Airside update

posted on 14th June 2018

Vestergaard trumpets the Elephant

After the launch of Vestergaard Company’s Elephant® Beta NG de-icer in 2012, a significant number of airlines, airports and handlers have received and operated their Next Generation aircraft de-icers, explains Vestergaard’s manager technical sales Jan Pojezny.

New features include a 12m telescopic spray boom that offers enhanced reach; a more comfortable and ergonomically attractive cabin; and reduced fuel consumption.

The Beta NG nozzle can be kept within a metre of the aircraft surface throughout de-icing operations, for virtually any aircraft. The length of the spray boom means less manoeuvring around aircraft, thereby saving time and de-icing fluid while also benefiting operational safety, Pojezny notes.

Sales of the Elephant® Beta NG have primarily been to customers in the ‘classical’ winter regions, such as Germany, Switzerland, UK, Russia/CIS and Scandinavia. But Vestergaard reports additional sales to the US and Canada, and also worth mentioning are the orders received for Elephant® Beta NGs to be operated in Beijing, China.

Furthermore, a number of customers have opted to acquire the training simulator that has been available for the Elephant® Beta de-icer for almost a decade. This useful training tool is also readily available for the Elephant® Beta NG.

Cavotec inks GSE deals

This spring saw engineering group Cavotec announce a number of contract wins worth a total of 10 million euros (US$13 million) that will see it supply various GSE to Phoenix International Airport, Newark International Airport and Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport.

The equipment to be supplied includes electrical power systems, air supply systems and fuel supply systems and – according to Bill Hood, vice president of US-headquartered Cavotec Inet – the deals “underscore Cavotec’s extensive experience as a leading systems integrator in the airports sector”.

The largest of the contracts involves the provision of Pre-Conditioned Air (PCA) systems for installation of approximately 40 US Airways-operated airbridges at Phoenix. The equipment allows aircraft to turn off their aircraft auxiliary engines shortly after docking at the gate, instead making use of the airport infrastructure for both heated and cooled air.

The Newark deal will see Cavotec supply a PCA system, as well as an electrical power supply system for installation at one of the gateway’s hangars.

Finally, at Fiumicino, the company is to supply more than 100 hydrant valve and under hydrant valve assemblies for installation within the gateway’s existing fuel-pit systems.

UK airport development argument rumbles on

At the end of March, Heathrow Airport Limited released its latest release to the world calling for the opportunity to develop its own hub status, also taking the chance – at least by implication – to rail against any idea to build a new national air gateway somewhere in the south-east of the UK.

Heathrow said that it supports the UK Government’s vision for ‘dynamic, sustainable transport that drives economic growth and competitiveness’ and that it welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Airports Commission’s ongoing work to identify how to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub.

The operator added that Heathrow is “the UK’s only international hub airport, a national asset, providing the connectivity that has supported the UK’s leading position in the world economy”.

However, it continued: “Heathrow is already operating at its permitted capacity. More hub capacity is urgently needed and whilst longer term demand forecasts are inherently uncertain, the more immediate demand case for a three runway hub is very clear. “

Expansion already decided elsewhere

Away from the intricacies of the UK’s airport capacity constraints and ambitions to get round that particular knotty problem, many gateways around the world have been busy either opening new facilities or announcing their own plans for expansion.

At Los Angeles World Airport, for example, a new north concourse and three gates of the New Tom Bradley International Terminal (New TBIT) were unveiled in March. The gates are the first of 18 to be built at New TBIT, nine of which will be able to accommodate the A380. All 18, noted operator Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), will offer state-of-the-art, laser-based, guidance docking guidance systems. Computerised passenger boarding bridges will also automate operations between the terminal and aircraft doors.

In the Far East, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TTIA) operator Taiwan Airport Company has awarded a 33 million euro (US$42.5 million) contract for the development of its Terminal 3 area to a joint venture led by NACO, Netherlands Airport Consultants BV.

TTIA currently handles 25 million passengers a year but is expecting this figure to rise to as much as 60 million a year by 2030. The new Terminal 3 will be connected to Terminal 2 and the area in between will be developed to accommodate a ground transportation centre, parking and commercial real estate.

And in the Middle East, architectural practice OMA has been announced as the “masterplanner” for Qatar’s Airport City, a new 10 square kilometre development in which 200,000 people will live and work that will link the new Hamad International Airport with the city of Doha.

OMA’s vision incorporates a series of four circular districts along a spine parallel to the HIA runways, intended to create a strong visual identity and districts with unique identities. Phase One of the 30-year plan, which links airside and landside developments for business, logistics, retail, hotels and residences, will be mostly complete in time for the 2022 World Cup, hosted by Qatar.

Crisplant offers baggage handling solutions

Crisplant, the supplier of automated baggage systems that forms part of the BEUMER Group, is currently promoting a range of new equipment and systems that are designed to enable airports “of all sizes and budgets to improve efficiency”.

The new Crisplant Baggage Loader, for example, is a simple lifting aid that can be easily adjusted for reach and height designed to allow a single user to move standard-sized baggage from the make-up position to container or trailer at a rate of 300 bags per hour. It bridges the gap between conveyor and container, not only speeding up the handling process but also meaning safer and healthier working conditions for the handler, says the manufacturer.

Crisplant informs that it now offers a comprehensive range of baggage handling solutions ranging from simple lifting aids to semi- and fully automated handling systems.

WFS confirms new deals

Handler Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has had a busy few months. In March, it announced that it had won a ground handling licence at Manchester International Airport and that it would be handling Turkish Airlines as its launch customer in that role at the UK gateway (WFS already acted as a cargo handler at Manchester).

The first day of April saw WFS begin passenger and ramp handling for Turkish at Manchester. It is offering a full range of services at the airport, including passenger check-in, gate services, baggage loading and unloading, cargo delivery to and from the aircraft, aircraft dispatch, operations and weight and balance.

In another recent development, far to the south WFS has concluded a long-term partnership deal with Wings Flight Services in Tanzania to operate a new cargo terminal at Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport. The terminal is expected to open for business on 1 September.

The partners are also tendering to take on passenger and ground handling at the gateway. According to Barry Nassberg, chief operating officer at WFS, working with Wings Flight Services represents an excellent opportunity to establish the WFS brand in Tanzania. He added that he looked forward to offering “a much-needed, high quality air cargo – and hopefully passenger and ramp – handling product at this important airport gateway in Africa”.

And then, in April, WFS announced that it had grown its passenger handling business in North America with four new contracts covering Columbia (Missouri), Trenton (New Jersey) and Newark. It has inked a three-year deal to handle American Eagle’s three flights a day operation to Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth in Colombia and, also in Missouri, WFS will be undertaking Frontier Airlines’ passenger and ramp handling on the carrier’s twice-weekly flights to Orlando.

Frontier has also opted for WFS to handle both its passengers and on the ramp at Trenton. Frontier flies twice-daily flights to Florida from the New Jersey gateway. The contract covers a period of three years.

Finally, Virgin America has turned to WFS for ramp, cabin and de-icing services in regards to its inaugural flights to Newark. The carrier is planning six flights a day to San Francisco and Los Angeles. WFS will also provide services to Virgin America at Washington National Airport, the handler has confirmed.