Birmingham Airport switches to renewable electricity

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With ambitions to be net-zero by 2033, Birmingham Airport has made the switch to using electricity generated from renewable sources.

Commenting on the latest step in its lower carbon journey, Tom Denton, Head of Sustainability for Birmingham Airport, said: “This reflects our sustainability ambitions and is a small but important step towards our eventual goal of net-zero carbon by 2033. We’re pleased, but, with so much more work still to do, it’s still way too early to celebrate.”

In recent years, the UK hub has reduced the carbon emissions it controls by 33%, by introducing low-carbon alternatives into its operation, including solar, electric vehicle transition and other energy-efficiency measures.

“We’re excited to be supplying Birmingham Airport with zero carbon, 100% renewable electricity and supporting them in their sustainability journey,” said David Taylor, Sales and Marketing Director of Bryt Energy. “We’re proud to be a part of it and look forward to helping them explore future opportunities for carbon reductions,” he added.

The airport’s contract with Bryt Energ runs until the end of March 2024.

airBaltic launches Tampere hub with seven new routes

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Latvian low-fare carrier airBaltic has opened its Tampere base in Finland – the airline’s first base outside the Baltic states.

Speaking at the opening of the new base, airBaltic CEO, Martin Gauss, said: “The opening of the new base provides new travel opportunities for both our current and future passengers. We hope that the passenger demand will gradually grow, therefore we may launch additional new destinations to various business hubs and leisure destinations over time.”

Initially the airline will serve seven direct routes in addition to continued operations to Riga in Latvia. The new links being served from Tampere include: Oslo, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Munich, Malaga, Rhodes and Amsterdam. The latter will commence in June, while all other links are being served from May.

Mari Nurminen, VP for Central and Eastern Finland Airports and Tampere-Pirkkala Airport Manager at Finavia commented: “We are delighted to celebrate airBaltic’s new base at Tampere-Pirkkala Airport. This launch marks a great milestone in the long cooperation between Finavia and airBaltic. Seven new routes bring a great variety of European cities close to both leisure and business travellers of Tampere, which we can all be very happy about.”

Toulouse welcomes return of Air Transat link to Montreal

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Air Transat has resumed its service between Toulouse in France and Montreal in Canada. The direct flights are being operated four times a week on an Airbus A231 aircraft.

Describing the bond between France and Canada as “precious”, Cyril Cousin, Director of Air Transat France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany, said: “It is a real pleasure for us to restore our direct flights from Toulouse, a route that has been integral to our programme for more than 30 years and which we now operate exclusively. We know that travellers whether on vacation or reuniting with loved ones, particularly appreciate the ease of getting to their final destination non-stop.”

Meanwhile, Philippe Crebassa, Chairman of the Managemetn Board of Toulouse Blagnac Airport said: “This reopening was eagerly awaited and we are delighted to see Air Transat’s aircraft again. We welcome with open arms our Canadian friends to our region. This link will also allow those living in Toulouse to discover the beautiful province of Quebec, as well as enable travel for professionals, family members and friends living either side of the Atlantic to reunite.”

Passengers will be able to make the most of Air Transat’s Canadian network from Montreal thanks to the carriers domestic network in Canada.

Manchester Airport welcomes return of Air Canada link to Toronto

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Manchester Airport in the UK is set to welcome the return of Air Canada’s non-stop seasonal route between the UK’s northern hub and Toronto in Canada. The service will be operated five times weekly on an Airbus A330-300 aircraft accommodating 297 passengers with a choice of three classes of service.

Flights between the two cities have been optimised to benefit from connectivity to Air Canada’s extensive North American network, including 46 airports in the US.

Describing the resumed services as “very exciting”, Stephen Gerrard, Air Canada General Manager Sales, UK and Ireland, added: “Our non-stop flight between Manchester and Toronto will provide our customers in the north west of England with a direct link to Canada and beyond.”

Meanwhile, Manchester Airport’s Interim Managing Director, Ian Costigan, said: “The service to Toronto is fantastic news for companies large and small across the North who do business with Canada, and also for tourism and those visiting friends and family. It is also great to see the carrier return with its mainline service, offering a high-quality product with both business and premium economy classes.”

Corendon Airlines takes off from Birmingham Airport in the UK

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European leisure carrier, Corendon Airlines, is now offering flights to two destinations in Turkey from Birmingham Airport in the UK. The airline is operating flights twice a week to Dalaman and three times a week to Antalya on its B737-800 aircraft.

As well as operating its Antalya service during the summer season, Corendon will also extend this service into winter 2022/ 23.

Tom Screen, Aviation Director for Birmingham Airport, said: “We are thrilled to welcome  Corendon Airlines to Birmingham and are pleased initial sales numbers are strong. This bodes well as the aviation sector gets back on its feet and the British public take to the skies once again after a two-year Covid-19 layoff.  We look forward to developing the partnership with Corendon Airlines further in the coming years.”

Paul Riches, Commercial representative of Corendon Airlines added his enthusiasm for the new service saying: “We plan to increase our Birmingham flights to many other popular holiday destinations in the following seasons. We aim to provide holidaymakers direct and comfortable flights to sunny destinations and we are confident our Birmingham flights will be successful in summer 2022 and beyond.”

Jetstar link to Bali takes off from Perth in Australia

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Following a two-year hiatus as a result of the pandemic, Jetstar has resumed its daily service from Perth in western Australia to Denpasar in Bali.

Marking the first tourist flight from Perth to the island since April 2020, the full flight, which took off on 8 April carried 182 passengers. The flights depart from Perth in the morning at 07.25 and return in the afternoon at 15.30.

Commenting on how the resumption of services to Bali was great news for travellers, Perth Airport CEO, Kevin Brown, said: “We know Bali is an extremely popular destination and it’s great to see the return of our first post-pandemic service. West Aussies have a love affair with Bali and I’m sure there  are many travellers champing at the bit to get back there.

“In FY19 more than 400,000 passengers travelled to Bali from Perth and we are certainly looking forward to seeing services increase over the coming months.”

Servy continues US expansion with SFO mobile ordering and delivery programme

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Servy, the self-service platform for hospitality, has been selected to provide the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Mobile Ordering and Delivery Platform.

Passengers travelling through the US gateway will soon be able to order food, beverages and retail from their phones, which they can have delivered to their chosen location at the airport. Servy is collaborating with Palazzo Concessions and AtYourGate to deliver the service, which is set to launch this summer.

“As travel restrictions continue to be lifted it is more essential than ever for airports to provide a digital experience, with guests now expecting it as standard, rather than considering it a luxury,” said Jason Rickoff, SVP, Business Development at Servy.

“The Grab Airport Marketplace has become an essential tool for travelers, allowing them to feel safe and comfortable as they browse an airport’s offerings. We are thrilled to be working with San Francisco International Airport, Palazzo Concessions, AtYourGate, Inflyter and partners to further enhance the travel experience at SFO.”

Currently available to passengers at more than 40 airports in the US and over 80 airports worldwide, Servy’s Grab Airport Marketplace platform aligns with SFO’s vision of providing a first-class guest experience while optimising new revenue streams.

“We are excited to launch a digital marketplace and in-terminal delivery service across our food & beverage, retail and duty free programs at SFO,” said Kevin Bumen, Chief Commercial Officer of SFO, a department of the City and County of San Francisco. “As travelers return to the skies, we recognize the paradigm has shifted and our guests are expecting new ways to transact digitally across the airport. We look forward to the partnership with Servy and creating a better guest experience for busy travelers on the go together.”

Eastern debuts PSO route from Cornwall to Gatwick

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UK-based regional carrier, Eastern Airways, celebrated its new Public Service Obligation (PSO) route from Cornwall Airport Newquay to London Gatwick on Wednesday 15 December. The airline, which has its headquarters at Humberside Airport, was awarded the four-year PSO contract with a £1.8m financial package to subsidise the route from the UK Government on 21 November.

Eastern celebrated its inaugural flight from Cornwall by demonstrating its commitment to reducing carbon emissions. It not only operated the route on one of its ATR72-600 turboprop aircraft – which according to ATR is “by far the most fuel efficient regional aircraft” – but the flight was also refuelled with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Supplied by Air bp, the fuel was a 37% blend of SAF with conventional jet fuel which produces a lifecycle carbon reduction of around 80% compared with traditional jet fuel.

“We’re pleased to have been able to refuel with SAF today, but the industry and government still have a lot of work to do to make SAF more widely available and ultimately affordable,” said Adam Wheatley, Eastern Airways’ Managing Director (pictured right alongside Cornwall Airport Newquay’s Amy Smith) speaking after the flight had landed at Gatwick Airport.

Restoring a vital link

While the PSO route was previously operated between Cornwall and London Heathrow by Flybe (which went into liquidation in 2020), Eastern’s restoration of this vital air connection has been well received by businesses and those living locally in Cornwall.

“Cornwall Airport Newquay has worked tirelessly this year to restore lost regional services with several airlines stepping up to take on routes, as only our resilient sector can,” said Wheatley.

He added that the link with London is a “vital missing piece of the puzzle of connectivity” as he underlined the airline’s commitment to boost traffic to and from the region.

Gatwick Airport’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Tim Norwood, commented that the arrival of Eastern from Cornwall shows “we are moving back that bit more towards normality and we have a great deal of optimism for next year.” He also explained that Gatwick offers “superb links into the heart of London,” making it an ideal hub for those travelling for business as well as for leisure.

Speaking as the Interim Director for Cornwall Airport Newquay, Tim Jeans, echoed Norwood’s sense of optimism. “We’re delighted to be inaugurating the return of services to London from Cornwall. It’s a link that’s really been missed by those living locally and they’ve been longing for it to be restored with a regular, reliable, predictable service. And that’s what PSO routes do – they provide a sustainable link from a remote region, in this case Cornwall, to the capital year round.” Jeans was accompanied by Cornwall Airport Newquay’s new Managing Director, Samantha O’Dwyer (pictured left alongside Eastern Airway’s Adam Wheatley and Gatwick’s Tim Norwood) who will take up her new role early in the new year.

Jeans also explained that initially Eastern Airways will operate the route with a once a day service until mid January, when frequency will increase to twice daily departures from both Newquay and Gatwick.

Boosting Cornwall’s economy

As well as restoring connectivity with affordable air fares, Eastern’s new service will also boost Cornwall’s economy providing jobs and broadening trade opportunities. “The business economy of Cornwall depends on connectivity. About seven or eight years ago the airport wasn’t really relevant to many living in the region because it offered limited services that were relatively infrequent and expensive. However, we’ve managed to turn that around and this summer we will have nine airlines serving Cornwall offering a range of destinations including London. A frequent, reliable, regular connection to the capital is so important for us,” he continued.

Wheatley added, “We know how important these PSOs are to the areas in which we operate and just talking to some of the local population down in Cornwall the excitement around the return of the route is palpable with one resident describing it as a ‘lifeline'”.

Touching on the airline’s decision to fly into Gatwick rather than Heathrow or other London hubs, Wheatley concluded, “We were welcomed here at Gatwick. I’m not sure that was quite the same with Heathrow especially with their fee structure.”

Eastern is also currently exploring several agreements with Gatwick serving airlines to provide Cornish-originating travellers with a range of onward routes.

Vanderlande collaborates with Western Sydney International’s ‘airport of the future’

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Vanderlande was recently awarded the contract to deliver a state-of-the-art baggage handling system (BHS) to Western Sydney International Airport (WSIA).

Currently under construction within the suburb of Badgery’s Creek, the new Western Sydney hub has been designed to meet Australia’s growing aviation needs and supplement the Kingsford Smith Airport which has reached capacity due to a legislative curfew and flight cap. The greenfield project is being completed in several phases and is expected to enter operational readiness and acceptance trials in late 2024, before opening to passenger and freight services in late 2026. Vanderlande is delivering a range of innovative solutions as part of the BHS package. Its ADAPTO BAGSTORE will be the core of the system, providing flexibility and scalability as well as high storage density and 100% redundancy.

ADAPTO BAGSTORE also gives WSIA the ability to ‘batch build’ baggage ensuring efficient use of resources and to deploy the emerging service of “reclaim on demand” due to its ability to store inbound bags. Vanderlande’s high-speed TUBTRAX individual carrier system (ICS) works in harmony with ADAPTO and allows in-tub screening. In addition, all Vanderlande solutions are integrated with its controls platform, VIBES – a software solution that covers the complete baggage process, and interfaces directly with airport and airline IT systems to provide a holistic view.

Using FLEET Bag Av-technology, speed loaders for efficient ULD loading and a central make-up area for economic use of resources, the Vanderlande system will also include out-of-gauge baggage handling. It will also link to a sub-system in which couriers will be able to drop off bags enabling WSIA to proivde the option of remote check-in and bag drop services. Self-bag drop capability will also be integrated into the system.

Commenting on the opportunity to collaborate with WSIA to help deliver their inspirational vision that is the centrepiece of Sydney’s third Central Business District, Shaun Roper, Vanderlande’s Managing Director Airports said: “We are confident that our partnership approach, strong local team and global network of knowledge coupled with an extensive use of local trades and services will together bring value and benefit to WSIA and the local community. With this, alongside our innovative baggage solutions, Western Sydney Airport can be confident that together we will deliver a world-class experience for every passenger.”

Vanderlande’s Executive VP Airport and Parcel Solutions added, “This is not only about technology, but also understanding how our solutions can make WSIA a great place to work and support the wider Sydney community.”

Header image: On the left Shaun Roper, Managing Director Airports, Vanderlande, and on the right Simon Hickey, CEO Western Sydney Airport