Short-haul flights crucial testing ground for decarbonising aviation

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The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has condemned recent European Government announcements to ban short-haul air routes to reduce the environmental impact of aviation.

According to ERA, its airline members connect parts of Europe where air transport is both vital and often the only mode of transportation available to inhabitants in remote regions, islands and dispersed areas. It also highlights that the short-haul segment is creating the necessary push towards the decarbonisation of the sector, providing a testing ground for new technologies that will enable the green transition to a more sustainable industry. For example, electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft will be available first on short-haul routes by 2035, before being deployed on longer routes beyond 2050.

“Banning air routes is dangerous as it may be seen as good for the environment, but in reality, it is not for many reasons,” said Montserrat Barriga, ERA Director General. “Firstly, routes with the equivalent alternative route by train are very few and in most cases the rail network already has the market share anyway. Secondly, the initiative may result in an increase in passengers electing to use their cars to reach their destination. Thirdly, a lot of regional airlines operate routes with thin traffic, so it is unlikely that rail networks will replace sectors that are wholly unprofitable. Lastly, short-haul will be the first sector to test and deploy green technologies. It is therefore simply not effective to reduce CO2 emissions by banning short-haul routes.”

Barriga also argued that banning these routes will also create a sentiment against aviation amongst the public. The focus instead should be on developing solutions that can actually provide CO2 reductions, and not hinder their progress.

“Our industry takes it environmental responsibilities seriously and will do what is necessary to achieve its targets, but we cannot do it alone. We need a supportive policy framework to reach decarbonisation,” Barriga continued.

Improving air traffic management through the proper implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) would, she said, lower CO2 emissions of the intra-EU flights by up to 10%.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira

Airports to benefit from ACI World’s Sustainability Strategy

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Airports Council International (ACI) World has unveiled a report to assist airport executives with their holistic sustainability strategy.

Building on ACI’s European report, the ACI World Sustainability Strategy for Airports Worldwide provides an overview of how sustainable aviation can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It also offers an overview of the most relevant and commonly reported material sustainability topics. Topics covered include service quality, infrastructure development and safe and efficient operations.

Case studies within the report showcase best practices on how airports are implementing social, environmental, and economic sustainability initiatives and embedding them in their overall business strategy and operations.

“While sustainability is a hot topic influenced by local issues global issues such as climate change and global trends related to Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting have also emerged,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. “The finance community is calling for more uniformity and harmonisation on the ways stakeholders report on sustainability, including the material topics they choose to report on. Greater consistency in this regard would facilitate secure decision-making by reducing risks related to sustainability credit ratings and the allocation of finance and investment which require sustainability criteria.”

Adding that airports must be ready for the implementation of local initiatives which can be translated into common sustainability topics and objectives at an international level, Oliveira added: “We believe ACI’s Sustainability Strategy will help airports in this regard.”

While guidance in the report was made possible with the financial support of Hamad International Airport in Qatar, it was developed in collaboration with Tailor Airey and Vancouver International Airport in Canada.

Leonardo upgrades baggage handling systems at 10 Spanish airports

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Leonardo, the baggage handling solutions specialist has been selected to upgrade the baggage-handling systems at 10 Spanish airports including: La Palma, Santiago-Rosalia de Castro, Valencia, Asturias, Bilbao, Jerez, Reus, Lanzarote, Internacional Region de Murcia and Sevilla.

The combined contracts covering the airports across mainland Spain and the Canary Islands is worth in excess of €35 million and in line with the agreement Leonard will be responsible for ensuring the systems meet the latest security standards. The upgrades will be delivered in partnership with Spanish construction firm, Cemosa.

In addition to replacing baggage transport components, electro mechanical, control, supervision and management equipment for baggage sorting, the project will also see baggage handling systems equipped with European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) Standard 3-approved security technology, including x-ray and computed tomography (CT) scanners.
With the work expected to last less than two years, the 10 airports will be upgraded simultaneously with the continued operation of baggage management services guaranteed by Leonardo throughout the duration of the upgrade work.

Dufry extends duty-free concession at three Cambodian airports

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Global travel retailer, Dufry, has extended its duty-free concession at Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville airports in Cambodia for five and a half years. The extended concession agreement starts this October and covers departure and arrival duty-free shops at all three hubs, which are operated by VINCI Airports and which welcomed 11.6 million international travellers in 2019. It also includes the departure shop at Sihanoukville airport with a total sales area of 2,680 m. sq and at which Dufry has operated ever since 2003.

Aligned with Cambodia Airports’ retail development plan, Dufry’s contract extension will include the refurbishing of duty-free shops at the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports. Sihanoukville’s departure store underwent a redesign in 2019. Local Cambodian products and souvenirs will be available to purchase in keeping with VINCI Airports’ “sense of place” approach.
“We thank our partners of Cambodia Airports and are honoured to have been given the opportunity to further extend our close collaboration and to foster this long-standing relationship,” said Pedro Castro, COO Asia-Pacific, Dufry. “Through the refurbishment of our main shops we will provide travellers with a new and attractive shopping experience, thus further increasing productivity of these important Cambodian hubs, which enjoy an increasing attention of international passengers.”

Alain Brun, CEO of Cambodia Airports added: “It is a vote of confidence. The partners share an optimistic outlook for global air travels and the many opportunities that the return of passengers will confer to airports and retailers with creative minds. To provide a seamless experience at our airports in Cambodia and to cope with the latest trends in travel retail, our teams will prioritise key objectives including accelerating the moves towards e-commerce, synergies between online-offline sales channels, and putting emphasis on health and wellness offerings.”

London Southend partners with Smiths Detection to unveil new baggage x-ray machines

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With air travel continuing to rebound London Southend Airport has invested in two new baggage x-ray machines which together are capable of processing up to 3,600 bags every hour.

The airport recently unveiled a new trial lane within security which allows passengers to leave liquids and laptops within bags taken onboard their flight. Developed by Smiths Detection, the Hi-SCAN 10080 XCT x-ray scanning equipment offers a next generation high speed checked baggage system. Data generated from baggage passing through the system provides the highest resolution images possible to optimise detection performance while also offering 3D technology. Each machine can process up to 1,800 bags per hour.

Robson were contracted to supply the conveyor system as well as local businesses to complete the installation.

“As travel restrictions ease, so too will passenger confidence and demand,” said Glyn Jones, CEO, London Southend Airport. “We believe the airport has a bright future and continue to invest to bring local economic benefits, from connectivity to employment. The new hold bag system will ensure efficiency when processing passengers bags onto flights whilst maximising security via new x-ray screening technology.”

Meanwhile, Richard Thompson, Global Director for Aviation at Smiths Detection added: “We are delighted that London Southend Airport chose us as their partner to deploy the latest and highest specification security screening equipment. These systems will provide operational efficiencies and passenger experience improvements behind the scenes, all of which will be invaluable both as air travel picks up and many years into the future.”

Heineken geo-targets consumers at key European airports

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With tourism slowly reopening across the globe, a new digital campaign from brewery giant, Heineken, celebrates the fun and the element of discovery that travel brings. The campaign is aimed at European holidaymakers and encourages people to travel in a socially responsible way and to follow government safety measures.

The campaign, which is named ‘The greatest stories can be read in your passport,’ is a call to action that according to Heineken mirrors the growing consumer desire to travel since the pandemic ground travel to a halt some 18 months ago. Using geo-targeting at nine key airports – Alicante, Amsterdam, Schiphol, Barcelona, Dublin, London Stansted, Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly – the campaign has been running over nine weeks through August and September and has engaged with more than 800,000 travellers. Passengers close to boarding and ready to enjoy their inflight experience were quizzed on what beverage they will consume onboard. Heineken and zero alcohol Heineken 0.0 were both featured in the campaign.

Explaining that the ultimate goal of the digital campaign is to encourage customers to travel in a socially responsible way and to play a part in keeping the world open, Kateryna Vasylchenko, Marketing Manager at Heinken Global Duty Free team said: “As a global brand we are committed to engaging with our key communities and, for travel, this means calling out all that’s great bout the discovery of travelling while reminding and encouraging us all how we can contribute to staying safe and keeping the world open.”

She added that “geo-targeting in the airports enables us to drive passenger consideration of the Heineken brand as close as possible to the moment of consumption, supporting conversion opportunities for our airline partners as they work to maximise onboard ancillary revenues as a key strand to business recovery.”

Pegasus expands network and operations as Turkey reopens for UK travellers

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Following last week’s announcement that Turkey has been moved to England’s amber list, low-cost carrier (LCC) Pegasus Airlines has expanded its schedule and launched new direct flights from London Stansted and Manchester in the UK to Turkey and further afield.

The Turkish carrier has launched twice daily direct flights to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport from London Stansted. Five times weekly direct flights are also now operating to the Turkish gateway from Manchester Airport. Both routes offer a selection of onward connections across Pegasus’ extensive network of 36 destinations in Turkey, including to popular resorts such as Bodrum, Dalaman and Antalya, as well as its 83 other international destinations.

Pegasus is also launching twice-weekly direct flights between London Stansted and Antalya starting on 20 October, as well as five-times weekly flights to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport from 21 October.

“In light of the new announcement putting Turkey back into the amber list, we’re seeing strong growth in our bookings to Turkey from England, and in response to this growing demand and desire for autumn travel, we’re delighted also to be expanding our flight programme from London Stansted and Manchester to Turkey, with excellent connections across our network of 119 destinations in 44 countries – meaning travellers will have a lot more choice with our flexible booking options this autumn and winter,” said Pegasus Airlines CCO, Guliz Ozturk.

“We’re planning to further increase the number of flights from England later in the autumn if demand continues to rise, and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming our guests back on board as travel begins to reopen again.”

Afroport partners with Amadeus to modernise African airports in its portfolio

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As a new company based in Abu Dhabi with a mission to become Africa’s leading airport group, Afroport has entered a long-term agreement with Amadeus, which will see the airports in Afroports portfolio transition to Amadeus Flow, a cloud-based platform for delivering passenger services.

“As a new operator we’re lucky because we can choose the very latest systems to underpin our business model,” said Vincent Dennehy, CEO, Afroport. “With Amadeus Flow, even a small, remote, African airport can benefit from the most advanced technology, which is reliable, continually updated and easy to deploy.”

The Government of Mauritania has already tasked Afroport with the modernisation and management of Nouakchott Airport and is the first Afroport to move to Amadeus’ cloud technology. The project which began at the peak of the pandemic in June 2020 was completed remotely without the need for any on-site engineers.

Importantly for a remote location such as Nouakchott, virtually any airline can now connect to the airport easily over the internet, deploying its own applications simply, without an on-site IT project.

The airport is now back up to 90% of 2019 levels of passenger traffic with travellers and airlines now benefitting from the major technology modernisation. New cloud solutions are helping ground handlers provide a consistent service at key passenger touchpoints, better and more cost-effectively track and manage passenger bags as well as a new cloud computing infrastructure that connects the airport to its airline partners more easily.

Commenting on the partnership with Afroport, Yannick Beunardeua, VP Airport IT EMEA said: “The Afroport team has a wealth of experience in aviation and a compelling model for modernising airports across Africa. We’re pleased to be moving them to our cloud-based platform, which has native integration to hundreds of airlines, making it much easier for carriers to begin serving Nouakchott whilst delivering a modern passenger experience.”

Nouakchott-Oumtounsy International Airport is located on the North Western coast of Africa in Nouakchott. Featuring two runways, the airport was opened in 2016 as a replacement for the Mauritanian capital’s existing airport and was the largest infrastructure development project carried out in Mauritania since the 1960s.

ANSL partners with Cranfield to launch new ATM course

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Air Navigation Solutions (ANSL) has partnered with Cranfield University to launch an Air Traffic Management (ATM) Occurrence Investigator Course.

Developed by Pam Laycock, ANSL’s Lead Investigator and Chris Kimber, Unit Lead Investigator for Gatwick in collaboration with Dr Leigh Dunn, Lecturer in Aircraft Accident Investigation at Cranfield, the course will provide trainee investigators with practical, hands-on experience of carrying out a high-fidelity ATM occurrence investigation and writing a comprehensive investigation report.

“We realised that developing a course which combines theory with a simulated investigation would help us to both train our own staff and equip the industry with more highly competent investigators, enabling constructive learnings to be taken from incidents across the country. That is what ANSL, in partnership with Cranfield University, has created,” said Kimber.

Dr Leigh Dunn added: “When designing our investigation training courses, we are looking to teach the fundamental techniques of investigation fine-tuned to the specific industry that the delegates work in. This is what makes the partnership between Cranfield University and Air Navigation Solutions, with its in-depth understanding of the ATM industry, a perfect match. Together we have produced a hands-on training course that will provide ATM investigators with the skills that are required to conduct thorough and credible investigations.”

Following a successful pilot of the course earlier this year in February, which was attended by 12 delegates from Jersey Airport and ANSL, the course will run at the end of November.

“The course tutors and specialist contributors provided a comprehensive introduction to the range of skills required to carry out investigations including analysis tools, interviewing techniques and report compiling. The course comprised a great mix of practical and theoretical training and is highly recommended,” said John Daly, an Air Traffic Controller at Jersey Airport.

Princess Juliana Airport’s terminal reconstruction underway

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Ballast Nedam International Projects B.V. has officially signed an agreement as the general contractor for of Princess Juliana Airport’s terminal reconstruction project. Construction is due to start by the end of September.

The airport terminal suffered massive devastation during Hurricane Irma in 2017 and the official signing ceremony, which was held at the airport’s check-in hall on 24 August marks one of the most anticipated reconstruction projects in the construction firm’s history.

The Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project is jointly funded by the European Investment bank (EIB) and the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. The Sint Maarten Trust Fund is financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank, and implemented by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB).

Commenting on the contract signing, Brian Mingo, CEO of the Princess Juliana International Airport said: “This is a major milestone for the country, PJIAE NV and our staff. I would also like to compliment the project team with this accomplishment, despite the hurdles such as COVID-19, which complicated the works tremendously, they never lost focus and made the impossible, quite possible.”

He added his thanks to “all stakeholders not forgetting our shareholder, the Princess Juliana International Airport Holding Board (PJIAH) and the Government of Sint Maarten for their patience and consistent support over the last year. I am proud to announce that we finally can start rebuilding the ‘Airport of the Future’.”

The phased-planned construction portion of the project will take place over a two-year period, following the mobilisation of the contractor in August 2021. Ultimately, the renovation development will further modernise the 15-year-old terminal building.

The reconstruction project is due to be complete by Q2, 2023, although sections of the terminal building will come online from as early as December 2022.