Business aviation on track for upswing, but it will take time

By Business Aviation, FeaturedNo Comments

With much still remaining uncertain across the aviation sector, the roll out of vaccinations in countries around the world has certainly provided a sense of optimism. And as the business aviation sector looks to the year ahead, Rollie Vincent, JetNet iQ Director is forecasting an upswing for the sector in the latter half of 2021.

Commenting in JetNet iQ’s latest Pulse report he said: “If we cast our minds back 12 months, it would be reasonable to suggest that no one had the forecasting prowess to foresee the year we are just emerging from.” However, he also referenced that the industry is now seeing signals of change. “Amongst the most encouraging are reports of new customers coming into the business and general aviation industry for the first time.”

He also noted that many colleagues and friends in the corporate jet sales and transactions world had recorded a bumper finish to 2020 with more transactions in the last quarter than the rest of the year combined. He added that “Each of the major business jet manufacturers is currently releasing new aircraft models and variants – Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream and Textron – with very exciting advances and inclusions.”

Meanwhile Adam Twidell, PrivateFly’s CEO, argued that while the start of vaccination programmes is giving a sense of future optimism, recovery timelines remain hard to forecast. In his ‘private jet’ predictions for 2021 he said that, “While private aviation has seen increased demand from leisure clients, business travel as we knew it remains largely absent.” In 2021, he believes that many people will continue to work from home or remotely. “We’re already seeing clients with second homes in traditional summer destinations now travelling to them at anytime of the year and staying for longer – as they can work from there.”

He added that this blurring of work and leisure time will have an impact on routes and destinations. PrivateFly’s 2020 trends report has already highlighted that Nice has been more popular than Paris in recent months. “I think we’ll see this type of shift even further in 2021,” he said.

And with passengers increasingly looking to travel more responsibly and more thoughtfully, “a strong sustainability commitment is now an essential part of a private aviation service… with many more companies in our sector putting this front and centre of their proposition.” He also expects that with electric aircraft holding the key to a more sustainable aviation industry, the progress of this sector will accelerate in 2021 with Lilium, Joby, Eviation, MagniX, Pipistrel, Ampaire and XTI Aerospace all ones to watch within this space.

Twidell concluded that the pandemic is set to be a catalyst for change and with charter operators needing to combine to survive after such a challenging year we can expect to see “less fragmentation and the evolution of mega fleets… Big names – including our sister company Flexjet which has recently launched in Europe – will lead the way in setting standards.”






Nashville Airport highlights importance of sustainable design

By Airports, DesignNo Comments

Designed by Fentress Architects, Nashville Airport’s new Concourse D has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, in recognition of the project’s sustainable, wellness-oriented design and construction process.

The certification makes Nashville’s new $292 million, 115,000 sq. ft. concourse one of only five constructed airport facilities in the US, and one of nine airport facilities worldwide, to earn LEED Silver under the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) rigorous LEED v4 standards.

The most widely used green building rating system in the world, LEED is seen as an international symbol of excellence. The programme’s performance-based approach and progressive sustainability benchmarks are designed to optimise building performance and support occupant health and wellbeing.

“Fentress Architects has been at the forefront of green building design for over four decades,” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, Principal in Charge of Design at Fentress Architects. “Energy conservation is a key element of not only our design approach, but our values as a firm. We are proud to have leveraged our expertise, along with the commitment of all partners involved in this significant project, to realise BNA’s forward-thinking sustainability standards.”

The expansion of the airport’s concourse was completed in July 2020 and has elevated the airport as a world-class facility with six domestic aircraft gates, public art, diverse traveller amenities, and improved ramp amenities and function space.

Commenting on the LEED certification as a coveted mark of environmental distinction, Nashville Airport’s President and CEO Dough Kreulen said: “We’re building not only a bigger airport, but also a better, greener, more sustainable airport. I’m proud of our commitment to these principles and appreciative of all the hard work that went into obtaining this recognition.”

The project’s green design and construction components include: electrochromic glass that blocks out excessive sunlight and heat for passengers’ comfort while reducing glare and energy consumption for climate control; energy efficient and programmable lighting that dims when natural light is adequate for visibility; a focus on human health and wellness with features including an abundance of dayglighting, green cleaning practices and water bottle filling stations; light-coloured building and paving materials that retain less heat, reducing energy use while mitigating heat-island effect; geothermal cooling; water-conserving plumbing and recycling bins throughout the concourse and 80% of construction waste diverted from landfills.

“At every stage of the project, from the design process to construction, the project team remained committed to aligning our approach with the airport’s sustainability targets,” said Deborah Lucking, AIA LEED AP BD+C, Director of Sustainability at Fentress Architects. “Fentress is committed to advancing sustainability and human wellness in the built environment and achieving LEED  v4 Silver showcases the project team’s dedication to going far beyond the minimum LEED requirements to achieve certfication,” she concluded.

To find out more about terminal architecture and design trends for regional hubs check out the latest issue of Regional Gateway magazine.

London City Airport unveils winner of Sustainable Security Bag Challenge

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London City Airport has announced the winner of its Sustainable Security Bag Challenge. TIPA have been awarded £10,000 for developing a fully compostable security bag for London’s most central airport. An initial trial using 25,000 bags is scheduled for spring 2021 in line with the expected return of passengers to the airport.

TIPA have a decade long background in providing sustainable packaging solutions for its clients, which include the UK supermarket giant Waitrose. It’s sustainable security bag will help replace more than two million single-use plastic bags at the airport. It’s winning design is made from fully transparent materials, aligned to regulatory standards, and can be composted at home by passengers or disposed as food waste at the airport.

“When we launched this challenge we said we were looking for an innovative solution that reduces the environmental impacts associated with single-use plastics,” said Liam McKay, Director of Corporate Affairs at London City.

“I am confident that our passengers will love them because the bags are fully compostable without leaving any trace of plastics in the environment – it’s a solution that’s environmentally friendly  and gives passengers peace of mind.”

He added that with sustainability at the heart of aviation’s recovery, “London City wants to work with partners on finding innovative solutions right across the business, that will help us become one of the most sustainable airports of our size.”

TIPA’s VP of Marketing, Merav Koren said: “Consumers are more educated than ever about the impact of single-use plastic and are calling for swift implementation of sustainable solutions to plastic waste and pollution. London City Airport joins other influential players shifting toward bioplastics as a solution to single-use plastic.”

Christchurch Airport first to achieve Level 4 Transformation on ACA programme

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Christchurch Airport in New Zealand has become the first airport in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world to reach the new Level 4 Transformation on the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.

The new ACA levels (4 Transformation and 4+ Transition) – the highest carbon certification an airport can achieve – were announced just over a week ago at Airports Council International (ACI) Europe’s annual congress.

The submission took the airport three months to complete and required the airport to present a verified Carbon Footprint, a Carbon Management Plan in line with the UN Paris Agreement and a Stakeholder Partnership Plan to influence Scope 3 emissions. Independently verified proof of all Christchurch Airport’s carbon reduction achievements was also provided.

“Over the past year, we reduced our Scope 1 emissions by 83%, through installing ground source heating and cooling in our terminal building,” explained Rhys Boswell, the airport’s General Manager Planning and Sustainability. “Our Scope 2 emissions have reduced by 27%, against baseline year 2015, through LED replacements and improved energy efficiencies… Plus, as part of our commitment to support aviation industry transition to a low carbon future, we have installed aircraft ground power. When an aircraft is on the ground, ti can use electricity rather than jet fuel, and so saves approximately 730 tCO2e per plane per year,” he added.

The airport has also demonstrated evidence of actively engaging and leading its stakeholders towards delivering emissions reductions.

“We are very proud to be the first airport in New Zealand and in the world to reach this accreditation,” said Malcolm Johns, CEO Christchurch Airport.

As a regional airport, we set a good example for our regional peers and for the airport industry as a whole. We show that small is big when you are bold enough to set the bar higher on climate actions and to deliver on ambitious environmental goals. We will continue to work diligently to build a more sustainable aviation in strong cooperation with our business partners.

Meanwhile Boswell added that the certification is important recognition for the airport staff. “Our stated intentions are to be great Kaitiaki (guardians of our environment), and our Carbon Policy goals are to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, and absolute zero emissions by 2050. We have worked hard to demonstrate how emission reductions factor into our airport planning and decision making, now and into a low carbon future. Being recognised as the world’s first airport best practice in this area is a good feeling.”

AGS Airports recognised for leadership in sustainability

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AGS Airports, which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow (pictured) and Southampton airports in the UK has been named a sector leader by global sustainability organisation Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB). While all three airports were recognised by GRESB, Glasgow was ranked as best performing airport for sustainability leadership.

Each year GRESB assesses and benchmarks the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of real assets around the globe. The assessments are guided by what investors and the industry consider to be material issues in the sustainability performance of real asset investments and are aligned with international reporting frameworks, goals and emerging regulations.

While Glasgow was ranked first within the UK and European Transport sector as well as in the worldwide category, Aberdeen was ranked second in all categories and Southampton was ranked third in the UK and European sectors and sixth worldwide.

Derek Provan, Chief Executive of AGS Airports commented: “To be recognised in the GRESB benchmarking annual assessment is a tremendous achievement. At AGS, we are acutely aware that operating such important pieces of infrastructure comes with responsibilities; to our people, to our communities and to the environment.”

He added, “We have already made significant progress in addressing our environmental impacts with each of our airports achieving carbon neutrality status and we are committed to achieving net zero by 2045.”

Although the three airports vary in terms of size, capacity and the scale of their operations, Provan explained that they all share a common purpose to deliver a safe and superior passenger experience, while playing a crucial role in supporting the regional areas their connectivity provides. “For each of our airports to have been recognised by GRESB is a fantastic endorsement and confirms that our efforts in sustainability are well placed,” he concluded.

Air transport industry focused on a green recovery and sustainable growth

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Airport, airline and other aviation industry leaders have reiterated that long-term climate action should be a priority alongside economic recovery in the forseeable future during the Global Sustainable Aviation Forum, which was hosted online by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) on Tuesday 29 September.

Airports Council International (ACI) World’s Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, emphasised the need to focus on sustainability as part of the industry’s long-term recovery from COVID-19. “To ensure that aviation can continue to provide the economic and social benefits, it is crucial that we pursue a green recovery and lay the foundation for a prosperous and sustainable industry for the long term. Airports are central to the interconnected and interdependent aviation ecosystem. Airports and their partners in the aviation industry need the support of appropriate regulation and government policies to facilitate a green recovery and push for real change.”

ATAG’s Executive Director, Michael Gill, noted that, “As we plan for the recovery of air connectivity, we also must prioritise our environmental progress.” Increasing the production, supply and deliver of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will be key to achieving a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. “We have the next decade to set the scene for sustainable global connectivity for the next 30-40 years,” he added.

Meanwhile Simon Hocquard, Director General of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), said, “Meeting our ambitious sustainability goals continues to be of paramount importance and will only happen if everyone in the aviation system plays their part. From implementing new operational procedures to adopting the latest technologies, the ATM industry has an important role to play in improving the efficiency of aviation in the near term, before new electric aircraft technologies or zero carbon fuels come on stream.”

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority recognised for environmental excellence

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The Industrial Environmental Association (IEA) has selected the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority as a 2020 Environmental Excellence Award winner.

Environmental stewardship is integral to operations at San Diego Airport (SAN) with the Airport Authority establishing one of the first sustainability policies for a major airport in the US at this airport. Those shortlisted for an award were evaluated on projects that demonstrate science driven environmental leadership and best practices, with SAN recognised for its Northside Stormwater Capture Cistern.

“We live in a region that depends on imported supplies for more than 80% of its drinking water,” said Kimberly J. Becker, Airport Authority President and CEO. “Water stewardship is a key part of the airport’s sustainability efforts. We are honoured to receive this award and we are proud to see continued development of our Stormwater Capture and Reuse System contribute to conserving our region’s natural resources.”

The Northside Stormwater Capture Cistern has been constructed to capture stormwater runoff from 80 acres of airport property on the north side of the airport runway. The cistern is designed to capture and reuse approximately 16 million gallons annually. These water reserves can then be used to wash cars at the nearby Rental Car Centre where an average of 4,000 cars are washed every day.

Development of the Northside Cistern is driven by scientific analysis and provides an innovative response to regional permit requirements for both stormwater pollution prevention and post-construction requirements for development/ redevelopment, while creating a new source of water in San Diego’s drought-prone arid environment.

Header image: Water collected in San Diego Airport’s Northside Stormwater Capture Cistern can be used to wash cars at a local rental company.