Gainesville Regional Airport welcomes new GA tenant

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Florida’s Gainesville Regional Airport has welcomed  Consortia Aerospace Group (formerly Chippewa Aerospace Group) as a new general aviation (GA) tenant.

Headquartered in Conway, SC, the engineering service firm established its base at Gainesville on 16 November in the former Silver Airways/ Eclipse Aviation building, occupying a modern, 61,000 sq.ft. maintenance hangar and adjacent 8,300 sq.ft. hangar, which formerly belonged to Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS).

Since the departure of Silver Airways in 2015, Gainesville Airport officials has been actively searching for a comprehensive tenant for the facilities. Airport CEO, Allan Penksa, remarked, “As a leading engineering service firms in the aerospace industry, Consortia Aerospace Group is making an investment in our area that will not only bring jobs, but new opportunities in the vibrant aviation and aerospace research and development industry to our region.” This, he added, will be a “great economic benefit to both the surrounding community and to the airport.”

Meanwhile, Julie Myers, Consortia Aerospace CEO added: “The location and the assets in this community are an ideal location for us to continue to provide our services to a wide variety of domestic and foreign aerospace companies, commercial and business aviation companies and private aircraft owners.”

Birmingham Airport named as Flybe’s new headquarters and crew base

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The revived regional carrier, Flybe, has revealed that Birmingham Airport in the UK will serve as its new headquarters and first new crew base. The launch of the new Flybe is expected not only to enhance essential regional connectivity in the UK, but also to create many valuable industry jobs and help restart local economies as they rebound from the pandemic.

The airline is among the first UK carriers to be certified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) since Brexit. It will serve key regions across the UK and EU with operations scheduled to begin in early 2022. In a move that will create around 200 direct new jobs in the Birmingham and West Midlands region, the airline’s HQ and operations centre will be located in Birmingham Airport’s Diamond House. An additional 400 direct jobs are projected to be created nationwide.

Describing Birmingham as “an ideal choice”, Flybe CEO Dave Pflieger, cited the city’s great people, highly skilled workforce, its central UK location and the airport’s function as a global travel as reasons behind choosing the West Midlands hub as its home base.

“The announcement marks the culmination of over 12 months of dedicated hard work by all involved, and it would not have been possible without the support of the CAA and the UK Government,” he said.

Meanwhile Nick Barton, Chief Executive of Birmingham Airport added: “Flybe’s announcement that Birmingham has been chosen to become the headquarters for its launch next spring is fantastic news for our region’s connectivity needs, and it will bring with it some great new employment opportunities. Dave’s vast experience in managing start-up airlines and turnaround situations, coupled with the recovery of the Midlands’ economy post-Covid, means that Flybe’s return to the skies from Birmingham is a shot in the arm for our airport as well as West Midlands businesses and communities. We look forward to working with Dave and his team in preparation for next spring and to launch such a well-known brand here in Birmingham.”

Glasgow Airport installs reverse vending machines to boost recycling efforts

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As part of a pilot project to encourage staff and passengers to recycle more cans and bottles, Glasgow Airport in Scotland has unveiled two Reverse Vending Machines. Introduced in partnership with Biffa, the airport’s waste management partner, the two machines will be based on the first-floor area next to the e-gate entrance to the security hall and in the main area of the departure lounge for the next four weeks.

The machines will provide a dedicated return point for cans and bottles and it is hoped the reverse vending machines will encourage staff and passengers to boost recycling efforts. Each machine can accept 320 plastic bottles and 650 cans. Introduced on a trial basis the installation of the two machines coincides with the COP26 summit on climate change and comes ahead of the introduction of the Scottish Government’s Deposit Return Scheme, which is due to begin next summer. The desposit return scheme will see consumers pay a 20p deposit when buying a drink in a bottle or can which is reimbursed when the container is returned to a collection point.

Ahead of the Deposit Return Scheme going live in 2022, Glasgow Airport has agreed to donate 5p for each bottle or can deposited in the machines during their four-week trial to an environmentally-themed charity or project.

“AGS Airports Ltd launched its Sustainability Strategy earlier this summer and as a group we are committed to continuing our policy of diverting 100% of our non-hazardous waste away from landfill and to incorporate circular economy principals where possible to enhance and encourage sustainable development at our airports,” said Kirsty Webster, Sustainability Manager at Glasgow Airport.

One of the key aims of AGS Airport’s strategy is to ban all unavoidable single-use products within the airport by 2022. “We’ve made great progress in this area already with teh introduction of a number of water refill stations within the airport as well as pre-security sinks where passengers can empty their water bottles and carry them through security rather than just dispose of them,” Webster added.

The introduction of the reverse vending machines further complements the work already being done to reduce unnecessary waste. They will also help to ensure cleaner, better-quality recycling and serve as a reminder of the need to recycle cans and bottles for all those using the airport.

Carla Brian, Senior Commercial Development Manager at Biffa added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Glasgow Airport to install two Reverse Vending Machines during a time where sustainability is rightly at the forefront of the agenda.

“By providing the public with an engaging way to deposit their plastic bottles and cans, we can ensure these bottles are recycled through our state-of-the-art facilities, being put back into the circular economy to be reused, supporting Scotland’s vision of a greener future as it prepares to introduce the Deposit Return scheme.”

Manchester celebrates non-stop transatlantic links with Aer Lingus

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The UK’s Manchester Airport has celebrated the departure of its first Aer Lingus transatlantic flight to Barbados. Travellers in the North of England can now enjoy two weekly flights to the Caribbean destination until the end of April.

The brand new EI 31 service departed Manchester on 20 October at 10.15 marking a major milestone for the Irish flag-carrier’s services from the UK. A Barbadian steel band, Band One, were on hand to entertain customers checking in for the inaugural flight.

From 1 December Aer Lingus will expand its transatlantic network even further from the UK hub with the addition of non-stop direct flights to New York’s JFK Airport. And on 11 December Aer Lingus will start its third new route from Manchester to Florida.

Karen Smart, Manchester Airport Managing Director, noted, “Not only is it great to see the airline put this route on at Manchester, giving passengers additional choice and flexibility for this popular destination, but it is also a huge boost for the region with Aer Lingus choosing uas as its first UK base for transatlantic flights.”

She added that the Irish carrier’s new routes will no doubt be hugely popular with the airport’s 22m catchment population. “Furthermore, the routes and base here at Manchester will be welcomed by the hundreds of people who will have access to the jobs created here.”

Bordeaux welcomes new direct flights to the Caribbean with Corsair

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Just in time for the busy Christmas holiday period, Corsair will be offering direct flights from Bordeaux Airport in France to Pointe-à-Pitre, in Guadeloupe.

The airline is on a mission to strengthen its service to overseas destinations by developing links between regional airports in metropolitan France and its overseas territories. At the same time, Corsair is renewing its fleet entirely in an effort to improve its environmental impact.

Passengers travelling from Bordeaux and the surrounding region of western France will be able to head to the Caribbean island from 19 December to 1 May 2022. The flights will depart from both destinations once a week on Sundays.
To broaden its range of destinations from France, all Corsair long-haul flights are connected with regional and inter-islands flights operated by the French carrier’s partner Air Antilles.

“The arrival of Corsair and this new scheduled route to a French overseas department opens a range of possibilities for the region,” said Simon Dreschel, Chairman of the Management Board of Bordeaux Airport. “This link between Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Guadeloupe is a fantastic opportunity to develop exchanges between the French Caribbean and our region, which boasts one of the largest Caribbean communities in France, and to strengthen numerous cultural ties.”

Corsair’s CEO, Pascal de Izaguirre, reiterated his support for the new route saying, “our aim is to offer people living in Bordeaux and Nouvelle-Aquitaine direct access to French overseas destinations. We’re going to facilitate the growth of tourist, family and business exchanges between overseas territories and the largest region in France.”

John Glenn Columbus Airport welcomes new STS Maintenance station

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Aircraft maintenance provider, STS Line Maintenance has opened a line maintenance station at Ohio’s John Glenn Columbus (CMH) Airport, bringing its total number of maintenance stations throughout the US, Bahamas and the UK to 37.

“As is the case with most new stations that we open, our clients reached out and requested our award-winning aircraft maintenance services in Columbus,” said Mark Smith, President of STS Aviation Group, which owns STS Line Maintenance. “After careful consideration and months of planning, the new station is now open and already repairing aircraft.”

Robby Bush, VP and General Manager of STS Line Maintenance added: “this is another exciting step for us at STS Line Maintenance. As our company continues to expand its global reach, we will continue to provide the aerospace industry with cost-effective aircraft maintenance solutions at every turn.”

The new facility will be open seven days a week and the on-the-ground team has the ability to store spare parts on property, which adds a significant increase to the overall cost-saving’s benefits STS is able to deliver to customers at CMH Airport.

New runway lighting and approach system at Are Ostersund Airport

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Åre Östersund Airport, which is operated by Swedavia, has inaugurated its new runway lighting and approach system which will provide enhanced access for the region’s passengers. The new infrastructure will enable aircraft to take off and land even in poor visibility conditions with fog at the airport, which was not previously possible.

The airport is one of three Swedish hubs with the new technology. The other two airports that have deployed the new runway lighting and approach system are Stockholm Arlanda and Göteborg Landvetter Airport. The new infrastructure and CAT III system also makes Åre Östersund Swedavia’s first regional airport in this category enabling aircraft to operate even in weather conditions with poor visibility.

“Finally, after several years of meticulous preparations, it is naturally very gratifying that we now have the new runway infrastructure in place at Åre Östersund,” said Peter Fahlen, Airport Director at Swedavia’s Åre Östersund Airport. “The new technology enables enhanced access to the region and increased assurance for everyone who travels here by air now that the airport can handle and land aircraft in weather conditions with greatly reduced visibility as well.”

With the new infrastructure, which improves access to the airport, the airport’s navigation and meteorological systems have been updated and the airport has been equipped with a new runway lighting system featuring nearly one thousand new light fixtures – a considerable improvement compared to the previous system.

Costing a total of 70 million Swedish kronor, Swedavia has financed the runway lighting and approach system in collaboration with the Jämtland-Härjedalen regional authority and the neighbouring municiaplities of Östersund, Åre and Krokom.

Williston Basin Airport welcomes Overland Aviation’s new FBO facilities

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Overland Aviation has opened a new US Customs facility and luxury terminal at its FBO facility in Williston Basin International Airport in North Dakota.

Describing the opening of the FBO’s new facilities a milestone, Tanner Overland, President and Founder of Overland Aviation said: “It is the culmination of years of planning and development on our mission to delivery industry-leading tech stops to a global market. We are excited to welcome travellers from all over the world to Williston Basin International Airport.”

The 51,000 sq. ft. executive terminal and hangar complex successfully combines industrial architecture with natural wood elements. It offers an executive passenger terminal and pilot lounge, as well as a private terminal for oil-labourer  crew-change flights, management and rental office space. There is also a heated hangar to accommodate aircraft up to a Gulfstream G650, and a US general aviation facility to welcome international operations.

Ideally located directly under the Great Circle Route between Europe and the western part of the US, Overland Aviation is in a prime position for international stopovers. It also offers an experienced team and US customs co-located within the FBO. Customers also benefit from uncongested airspace and an environment that allows for turnarounds in 30 minutes or less. It is also a true fee-free tech stop: free of landing fees, handling fees, security fees and infrastructure fees. In addition, ramp and international garbage fees are always waived with a fuel purchase. Overland Aviation is an Avfuel-branded FBO.

Hamburg Airport expands retail and services offering

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Following the last 18 months when many of the shops at Hamburg Airport have been closed or operating on reduced opening hours, many of the retailers at the German hub have extended their opening hours again. What’s more there is greater diversity to the shops now available to those travelling through the airport, with the Marc O’Polo concession relocating to a new site and the popular electronics store tech2go soon to open a second store.

“Browsing through various exclusive stores before departure is, quite simply, part of the experience of air travel,” said Lutz Deubel, Head of Centre Mangement at Hamburg Airport, exclaiming his delight that the majority of shops have now reopened. “Once again, a diverse range of souvenirs, fashion and electronics awaits our passengers. Our world of shopping has become even more varied. In recent months we have welcomed four new tenants, with the latest arrival being Hamburg Transfers in Terminal 2. The New Marc O’Polo and tech2go shops, too, boast vivid new looks. Customers now have even more to discover here.”

Located next to the baggage reclaim in Terminal 2, Hamburg Transfers is a private chauffeur service which helps transport passengers between the airport and the city in comfort and style. They can also arrange sightseeing or city tours.

Meanwhile, tech2go offers an extensive range of electronic equipment including headphones, audio books and powerbanks and charging cables. The first store has proved so popular that a second shop is opening soon. Fashion label Marc O’Polo is moving to a larger store and now offers a wider range of clothing, bags and shoes.

Photo credit: Oliver Sorg

Manchester Airport’s MD delivers positive message on road to recovery

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With the last 18 months the toughest the aviation industry has faced in its entire history Manchester Airport’s Managing Director, Karen Smart, has revealed her perspective on the road to recovery underlining that sustainability will be a key theme for the entire industry and that she remains positive about aviation’s future.

“It has been heart-breaking to see our once thriving terminals at a fraction of their capacity, and in some cases mothballed completely.

“It has been equally as heart-breaking to see travel return to something much closer to “normal” across the continent, while we have felt stuck in first gear, despite the success of our vaccination programme and low infection rates in the most popular destinations for our customers.

“Prolonged restrictions on travel have undoubtedly held back our recovery to date, as customers found themselves grappling with confusing guidance or requirements, and the associated cost of testing.

“However, after changes to the Government’s travel restrictions were announced last week, we are feeling a sense of excitement about our airports starting to return to how we knew them before the pandemic.

“Bookings have surged on the back of the simplification of the traffic light system, and again after it was confirmed more destinations would move off the red list and that PCR tests will no longer be required for those returning to the country by the end of the month.

“And our excitement is two-fold, because we have been able to welcome back so many of our colleagues, who have spent time on furlough over the past 18 months or so. Being able to bring them back just at the time we will start to see travel resume in earnest feels extra special.

“For so many families, it must have been hard to decide whether to holiday at home, or just to give up on the idea of a trip away for another year. But, with all the positive developments I have referenced taking place, we are all hopeful we will see a meaningful increase in passenger numbers during the October half-term next week – and that it will be a springboard for bookings to continue to grow during winter and into 2022.

“That is reflected by the confidence we are seeing from our airline partners, as they either return to the airport, start new services from Manchester or increase frequency on existing routes.

“A great example – and a sign of its confidence in the North – is Aer Lingus choosing Manchester as its first transatlantic base in the UK, with flights starting on 20th October to Barbados. I look forward to December when the Irish flag carrier starts further services to Orlando and New York, with the latter being a key trade route for many businesses across the North.

“Other examples include the return of longstanding carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, both of which connect the North with the Far East and beyond. Our Middle Eastern carriers have grown back at a great pace as we recover, offering a range of options to the UAE, Doha and beyond, plus it’s great to have Ethiopian Airlines back ensuring we are connected to Africa.

“By the end of the year we will have a number of direct connections back to the USA. The States is one of our most important markets, with more than 1.6m passengers from our catchment travelling there each year pre-Covid from Manchester Airport. Not only are these links great from a leisure and tourism point of view, but they are also vital as we connect the North to key global powerhouses for trade and investment opportunities.

“I have to say one of the strangest experiences of the past 18 months was the opening of our new Terminal Two extension. It was more than five years in the making, but due to the pandemic the launch was put on hold for more than a year, and it finally opened on July 14th.

“Those of you who followed the story of our transformation programme will be aware we were gearing up to open the new terminal – the product of the largest investment we have made in our history – to much fanfare and, naturally, wanted as many customers as possible to experience it.

“The reality, in this strangest of all years, was far removed from that, with only three flights and a few hundred passengers on the opening day. That, though, did not detract from our sense of pride, or from how momentous an occasion it was for Manchester Airport.

“And, in actual fact, it is really nice to know that when people start to fly through Manchester again after such a tough period, the vast majority will get to sample this great new facility. It has the latest travel technology, offering passengers a great experience the moment they arrive, and feedback so far has been great.

“One thing that has of course been critical as we launched the new terminal – and across our site in general – is Covid-safety. We want customers to be excited to be travelling again, but feeling safe at all times. That is why we were one of the first airports to implement a range of safety measures including enhanced cleaning, mandatory face coverings, Perspex screens and only travelling passengers allowed in the terminal.

“As we emerge from the pandemic and recovery ramps up, sustainability will be a key theme for the entire industry. We’ve led the way in recent years at Manchester and at our other MAG airports, so it will be no different post-Covid. Our Corporate Social Responsibility report is due to be released in the coming weeks and will not only highlight our successes in this arena, but it will detail our commitment to the green agenda for the future.

“Looking ahead as we continue to recover, we can still go further, and so in the New Year we’ll be calling on the government to further simplify the travel system, so that international travel can start to feel as it was before the pandemic.

“It will be at least until 2024 that we see a return to pre-Covid passenger numbers, but we are hoping for many more new routes in the weeks and months ahead, ensuring we continue to connect the North to key global destinations. The next stages of our transformation programme will continue too, with new baggage systems being the next phase.

“Finally, I’d like to thank all our customers and partners for their commitment and understanding during the pandemic and would like to assure them that we have stringent safety measures in place, meaning they can travel with peace of mind wherever they are jetting off to from Manchester Airport.”