Cardiff and Southampton welcome Emerald Airlines link with Belfast City

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Belfast City Airport’s largest carrier, Emerald Airlines which operates Aer Lingus Regional, is all set to offer services to Cardiff and Southampton from its Belfast City Airport base. The airline already serves links to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Glasgow, Exeter and Manchester.

Ellie McGimpsey, Aviation Development Manager at Belfast City Airport commented: “Aer Lingus Regional’s base at Belfast City airport has been operational for just over three months and we are thrilled to already see its expansion in both the number of routes served by the airline and the frequency of its services.”

With the addition of the two new destinations to Cardiff and Southampton, Aer Lingus Regional will operate routes to eight of the 21 destinations on Belfast City’s network this summer. The airline is currently recruiting for positions in Dublin and Belfast in line with its anticipated continued growth.

“As we near the peak summer months, the launch of our Cardiff and Southampton services will provide those travelling from Belfast with more choice when planning their holidays,” said Ciaran Smith, Head of Commercial at Emerald Airlines.

“We are extremely pleased with the feedback we have received since beginning our operations from Belfast City Airport and believe Cardiff and Southampton are great new connections that will cater to both business and leisure travellers with direct, convenient and cost-effective flights from Belfast.

The flights will be operated by the ATR72-600, the latest generation of turboprop aircraft combining unmatched environmental and economic performance. These utlra-low fuel burn aircraft emit up to 40% less CO2 on these short regional flights than equivalent regional carriers.

La Palma and Torino celebrate joint win at ACI Europe awards

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La Palma Airport in Spain and Torino Airport in Italy were named as joint winners in the ‘Under 5 million passengers category’ at this year’s Airports Council International (ACI) Europe’s Best Airport Awards.

The awards were announced at the 32nd ACI Europe Annual Congress and General Assembly, which took place in Rome from 22-24 June. The awards recognise excellence and outstanding achievement across the entire portfolio of airport activities, including eco-innovation, human resources excellence and digital transformation. The judging panel comprised representatives from the European Commission, Eurocontrol, SESAR Joint Undertaking, the International Transport Forum and ECAC.

La Palma Airport was highlighted for its resilience not only during COVID-19 crisis but also during the Cumbre Veja volcanic eruptions, while Torino Airport was recognised for its significant recovery post-pandemic as well as its work on innovation and sustainability.

In the ‘5-10 million passengers’ category Valencia Airport took the win with the jury underlining the significant operations put in place to cope with the pandemic, including cargo and medical flights. The airport is also a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) pioneer and is a test airport for Spanish airport operator Aena’s collaboration with Air bp. The airport received praise for its continued investment in quality of service improvements such as a new automatic border control system.

Eindhoven Airport was also highly commended in this category.

 

In the ’10-25 million passenger’ category Porto Airport came out on top, while Vienna Airport was named the winner of the ’25-40 million passenger’ category and Rome Fiumicino Airport won the ‘over 40 million passenger’ category. While London City was awarded the Digital Transformation Award, another UK hub, Bristol Airport, was awarded the eco-innovation award alongside Turking airport – iGA Istanbul Grand Airport. The latter also received this year’s Human Resources Excellence Award.

David Feldman, Managing Partner at Exambela Consulting was declared ACI Europe’s World Business Partner thanks to his active participation in committees, sharing of best practices and experience, research and special initiatives. Feldman was also tasked with chairing the conference session’s at this year’s ACI Europe Regional Airports Conference, which took place in Palermo, Sicily at the end of February.

In addition, a Special Recognition Award was given to Emanuel Fleuti, Head of Sustainability and Environment at Zurich Airport for his “outstanding leadership in advancing Airport Carbon Accreditation and airport sustainability.”

 

Header image: Joint winners – representatives from Torino Airport and La Palma Airport received their Best Airport Award from ACI Europe’s DG, Olivier Jankovec. 

La Palma Airport in Spain and Torino Airport in Italy were named as joint winners in the ‘Under 5 million passengers category’ at this year’s Airports Council International (ACI) Europe’s Best Airport Awards.

The awards were announced at the 32nd ACI Europe Annual Congress and General Assembly, which took place in Rome from 22-24 June. The awards recognise excellence and outstanding achievement across the entire portfolio of airport activities, including eco-innovation, human resources excellence and digital transformation. The judging panel comprised representatives from the European Commission, Eurocontrol, SESAR Joint Undertaking, the International Transport Forum and ECAC.

La Palma Airport was highlighted for its resilience not only during COVID-19 crisis but also during the Cumbre Veja volcanic eruptions, while Torino Airport was recognised for its significant recovery post-pandemic as well as its work on innovation and sustainability.

In the ‘5-10 million passengers’ category Valencia Airport took the win with the jury underlining the significant operations put in place to cope with the pandemic, including cargo and medical flights. The airport is also a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) pioneer and is a test airport for Spanish airport operator Aena’s collaboration with Air bp. The airport received praise for its continued investment in quality of service improvements such as a new automatic border control system.

Eindhoven Airport was also highly commended in this category.

 

In the ’10-25 million passenger’ category Porto Airport came out on top, while Vienna Airport was named the winner of the ’25-40 million passenger’ category and Rome Fiumicino Airport won the ‘over 40 million passenger’ category. While London City was awarded the Digital Transformation Award, another UK hub, Bristol Airport, was awarded the eco-innovation award alongside Turking airport – iGA Istanbul Grand Airport. The latter also received this year’s Human Resources Excellence Award.

David Feldman, Managing Partner at Exambela Consulting was declared ACI Europe’s World Business Partner thanks to his active participation in committees, sharing of best practices and experience, research and special initiatives. Feldman was also tasked with chairing the conference session’s at this year’s ACI Europe Regional Airports Conference, which took place in Palermo, Sicily at the end of February.

In addition, a Special Recognition Award was given to Emanuel Fleuti, Head of Sustainability and Environment at Zurich Airport for his “outstanding leadership in advancing Airport Carbon Accreditation and airport sustainability.”

 

Header image: Joint winners – representatives from Torino Airport and La Palma Airport received their Best Airport Award from ACI Europe’s DG, Olivier Jankovec. 

Finavia appoints Amadeus for data-driven coordination across 20 airports

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The Finnish airport operator, Finavia, has begun modernising its operations with Amadeus’ cloud-based Airport Operational Database (AODB) at Helsinki Airport as well as 19 other regional hubs across Finland. The agreement also sees Finavia become one of the first airport companies to run its AODB from the cloud, with a multi-airport approach that manages operational changes across Finavia’s airports.

“Rolling out this new capability across Finavia’s airports will significantly improve our operational efficiency, helping us to better collaborate with our airline partners to improve on-time performance for passengers,” said Leyla Akgez-Laakso, CIO, Finavia.

The collaboration will see data-driven coordination of operations across all Finavia’s airports to enhance relationships with airline partners. Airports are incredibly complex operational environments. Refuelling trucks, buses, stands, gates and ground handling teams must all be intelligently allocated based on the unique characteristics of each aircraft, its arrival time and the onward connections of arriving passengers. With a cloud approach the AODB can be accessed from any device using a fixed, WiFi or mobile connection so ground handlers working airside can access up-to-the-moment information as and when its needed. Finavia’s management can access the real-time view of the groups complete operations from any device with an internet connections, while IT teams benefit from reduced maintenance and less on-site hardware.

The AODB is integral to contributing to good operational performance, on-time departures, and the efficient use of resources. Finavia’s airports will implement Amadeus’ single cloud-based solution that’s tightly integrated with airline systems to gain optimised airport operations. The airport operator will benefit from automated real-time updates to flight information as soon as airlines initiate changes meaning high accuracy levels. This will help airport stakeholders to better allocate resources and respond to the needs of airlines and passengers.

Yannick Beunardeau, VP Airport IT and Airline Operations EMEA, Amadeus added: ” Amadeus already manages data for about 95% of the airlines that operate at Finavia airports, so we’re in a unique position to provide Finavia and its stakeholders with access to accurate, real-time data about flight plans and passenger connections. This deployment is a great example of an ambitious airport company looking to digitally transform and deliver closer collaboration with its airline partners.”

Finavia’s transformation is already underway with the switch to Amadeus AODB planned to occur in a phased approach across all 20 airports in the coming year.

Chubu Centrair Airport named Best Regional Airport at Skytrax Awards

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Chubu Centrair International Airport in Nagoya, Japan was named the World’s Best Regional Airport 2022 at the Skytrax Airport Awards, which took place in Paris during the Passenger Terminal Expo on Thursday 16 June.

Dusseldorf Airport in Germany took second place in the regional airports category, while Haikou Meilan Airport took third place. Other regional hubs that claimed wins at the airport awards included Copenhagen Airport which won the World’s Best Airport Immigration Processing Award, and Zurich Airport, which once again was awarded the World’s Best Airport Security Processing Award.

Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar was named the World’s Best Airport overall for the second year running. Other major wins include Singapore Changi Airport, which won awards for the World’s Best Airport Staff Service and the World’s Best Airport Dining. Meanwhile Istanbul Airport won the awards for the World’s Best Airport Shopping and as the Most Family Friendly Airport.

The World’s Cleanest Airport award was given to Tokyo Haneda Airport, as was the World’s Best Domestic Airport, the Best Airport in Asia and the Best Airport PRM and Accessible Facilities. King Khalid Airport in Riyadh secured the award as the World’s Most Improved Airport.

The awards are voted for by customers in the largest, annual global airport customer satisfaction survey, which assesses customer service and facilities across more than 550 airports.

“Our congratulations go to all of the award winning airports for whom the last two years have been extremely difficult having to cope with the many restrictions of COVID-19 and the severe drop in travel demand,” said Edward Plaisted of Skytrax. “With air travel quickly returning to a more normal level, the challenge for all airports is to now deliver the highest standards to customers with increased travel expectations.”

Modern Aviation to acquire three Sacramento FBOs

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Modern Aviation has agreed to acquire Superior Aviation Company’s (SACjet) three Sacramento FBO operations from Sacramento International  Jet Center Incorporated at Sacramento International Airport, Mather Jet Center at Mather Airport and Patterson Aviation Company at Sacramento Executive Airport.

“We founded Modern Aviation to develop a national network of FBOs,” commented Modern Aviation’s CEO, Mark Carmen, commenting on the agreement. “The opportunity to acquire SACjet’s three Sacramento FBOs and build upon their well-deserved reputation for client service is another important milestone in executing our strategy. SACjet has a world class staff of professionals at these airports where customers receive world class service every day. Modern intends to hire all of SACjet’s current operational employees. One of the benefits of our consolidation strategy is that it creates more career growth opportunities for our team members and more touchpoints for our customers.”

Since their first acquisition in 2018, Modern has grown to nine locations, including two locations in New York pending airport approval. The three new additions in Sacramento will bring Modern to 12 locations.

Noting that Sacramento is a highly attractive and growing private aviation market, Carmen remarked that these new FBOs “provide world class service to a wide range of customers, including general aviation, business aviation, sports team and other VIP charters, military, cargo and commercial airlines. Similar to our other locations, we look forward to developing a strong relationship with the Sacramento County Airport System.”

Modern expects the purchase agreement to close in, if not before, Q3, 2022 following the review and approval of appropriate government agencies.

FAA invests more than $600m in building safer, more accessible airports

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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded more than $608 million to enhance airports across the country.

The first round of 2022 Airport Improvement Programme (AIP) grants will go to 441 airports of different sizes across 46 states, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.  This funding is in addition to the $20 billion the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests  in US airports.

“In communities of all sizes, airports are vital to regional economies, sustaining jobs and getting people and goods where they need to go,” said US Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg. “These AIP grants will help make airports better, safer and more accessible, so they can better serve people in every community for decades to come.”

Examples of grants that will go to enhance safety at airports across the US include: $13.46m for Minneapolis-St. Paul International/ World Chamerlain, MN, to extend and improve the safety area, add taxiway lighting, reconstruct the taxiway and apron and replace the airport lighting vault. Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, NJ will receive $8.57m to improve its runway safety area, while Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Buffalo, NY, will receive $7.54m to rehabilitate 8,829 feet of the existing runway 5/23 pavement and lighting system as well as the reconstruction of 63 airfield guidance signs. In American Samoa, Pago Pago Airport will benefit from $18.8m to rehabilitate a runway.

Meanwhile general aviation airports will receive more than half of these first grants, with 272 grants in amounts ranging from $38,680 to more than $4.6m. These airports are recognised as being vital to communities and the wider aviation industry, offering facilities for pilots to rain, emergency medical services infrastructure and providing connectivity for rural communities. Some of the general aviation airports to benefit include: Gallatin County Airport in Sparta, KY, which has been given $4.15m to fund the final phase of its construction. Robert Curtis Memorial Airport in Noorvik, AK will be awarded $1.9m to rehabilitate a runway while two grants totalling more than $1.29m for Laughlin/ Bullhead Airport in Bullhead City, AZ, will be used to renovate the existing passenger terminal public restrooms within the existing footprint and reconstruct airfield guidance signs and the taxiway. In North Dakota, Devils Lake Regional Airport has been awarded a $36,000 grant while Jamestown Regional Airport has been awarded $45,000 to purchase aircraft rescue fire fighting vehicles and safety equipment.

Other grant awards fund projects that demonstrate the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to equity and environmental sustainability. These include $1m for Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport in Gunnison, CO, to rehabilitate the existing terminal restrooms, elevators, escalators, concession areas, security screening and holding areas to meet current building codes and comply with ADA requirements. Montrose Regional Airports in Montrose, CO, will receive $1.6m to expand its existing terminal building to comply with ADA requirements. This project also rehabilitates the existing terminal building restrooms, elevators, escalators and security holding area. Finally $3.5m has been allocated for Alexandria International Airport, to purchase 15 homes and relocate 40 residents adversely impacted by aircraft noise. This project will benefit owners and tenants living near the airport.

Adani Airports raises $250m for development projects

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Adani Airports, which develops and manages airports across India, including Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Mumbai, Guwahati, Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram, has raised $250m in funding for capital expenditure and the development of six airports in its portfolio.

The funding was secured through a three-year ECB facility from two international banks, with an option to raise an additional $200m. The financing structure will enable a scalable capital solution with flexibility to tap global capital markets in line with Adani Airports’ vision of providing a transformational airport infrastructure platform.

“We are focused on delivering high quality infrastructure access to our consumers both through physical and digital channels,” said a spokesperson for Adani Airports. “The first phase of our capital management plan is now set in motion with the funding of Adani Airports, Mumbai Airport Limited and Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited, and we will now focus on scaling up the airports business into one of the largest airport platforms globally. We are grateful to our stakeholders and consumers for their continued support and their confidence in us.”

Adani Airports recently concluded the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) $750m private placement to Apollo and $1.74bn closure of Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited (NMIAL).

Adani Airports’ airport portfolio is responsible for 50% of the top 10 domestic routes in India, 23% of the total Indian air traffic and 30% of India’s air cargo. The group handles around 200m customers per annum.

Header image: Lucknow Airport

12 more European airports raise their game on decarbonisation standards

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The Airport Carbon Accreditation has announced that 12 more European hubs have aligned their operations with global climate goals. The 12 airports, which include Basel-Mulhouse in France/ Switzerland, Lisbon, Porto, Madeira, Faro, Flores, Porto Santo, Horta, Maria and Ponta Delgada in Portugal and Stockholm Arlanda and Goteborg Landvetter in Sweden have joined a list of 14 early airports to have achieved Level 4/4+ of the programme.

The recently introduced Levels 4 and 4+ include alignment of an airport’s carbon management with the Paris Agreement, inclusion of additional emissions sources in an airport’s carbon footprint, notably covering all significant operational emissions from third parties including airlines, and enhanced stakeholder engagement geared towards effective partnerships to deliver emissions reductions.

Aligning carbon management strategies and plans with the ambition of the Paris Agreement, according to which global warming should be limited to below 2⁰C and ideally 1.5⁰C, means that airports must define their reduction targets and associated emissions pathways accordingly.

Having met all the necessary requirements to reduce its own carbon emissions  as well as reducing emissions across the entire platform in cooperation with its partners, Basel-Mulhouse Airport has moved to Level 4 ‘Transformation’. The air transport hub reduced its own emissions by implementing a number of initiatives, such as the purchase of 100% green electricity, the replacement of the airport’s vehicle fleet with electric transportation and the gradual connection of the airport to an existing biomass powered district heating network.

In Sweden. Stockholm Arlanda which was among the 17 pioneering airports joining the Airport Carbon Accreditation in its first year back in 2009, achieved Level 4+ ‘Transition’, as did Goteborg Landvetter Airport. All Swedavia airports have been operating fossil-free as of 2020, becoming de-facto net-zero carbon emissions for all their operations. The Swedish airport operator has now mapped out the next steps in its commitment to climate change, by supporting other companies and organisations at its airports in their own transformations. One of the initiatives put forward by Swedavia’s airports was the introduction on 1 January, 2022 of an incentive for all stakeholders active at the Goteborg and Arlanda to start refuelling Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), fossil-free diesel. The goal is for all ground operations at every Swedavia airport to be fossil-free by 2025.

Meanwhile, the nine airports in Portugal, all of which are operated by ANA/ VINCI Airports, have all now achieved Level 4 ‘Transformation’. They are now actively reducing their CO2 emissions, through schemes such as: 100% renewable electricity, fleet electrification and LED deployment, and forging effective partnerships to secure absolute emissions reductions across the airports’ sites.  In June 2021, ANA/ VINCI Airports launched the Stakeholders Carbon Forum, to work with the main partners that operate at their premises to achieve an overall reduction of carbon footprint. The forum is the main platform of collaboration between the airports and their partners, including airlines, handlers, major energy consumers and entities linked to mobility, such as city councils and transport companies.

Commenting on the airports’ achievements Olivier Jankovec, Director General at ACI Europe said: “These achievements mean that airports are not only committed to addressing and eliminating emissions under their own control, but that they also embrace their role as catalysts for climate action across their entire sites. Airports are uniquely placed within the air transport eco-system, acting as the industry’s representation on the ground, connecting a global industry to the local communities they serve. This unique position makes it part of their DNA to serve as platforms for greener, smarter, more climate-friendly operations and solutions.”

United Airlines inaugurates Milan-Chicago link

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United Airlines inaugurated its direct flight from Milan Malpensa Airport in Italy to Chicago O’Hare Airport in the US on Saturday 7 May.

Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate, which are both operated by SEA, have noted strong traffic recovery this summer with European and North African destinations. However, for its long-haul network North America will be the main driver of recovery with 66 flight per week.

“Carriers are showing important signs of confidence in us by not only returning to offer the historic connections at our airports, but also investing in new destinations. With its daily fight to Chicago, United Airlines is now the emblem of this,” said Andrea Tucci, VP Aviation Business Development at SEA.

“This new destination represents one of the most important novelties of the summer season,” she continued. “This new route operated by United alongside the daily flight to New York (EWR), opens the door to the United States through the carrier’s Chicago O’Hare network and adds quality to the travel offering from our airports, particularly to the Pacific Coast. We are extremely pleased to be here today to celebrate the launch of this connection to one of the most attractive locations in the US.”

Airports call for comprehensive recovery package

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The UK Airport Operators Association’s (AOA’s) Chief Executive, Karen Dee, has responded to the Transport Select Committee’s report UK aviation: reform for take-off, reiterating the need for an aviation recovery package to support connectivity recovery.

Welcoming the report, which provides recognition of the devastating impact the pandemic has had on aviation, Dee highlighted “the difficulty UK airports faced as a result of ever-changing travel restrictions, without the necessary transparency and evidence-base to build trust in the rules.”

She added: “We join the Committee in calling for a comprehensive recovery package that allows our sector to recover sustainbly and prevents the UK from falling behind our international counterparts. As we set out in our own report, Reconnecting the UK: recovering aviation connectivity, this must include financial measures to help bring routes back across the UK, or we risk losing out to European airports who are financially better placed to attract airlines thanks to our generous sector-specific government support during the pandemic.

“If government does not deliver this, the impacts are clear: people and businesses who depend on aviation for their own success will carry the heaviest burden, particularly outside London and the South East of England. They will not be able to get their products and services to market easily, to bring tourists and business visitors to the UK or to invest in their local community.”