Main News August 17 2012


Getting smart with used cooking oil

AIRMALL USA, concessions developer and operator of the AIRMALL at Cleveland Hopkins airport, has formed a partnership with Bradford Airport Logistics. The venture will see the developer implement an environmentally-friendly solution that is aimed at recycling waste cooking oil from tenants in the airport’s concessions program.

To this end, Bradford has worked with AIRMALL to install a system of customized retrieval carts that collect the spent cooking oil from the fryers of food outlets at the airport. The collected grease is subsequently recycled to make environmentally friendly products, amongst which is the production of B-100 biofuel for vehicular usage.


Outsourcing or insourcing?

The wind of change, it seems, continues to blow down the economic corridors of the airline sector.

The latest carrier to look at changes to the status quo is United Airlines, which has announced that it is to outsource some of its cargo operations. Part of the reason for the change in operations stems from the ongoing merger with Continental: and a spokesperson has admitted that the initiative was in line with cutting cost and forging a more efficient operation.

Houston has been cited as one of the stations that will see the changes although others are also on the cards. The carrier has gone on to say that ramp cargo handling will still be performed in-house, however.

Whilst the number of affected workers has not been disclosed, it is known that United is still working with the union that represents cargo workers in order to relocate those involved or offer end of contract inducements. If all goes according to plan, the strategy should be effected by November this year. This isn’t the first time United has looked at its staff balance sheet, though: in all, since the merger got underway, some 15 stations have been involved in in-sourcing labor. Clearly, then, there is no one single solution here, for United is weighing up the situation on a station-by-station basis.


Big order for Florida manufacturer

JBT AeroTech has been awarded orders in excess of US$10m by a freighter airline, which the GSE specialist declined to name. This contract will see the manufacturer furnish cargo loaders, de-icing vehicles and pushback tractors. In addition to this it has undertaken to refurbish and upgrade the carrier’s existing cargo loaders. This new and refurbished GSE will in turn be used to support the airline in its global operations.

“We are pleased to continue supporting the cargo handling and ground support needs of the air freight industry,” commented John Lee, Vice President for JBT AeroTech Division. “This order represents the ongoing commitment of cargo air carriers to invest both in new products and in the upgrade of their GSE fleets to improve operating efficiency.”

According to JBT, delivery of the equipment is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.


Emissions policy hits a brick wall

A Senate panel has voted to prevent US airlines from paying fees to Europe for their fleet emissions. The vote effectively means that the Transportation Secretary now has authority to stop carriers participating in the much-debated EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

Predictably, the outcome was a disappointment to environmental groups who are keen to see the EU scheme adopted on a global basis. Calling the bill short-sighted, the international counsel at Environmental Defense Fund admitted that the result would set back any worldwide consensus, something that is badly needed to give the scheme full credibility. However, the US is not alone in its bullish stance: Russia, China and India have also long opposed the credits trading scheme, calling it unfair.

Readers will know that the European scheme issues permits to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide; it then charges any airline which generates more than its share. EU officials have assured the airline sector that the cost overall will lead to a slight increase in ticket prices. Nonetheless, US carriers estimate that the initiative will cost them some US$3.1bn by 2020.

The International Civil Aviation Organization has yet to be approached directly on the matter although EU officials have been contacted with the aim of securing some sort of compromise.