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.”

Hazleton Regional Airport prepares for opening of Olympus Air hangar

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Having broken ground on its new hangar earlier this summer in July, Olympus Air – an aviation development company – is set to open its new facility at Hazelton Regional Airport (HZL) in Pennsylvania by February 2022.

The 16,000 sq.ft. heated hangar will be situated on the north side of the airport field and will feature a door height of 28 ft. to accommodate aircraft up to a G5.

Olympus Air is partnering with Hazleton Regional Airport to support its growing customer base with the new hangar providing a new home for aviators at eastern Pennsylvania’s general aviation gateway. Tenants will benefit from the airport’s full FBO services, and on-field maintenance and aircraft detailing, while the region’s economy will benefit from enhanced capacity to support business and leisure travellers alike.

Global Air Charter, a Minnesota-based full-service aviation charter and management company that is expanding its services to Hazleton Regional Airport will take over half of the hangar. The other half is up for lease.

Commenting on the partnership David Chronowski, Airport Manager of Hazleton Regional Airport said: “We are thankful to the Olympus Air team for working with the airport to facilitate this exciting expansion. It speaks volumes to their dedication to the airport, the aviation industry and the community. We look forward to welcoming more general aviation travellers to HZL with expanded facilities and the subsequent services Global Air Charters will provide from the Olympus Air hangar.”

Meanwhile, Tom Kislan owner of Olympus Air added: “We’ve been long-time tenants of Hazleton Regional Airport and are committed to supporting its growth with real estate development. “We are thrilled to welcome Global Air Charters to the airport field as its team agrees to make the Olympus Air hangar its home. What benefits the airport benefits the local community; we’re honoured to support HZL and the eastern Pennsylvania region with enhanced access to streamlined aviation services.”

Paragon Aviation adds Magnum FBO locations to European network

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Paragon Aviation Group is expanding its presence in Europe with the addition of two Magnum FBO locations in Vienna and Bratislava, alongside nine handling locations across Austria and Slovakia.

“We are extremely proud that our customer service commitment has been recognised by Paragon Aviation Group,” said Florian Samsinger, Managing Director of Magnum FBO. “Our common goal is to accelerate brand-new opportunities to deliver the immense services, making sure our customers can experience and appreciate the value of such an advanced upgrade.”

Established in 2012, Magnum FBO has been serving passengers and crew, offering an array of support services, including customs/ immigration assistance, concierge support, slot coordination and exclusive lounge accommodation.

Megan Barnes, President of Paragon Aviation noted, “As we return back to in-person business transactions and events, we are pleased to have Magnum FBO join our network and provide Paragon customers with a new travel region that instills the same core values as our other members worldwide.” She also stated that “Magnum’s high operating standards and dedication to safety assures travellers a flawless journey no matter which Paragon Network location they visit.”

With more than 100 operations worldwide in 25 countries, the Paragon Network continues to grow. With FBOs in Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels, Zurich, Monterrey, Cape Town, Dubai, Sydney and Paris, much of the predominant business regions are covered. In the US it also offers facilities in Los Angeles, Houston, Detroit, Dallas, Austin, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Washington D.C. and New York.

June sees uptick in business aviation activity

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According to the latest Global Market Tracker weekly report from WingX, global business jet activity saw a resurgence in the first half of June, surpassing pre-COVID levels and outstripping cargo growth for the first time.

The report highlights that while lifestyle and occasionally necessity sustained business jet demand during the pandemic, the last few months have seen leisure boost the recovery. This is expected to accelerate through the summer, with the return of at least some business travel taking  bizav utilisation to new highs in 2021 compared to 2019.

With more than 100,000 business jet flights operated so far this month, the sector represents 15% of all fixed wing movements, activity which is 12% higher than in the first half of June 2019.  Meanwhile, scheduled airline activity globally is still languishing with more than 40% below pre-pandemic activity for this time of year.

The US market continues to go from strength to strength with business jet activity in the country so far this year now 1% above the same period in 2019, and the resurgence gathering pace, with the first half of June seeing 20% more business jet movements than June 2019. In Florida business jet departures are now a whopping 30% higher in 2021 than in 2019, with 160,000 departures recorded (more than 10 times the number of business jet movements in the UK) for the same period. Also worth noting is that flights between Florida and New York are up almost 70% on 2019 figures.

Meanwhile, in Europe business aviation activity is also seeing a surge with the first two weeks of June only 6% behind 2019, although overall it is trailing 2019 by 15%. Strong growth continues to be noted in business jet flights in Russia, Greece, across the Balkans and much of Eastern Europe. In Western Europe the outlier is Portugal, with flights above normal for the season.

Elsewhere business aviation activity continues to show strength in Africa, where it is currently 45% ahead of 2019 figures, South America where it is 80% ahead and in the Middle East, where it is 23% ahead of 2019 figures. WingX also notes a clear correlation between range and travel restrictions globally with domestic sectors back to where they were in 2019, whereas international business jet sectors are still down by 20% vs 2019.



Jetex adds new locations in Argentina, Colombia and Peru to global network

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Jetex has expanded its presence in Latin America, offering its local customers and international operators a wider range of seamless services and dedicated support at new locations in Argentina, Colombia and Peru. Providing a range of services including FBO facilities, aircraft fuelling, ground handling and global trip planning, Jetex’ new locations complement its existing operations in the region in destinations including: Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

In a statement issued during this year’s EBACE Connect, Adel Mardini, Founder and CEO of Jetex commented: “With global private aviation experiencing rapid growth post COVID-19, we continue to develop and deliver even better solutions to our customers worldwide. Jetex has professionals stationed across Latin America to offer the most efficient and reliable solutions. We are now broadening our reach of capabilities and commercial representation to more destinations with the aim to further consolidate our services in key markets across the region.”

Diego Giamberini, Director, Jetex LATAM & Caribbean, added that “Jetex teams understand the utmost importance of each mission, offering unparalleled flexibility and assurance. Our multilingual fuel and ground operations professionals are available 24-hours a day to attend, process and coordinate any requirements for flights and to ensure a quick and effective turnaround in all major airports in the region.”

Milano Prime partners with Sirio to preview new maintenance hangar

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Business aviation in Italy is showing steady signs of recovery following the global pandemic. Speaking during a press briefing at EBACE Connect on 17 May, SEA Prime, which manages the business and general aviation infrastructure at both Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa airports under the Milano Prime brand, noted that Italy had recorded +36.9% in terms of business and general aviation movements in the first four months of 2021.

Acknowledging the market  has not yet returned to 2019 levels, Chiara Dorigotti, CEO of SEA Prime did however reveal figures showing that private aviation traffic numbers are on trend to return to normal by next year. She also noted a +30.8%  increase in business and general aviation movements in the first four months of this year compared to 2020 and a three-digit increase in the first weeks of May, as she stated, “our airports never closed operations even during the hard lock down months in March and April 2020.”

The group hasn’t stopped pursuing its commercial initiatives over the last year and among the most important projects in terms of development for SEA Prime is the construction of a new 4,500 sq. m. hangar at Linate Prime. “Designed to accommodate all business jet models and architecturally consistent with the materials used in the Milano Prime terminals, it will meet the highest standards of environmental sustainability and energy efficiency,” said Dorigotti.

“The hangar, which we plan to deliver in 2020 has been designed for Sirio, part of the Directional Aviation Group, one of the main customers and partners of SEA Prime present at Milano Prime for more than 20 years and which, with the new hangar, will consolidate and expand its maintenance activity as an authorised service facility for Bombardier,” she continued.

Adding that its 20 years since Sirio rented its first hangar at Milano Linate Prime, Tom Engelhard, CEO of Sirio added, “we can now look forward to the next chapter with this state-of-the-art hangar! It will be a milestone for our maintenance organisation and all our clients, and allows us to further expand our portfolio of services.”

SEA Prime has also implemented various measures to ensure the safety of passengers and operators, including frequent sanitisation of spaces, social distancing, the use of paperless documentation and the possibility of carrying out COVID-19 swabs in both its terminals.

With sustainability a key focus across the sector as it looks to a post-pandemic landscape, SEA Prime also highlighted its new agreement with BMW for the supply of BMW i3 full electric cars for the follow-me service. In the absence of trade fairs, SEA Prime has also satisfied requests from manufacturers to organise static displays of aircraft at Linate Prime, which offers convenient access to Milan’s city centre.

In addition, the group revealed it has received positive feedback for the fast-track service at Malpensa Prime, which has been used during the pandemic by the Milanese as well as international sports teams to ensure a secure, private and discreet transit through the airport.

Sugar Land Regional Airport celebrates opening of Sky Harbour Group’s aviation campus

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Sky Harbour Group officially opened its new, private aviation campus at Houston’s Sugar Land Regional Airport on 19 May.

The opening of Sky Harbour’s facility at the Houston regional hub, will mark the first of the New York-based company’s planned four national private hangar locations. In addition to Houston, these include Nashville, Tennessee; Miami, Florida; Denver, Colorado, and more fields to come.

According to Sky Harbour, its line crew ensures the shortest time to wheels up at Sugar Land  by exclusively servicing Sky Harbour’s private hangar tenants. Each Sky Harbour hangar features temperature and humidity control, drive-in vehicle access, indoor and outdoor parking, and all features required for routine aircraft maintenance and inspection. Premium interior suites include private offices, lounges, kitchens, bathrooms, showers, laundry and crew facilities.

“We aim to be the best home base in aviation, bar none, maximising the value that owners derive from their aircraft,” said Sky Harbour CEO Tal Keinan.

Sky Harbour’s home-base hangar campus represents a strategic new paradigm. It exclusively serves aircraft that spend the majority of time at their home base. This is where they uplift most of their fuel and perform the bulk of their routine maintenance, servicing and cleaning. As such, Sky Harbour’s purpose-built facilities and best-in-class services are designed to deliver optimal outcomes for owners, operators and passengers.

Elmira-Corning Regional Airport’s newest FBO expands customer base

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As Elmira-Corning Regional Airport’s newest FBO, Premier Aviation has welcomed race-car traffic back to the regional hub as the nearby Watkins Glen International’s racing season revs up.

Racing traffic looking to land at the Elmira hub will enjoy an array of benefits, including no added fees, heightened privacy, extensive ramp space and ample secure parking.

“We believe in providing exceptional services out of exceptional amenities at competitive prices,” said Robert Cleary, Premier Aviation’s President. “We’re here as a new option for reliable aviation services for the racing community and are excited to welcome them back to KELM, just 23 minutes away from the speedway. We understand this customer base values speed, safety and efficiency, and we’re here with tailor-made services and rates to meet that need.”

As well as state-of-the-art facilities, Premier Aviation’s FBO features expansive modern passenger and pilot areas, a quiet room, conference room, hangar space and VIP and private ramp space. Fuel is supplied by Avfuel and there is also a de-icing service, catering, secure parking, a weather briefing room, crew snooze room, shower and catering services as well as car rental. Additionally, customers can make use of the 24/7 aircraft maintenance and on-call airline maintenance, as well as a new brake and wheel shop.

London Oxford Airport’s new development phase takes off

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As part of a new strategic plan, London Oxford Airport has begun construction work on a new development phase.

Central to the work is a 63,000 sq. ft. 140m long hangar with two bays including rear offices, stores and workshops, capable of accommodating up to six Bombardier Global, Gulfstream or Dassault Falcon Jet models, simultaneously. The hangar will be the airport’s 15th such facility and the first in a new zone of the airport to the north of the original site. Work is expected to be complete this autumn.

This latest development is part of the airport’s plan to progressively replace 80-year-old hangars with new, bespoke facilities, providing turnkey solutions for clients. Hangar 15 will be used predominantly by established tenants, many of whom currently reside in some of the airport’s older WWII facilities, along with a number of larger business aircraft for which there has been limited capacity at Oxford.

With demand for space consistently outpacing supply within the London region, the airport is committed to invest in infrastructure to accommodate more business and allow companies such as Airbus Helicopters, Volare Aviation and Jet Maintenance International (JMI) to expand. The airport is home to a number of aviation support businesses (MRO) offering maintenance, engineering, modification, design and operational support services. The new environmentally-efficient facilities will support existing aircraft and future next-gen aircraft, including eVTOL and hybrid/ electric models.

Additional infrastructural projects at the airport include a large area of new aircraft parking apron, as well as seven new ICAO/ EASA/ CAA-compliant helipads supporting Airbus Helicopters and the growing number of commercial AOC helicopter businesses at London Oxford, such as MyHeli. These complement operations with the co-owned Edmiston London Heliport, which supports up to 12,000 movements per year and the capital’s essential police and air ambulance flights.

The airport is also due to start work on a new fire station to be established in a central position on the airport to house its recently ordered three Angloco Scania 26 tonne fire tenders.

A new fuel farm will enable a quadrupling of the capacity of the original facility, while also providing valuable space for additional future static tankage for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

“In a post-pandemic economic environment, it’s critical that the UK ramps up its capabilities and capacity to provide growth and further employement, espeically in high-value, high-skilled and knowledge-based industrial sectors,” said Will Curtis, Managing Director. “Aerospace and aviation are set to rebound and business aviation is leading the charge, so timing  is crucial. Now we have put in the infrastructure for growth, we can build further facilities with relative ease and speed and further bolster employment opportunities – adding to the near on  1,000 employees based on site.”

Head of Business Development, James Dillon-Godfray, added: “We have long-established maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) businesses that need to expand. These new developments allow us to move people around the airport to facilitate that. We are also in dialogue with several new entitities about joining us in the next few years, for which this capacity is essential.”

Effective 17 May, the airport will be opening up to non-essential travel in accordance with the UK Government’s easing of COVID-related constraints. However, despite the constraints the airport saw a five-fold increase in business flights in April compared with 2020.

“Further announcements on additional developments will be made as the year progresses, marking a new stage in the airport’s evolution,” concluded Dillon-Godfray.