• 02-10-2019
    New robot on duty at Frankfurt Airport
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    New robot on duty at Frankfurt Airport

    Passengers at Frankfurt Airport were recently introduced to a member of staff with a difference – YAPE the robot!

    In a recent trial, self-driving guide robot YAPE moved through Frankfurt Airport, accompanying passengers to their gates and helping them to transport their small luggage.

    YAPE is an AI-based transport and delivery robot developed by Yape Srl (the acronym stands for 'Your Autonomous Pony Express), a company of Italian hi-tech manufacturer e-Novia.

    Airport operator Fraport and e-Novia deployed the little vehicle in FRA’s transit area for five days.

    Alexander Laukenmann, who heads the airside and terminal management unit at Fraport AG, said: “As a leader in innovation, we constantly strive to push forward new digital technologies aimed at enhancing the travel experience for our passengers.
    "Our aim with YAPE is to test which aspects of artificial intelligence and robotics can help to further improve the quality of services at Frankfurt Airport.”

    Vincenzo Russi, CEO of e-Novia, said: “YAPE can be deployed in the most diverse environments. After the trials with Japan Post and a major large-scale distributor in the US, YAPE now demonstrates its full potiential by operating at a major aviation hub.

    "Air traffic represents one of the prime drivers of the global economy. With our expertise in AI and robotics – of which YAPE is one of the best examples – e-Novia is developing new solutions for smart mobiltiy and last-mile delivery.”

    During the trials in Pier A of FRA’s Terminal 1, the project co-ordinators closely monitored YAPE. In this initial phase, a smartphone app was used to interact with the robot.

    Passengers placed their small luggage in the robot’s luggage compartment and let YAPE guide them to their gates.
    The robot is able to freely move throughout the terminal thanks to its integrated navigation system.

    In the next phase the compact robot will interact autonomously with passengers.

    YAPE can carry up to 30 kilos at a speed of about six kilometres per hour indoors.

    Since the self-driving electric robot senses its surroundings, it is able to circumvent obstacles. Nevertheless – with more than 69 million passengers passing through Frankfurt Airport yearly – the busy terminals present a special challenge for the smart robot.

    By trialing the autonomous transport robot, airport operator Fraport aims to test new ways of enhancing the passenger experience, while at the same time reducing staff workload.



  • 30-09-2019
    Aviation industry's economic importance and green growth plans
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    Aviation industry's economic importance and green growth plans

    Aviation's leaders today produced a timely reminder to the world's governments about the economic and social importance of aviation and the industry's commitment to its sustainable development.

    Presenting a joint industry working paper to the 40th session of the ICAO Assembly in Montréal, Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) executive director, Michael Gill, said: “In addition to the 65.5 million jobs currently supported by aviation, the connectivity provided by rapid, modern and safe transport systems helps to build business opportunities, bring together families and connect communities around the world.

    "With the growth in air transport expected to support almost 100 million jobs by 2036, there are very real benefits that come from backing a robust aviation system, including support for most of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
    aircaft sky
    “At the same time, we must always be mindful of the impact that aviation activity has on citizens and the planet.

    "Working with authorities to ensure robust land-use planning around airports, co-operative approaches to route and tourism development, policy support for air traffic management improvements and the deployment of sustainable aviation fuels are all key to ensuring we can continue to provide benefits to the economy and society, whilst reducing our environmental impact.”

    ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, noted: “Airports, as a key part of the aviation industry, play a vital role in facilitating economic and social prosperity in the local, regional and national communities they serve by fostering sustainable development.

    "If aviation is to continue generating growth and jobs, improving living standards, and alleviating poverty, however, we must renew our dedication to sustainability.

    "We continue to work with ICAO, ATAG and our partners towards significantly reducing environmental impacts.”
    IATA'S director general, Alexandre de Juniac, said: “Aviation is a business with clear purpose – safely and efficiently connecting people and goods over the greatest of distances.

    "Flying is the business of freedom and it provides foundational support to many of the UN SDGs. As we see in economies of all stages of development, flying makes the world a more prosperous place. And we are working hard to ensure we do that sustainably.”

    Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) director general,Simon Hocquard said: “The air traffic management (ATM) industry is continuing to develop measures to improve the efficiency of aviation and support safe, seamless and sustainable air transport.

    "From implementing new operational procedures to adopting the latest technologies, the ATM industry has an important role to play in reducing flying time and fuel burn, and building a strong and agile global transport network for the future.
    "We will continue to work with ICAO and our industry partners in doing this, collaboratively developing the necessarynational and regional sustainable development plans to facilitate it.”

    Kurt Edwards, director general of the International Business Aviation Council, commented: "Aviation connects the world, even the most remote locations. 

    "It is critical to the sustainable economic development of all regions, allowing communities to thrive wherever they are. 

    "Yet as aviation grows to meet these demands, the industry continues simultaneously to mitigate its environmental impacts through new technologies and greater efficiency".

     While Eric Fanning, chair of the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations, said: “Aviation connects our world, powers our economies, and expands our horizons.

    "We stand on the edge of significant transformation, from drone deliveries to air taxis. As we move forward with these technologies, we must expand government partnerships to ensure all states can realise the benefits these innovations will bring”.

  • 30-09-2019
    If airports lack the tools and systems to accurately and quickly analyse data, [collection] is of little to no use
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    Securiport is Platinum Sponsor at this year’s ACI EUROPE Security Summit, taking place in Tel Aviv, 17-19 September 2019. Ahead of the event, Dr Enrique Segura, CEO Securiport, shared some insights with Ross Falconer. Securiport is Platinum Sponsor at this year’s ACI EUROPE Security Summit, taking place in Tel Aviv, 17-19 September 2019. Ahead of […]

    The post If airports lack the tools and systems to accurately and quickly analyse data, [collection] is of little to no use appeared first on Airport Business.

  • 30-09-2019
    Aeroporti di Roma improves the efficiency of airport operations through SESAR solutions
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    Through the support of ACI EUROPE’s SESAR Related Deployment Airport Grouping (SDAG), Aeroporti di Roma (ADR), the operator of Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino airports, is participating in EU-funded projects that are deploying SESAR solutions. The aim is to streamline airports operations and, ultimately, offer a better passenger experience. Luc Laveyne sits down with ADR to […]

    The post Aeroporti di Roma improves the efficiency of airport operations through SESAR solutions appeared first on Airport Business.

  • 30-09-2019
    Knock-Ireland West Airport opens refurbished runway
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    Knock-Ireland West Airport opens refurbished runway

    Ireland West Airport (Knock) has officially opened its new runway following a €11 million refurbishment designed and project managed by Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group.

    The 2,400m runway – which is the third longest in the country – handles all flights at Ireland West Airport and is central to the airport’s vision to attract one million passengers per year.

    Atkins provided specialist design and technical services, supporting main contractors Lagan Aviation and Clare Civil Engineering.

    Speaking at the official opening of the runway on Friday 20 September, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said: “Today’s ceremony marks the successful completion of a truly ambitious project.

    "All of the work was done on time and on budget and I really want to acknowledge the work of the main contractors Lagan Aviation and Clare Civil Engineering, and also project partners Atkins.”

    This is the first time in its 34-year history that the runway has had a full overlay, including taxi ways, and an upgrade of the instrumentation landing systems.

    The four-month refurbishment works took place overnight during non-operational hours to minimise disruption and enable the airport to function normally during the day.

    Atkins led the full design and procurement process for the runway upgrade and aeronautical ground lighting following their appointment by Ireland West Airport as specialist consultants in 2017.

    It also developed the Early Contractor Involvement strategy and acted as Project Manager for the construction, commissioning and handover of the construction works.

    Justin Norman, managing director of Atkins Ireland, said: “The new runway will help Ireland West Airport continue to grow as a key gateway to the West of Ireland and beyond.

    "It’s successful delivery - on time and to budget - is testament to a truly collaborative project team that worked seamlessly throughout.”

  • 27-09-2019
    London City Airport reports growing 'local appeal'
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    London City Airport reports growing 'local appeal'

    London City Airport's appeal with the local population is growing, with new data showing that more people living within a three mile radius of the gateway used it in 2018 than ever before.

    New analysis by the airport of 2017, and 2018 Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) postcode data, has found that in 2018, 143,000 departing passengers used the airport who live within a three-mile radius - a 22% increase from 117,000 passengers in 2017.

    When residents are combined with departing passengers that were visiting or working in the local area, the number of passengers in a three-mile radius totalled 547,227 in 2018, more than 11% of the total passengers using the airport last year.

Journeys originating in four East London boroughs nearby also saw a marked increase.
    LCY new
    Residents, local business workers, and tourists starting their journey in Barking and Dagenham grew by the highest margin year-on-year, up 75%, alongside Greenwich (34%) and Hackney (7%).

    In the airport’s home borough, Newham, passengers increased 10% year-on-year, representative of 350,000 passengers.

    A new video released released today, introduces some of the local people choosing London City Airport (LCY) as their gateway for trips abroad, with destinations including Split, Rotterdam and Ibiza.

    The airport has added Prague, Budapest, Vilnius and Antwerp to its route map this year.
    LCY tower
    The rise in local passengers reflects an ongoing trend around London City Airport, in the heart of East London, which is home to one of the fastest-growing populations in the UK - outstripping anywhere else in the city in terms of growth in jobs, homes and office space.

    LCY's CEO, Rbert Sinclair, said: “While the airport remains the firm favourite for business travellers across London, it’s clear from this new analysis that more and more local people are taking advantage of our extensive network of destinations, and the convenience of their home airport.

    “The ‘fly local’ trend is good for passengers and we look forward to continuing to share the benefits of our growth with the community, not just in terms of job creation and educational and charitable contributions, but increasingly as an airport they can use for holidays and business trips.”

    Recent online YouGov polling of nearby boroughs found that local people want to use the airport, with 42% likely to use the airport in the future, particularly those aged 25-54 or living in Newham (56%), Greenwich (52%) or Tower Hamlets (52%). 

    LCY backgroumd
    Respondents generally cited the lower fares and an increased choice of destinations as aspects that would encourage greater usage.

    Dispelling the myth that London City is a uniformly expensive airport, recent work by Aviation Economics, using Apex fares data, found London City‘s average fares in August 2018 were below Heathrow and Gatwick on a like-for-like basis.

    Indeed, in the peak summer season, the fares for leisure destinations served from London City, the city’s most central airport, were comparable, or indeed cheaper, than the two largest London airports. 


  • 27-09-2019
    Heinemann launches loyalty programme with Travel Retail Norway
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    ‘Tax Free & Me’ will be available to passengers in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger and Kristiansand

    This story continues at Heinemann launches loyalty programme with Travel Retail Norway

    Or just read more coverage at DFNI

  • 27-09-2019
    Addressing the Aviation Cyber Risk Together
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    In 2017, the European Centre for Cybersecurity in Aviation (ECCSA) was established to counter any cyberattack posed to aviation. Supported by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), it is a voluntary, cooperative partnership within the aviation community to provide collective support in dealing with cybersecurity incidents, weaknesses and unauthorised interactions that could potentially affect […]

    The post Addressing the Aviation Cyber Risk Together appeared first on Airport Business.

  • 20-09-2019
    Facing a 22% airport charges cut: “an existential threat to Dublin Airport and for Ireland Inc”
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    An interview with Dalton Philips, Chief Executive, daa – operator of Dublin and Cork airports. By Ross Falconer An interview with Dalton Philips, Chief Executive, daa – operator of Dublin and Cork airports. By Ross Falconer A passion for aviation is in the genes for daa Chief Executive Dalton Philips (51). His father Tim was […]

    The post Facing a 22% airport charges cut: “an existential threat to Dublin Airport and for Ireland Inc” appeared first on Airport Business.

  • 10-09-2019
    Fantastic Journey
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    Fantastic Journey

    Dr Michael Kerkloh reflects on close to 17 years in the hot seat at Munich Airport and is confident that he will leave a gateway and a global airport operator on the up when he retires from his position at the end of the year, writes Joe Bates.

    The recent announcement that Jost Lammers will become the new CEO of Munich Airport on January 1, 2020, confirms the fact that Germany’s second busiest gateway, and possibly aviation, will lose one of its biggest and best-known characters when current boss, Dr Michael Kerkloh, leaves his position at the end of the year.

    Lammers will inherit an airport operator, Flughafen München GmbH (FMG), at the peak of its powers after a decade of traffic growth and expansion in Munich, and the planned new additions of Terminal 1 at Newark Liberty International Airport in the US and Sofia Airport in Bulgaria to its global business portfolio.

    There is no doubting that Kerkloh has been good for Munich Airport (MUC) and that the airport, in turn, has been good for him since he was appointed president and CEO of FMG in 2002.

    When he came onboard, the airport was handling around 23 million passengers per annum and had less intercontinental activity as it was 100% focused on developing MUC’s facilities and route network.

    That ‘home’ focus meant that the plans for Munich Airport’s Terminal 2 were already in place and overseeing its construction and 2003 opening was one of the first major achievements of Kerkloh’s reign.

    However, that was only the start, as since then the airport has added an impressive new Terminal 2 Satellite – Germany’s first midfield terminal – in 2016 and expanded Terminal 1 to raise MUC’s capacity to handle up to 50mppa.

    The new infrastructure was certainly needed as a record 46.3 million passengers (+3.8%) passed through the airport in 2018, and Kerkloh believes that the figure will rise to around 48 million this year after a 5% rise in throughput in the first half of 2019.

    Next on the agenda in terms of new infrastructure is a new pier for Terminal 1, which is currently under construction and will raise Munich Airport’s capacity by another 7mppa when it opens in 2023.

    He also believes that MUC has grown from being an airport to an airport city over the past two decades, based on the assortment of new non-aviation related facilities built across and around the airport site during his time in charge.

    The latest and possibly most pioneering of these being LabCampus – an innovation lab on the airport campus that will promote co-operation between companies and across boundaries.

    And the growth at home has been supported by success abroad with 100% owned subsidiary, Munich Airport International (MAI), becoming a leading provider of management, consulting and training services across the globe.

    Indeed, such are its ambitions in the international arena that MAI and the Carlyle Group’s CAG Holdings recently set up the joint-venture, Reach Airports LCC, to offer operations, training, consulting and management services to the aviation sector in the US, Canada
    and Mexico.


    The secret of FMG’s success

    So, what has been the secret of FMG’s success? Kerkloh is quick to point out that MUC’s success would not have been possible without German national flag carrier, Lufthansa, which has effectively been its business partner for 20 years and led to the joint development of T2 and its €900 million satellite building.

    “Our joint ventures and close working relationship with Lufthansa have been key drivers of our success,” he says, noting that at one point the airline could easily have concentred its efforts on Berlin and building a hub there.

    “The way we work together in Munich has helped transform the airport and proved the catalyst for the increase in traffic and the growth of our intercontinental footprint.

    “Our goal is to provide our customers with the best an airport/airline system can deliver. This means striving to ensure that everything we build and every process and procedure serves the prime needs of the passenger.”

    He goes on: “As a result of our co-operation, Munich has grown from a mid-size airport into a big European hub and one of the top 10 airports in the world in terms of connectivity. This simply would not have happened if we hadn’t worked in such close partnership with Lufthansa to design, build, fund and operate the new infrastructure. The relationship should not be underestimated.”

    He believes that FMG’s holistic vision of what an airport is and its business model – it performs passenger, ground and ramp handling services and most other operational tasks traditionally carried out by third parties at MUC – have also proved integral to the airport’s success.

    Kerkloh says this is because he feels that the way it does business ensures that it is very much in control of how MUC operates and performs on a daily basis and because it has allowed FMG to carefully orchestrate the development of its own airport city.

    “I sometimes say we have a dinosaur business model because we are heavily involved in the operational side of things and deal with all the end customer segments at the airport,” says Kerkloh.

    “So, we have our own retail, F&B, security and ground handling companies, for example, and are responsible for most activities at the airport.

    “When you talk to a financial investor about our way of doing business, they don’t like it. They say that others can do things better and we would be better off concentrating on managing the airport. We obviously don’t agree as we believe that it has given us a very deep knowledge of our customers and subsequently the opportunity to create a hassle free and attractive airport for passengers.

    “It has also given us an almost unrivalled knowledge of almost every aspect of how airports operate and do business, and this is part of our appeal when it comes to working in the international arena.”

    As for FMG’s international success, which hit new heights this summer with confirmation of the Newark Liberty and Sofia Airport deals, Kerkloh admits that this is 100% down to the decision to look abroad for new business to create additional revenue streams and ensure that FMG’s success was no longer solely dependent on Munich Airport.

    “Our good reputation at home has led to a number of opportunities in other countries and I believe that FMG will grow this side of the business in the future,” says Kerkloh.

    International assets

    FMG has been building up its international activities for nearly three decades and has formed an international business arm, MAI, for this purpose.

    Up until now, Munich Airport has been engaged in numerous global projects for consulting, training and management services. These have ranged from planning and design contracts, IT services, training programmes, and advice on business continuity management, non-aviation revenue optimisation and airport privatisation projects to Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer (ORAT) services.

    However, this is about to change as last year the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) awarded Munich Airport the contract to operate the $2.7 billion Terminal One currently under construction at Newark Liberty International Airport. The recently finalised agreement will effectively see MAI operate the terminal for 15 years when it becomes fully operational in 2022.

    Confirming the deal in July 2019, PANYNJ chairman, Kevin O’Toole, said: “We wanted to bring a world leader in customer service and concession management to Newark Liberty, and MAI fits the bill.”

    And the bar was arguably raised even higher a few weeks ago when the SOF Connect consortium – comprising Munich Airport, Meridiam and STRABAG – was awarded a 35-year concession to manage, operate and develop Sofia Airport. Kerkloh declined to discuss the deal until the contract becomes legally binding. The consortium has, however, clearly stated its intention to develop Bulgaria’s capital city airport into a world-class and attractive facility, grow traffic and introduce best practices to “maximise the customer experience.”


    Sense of place

    With its own brewery, selection of local shops and F&B outlets across its terminals, and outdoor arena (MAC Forum) – which regularly hosts events ranging from markets, car shows and sports competitions to pop concerts – there are certainly many examples of sense of place facilities and activities at Munich Airport.

    Kerkloh admits that FMG’s motivation for transforming MUC into a destination in its own right includes the ambition to surprise and delight passengers, attract more non-flyers to the airport and, of course, boost the revenues the company makes from non-aviation related activities.

    “From a business perspective, the aim is to make money to fund the airport’s future growth and development,” he comments. “Think of it this way, half a litre of our wonderful Bavarian beer at the airport cost just €3, and €1 from this will be used to finance our new expansion  projects.”

    Major milestones

    When asked to look back at the achievements he is most proud of over the last 17 years, in addition to FMG’s partnership with Lufthansa, perhaps not surprisingly Kerkloh lists the new facilities that have been built during his time, MUC’s expanded route network, the number of awards the airport has won – ASQ and SKYTRAX, which still lists it as the only Five-Star Airport in Europe – and FMG’s business model of keeping most operational services at MUC in-house.

    The honest Kerkloh is also open and upfront about the things he didn’t achieve during his time at FMG, listing the failure to get a high-speed MAGLEV train link to MUC and a third runway, something he says he fought to get for nearly 15 years, as his “biggest disappointments”.

    Indeed, the government’s decision to refuse permission to build the new runway is one of the key reasons he has decided to step down, citing that it will be at least another five years before it might be on the table again and therefore a minimum of 10 to 12 years before it could become reality.

    “I am leaving because I believe that it is a case of job done as I have achieved all that I can now at Munich Airport and it is time to hand over control to one of the new generation of airport leaders to plan for the future,” says Kerkloh.

    “I leave knowing that my successor will be inheriting a good team and a well-run business with the potential to grow even bigger in the future.”

    Kerkloh also jokes that the best time to leave is when you will be missed, as outstaying your welcome rarely ends well.

    Auf Wiedersehen?

    Throughout our conversation, Kerkloh has been keen to point out that he is retiring from Munich Airport but not from work or life, for that matter, as despite being 66, he still believes that he has plenty to offer in terms of his knowledge, experience and skill set.

    Undoubtedly, the former ACI Europe president and ACI World Governing Board member will have plenty of job offers and I, for one, hope he can be persuaded to stay in aviation as the industry will be a poorer place without the wit and wisdom of Dr Michael Kerkloh.