Airports in Australia have welcomed the Australian Federal Government’s release of funding guidelines for its new Regional Airports Program which will provide funding for maintenance and upgrades at eligible regional airports.

The programme aims to improve safety and accessibility for regional airports by supporting critical air infrastructure that will improve safety; connectivity of the regions; facilitate improved delivery of essential goods and services; or meet operational requirements of aeromedical and emergency services in the regions.

To be delivered over four years, airport owners and operators will be able to apply for a part in the $100 million funding programme.

“For many regional communities, the local airport provides an essential link to the rest of Australia,” deputy Prime Minister and minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack commented. “That’s why we’ve committed $100 million over four years from 2019–20 to 2022–23 to help owners of regional airports right across Australia deliver safer runways, taxiways and other safety upgrades such as new fencing or safety equipment.”

He added that the programme would “make sure regional airports meet the needs of communities and local industry now and into the future.”

The Australian Airports Association (AAA) welcomed the release of the guidelines and said the programme would help address the “$170 million aeronautical infrastructure deficit that exists in the regions, with many regional airports facing persistent budget deficits over the next 10 years.”

“With so many regional airports struggling to make ends meet, access to funding for essential maintenance and upgrades will be a game changer for the regions,” said AAA chief executive officer Caroline Willkie, calling regional airports “the lifeblood” of communities.

“This is an important step towards ensuring a strong, safe and vibrant regional airport network for the benefit of all Australians,” Willkie continued.

Projects ranging from runway and taxiway works to animal fencing and safety equipment will be eligible.

The autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company, EHang, has signed an agreement with Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) to establish a command-and-control centre to manage unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The facility at Heydar Aliyev will be fully integrated with the Azerbaijani air traffic control system and will allow Azerbaijan Air Navigation Services (AZANS), to control UAV traffic on the airport’s premises and prevent the unauthorised use of UAVs. AZANS serves more than 500 aircraft each day.

To support airfield design and aerial and aerial navigation map development, AZANs will also be equipped with technologies including 3D mapping and terrain scanning. The agreement will also see EHang train specialists at the National Academy of Aviation of Azerbaijan and build a UAV management simulator complex.

“UAVs represent a significant opportunity to optimize airport operations, but it is important to launch them into the right infrastructural framework,” said Hu Huazhi, EHang’s founder, chairman and CEO. “Our command-and-control centre enables the seamless integration of new aerial mobility options into existing air traffic patterns and we are excited to partner with AZANS on this project, which paves the way for future partnerships with aviation authorities globally.”

Vienna Airport in Austria is building three new photovoltaic facilities with an output of 2,700kWp to complement the four plants that were installed in August 2019. The new units will be installed before the end of 2020 and this expansion of solar energy will help the airport reduce its CO2 emissions by about 1,800 tonnes per year.

The airport already produces about two million kilowatt hours of electricity annually thanks to its existing photovoltaic plants. With the new plants the airport will increase its yearly electricity generation to more than three million kilowatt hours. Ultimately the solar panel surface area will increase to about 16,000m², the equivalent of approximately the size of three soccer fields. Direct current generated by all the photovoltaic systems will be converted into alternating current by power inverters and fed into the airport’s power grid via transformer stations.

“We have already cut CO2 emissions by 70% and energy consumption by 40% since 2011. This is good, but not good enough,” said Günther Ofner, member of the management board of Flughafen Wien AG. “We have a clearly defined objective to become one of hte very first large CO2 neutral airports before 2030. Our own electricity production will play a major role in these efforts. For this reason, we are expanding the number of photovoltaic plants from four to seven next year.”

Vienna Airport’s solar powered drive is all part of its agenda to tackle climate change and environmental management. Other initiatives include expanding its fleet of 380 electric powered vehicles and the sustainable design and construction of future buildings on the airport site. In addition business trips taken by airport employees are offset with the purchase of CO2 credits.

International Airlines Group (IAG) has become the first airline group worldwide to commit to achieving Net Zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Instrumental in setting up the United Nation’s first global carbon offsetting scheme named CORSIA, IAG is introducing a package of measures to reduce the carbon footprint of its airlines, which will include investing US$400m in sustainable aviation fuel over the next 20 years. The move has been welcomed by airports across Europe as they reiterate their call for governments and aviation bodies to adopt policies that effectively facilitate and enable the decarbonisation of aviation at large.

“IAG’s new climate targets are excellent news and should be applauded,” said Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe. Calling for collective industry leadership, Jankovec referenced how IAG’s move complements the European airport industry’s commitment to achieve Net Zero for carbon emissions under their control by 2050.

“While achieving carbon-neutral growth as of 2020 is an important and needed first step, we all need to go beyond that – and set a long-term ambition for Net Zero for the sector. Europe’s airports stand ready to help and support IAG in its endeavours, and we hope that other airlines will quickly follow its lead.”

Jankovec also warned that beyond airlines Air Traffic Management (ATM) must also contribute, as he said: “I am increasingly hearing voices downplaying the role that ATM can play in decarbonisation – this is simply not acceptable. There can be no justification to defend the status quo.”

airBaltic is to launch scheduled flights between Manchester and Riga, Latvia from spring next year.

Launching 29 March 2020, the new route will take place four times weekly and will be operated on the Airbus A220-300 aircraft.

“It’s great to see airBaltic come to Manchester Airport with flights to Riga,” commented Manchester Airport commercial director Stephen Turner. “It is already a very popular destination, so it is great to see the Latvian flag carrier come onto the route too, giving additional choice and flexibility for the 22 million people in our vast catchment area.”

Turner added that as well as enabling passengers to visit Riga it also “massively opens up Eastern Europe and Russia to our passengers, which will benefit business and leisure travellers alike. We look forward to the route starting next year.”

Martin Gauss, chief executive officer of airBaltic commented: “Riga is a dynamic city and a key business centre of the Baltic states and has a lot to offer to both business and leisure travellers. It is also a very convenient transfer point with excellent connections within our wide route network.

“Our passengers will be able to travel to both cities for very attractive prices in the economy or our full-service business class on the new and comfortable Airbus A220-300 aircraft,” he added.

Regional Gateway editor Chloë Greenbank summarises the latest happenings across airports serving business, regional and low-fare routes.

This week’s newsletter is delivered to you fresh from the show floor of what organisers are describing as “the leading platform for the airport industry” – inter airport Europe 2019. Being held in Munich, Germany, until Friday 11 October, this year’s exhibition has welcomed 659 exhibitors from 40 countries showcasing a range of innovative products and services covering ground handling, airport equipment, terminal operations, airport IT solutions and airport design.

In a keynote speech opening the event on Tuesday 8 October, Nicola Harmann, managing director of Mack Brooks Exhibitions (the organisers behind the event), referenced growth in global passenger figures, stating that for manufacturers and providers of airport equipment and services, this growth is a driver for innovation and further technical development.

She also underlined that: “As the world’s leading one-stop shop for the global airport industry, inter airport Europe is predestined to drive interconnectedness and data flow between the different areas and services at the airport, from terminal operations, passenger and cargo handling through to ground handling.”

Meanwhile, Dr Michael Kerkloh, CEO, Munich Airport, urged airports, manufacturers and suppliers to commit to decarbonising aviation with the aim of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. “Embracing innovative technologies,” he said, will be integral in achieving this. Kay Bärenfänger, president of GATE, German Airport Technology & Equipment, referenced the future demands of the industry, with sustainability, artificial intelligence and autonomous driving all expected to be key drivers. “The experience of flying will change significantly by 2035,” he said. “I am interested in seeing how technology will develop for the airports of tomorrow.”

In keeping with the event’s focus on connecting the airports of tomorrow, Vanderlande was awarded the interFUTURE prize – a new category in inter airport Europe’s Excellence Awards. The Dutch company took the win in recognition of its BAGFLOW end-to-end baggage logistics concept, with Andrew Manship, Vanderlande’s board member and executive VP airports, revealing that “winning in this category is confirmation that we not only understand the challenges facing the aviation industry, but are able to define solutions that help it surpass them.”

Elsewhere on the show floor, Smiths Detection has been demonstrating how it is taking aviation security to new levels by showcasing its integrated checkpoint solution, which harnesses biometric technology to enable risk-based screening. Germany’s leading ground support equipment (GSE) rental company, HiServ, and Spain’s leading GSE maintenance shop, SERPISTA, announced their close co-operation going forward to enable international growth opportunities. Powervamp has launched its Sidewinder 2 to give airports a fast, simple and reliable power transfer system, while Semmco is showcasing its SMART Charge tyre inflator and SMART Check tyre gauge, and GSE manufacturer Mallaghan has unveiled its new airport bus with Ryanair as its launch customer. I also caught up with Plug Power to find out how they are partnering with German ground support vehicle manufacturer Mulag to bring hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric cargo tow tractors to Germany’s Hamburg Airport.

With two more days of the show to go there’s no rest for the Regional Gateway team. Come and find us in hall C6, booth 2058, where you can pick up the latest edition of Regional Gateway magazine and keep an eye on our website for more news from the show.

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the Regional Gateway e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.





US-based airport advertising and sponsorship specialist, Clear Channel Airports (CCA), is transforming California’s Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) into the first all-digital advertising air transport hub in the US.

“As Silicon Valley’s airport, SJC is the perfect place for CCA to launch the nation’s first all-digital advertising programme,” commented John Aitken, director of aviation, SJC. “This truly transformational approach to airport advertising not only fits our culture of innovation, but also introduces new revenue opportunities that will enable us to support our industry-leading growth.”

Alaska Airlines, alongside Google Cloud, are inaugural foundation sponsors for the airport’s all-digital programme, which will go live in November 2019 and is expected to double SJC’s advertising revenue.

“Alaska is thrilled to be a founding partner with Clear Channel Airports to help modernise the way guests interact with advertising at the San Jose Airport,” said Natalie Bowman, Alaska Airlines’ MD of brand and marketing communications.

“With Silicon Valley as a leading global innovation epicenter, the airport is a ripe area to target inbound and outbound flyers with cutting-edge technology solutions that will bring advertising to the forefront of the consumer experience,” she continued.

John Moyer, SVO, Development and Operations, Clear Channel Airports, said: “We’ve worked on this foundation sponsor strategy over the past year and SJC’s team played an integral role developing the most advanced airport advertising programme available in the US.”


The first day of inter airport Europe 2019 kicked off on Tuesday 8 October with its Excellence Awards acknowledging outstanding services and products from this year’s exhibitors. With the event themed around ‘connecting future airports’ a new award category was added – ‘interFuture’ – in addition to interTERMINAL, interDATA, interRAMP and interDESIGN.

Vanderlande took the win for the new interFUTURE award in recognition of its BAGFLOW end-to-end baggage logistics concept. By establishing an integrated approach to the total bag process – from the bag drop right through to the aircraft – BAGFLOW enables airports to handle more bags in the same footprint, optimise resource use, and keep costs under control.

“Winning in this category is confirmation that we not only understand the challenges facing the aviation industry, but are able to define solutions that help it surpass them,” said Andrew Manship, Vanderlande’s board member and executive VP airports. He added “Vanderlande prides itself on continuously listening to its customers and working closely with them to define future-proof concepts that improve operational performance.”

Daifuku Airport Technologies took the win for interTERMINAL for its Sym3 Operator to visualise a 3D render of the baggage handling system. Users are able to accurately track bags in addition to monitoring the status of hardware live. The technology also has the ability to view and access data on any device via the web interface.

In the interDATA category, Alpha-CIM was declared the winner for ISAC – a stop bar and lead-on control system with fibre optic. The main benefits are its excellent response time, ease of implementation, suitability for incursion detection and its expandability at will by airports personnel.

Linde Material Handling was awarded the interRAMP award for its Linde Safety Guard, which detects other vehicles or pedestrians before they recognise each other. It can reduce speed automatically in defined areas and can be configured to suit many dangerous scenarios. Active alarms triggered by hazards mean operators and pedestrians can react immediately.

Finally VRR was awarded the interDESIGN category win for its inflatable Air5. The innovative  container weighs approximately 68kg, folds out automatically and is inflated in just 30 seconds using air pressure.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Nicola Harmann, managing director, Mack Brooks Exhibitions revealed a total of 53 companies had entered their products and services in the awards, which are then voted for online.