Staff at Newcastle Airport in Australia face uncertain future

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Airport staff at Newcastle Airport in Australia are facing an uncertain future without access to JobKeeper because the business is ineligble for the government subsidy.

In a statement the airport said that, “Given the state of our industry and the level of uncertainty that continues to grow, we need to undertake necessary changes to ensure a viable business in the long term. Therefore we have applied to the Industrial Relations Commission for orders allowing us to temporarily stand down workers due to the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our business.”

Despite passenger traffic and related revenues being decimated since late March, the airport has managed to keep most of its permanent staff employed throughout the pandemic.

“While the airport can and does have a large impact on our region, we are not a large company in terms of workforce. Our staff are incredibly important part of who we are, which makes this course of action particularly difficult to take. However, our responsibility is to ensure we have a strong viable airport to service our region well into the future,” the statement continued.

According to a report in Australian Aviation, it is thought that the business can’t claim for the JobKeeper handout because of its local government ownership structure. Despite continuing to prosecute its case with the ATO, the lack of JobKeeper support has placed additional financial strain on the airport.

Although the airport management team remains confident about tourism in the region and the plans for developing the airport, the news that it hasn’t been able to secure JobKeeper funding serves as a reminder of the need for the government to invest in its aviation industry.

Luton Airport welcomes new Chief Commercial Officer

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London Luton Airport (LLA) has appointed a new Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) to take over from Jonathan Pollard  who will leave the airport at the end of September. The new CCO, Jonathan Rayner, will start in November and joins Luton from Edinburgh Airport in Scotland, where he is currently Aviation and Digital Director. Prior to Edinburgh he has also held a number of commercial leadership roles at several UK airports.

As CCO at Luton, Rayner will be responsible for growing and developing the airport’s commercial activity by working with airlines, retailers and other business partners operating from the airport. With passenger numbers at the airport down 74% in July compared to the same period in 2019, Rayner will join Luton at crucial time in its recovery period following the impact of coronavirus.

According to a statement from the airport Luton is delivering the strongest recovery of any major UK airport. “LLA has shown strong signs of recovery so far, and I look forward to ensuring the airport continues to thrive in the wake of COVID-19,” said Rayner commenting on his appointment.

Meanwhile Alberto Martin, CEO of LLA said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming Jonathan to the LLA family. His experience across the aviation industry will be invaluable as we look to the future and focus on building a business which will continue to play an important role in the economic recovery of the UK and the local area.”



San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport launches health and safety programme

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As part of its efforts to protect passengers and keep the region moving, San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP) in California has launched its SBP Nonstop Service health and safety programme.

Focusing on the key elements of health, safety, security and community the Nonstop Service programme goes beyond additional cleaning measures. A statement from the airport describes the programme as a wide-ranging plan to keep the community safe, connected and informed when travelling through the airport.

Regionally themed graphics help travellers measure social distancing in wine barrels and Cal Poly Mustangs, while signs throughout the airport’s terminal detail where face coverings are required. Audio announcements remind passengers of ways to stay safe and healthy and the airport’s website provides updated travel information.

Whitsunday Coast Airport set to welcome tourists from Brisbane

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Australia’s Whistunday Coast Airport has secured a new airline partner, Alliance Airlines. The Australian carrier will be the first to resume flights to the Whitsundays post COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Alliance Airlines has agreed to commence return services from Brisbane four times a week from 22 June, using 100 and 80-seat Fokker jets.

The route is being subsidised – in partnership with the Whitsunday Regional council – to help local tourism restart. There is the option to ramp up to daily flights if demand permits.

Mayor Andrew Willcox said: “To attract a new airline partner as we start our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is a real boost for the tourism and business sectors in the Whitsundays.

“With the premier lifting restrictions on travel within Queensland it is important that our airport resumes services.”

Willcox added that with one in three jobs directly linked to tourism the Whitsundays is perfectly placed to lead domestic tourism recovery.

“Over the last decade the tourism stakeholders in the Whitsundays have had to be a resilient mob but with a focus on domestic tourism for the next 12-18 months there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“Our airport was approaching 500,000 passengers annually prior to the pandemic so it is vital this key gateway to the Whitsundays is up and running as quickly as possible.”

Also commenting on the return of flights to the Whitsundays Tourism Minister Kate Jones said flights would generate more than $9.2 million – bringing nearly 5,300 tourists to the region over the next 12 months.

“We know that more tourists means more cash for local businesses,” Jones said.

“This will pump millions of dollars into the local economy and support local jobs,”

Whitsunday Coast Airport COO Aviation and Tourism, Craig Turner, concluded: “These flights present the opportunity for WCA to develop a partnership with Alliance Airlines through this challenging period and beyond.”

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.