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Aero Africa opens control tower in Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya—The Hong Kong based neutral air cargo solutions group, Aero Africa, says it has opened a new regional office in Nairobi, Kenya to look after its interest in the region.

Operating as a control tower and centralized service center in East Africa for its overseas partners and clients, Aero Africa’s new team focuses on promoting the company’s digital airfreight portal, developing BSA-scheduled consolidations from Asia, US, UK, India and the EU to East Africa, and delivering innovative air cargo solutions and value-added services to the African freight and logistics community.

Aero Africa said its East Africa control tower will be led by Absolom Ngari who will be responsible for the running of all the operations and commercial activities, as well as business administration in Kenya and the East Africa Control Tower for Aero Africa.

“With our own control centers across Asia, Europe, and key African gateways, as well as through selected trusted air cargo professionals in each African airport, we offer cost-effective solutions for Africa to the logistics and aviation community. This includes regional freighter feeder & RFS services, freight collect, A2D, DDP, neutral break-bulk, time critical, project air cargo, as well as final mile solutions, including services to remote difficult to reach destinations, all through Aero Africa’s single point of contact, control, and management,” said Absolom Ngari, General Manager.

Aero Africa is an air cargo management group dedicated to providing neutral African logistic solutions and value-added services to the international logistics and aviation community.

DXB completes rehab work on runway as scheduled

DUBAI—Dubai Airports announced the rehabilitation work on Dubai International’s (DXB) northern runway project has been completed as scheduled in time for the busy summer travel holidays.

The 45-day extensive rehabilitation work at the runway involved a workforce of over 400 engineers and field experts, as well as 3,800 personnel. They worked round-the-clock to reconstruct the 4,500-metre central strip of the runway, as well as associated taxiways and graded safety strips, reported the Emirates news agency, WAM.

In addition, over 4,230 fully addressable LED airfield lights have been upgraded and reinstalled, along with the latest technology in the Navigational Aid and the Meteorological Equipment (MET) systems, further improving safety and increasing the operational capacity of the northern runaway.

On July 22, an Emirates A380 bound for Amman, Jordan was the first aircraft to depart from the new runway after the rehabilitation work. Shortly after, an Emirates A380 arriving from Sydney, Australia touched down, marking the official reopening of DXB’s Northern Runway and return to operations ahead of the busy summer travel period.

Following a strong start to 2022, with more than 13.6 million travellers passing thorough DXB in the first quarter, the highly complex engineering project was completed according to schedule in preparation for the peak travel season, with a busy summer period expected, and the football World Cup in Qatar bringing an extra influx of passengers towards the end of the year, as well as longer term growth in the next decade.

“The northern runway rehabilitation project was a key strategic move by Dubai Airports and its partners in the aviation community to invest in the infrastructure at DXB and shows our ongoing commitment to passenger care and operational excellence, while enhancing the safety, operational efficiency, and capacity of our airport well into the future,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

“We are delighted to report that some elements of the project were delivered ahead of schedule, allowing us to fully prepare to a return to dual runway operations at the world’s busiest airport on time. Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our teams and service partners supporting us, our state-of-the-art infrastructure will continue to provide the same world-class customer experience for tens of millions of passengers for many years to come,” he added.

Dubai World Central (DWC) was reopened and handled more than 1,000 flights per week from multiple international carriers including flydubai, SpiceJet, Indigo, Gulf Air, Air India Express and Qatar Airways during the 45-day rehab work at DXB’s runway.

Brussels Airport handled over 2.2 million passengers and 64,000 tons of cargo in July

BRUSSELS—Brussels Airport says it welcomed more than 2.2 passengers in July, up by 81 percent compared to July 2019, indicating recovery in the global aviation industry devastated by the COVID pandemic.

The passengers were bound for their holidays and travel for this year’s summer. Brussels Airport described the growth as “obviously linked to the strong recovery of the holiday market, as well as to the many passengers visiting family and friends abroad.”

The transfer of some flights from the Netherlands to Brussels Airport and the increase in bookings by Dutch travelers from Brussels Airport to avoid long waiting times at Dutch airports also contributed to the positive trend.

The top 10 destinations where the passengers booked include Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, France, the US, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

In terms of cities, many opted to visit Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Rome, Alicante, Malaga, New York, Istanbul, Milan and London.

In July, cargo transport at Brussels Airport fell by 14% compared to July 2021. Full cargo flights with passenger aircraft continue to decline gradually, as expected, due to the recovery of passenger traffic. Last year, this segment accounted for a significant volume of freight.

Express services were down 15%, as in previous months, due to a combination of weaker growth in the Western European e-commerce market and the temporary reallocation of some flights to other airports.

Cargo on board passenger flights increased by 11%, due to the increase in the number of passenger flights. Finally, trucking volumes fell by 18%.

Asia was the most important region in terms of imports and exports, but volumes were lower than last year due to lower available capacity and the temporary effects of warehouse closures in China. Africa is the second largest import region and the third largest export region, showing growth over last year in both trade routes. North America is the third largest import region and the second largest export region.

Sharjah Airport’s passenger traffic more than doubled in H1 2022

SHARJAH, UAE—Sharjah Airport saw a 142.74% rise in passenger traffic during the first half of 2022 to about 6 million travellers while its number of flights soared to 41,189 during the period, up by 89.73%

Between January and June, Sharjah Airport, reported the Emirates news agency WAM, handled over 96,000 tons of cargo, accounting for an increase of 50.39%, compared to 63,844 tons the previous year.

“The considerable growth in the number of travellers using our airport solidifies the Emirate of Sharjah as a preferred destination for travel and business. The figures also represent the confidence and trust that a large number of travellers place in Sharjah Airport. Our continuous efforts to offer leading innovative services and gain passengers’ satisfaction guarantee a safe and distinguished travel experience,” said Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority.

“As part of our efforts to position Sharjah Airport as one of the best airports in the region, Sharjah Airport Authority is eager to invest in smart services and solutions that meet the highest international standards, in order to attract more foreign airlines, strengthen our strategic alliances, and maintain the steady rise in the number of passengers,” he added.

Sharjah Airport Authority says it is relentlessly working towards achieving its strategy to improve the passengers’ travel experience and enhance the airport’s regional and global competitiveness by launching more innovative initiatives that provide a more comfortable, smooth and enjoyable travel experience.

New Zhengzhou Xinzheng Airport begins receiving shipments as it prepares for full opening

A new cargo terminal at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport has begun to receive shipments as it prepares for full opening.

Freight forwarder Dimerco Express said that it had worked with Cathay Pacific on its first flight for the new Zhengzhou North Cargo Terminal at the Henan Province hub.

The 160,000 sq m terminal will add 600,000 tons of freight capacity, bringing the airport’s total air cargo capacity to 1.1m tons.

“The Zhengzhou Terminal has been growing in importance as China’s Central Plains area continues to open up to more manufacturing and trade activity,” Dimerco said.

The new terminal offers automated scanning, weighing and cargo transport within the terminal.

The facility also offers a large cold chain area, a new customs inspection area, and 101 shipping docks.

“Development of the Airport is a strategic priority for the Chinese government, which will invest CYR4.9bn over the next decade to expand passenger and cargo capacity,” Dimerco said.

By 2035, the Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport will have five runways and three cargo zones, and will have the capacity to serve 100m passengers and 5m tons of cargo annually.

The new facility is not the only cargo-related airport development in China to have opened recently.

In July, Ezhou Huahu Airport began operations as China’s first “professional cargo hub airport”.

RFD to implement Kale’s ACS as it looks to automate processes and meet growth

Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) will implement Kale Info Solutions’ (Kale) Airport Cargo Community System (ACS) as it looks to automate processes and meet growth.

The system will allow cargo handlers to receive real-time updates on estimated cargo arrival times, while it will also offer advance slot booking that will allow trucking companies and ground handlers to coordinate landside freight movements.

RFD said the implementation of the systems comes on the back of rapid growth in cargo volumes.

“RFD has seen annual air cargo throughput triple over the last five years, with a 25% increase in volumes recorded in 2021, and the airport has increasingly become an important Midwest hub for e-commerce and international trade,” the airport said.

Mike Dunn, executive director, RFD, said: “As the fastest growing cargo airport on the planet, we’ve partnered with Kale to provide the RFD cargo community with the most efficient, transparent cargo IT platform in the marketplace.

“Kale will allow us to further streamline the digitization and movement of cargo at RFD today and to keep up with the demands of our growing cargo operations in the future.”

The system also includes a mobile app that will allow truck slots to be booked and adjusted.

RoyalJet expands its five-star fleet with a premium BBJ

DUBAI, UAE—RoyalJet Abu Dhabi, an award-winning global leader in premium private aviation, has added yet another Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) to its fleet taking the total number of BBJs to 12. This makes RoyalJet the largest BBJ Operator in the world.

The aircraft was acquired by the group in early 2022 and is now ready for charter after undergoing upgrades and technology enhancements in Basel, Switzerland over the past few months.

This BBJ boasts 23 passenger VVIP interior with a forward crew rest area, master bedroom with private lavatory and shower, and a mid-cabin open-plan lounge. It has been finished with custom made materials and state-of-the-art design configuration for best functionality and maximum comfort. The cabin can also sleep up to 12 in VVIP lie-flat seats and its queen-sized bed.

The aircraft was upgraded with special soundproofing to reduce in-flight noise levels, along with a low cabin altitude modification, special humidifiers and a HEPA filtration system. All designed to optimize health and comfort of our VIPs, meaning passengers will be more relaxed and fresher upon reaching their destination.

RoyalJet’s CEO Mohammed Husain Ahmed expressed his delight on the occasion, saying: “The pandemic period was a challenging one for most sectors including our industry which was also faced with many hurdles. However, since the recovery period last year, demand has exceeded supply in the premium aviation industry across the region. The overall health of the global private jet market has been going strong, and this growth is expected to reach greater heights in the coming months.”

“The UAE was one of the first countries to ease pandemic restrictions and put in place necessary measures to ensure the safety of its people, ensuring movement and the flow of trade. The country’s leadership has further committed itself to supporting tourism and global trade by investing in building a strong logistics sector. In line with their vision, we are actively looking to expand our operations by adding more aircrafts to our fleet to serve our premium clientele. Adding the new BBJ is a step in that direction,” he added.

To further enhance the onboard experience this aircraft is fitted with the latest technology and the best connectivity available in the market.  This includes the very latest lighting, cabin management, and in-flight entertainment systems, complemented by a high-quality sound system including overhead speakers and subwoofers.

This aircraft is the longest-range BBJ in RoyalJet fleet, with auxiliary fuel tanks giving it the capability to fly non-stop for more than 12 hours and reach almost any destination globally with only one short fuel stop.

Last year, RoyalJet added an operational base at the Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) in a bid to expand its operations throughout UAE. The group’s DWC fleet includes Boeing Business Jets, VVIP Airliners and Bombardier Global 5000 corporate jets that are available for charter by business and leisure travellers directly into and out of Dubai. The DWC base in an addition to its existing bases at Abu Dhabi International Airport and Al Bateen International Airport (Abu Dhabi’s city airport).

Air Marakanda announces opening of new route at Samarkand Airport with flydubai

Samarkand, Uzbekistan—Air Marakanda, the operator of Samarkand Airport, announces the launch of a new route from Samarkand – with flydubai, the Emirati government owned low-cost airline.

The twice-weekly service will connect the historic Silk Road city of Samarkand, and the UAE’s finance and business capital, Dubai. The service will launch on September 20.

The service is the 12th and latest route to be announced from the newly expanded and redesigned Samarkand International Airport, with further, new route announcements scheduled for the following weeks and months.

“We are delighted to welcome flydubai to Samarkand, and connect the UAE to the history and heritage of our Silk Road city and region. The UAE is an important trade and cultural link for Uzbekistan, and we are proud to play our part in cementing and extending these links,” said Gairat Nematov, CEO of Air Marakanda.

The Dubai-Samarkand service will operate on Tuesdays and Fridays between Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Samarkand International Airport (SKD), departing DXB at 22:40 to arrive at SKD at 02:50, with the return flight departing at 04:05 and arriving at 06:30. Emirates will codeshare on the route offering passengers more options for connections.

The exciting news follows an $80 million redevelopment and expansion project for Samarkand international airport between Air Marakanda and state partner Uzbekistan Airports JCS. The new airport will serve the region’s population of 3.9 million and act as a hub for international transit flights.

Serving visitors to Uzbekistan’s most frequented tourist sites in, and around, historic Silk Road city Samarkand – the modern facility will be able to handle triple the number of passengers than it could previously. Independent research by market research firm, Lufthansa Consulting, forecasts an increase in annual passenger traffic from 480,000 to two million.

As a result of the modernisation, the number of regular flights is anticipated to increase from 40 to 120 per week, with the addition of 16 new aircraft parking spaces. Having previously served twelve destinations, Air Marakanda’s route development plan aims to increase destinations to 30 by 2030. New routes will include major international destinations such as Beijing, New York, Dubai, and Munich.

International standard modernisations include 29 check-in desks, eight boarding gates, 21 passport control booths, and a 3,000 m2 commercial zone. Other upgrades include 3.1 km of runway, 800 car parking slots, new taxiway areas facilitating fast access to the airport’s terminals.

Airbus and MAI expand partnership to develop Advanced Air Mobility solutions globally

MUNICH, Germany—Airbus and Munich Airport International (MAI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at ILA Berlin Air Show to start marketing turnkey solutions to cities and regions interested in developing advanced air mobility (AAM) ecosystems globally.

Airbus is developing CityAirbus NextGen, its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, along with key support and services offerings around it, while Munich Airport is offering ground infrastructure services and solutions.

“Munich Airport International is already collaborating with Airbus on the Air Mobility Initiative recently launched in Munich – now we are expanding that partnership globally to support select cities and regions around the world,” said Ivonne Kuger, Executive VP Corporate Development MAI. “As Europe’s first 5-star airport Munich Airport has always been at the forefront of innovation and it is crucial for airports to be actively involved in developing and paving the way for this new form of transport.”

“The development of the market, industry, and the ultimate service of AAM requires a holistic view and this has been our approach from the beginning. In addition to our decades of vehicle and technology development, certification, and support, we are actively building working ecosystems with our partners,” said Balkiz Sarihan, Head of UAM Partnerships and Strategy Execution at Airbus. “We are sure that our partnership with Munich Airport will be a key catalyst for accelerating the development of the AAM ecosystems worldwide.”

The successful integration of the different AAM elements requires a strong cooperation between global and local stakeholders combining key competencies. The objective is to create completely new ecosystems that ensure a safe and seamless integration of eVTOL solutions with other means of mobility bringing added value to cities and communities.

Airbus has been one of the pioneers in exploring how electric propulsion can help drive the development of new kinds of aerial vehicles. In September 2021, the Company unveiled its fully electric eVTOL prototype, CityAirbus NextGen.

Airbus is developing an AAM solution with eVTOLs not only to offer a new mobility service but also as an important step in its quest to reduce emissions in aviation across its product range. The company recently announced the launch of the Air Mobility Initiative, a consortium of partners dedicated to the advancement of AAM in Bavaria and Germany.

Hamad International Airport launches the Digital Twin Initiative

DOHA, Qatar—Hamad International Airport (HIA) has officially launched the innovative ‘Digital Twin’ initiative as part of its smart airport program. This Digital Twin provides a real-time view of the airport through an intuitive 3D interface. Its powerful analytical engine integrates information from multiple airport systems to provide intelligent recommendations to help optimize operations.

The development combined 3D modelling techniques, data-analytics, and Artificial Intelligence to deliver improved, faster and data-driven decision making. The Digital Twin manages aircraft stand conflicts, enables effective responses to alerts and monitors the health of critical airport assets. Additionally, it effectively utilizes the right data at the right time to allow optimization of resources to minimize asset downtime.

The airport industry is increasingly recognizing the potential of Digital Twin technology to support critical airport operations. HIA’s Digital Twin initiative has been recognized as the ‘Smart Solution of the Year’, earning it an award at the Qatar IT Business Awards.

Senior Vice President Technology & Innovation at Hamad International Airport, Suhail Kadri, stated: “Hamad International Airport, in conjunction with industry partner SITA, is actively shaping the future of the airport industry by being one of the few airports in the world to develop a functioning digital twin and experiment with challenging use cases, ushering in a new era of efficiency.”

“This one-of-a-kind technology will continue to mature and radically change how operational teams across the airport consume information and make decisions. We are delighted to be first movers in this area and accelerate the adoption of this breakthrough technology, which will ultimately benefit passengers, our airline partners and all airport stakeholders,” he added.

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East and Africa, said: “Many congratulations to HIA for winning the ‘Smart Solution of the Year’ award. We’re delighted that our digital twin technology was part of that win. Digital twin has huge potential for airports looking to streamline their operations, which are hugely complex, involving many stakeholders, assets and activities. By creating the digital twin of an airport, we can capture everything that is happening at the airport in a holistic view. This has enabled HIA to make more informed decisions and improve their operations”.

HIA is named as the World’s Best Airport of 2022 according to SKYTRAX, and the Official Airport Partner of the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ is continuously investing in cutting-edge technology as it attracts growing numbers of travellers looking for a smooth and seamless journey.

Such efforts put HIA as the key leader of tech in the region – as the award-winning airport is on a clear mission to become the world’s leading digital air hub – reconstructing its operations digitally, efficiently and securely.