Regional Gateway’s Kimberley Young summarises the latest happenings across airports serving business, regional and low-fare routes.

The Easter weekend is nearly upon us and airports have been preparing for what is set to be a busy weekend.

In the UK alone, 150,000 passengers are set to fly to or from low-cost carrier easyJet’s UK airports on almost 1,000 flights on Good Friday “toppling the record for the most passengers travelling with the airline on one day during the Easter period.”

Elsewhere in the UK, Manchester Airport expects to see almost 2 million passengers across the whole Easter holiday, with more than 315,000 passengers flying over the Easter weekend itself, while in Ireland, over 70,000 passengers are set to travel through Cork Airport over the Easter holiday weekend with Thursday 18 April expected to be particularly busy for both departures and arrivals.

While passengers are preparing to hop off for a short break, some airports have been unwrapping early spring treats.

Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, in the US state of Virginia, has been celebrating a year since SkyWest Airlines (operating as United Express) began serving the airport. In the year since, the airport has seen passenger traffic increase 260%, breaking a 20-year record for passenger traffic at the airport.

Meanwhile in Sweden, airline and airport customers are to see a gift that keeps on giving as they are set to take delivery of sustainable aviation fuel through an agreement between Neste and Air BP.

Taking over all social media feeds, the Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore has officially opened to the public in a glittering reveal. The facility links the hub airport’s terminals and aims to offer a “lifestyle destination” offering unique attractions and shopping experiences. Features also include the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

However, airports in Spain may be approaching this weekend with some trepidation as a series of strikes taking place are anticipated to cause delays. Airport security workers at Madrid Barajas Airport began an “indefinite” strike on 12 April and UK travel advice suggests “it’s unclear when this strike will end.” Two unions, USO (Workers Trade Union) and UGT (General Union of Workers) are calling for a strike of ground staff at Spanish airports, amounting to approximately 60,000 workers, on 21 and 24 April. Talks between the unions and employers on 17 April were unsuccessful and so the unions have maintained the call.

Whether staying at home or hopping abroad, all that is left to say is to wish you a safe and seamless break!

Image: Manchester Airport, Hufton + Crow

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Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Arizona, US, has celebrated the re-opening of the newly renovated Gateway Aviation Services facility.

Gateway Aviation Services is the authority-run Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at the airport and provides a range of aviation services to corporate, military and general aviation travellers.

New terminal at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport FBO Gateway Aviation Services

The facility has completed a major renovation project to make “significant” improvements and upgrades to the building’s exterior, pilot lounges and employee work areas. The airport said on social media: “The improvements will give our customers the high quality facility to match the high quality service they already receive.”

The Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority (PMGAA) board approved investing more than $700,000 to update the decades-old building that once served as general office space for Air Force pilots training at Williams Air Force Base.

“Oftentimes, Gateway Airport is the first place an out-of-state CEO or corporate representative sees when visiting Arizona”, said Mayor Jeff Serdy, PMGAA Chairman. “It is important that we provide a good first impression and that our facilities match the world-class service they will receive when arriving at the Airport.”

The project represented the third and final phase in the complete renovation of the building, that is also home to the Barrio Brewing Company restaurant and US Customs and Border Protection Offices.

Denny Barney, CEO of the East Valley Partnership added, “The Phoenix East Valley continues to be a magnet for corporate relocations and companies looking to do business in Arizona. It is crucial to provide high quality facilities like these that help attract high-wage employers to our state and region.”

Willmeng Construction and DWL Architects were partners on the renovation project.

Salvador Bahia Airport, in Bahia, Brazil, has a new boarding area, having moved its domestic departures from the first floor to the second in a new structure.

After passing through the pre-boarding security where the metal detectors and hand luggage x-ray machines are located, passengers will descend through the restricted area to access the boarding gates, passing the terminal’s future commercial area, with a total of two thousand square metres of retail and dining options to be inaugurated throughout the year.

The escalators and elevators are located in a Duty Paid shop, a 780sqm shop which is in the final phase of renovation and will house international and national brands as well as regional products.

By June, the new pre-boarding area will feature new inspection channels, three more than currently, and an automated boarding gate.

Gil Guimarães, engineering manager of Salvador Bahia Airport comments: “Other improvements are in the area, such as ambience and pilaster lining, which will make the passenger experience even more enjoyable.”

By the end of October the boarding flow will unify domestic and international flights. Passengers will go through the same inspection channels and will proceed to their respective boarding gates which may be at the existing aircraft pier or at the new pier which is in the final stage of construction.

To better manage the flow of passengers to the new departures, adjustments have been made to the existing infrastructure. Two lifts now move between the first and second floors only, which the airport says will be faster and will bring more agility. The lifts have capacity for up to 26 people, features for energy saving and stability, and LED lighting with automatic operating functions. By the end of the first stage of works, there will be 11 elevators and nine escalators of the new model.

Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (EWN) in the US has celebrated a milestone with the completion of its apron expansion project.
EWN Coastal California regional airport apron
Based in New Bern, North California, the airport celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the milestone as the first expansion project to be completed as part of EWN’s 20-year airport master plan, which includes commercial passenger capacity improvements, such as expanded passenger holding areas, airline ticket counters, and a reconfigured TSA checkpoint.

The tarmac expansion is a $5.5 million project funded by a federal grant and a direct allocation to commercial service airports from the North Carolina General Assembly.

“These changes are built to support the changing nature of the regional airline industry, where they are moving toward larger and heavier aircraft as a standard,” said Andrew Shorter, EWN airport director. “We’re another step closer in improving this facility to meet the needs for the future of the area and its residents.”

Construction on the project began in October 2018 and was completed in April this year.

The airport supports commercial and private aviation activities and currently offers service by American Airlines to Charlotte and Delta Air Lines to Atlanta.