance its service quality and strengthen the management of its environmental impacts. Despite the global health crisis the airport has pursed an active strategy for its environmental management with the goal of becoming a carbon neutral airport by 2030.

Header image: Bordeaux Airport’s new passenger pier ©@SA_ADBM
Nice Cote d'azur

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

By Airports, Business Aviation, FeaturedNo Comments

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.

French regional hubs receive a blow with ban on short domestic flights

By Airports, FeaturedNo Comments

With the aviation sector still reeling from the global pandemic, France’s domestic air transport sector has received a further blow with French lawmakers voting late on Saturday to abolish domestic flights on routes that can be covered by train in under two-and-a-half hours.

The vote was made by the National Assembly and is in line with government efforts to lower carbon emissions and is part of a broader climate bill that aims to cut French carbon emissions by 40% in 2030 from 1990 levels. There will be two more rounds of voting before this is formally approved. The measure is expected to impact five domestic routes out of France’s existing 108-route-strong domestic network. These include: Paris (Orly) to Bordeaux; Orly to Lyon; Orly to Nantes, Orly to Rennes; and Lyon to Marseille.

The vote came shortly after it was announced that the French government said it would more than double its stake in Air France-KLM by contributing €4bn to recapitalise the airline.

France’s Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Europe 1 radio, “We know that aviation is a contributor of carbon dioxide and that because of climate change we must reduce emissions. Equally, we must support our companies and not let them fall by the wayside.”

The bill to cut back domestic flights will next week go to France’s Senate to vote on.


Thales selected to prepare France for new Entry/ Exit system

By Airports, Featured, NewsNo Comments

In an effort to secure borders in France ahead of the new Schengen Area Entry/ Exit System,which will come into effect from February 2022 to register non-European citizens crossing an EU external border, the French Government has selected Thales to install several hundred biometric entry and exit registration systems at various border crossings including airports situated throughout the country.

“This new European entry and exit system represents a major challenge for Member States,” said the French Ministry of the Interior. “On the one hand, they are required to be ready and compliant with the regulations by 2022; on the other hand, they are faced with the operational reality and the fact that millions of people have to be processed each year, for whom we want to offer the smoothest possible experience,” stated the French Ministry of the Interior.”

In line with the directive approved by the European Union, those countries that are part of the Schengen Area will be required to deploy pre-registration kiosks or similar equipment in order to allow non-schengen visitors to register their identity quickly and securely, including their biometric data (fingerprint and facial biometrics).

“Thales’ expertise in identity and border management provides us with technological reliability, without having to make a choice between security and ease of use,” added the French Ministry of the Interior.

The Thales Gemalto Border Kiosks will incorporate various document verification and biometric technologies, offering rapid registration for travellers, as well as highly accurate identity verification, data management protection and advanced operational fluidity at border crossings.

“The pre-registration kiosks are equipped with our state-of-the-art technologies for identity creation and verification,” explained Youzec Kurp – SVP Identity and Biometric Solutions at Thales. “They are based on software optimised for ultra-rapid checks of a document’s authenticity and intelligent detection of any attempted identity fraud. We have therefore been able to develop high-performance tools to support operations, without compromising the safety and protection of travellers’ data.”