Indiana’s South Bend International Airport (SBN) celebrated the opening of its Federal Inspection Station (FIS) and global entry enrollment centre with the arrival of a football club’s chartered flight on Tuesday 16 July.
The recently completed US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities are able to support the processing of general aviation, charter and scheduled inernationally arriving flights.
Local Governor Eric J. Holcomb said: “As a state, we’re committed to enhancing connectivity, helping both businesses and talent reach key markets across the country and around the world.”
He added: “The work being done at the South Bend International Airport sets the stage for growth and creates the opportunity to attract new commercial, international service to the South Bend-Elkhart region to further propel tourism, economic development and talent attraction throughout northern Indiana.”
CBP will pre-schedule applications for Global Entry enrollments during a specific set of hours Monday through Wednesday and SBN has already seen significant interest with more than 100 appointments already made durin the four weeks after it starts providing the service.
“The team at SBN has been working with our federal, lcoal and state partners to make today possible,” said Dr. Jay Asdell, St. Joseph County Airport Authority Board of Directors president. “I am proud of the teamwork that has occurred for SBN to be the first airport in Indiana to offer a Global Entry enrollment centre. Now our team can continue their efforts to recruit commercial flights to international destinations.”
Decarbonising aviation can only be achieved when all industry players work together, as Chloë Greenbank discovered on a flight from Halmstad City Airport to Stockholm Bromma.
Even the weather was perfect on Thursday 16 May when, after months of planning, a number of companies from across the aviation sector rose to the challenge of turning a typical weekday service from Halmstad City Airport on Sweden’s southwest coast to the capital’s Stockholm Bromma Airport into the ‘Perfect Flight’. The voyage marked the first time that every element in the management process on a regional flight had been optimised to keep carbon emissions to a minimum. With Sweden having introduced an aviation tax designed to address greenhouse gas emissions and the country aiming to be carbon neutral by 2045, it provided the ideal host country for the project. Owned by the local municipality, Halmstad City Airport was one of the first airports in Sweden to offer biojet fuel to its customers in 2017. And in order to achieve its ambitious plans to be fossilfree by 2030, the airport’s ground vehicles are all 100% fossil-free, it has 233 solar panels on its terminal roof producing 53,000 kWh per year, LED lighting throughout the terminal and by autumn this year on the runway too, as well as electric car charging points and bicycles available for passengers to hire. In addition, Air BP’s operations at Halmstad City Airport have been certified as carbon neutral since 2016. Braathens Regional Airlines (BRA) used one of its ATR 72-600 turboprop regional aircraft, which according to ATR produces 40% fewer carbon emissions per trip compared with similarly sized regional jets, saving 4,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per aircraft per year. In addition, BRA offers all its passengers the choice of fossil-free biofuel when booking their air travel.
POWERED BY SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUEL
A key element of the flight was the fact that it was powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), supplied by Air BP and produced by Neste – the largest producer of renewable fuel refined from waste and residues. Produced from nonpalm renewable and sustainable raw materials, the SAF fuel supplied can produce up to 80% fewer emissions over its life-cycle compared with conventional jet fuel. Made by blending conventional kerosene (fossil-based) with renewable hydrocarbon, the SAF used on the Perfect Flight was a blend of around 40% renewable fuel (produced from used cooking oil feedstocks) with 60% conventional fuel. Commenting on the broader adoption of sustainable aviation fuel, Andreas Teir, Neste’s vice-president of development/ renewable products, said its essential that all aviation industry players work together. “I’m a stubborn optimist and today we witnessed the results of a fruitful collaboration,” he said. “It’s about co-operation, not competition. Decarbonising aviation calls for all stakeholders to come together and to be united in their will to overcome obstacles.” Meanwhile, Anna Soltrop, BRA’s head of sustainability, enthused that while the aim is to “continue flying perfectly” in the future, “to achieve this, it is important that we can access sustainable fuel in sufficient quantities and at the right price.”
OPTIMISING THE FLIGHT PLAN
Captain Johan Molarin (pilot of the Perfect Flight) is in agreement with the need to increase production of SAF, but he also highlights that pilots also have a key role to play in achieving the aviation industry’s carbon- reduction goals. “We need to think about what we are doing now, not just about the future. Using efficient aircraft where possible is another integral piece of the puzzle, but efficient flight planning also has to be taken into consideration. “Everything from planning the most direct route, to cruising altitude, descent speed and gravity optimisation are integral to achieving the perfect flight.” He also noted that the Perfect Flight had a 46% reduction in CO2 emissions – which is believed to be a first for a commercial flight. While admitting that sometimes elements of flight planning are out of a pilot’s control, such as air traffic control restrictions and adverse weather conditions, “but things such as the type of aircraft that’s flown and the fuel that’s used to power a flight are all things we can control.” Talking after the Perfect Flight had landed at Stockholm Bromma Airport (which is one of five airports in Swedavia’s portfolio to have trialled the use of biofuel), Fredrik Kampfe, director industry affairs, Swedish aviation industry group, said: “It’s not how, its wow! The Perfect Flight has delivered results in terms of achieving significantly lower carbon emissions.” It also proves how much can be achieved through collaboration, as while sustainable aviation fuel currently offers the only viable alternative to fossil liquid fuels for powering aircraft, aviation needs to adopt multiple solutions to ensure greenhouse gas emissions continue to be reduced.
Read the June issue of Regional Gateway here.
After a couple of false starts, Carlisle Lake District Airport has now opened, providing new connections for Carlisle and the Lake District. Kimberley Young heads to the Cumbrian gateway to find out more.
Carlisle Lake District Airport began life around 1941 in defence of the realm as RAF Crosby-on-Eden – a Royal Air Force base buzzing with Hurricane fighters and a pilot training facility. It was mothballed post-war – before development in the early 1960s brought the launch of commercial flights. But these struggled and commercial flights ceased in 1988. Now, for the first time in more than 25 years, Carlisle Lake District Airport is once again preparing to welcome commercial air passengers, with services by Loganair to London, Dublin and Belfast City. “I think Carlisle Lake District Airport is situated very deep in the Cumbrian psyche, as well as South Scotland and the Borderlands,” Kate Willard, head of corporate projects at Stobart Group and project lead at Carlisle Lake District Airport, says. “Regional airports aren’t just points of connectivity – they are symbols of confidence, identity and heritage, of links with the past and with aspirational links to the future.” The airport has undergone a period of expansion and redevelopment, with support from Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) investment of £4.95m to help make improvements to a new terminal and runway, with the ability to service up to an Airbus A319 aircraft.
The project hasn’t always been smooth sailing, however – the opening was originally planned for 2018 but was postponed twice to spring 2019. Willard explains: “Arguably we set a very high bar with the construction and training plan, and with the worldwide shortage of ATC staff, we just didn’t get over the line with the ATC rostering last year. It was a tremendous blow for the team The Carlisle Airport plans will be a great boost for Cumbria’s connectivity and our £2.9 billion tourism industry. who worked so hard but at the end of the day safety and security take precedence over everything.” The airport re-approached ATC training, putting more people in place and redesigning the training plan, working with Air Navigation Solutions for ATC training using state-of-the-art simulators in Scotland. “Now we are absolutely ready to go on 4 July,” Willard says. Though it has a new ATC tower, the airport will be using its existing control tower for the re-opening. Willard says: “We feel that would introduce too much risk to try to move the control tower at the same time as trying to commence services, so we’re going to use the existing and compliant control tower, certainly for this season, and look to transition at a slightly later stage.” Despite the setbacks, the airport did re-open to general aviation in 2018, winning at the Airport Operators Association (AOA) annual awards for ‘Best General Aviation Airport’. The airport won’t be leaving its military service behind either as its links with maritime patrols will be a source of revenue, Willard enthuses: “When you run a regional airport you have to be creative about the commercial picture, we don’t have miles of lucrative car parking or duty-free shopping and therefore one is forced to be more creative about how you deliver revenue streams.”
For the re-opening of commercial service at the airport, Scottish-carrier Loganair will be launching flights to London Southend, Dublin and Belfast City using its Saab 340 aircraft. Tourism will of course be an important driver for passengers to the airport, especially with Cumbria Tourism’s aim for the region to become Europe’s number one rural tourism destination. Gill Haigh, head of Cumbria Tourism, says: “The Carlisle Airport plans will be a great boost for Cumbria’s connectivity and our £2.9 billion tourism industry. Cumbria Tourism has consistently supported Stobart’s development plans for many years and are working closely with the airport, airline and businesses to help maximise awareness of and travel through the airport.” Willard points out that the airport is not trying to displace visitors already travelling to the region by train, but to open it up to new markets: “The London service will be served by London Southend Airport which itself serves a broad catchment including South Essex and East London, and those communities traditionally have not travelled to the Lake District because it’s a six to eight-hour drive.” The service to Dublin will provide a convenient link for transatlantic passengers as they will be able to clear US immigration checks from Dublin Airport, landing in the US as a domestic passenger. The new routes will also be convenient for business travellers who are currently commuting to Cumbria says Willard revealing that “the pricing we’ve got competes very favourably with a tank or two of petrol.”
SECURE FOR THE FUTURE
As a smaller airport, the ease of access will be a big selling point particularly for business travellers. The airport won’t provide a duty-free offering, but the Borderlands Café will offer homeprepared goods and has also been working with Cumbrian producers to retail local brands and produce. Beyond the opening, the airport does have aims for growth, Willard says, but “first and foremost we need to make this airport sustainable and that’s going to be our priority, we’ll be bedding down the existing routes and not trying to run before we can walk!” .
Read the June issue of Regional Gateway here.
Kimberley Young takes time out with Rezcomm’s CEO, Marc Ive, to find out how its ecommerce solutions are helping airports boost non-aeronautical revenues.
What is the drive behind Rezcomm?
We started working with airports in 2006, to develop an airport-centric online travel agency (OTA) with the aim of creating a direct booking channel for customers to search and book travel arrangements via the airport’s website.
Since then, we have seen a rapid evolution in the expectations of online customers, who now demand a more joined-up user experience, tailored to their specific needs and which considers every touchpoint of their journey pre- and post-travel. This requires a much more holistic approach to ecommerce and digital engagement, and remains at the centre of the solutions we have developed at Rezcomm.
Typically, airports know less than 5% of the passengers passing through their terminals every day – a real problem when you’re trying to build loyalty and have non-aeronautical sales targets to meet.
What does Rezcomm offer in the airport sector?
We enable airports to connect with their passengers at every stage of the journey with our integrated digital platform. We merge sales and marketing tools to help maximise ancillary revenue and gain crucial insight into customer behaviours.
Our solution has several features, including: ‘Shop’ which allows any product to be sold online through our white label marketplace solution, such as Car Parking. The new solution enables clients to streamline internal workflows and also get to know their passengers and understand what drives buying behaviour.
All passenger data gathered from Rezcomm and non-Rezcomm sources is collated in our ‘Engage’ module, where our visualised reporting suite enables airports to access all the data they need. From here, all communications with passengers are organised and executed, enabling digital engagement with customers in real time.
How do Rezcomm’s products work and how does the software help to streamline airport operations and capture insights, while improving the customer experience?
Our cloud-based platform boasts over 100 third party integrations to maximise efficiency, reduce cost and increase revenue. The built-in data warehouse enables real-time visibility of current and future car park and executive lounge occupancy, as well as forecasted revenue. It also acts as a central repository from which authorised users can manage and report on collected data.
Clients can create products, manage tariffs, generate promotional codes and forecast capacities easily and quickly, and reports can be run based on any combination of fields captured by the system. This, coupled with a high degree of automation, increases efficiency and allows for smarter, reactive decision-making.
The fully optimised customer-booking journey is simple and intuitive to use and offers useful cross-sell and up-sell products to enhance their experience, as well as the necessary instructions and vouchers on their chosen device to facilitate seamless and convenient access of airport services.
How does Rezcomm use data and business intelligence (BI) to help personalise the customer experience and provide insights into trends?
By collating all that data into one place, the airport can build up a profile of each individual; their preferences and potential cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Using advanced segmentation, our clients design targeted marketing campaigns which produce excellent ROI due to their personalised nature.
Gaining a better understanding of trends is possible with our BI tools that allow for any parameter to be reported on and visualised. For example, a map is used to visualise locations customers are travelling from, answering demographic questions through visualisations that allow for targeting geographic areas to access untapped sources of revenue.
What challenges do airports (particularly small to medium-sized ones) face in trying to unlock non-aeronautical revenue?
Small to medium airports are often constrained by space, allowing for fewer concessionaires within the terminal, but perhaps the biggest challenge is cost and resource. Smaller airports often operate tighter budgets than their larger cousins, and priority is given to making sure the airport operates effectively rather than maximising its revenues. This is where a low-cost, low-risk third party SaaS solution such as Rezcomm can allow the airport to delegate the burden of selling online to the platform, leaving staff free to ensure operations are running smoothly.
With the booking and reservations software now serving more than a ¼ billion passengers worldwide, what does the Exeter, UK-based Rezcomm have in the pipeline for 2019?
We’re on a mission to expand our business globally and have recently announced the opening of our first office in the US to support our business development efforts there. We’re also ramping up our operations in Europe, Asia and other key territories, in response to client demand.
This year we’ll be launching our new Travel module packed full of new features with even more products on sale than before.
We’re also focusing on a variety of new user-experience-led developments, embracing the likes of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to push boundaries, with some exciting projects underway that will transform how airports engage and sell online in the future.