Menzies Aviation expands operations in Canada with Flair Airlines

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Global aviation logistics provider, Menzies Aviation, has expanded its partnership with Flair Airlines across Canada, having been awarded full-service ground handling agreements by the Canadian ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC).

The expanded agreement encompasses nine of the 19 hubs in Flair Airlines’ network. Menzies will provide passenger and ramp services to Flair at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Ottawa International Airport and Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport from May; at the airports of Saint John, Charlottetown and Victoria from July; and at Abbotsford International Airport from August.

This will build on the existing partnership between Menzies and Flair at two key Canadian stations, with Menzies having supported the carrier at Toronto Pearson International Airport since February, and at Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport since August 2000, where the Menzies team is currently preparing for the return of flight schedules.

“It is with great pride that we announce the expansion of our partnership with Flair Airlines across Canada. These new contracts demonstrate Flair’s trust in Menzies to support their growth ambitions, and are testament to the excellent standards of service that have been provided on the ground by Menzies professionals at Toronto and Saskatoon,” said John Redmond, Executive Vice President, Americas.

With a strong presence in the Canadian market across the ground services, cargo services and fuelling sectors, this recently expanded agreement will see Menzies now be operating at a total of 21 airports in Canada.

Goldhofer’s Phoenix E towbarless aircraft tractor passes test phase with flying colours

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The Phoenix E towbarless aircraft tractor from Goldhofer has successfully completed its test phase and is now ready for action on the airport apron.

The AST-2 towbarless tow tractor was originally unveiled at Inter Airport Europe 2019 and is the flagship product among Goldhofer’s towbarless aircraft tractors. It offers speeds up to 32km/h for maintenance tows and also offers some of the best versatility in its class, handling the full range of today’s aircrafts with a maximum take-off weight of 253 tonnes. The challenge for the Goldhofer engineering team in developing the battery-powered Phoenix E was to produce an electric version to match the existing diesel tractor.

The electric tow boasts the same range of performance in terms of tractive power, maneuverability and reliability. It also offers additional advantages, such as lower operating costs and longer maintenance cycles. Plus, a triple-circuit breaking system ensures excellent tracking performance and maximum travel safety at all times. The Phoenix E also comes with Godlhofer’s IonMaster technology – a high-performance electric drive concept that works with extremely efficient 700 V lithium-ion batteries, which have proven themselves in the application of electric buses, meeting the high standards of safety.

The vehicles can be easily charged at all standard AC and DC charging points with up to 150kW. Compared to diesel-powered vehicles, the system offers neormous energy savings, very high total vehicle efficiency, and noise emissions approaching zero. And like the diesel version, the Phoenix E satisfies the highest standards of safety, with premium components and a full range of service and maintenance tools.

Menzies Aviation commits to carbon neutral operations by 2033

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Aviation logistics specialist, Menzies Aviation, has committed to making 100% of its operations carbon neutral by 2033, which also happens to be the company’s 200-year anniversary. According to Menzies, it is the first aviation company to make this ground-breaking commitment to carbon neutrality.

To reach carbon neutrality Menzies will focus on investing in electric ground support equipment (GSE), reducing emissions through identifying operational efficiencies and balancing remaining emissions with carbon offsetting initiatives. The transition to lower emission and electric GSE is key to reducing carbon footprint and supporting customers’ sustainability ambitions and in 2020 Menzies made significant progress in upgrading equipment as part of new contracts. It’s new contract with Qatar Airways at Gothenburg and Stockholm airports has enabled Menzies to invest in three new electric baggage tractors and two new electric aircraft loaders, as well as an electric towbarless tractor in Stockholm. Meanwhile in South Africa, a new contract with Mango Airlines saw the Group purchase 15 new electric belt loaders and 12 new electric baggage tractors across three airports – Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. And in North America, Menzies has replaced and retired older, less efficient GSE across four locations with plans to do so in more locations across the region.

Alongside investment in new equipment, Menzies will also support teams with implementing processes to make zero fuel spills a daily target throughout the business as well as local initiatives to reduce energy use and lessen environmental impacts.

Commenting on how the the company’s carbon neutral goal coincides with its milestone anniversary in 2033, Philipp Joeinig, CEO and Chairman of Menzies Aviation said: “As flight volumes recover we see an opportunity to rebuild the aviation industry to be more sustainable, and we will be taking advantage of this to promote greener operations across our entire business. With our Sustainability Strategy and Programme now in place, we have clearly defined targets and supporting action plans to help realise them, however it is critical that we build relationships across the aviation ecosystem, from trade bodies to suppliers, to ensure that we can collectively remove barriers to green innovation and adoption.”

Menzies awarded five-year contract by Wizz Air at Oslo Gardermoen Airport

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Hungarian-based airline Wizz Air has awarded Menzies Aviation a five-year ground handling contract at its recently launched Olso Gardermoen Airport base.

Under the agreement Menzies will provide a full suite of ground handling services to the low-cost airline to support the smooth operation of its domestic flights. When flight volumes at the airport recover it is expected that this contract will represent 5,000 turns per annum, as Wizz Air looks to grow its presence in the Norwegian market.

The news follows the recent renewal of Wizz Air and Menzies’ agreements at Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague and further strengthens the relationship between the two companies. In November 2020, Wizz Air chose Menzies as their ground handling partner as part of a five-year agreement at their Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport base, with Menzies already supporting the carrier at airports in London, Cluj, Timisoara, Iasi and Sibiu.

“It’s fantastic to see our relationship with Wizz Air go from strength to strength. We ended last year with a major contract win at the airline’s Budapest base and have built on this to both secure our contract renewal at Prague and this latest award at Olso. These successes are the result of a close working partnership we have established with Wizz across our network of stations, and the excellent service provided by Menzies professionals on the ground. we are looking forward to ramping up our support of Wizz operations as flight volumes return,” said Thomas Andersson, VP Northern Europe, Menzies Aviation.

E-mobility on the rise at Munich Airport with all-electric de-icing vehicle

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Munich Airport’s fleet of de-icing vehicles have been boosted by the arrival of the all-electric ‘Elephant e-BETA’ from Danish manufacturer, Vestergaard. EFM, the company responsible for de-icing and aircraft towing at the German gateway has been using the environmentally friendly vehicle since the beginning of the week.

The ‘Elephant e-BETA’ is the first electric de-icing vehicle, according to Vestergaard. The spray arms and nozzles, which are driven by electric motors, perform the de-icing of aircraft silently and effectively. At the heart of the vehicle is a lithium-ion battery power pack that enables the electric de-icing of around 10 to 15 aircraft. This enables the vehicle to complete about two to three hours of operation without needing to be recharged.

The vehicle still drives to the de-icing areas with a conventional diesel engine, so can be used flexibly, but at the site itself, the engine is switched off and the all-electric de-icing begins. Compared with conventional de-icing vehicles, the electric version can avoid up to 87% of the CO2 emissions caused by a traditional vehicle and has achieved good results in the handling of sensitive aircraft in the test phase so far.

With a vision of operating in a CO2 neutral manner by 2030 at the latest, the new electric de-icing vehicle fits in perfectly with the airport’s climate strategy.

Eight Turkish airports to benefit from Amadeus collaboration

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Following an agreement with Turkish Ground Services (TGS) to enhance the agility of operations, passenger and flight services at eight Turkish airports will now be managed with Amadeus Technology. The airports include: Istanbul, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen, Ankara Esenboğa, Izmir Adnan Menderes, Antalya, Adana, Milas-Bodrum and Dalaman airports.

In response to fluctuating passenger numbers, cost pressures and significantly higher levels of disruption as a result of the current global health emergency, TGS will move to Amadeus Altéa Departure Control for Ground Handlers, empowering agents with a single, intuitive, interface to handle the passengers of any airline flexibly. Innovative new features mean TGS can now handle unexpected or charter flights more easily, so the ground handler can respond quickly as airlines adapt their plans due to the pandemic.

“TGS is a major ground handler in Turkey with an impressive passenger focused approach,” said Bruno Spada, Executive VP, Airport IT, Amadeus. “We’re pleased to be partnering to enhance TGS’ flexibility, to reduce costs and to help the company best respond to the ongoing impact of the current health emergency.”

The move to partner with Amadeus further supports TGS’ value for airlines by removing the need for them to deploy local IT infrastructure and network connections at the airports TGS serves. In addition, TGS will better personalise its passenger services according to the unique business rules of each individual airline, delivering a better overall passenger experience. TGS will also benefit from Amadeus’ unique community model approach, whereby an enhancement proposed by one community member is then made available for the benefit of all following technical development.

Nurzat Erkal, CEO, Turkish Ground Services commented: “Moving to Amadeus delivers increased flexibility across the board. Our agents can detect passenger issues earlier, which reduces flight delays and we can even handle ad hoc, charter or unexpected flights at the last minute. This additional flexibility is welcome during the current period of significant disruption.”

Jetex teams up with Shell to help customers offset carbon emissions

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Following an agreement with aviation fuel supplier Shell, Jetex customers are now able to choose to fly with a reduced carbon footprint from six key global locations by choosing to offset the carbon emissions of their travel. The new service is available initially at Jetex’ facilities at Dubai, Paris, Singapore, Dublin, Dusseldorf and Salah airports.

With the International Air Transport Association (IATA) committed to reducing the industry’s carbon emissions by 50% by 2050, the agreement demonstrates how general aviation service providers can support this ambition. As a vital catalyst for growth, providing access to markets, supporting jobs and promoting travel recovery, private aviation has multiple positive economic effects. However, it also contributes to the production of carbon emissions.

Every day, more than 200 aircraft fuelled by Jetex take to the sky around the world. As part of the agreement with Shell, the new tool allows Jetex customers to calculate their flight emissions associated with the use of jet fuel and reduce them by choosing to invest in environment conservation programmes. The programmes are certified by international organisations such as the Verified Carbon Standard, as well as Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard. They include the protection or redevelopment of natural ecosystems – such as forests, grasslands and wetlands – to lower concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. To recognise customers’ input, Jetex will be issuing certificates and acknowledging individual contributions.

“With private aviation growing, we are even more aware that our future has to be sustainable. Solving the complex issue of climate protection requires a multifaceted response, and offsetting emissions on flights is just one step that we are adopting to reduce our environmental impact,” said Adel Mardini, Founder & CEO of Jetex. “By working with Shell, we have carefully chosen environmental programmes to ensure they are proven and deliver CO2 emissions reductions as well as benefits to the communities and local biodiversity.”

Meanwhile, Anna Mascolo, President of Global Aviation at Shell, said: “Until sustainable aviation fuels and technology are developed at scale, carbon offsets will play a key role in helping the aviation sector achieve net-zero emissions.”


All-electric aircraft tug helps Munich Airport advance decarbonisation goals

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Aircraft at Munich Airport in Germany are now being towed using electric pushback tugs equipped with the latest 700V lithium-ion battery technology.

The resource-saving handling equipment can effortlessly tow passenger aircraft up to a take-off weight of 352 tonnes – which includes wide-bodied aircraft.

Named after the mythical bird, the “PHOENIX” E can achieve speeds of up to 32km per hour with consistently high tractive power. And through short intermediate charging, the completely emission-free all-electric pushback tug allows reliable round-the-clock operations.

If the loading capacity is ever insufficient, “PHOENIX” E is also equipped with a range extender that enables operation with diesel in exceptional cases. Compared to conventional diesel tractors, the maintenance effort is significantly lower.

With the deployment of the all-electric aircraft pushback tug, EFM – a joint subsidiary of Munich Airport and Lufthansa – is contributing to the German gateway’s climate protection goals, which are for the airport to be operated in a completely carbon-neutral manner by 2030 at the latest.

To achieve this goal, Munich Airport is implementing a wealth of technological innovations in all areas and has massively expanded not only the proportion of electric vehicles in its fleet, but also the charging infrastructure

Business rate relief welcomed by airports but it’s not enough

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While UK airports have welcomed the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme, which opened for applications on Friday 29 January to assist commercial airports and ground handlers who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, more significant support is being called for.

The UK Government’s multimillion-pound support scheme, for which applications close on 21 February, has been set up to support the aviation sector while the government continues to roll out its vaccination programme.

Commercial airports and ground handlers are able to apply for up to £8 million each to support fixed costs while travel restrictions remain in place, successful applicants can expect to receive their funding by the end of this financial year.

However, Karen Dee, Airport Operators Association’s Chief Executive underlined that when the support scheme was originally announced, the business rate relief was, “very welcome and came alongside a real hope for an initial recovery through the Test-to-Release Scheme. However, the pandemic took a turn for the worse and the outlook for 2021 has worsened significantly.” With airports effectively closed again by the Government’s recently tightened travel restrictions, AOA is now calling for much more significant support to protect jobs and ensure airports are fighting fit to boost the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

Dee also highlighted that while revenues have dropped off a cliff due to the lack of passenger traffic, most airports have remained open, sustaining consistent losses for nearly 12 months, in order to facilitate essential freight, emergency services, military and offshore oil, gas and wind flights.

The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme is open for applications until 21 February 2021.

Madrid Airport reopens after temporary closure following snowstorm Filomena

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Following the temporary closure of Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, after the snowstorm Filomena caused more than 60 flights to be diverted to other airports, the Spanish hub has now reopened and gradually resumed flight schedules.

The airport was forced to close on Friday 8 January after heavy snowfall covered the Spanish capital and much of the rest of the country. Storm Filomena caused the biggest snowfall in decades in Madrid having moved north from the Gulf of Cadiz. High-speed and other train services to and from the city were also suspended as a result of the storm.

Such adverse weather is incredibly rare in Spain, which is better known for its sunnier climes, so the freezing conditions are not something the airport would typically have to deal with.

A statement on Aena’s (the Spanish airport operator) website read: “Operations at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport are being returned gradually. Aena is coordinating with airline departures from terminals T4 and T4S. There are no departures from T1-2-3, at the moment. No arrivals will be produced.” Passengers are also advised to check the status of their flight with the airline and not to travel to the airport until their flight has been confirmed.