Menzies business booming in the US
Air Canada has just awarded Menzies Aviation two new contracts and a total of 18 renewals for into-plane fuelling services in North America.
The contract renewals were secured for a period of five years, beginning in May 2018, while the new contracts were awarded by Ronald Reagan Washington National and Raleigh–Durham International airports. Combined, this represents more than 24,000 flights that will be fuelled on an annual basis.
Brazil ignoring the aviation sector’s woes
The news from Latin America hasn’t been good for some time now but there are occasional rays of sunshine. Take Brazil: for the fifth consecutive month, demand in the country for air transport grew. July figures indicated a growth of 3.83%.
The statistics have just been released by the Brazilian Association of Airlines, which compared the month to the same period in 2016. Brazil also increased its load factors by 0.62% to achieve 83.97%. The number of passengers carried, meanwhile, grew by a useful 4.43% to reach 8.6m.
As for carrier market share, Gol takes first place with some 37.58%, followed by Latam with a 32.24% slice. Blue took 17.38% whilst Avianca Brazil weighed in with 12.8%. This pattern was repeated in the full year, where Gol continues to lead with 36.33%, followed by Latam (32.46%) and Blue (18.37%).
Similarly, international air traffic to and from Brazil grew in July by a healthy 18.82%.
TNA brings new towbarless tug to the market
The latest in the TowFLEXX 5-Series, TNA is calling the new tug is the industry’s “most advanced and versatile remote controlled electrical towbarless aircraft tug in its class.” This newest tug combines the best in manoeuvrability, adaptability, practicality and tow capacity – can tow a wide variety of aircraft sizes.
The new heavy-duty configuration of the established 5-Series tug has a towing power of up to 75 tonnes (165,000 pounds) maximum take-off weight. Its strong prime movers have a tractive motor power up to 80 tonnes (176,000 pounds). This model is especially designed to cope with significant stress and can handle aircraft on steep inclines or other unusual harsh conditions, such as offshore helicopter platforms.
“Customers have been asking for an affordable and compact tug system, especially in the heavy-duty weight range of 100,000 to 150,000 pounds MTOW, and we’ve responded by introducing a smart and powerful electrical aircraft tow vehicle, making it much easier to overcome slopes and inclines and operating under tough environmental conditions,” said Michael Turwitt, Managing Partner of TNA Aviation Technologies. “The TowFLEXX HD features a special transmission and gear drive combined with many features that deliver unique functionality normally not even found in bigger and more expensive conventional tow tugs,” he added.
The launch date coincides with the arrival of the improved standard 5-Series configuration with many 2018 model year updates.
Canada’s Cargojet sees revenues rise
Canadian overnight air cargo carrier, Cargojet, has announced a revenue increase of 11.2% in the first half of 2017, compared to the previous year, to $88.2m.
Adjusted EBITDA earnings were up 9.3% over the previous year, at $24.6m.
The operator said revenues came from increased volumes from existing overnight customers, contractual annual price increases and fuel surcharges. This was partially offset by a decrease in charter revenues.
President and CEO, Ajay Virmani, said the increase was a product of Cargojet’s strategy to improve aircraft utilisation and to maximise margins, adding: “We continue to prudently manage our operating costs and look for further route network optimisation opportunities.”
Cargojet handles around 1.3 million pounds of cargo every business night across North America using a fleet of 18 all-cargo aircraft.
Delta looks to streamline passenger processing
Delta has just launched the initial phase of a test programme that is designed to enhance the gate experience and streamline the boarding process for its travellers at T Concourse at Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson International. As part of this three-month pilot project, Delta customers will encounter a number of features when travelling through gatesT1, T2 and T3.
Passengers will see mobile agent pods that have a smaller footprint compared with traditional gate counters: these will be opening up space for more efficient boarding and create additional customer seating. Handheld Nomad devices will allow gate agents to make seat changes, check bag status and perform other functions, while also freeing up agents to engage with customers rather than standing behind a traditional gate counter. The deployment of boarding pillars will create four parallel lanes, not only enhancing organisation at the gate but also providing customers with a clear path to boarding, thereby improving traffic flow. Finally, there will be E-Gates that enable passengers to seamlessly and efficiently self-board by scanning their smart phone or boarding pass.
Delta Cargo on a roll
Delta Cargo posted the highest average NFD percentage for total airport-to-airport shipments amongst North American carriers over last 12 months at 81.31%, according to figures just released by the carrier. This continues the improved operational reliability trend which has seen Delta Cargo lead the North American carrier domestic belly carrier market in average NFD performance for total airport-to-airport shipments over the last three quarters.
Part of this improvement has been down to the fact that Delta Cargo has made significant investments in its technology systems and infrastructure. Its Atlanta warehouse has been transformed, with process, layout and structural changes that have improved efficiency and cargo processing. The addition of nearly 30,000 square feet of warehouse space at its JFK warehouse will also aid the forthcoming warehouse redesign and again improve the operational efficiency. Additionally, Delta and KLM have moved to a single roof shared warehouse in Salt Lake City.
New FBO for San Juan
Jet Aviation marked the expansion of flight services in the Caribbean on July 13 with the grand opening of a new fixed base operation in San Juan, at the Luis Muñoz Marin International airport.
More than 150 guests, including customers and industry members, attended the event. “Jet Aviation San Juan now delivers industry best FBO and flight management services to customers at this increasingly busy destination and one of the most convenient airports for international travel in the region,” commented David Paddock, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Jet Aviation Regional Operations USA.
The new FBO facility features a modern design that includes 20,000 square feet for offices, meeting space, an executive passenger lounge, flight planning workstations and a pilots’ suite. An expanding aircraft parking ramp offers capacity for increased traffic and room for additional hangar facilities, as needed. Jet Aviation is managing the recently completed FBO through an agreement with Pazos, which has built a tradition of FBO excellence with an experienced, trained and professional staff over the last 25 years. The facility is a long standing member of the Air Elite global network of exceptional FBOs.
LEKTRO wins supplier recognition
LEKTRO was recently named Equipment Provider of the Year by Southwest Airlines.
The airline utilises LEKTRO’s model AP8950SDB-AL-200 towbarless pushback tractors, which made their first appearance in 2014 and which are certified to move every aircraft in Southwest’s inventory. This model utilises a proprietary limiter system that adjusts the braking and acceleration characteristics of the tug, ensuring a smooth pushback.
The award was presented to LEKTRO in recognition of fulfilling Southwest Airlines’ expectations for equipment reliability, customer service, parts support, training and overall value. Larry Laney, Southwest Airline’s Ground Support Director noted: “Since Southwest Airlines started purchasing equipment from LEKTRO in 2014, LEKTRO has met or exceeded the (award) criteria and has earned the respect of the entire GSE Leadership Team. Currently Southwest Airlines owns 45 LEKTRO towbarless tractors and has been an outstanding partner and definitely deserved the award.”
CAPTION (Left to right): Larry Laney, Ground Support Director for Southwest Airlines and Eric Paulson, President of LEKTRO
Resolution 753 introduction
IATA and Airlines for America have launched a year-long global campaign related to baggage tracking, with the goal of reducing mishandled bags in addition to increasing efficiency in baggage operations.
Annually, more than 4bn bags are carried by airlines globally although fewer than 0.43% do not actually arrive with their owners. The industry is determined to do even better and to that end has agreed on Resolution 753. By June 2018 airlines have committed to being able to track a bag when it is accepted at the airport, loaded on to an aircraft, transferred to the arrival system or put into the transfer system for carriage by another airline. Airlines should also be able to share this tracking information with interline carriers as needed.
“Arriving without a bag is a very frustrating experience for our customers. Over the last decade we have reduced mishandled baggage by 54% with improved processes. The next step is to realise the full benefits of baggage tracking to further improve performance. In the rare cases when a bag does not arrive with the passenger there will be much more information available to facilitate a quicker reunion. And the benefits don’t stop there. Tracking bags will enable proactive reporting, speed up aircraft readiness for departure, facilitate the automation of baggage processes and reduce fraud,” commented Andrew Price, IATA’s Global Head of Baggage.
Workers set to strike five US airports
Wage unrest is bubbling up again in the US airport sector.
A swathe of airport staff, including cabin cleaners, baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants, have threatened strike action this week at a number of US airports. JFK, Philadelphia, Newark, La Guardia and Denver are the targets and the action has been prompted by growing dissatisfaction with United Airlines and American Airlines.
The unrest has been occasioned by the reluctance of the latter to negotiate on wages; and dissatisfied staff have highlighted unfair labour practices arising from any attempts to unionise.
Citing having to work in a hostile environment, the affected staff are not alone: strike action over wage demands in various locations has been making the headlines regularly in the past 24 months.