Category Archives: Uncategorized

Helsinki Airport to use COVID-19 sniffing dogs

Finavia has made this announcement:

COVID-19 dogs will soon start working at Helsinki Airport. The dogs’ sensitive noses are expected to speed up the process of identifying those infected with COVID-19. The city of Vantaa believes that the dogs will be an efficient method of ensuring health and safety at airports.

“The pilot that will be kicked off on Tuesday is unique and a world first. No other airport has attempted to use canine scent detection on such a large scale against COVID-19. We are pleased with the city of Vantaa’s initiative. This might be an additional step forward on the way to beating COVID-19,” says Airport Director Ulla Lettijeff from Finavia.

Detecting COVID-19 is easy for dogs and results have been encouraging. According to preliminary tests conducted by a research group at the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Helsinki, dogs are able to smell the virus with almost 100% certainty. They can also identify the virus days before the symptoms have even started. This is something that laboratory tests fail to do.

Dogs are also able to identify covid-19 from a much smaller sample than the PCR tests used by health care professionals. The difference is massive, as a dog only needs 10-100 molecules to identify the virus, whereas test equipment requires 18,000,000.

The Helsinki Airport COVID-19 dogs are trained by Wise Nose. Nose Academy, the research group’s start-up company, is running the operation at the airport. In the future, customs dogs might replace the current operatives. Official COVID-19 testing with trained dogs can only begin once a corresponding legislative amendment has been passed.

“We are working with Finnish Customs to prepare for a potential scenario where it takes charge of the operation,” says Susanna Paavilainen, CEO of Suomen hajuerottelu – WiseNose Ry, and research coordinator of University of Helsinki’s DogRisk research group.

Taking a COVID-19 dog test at Helsinki Airport will not include direct contact with the dog. Instead, the dog will perform its work in a separate booth. Those taking the test will swipe their skin with a test wipe and drop it into a cup, which is then given to the dog. This also protects the dog’s handler from infections. All the tests are processed anonymously.

If the test result is positive, the passenger will be directed to a health information point maintained by the city of Vantaa, which is located at the airport.

Koronakoira Kössi on rodultaan vinttikoiramix ja kykenee tunnistamaan koronaviruksen nopeasti näytteistä.

COVID-19 dog Kössi learned to detect COVID-19 in seven minutes from samples.

In the future, four dogs will work at the airport during a shift. The duration of each shift depends on the dogs. A total of 10 are being trained for the job.

“Dogs need to rest from time to time. While two dogs are working, the other two are on a break. The service is mainly intended for passengers arriving from outside the country,” Paavilainen says.

Almost all of the dogs have done scent detection before. How long it takes to learn to identify COVID-19 depends on the dog’s background. One of the dogs that will soon work at Helsinki Airport is an 8-year-old greyhound mix called Kössi, who learned to identify the scent in just seven minutes.

“Not all dogs can do it as they operate in different ways. Kössi has a lot of experience from identifying biological samples.”

The changing situation of Berlin’s airports

Berlin’s Tegel Airport (TXL) will close on November 8, 2020 as traffic shifts to the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER).

BER is adjacent to Berlin Schönefeld Airport in Schönefeld.

Additionally on October 25, 2020, Schönefeld Airport will become Terminal 5 of BER. Although Terminal 1 of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport will be only be opening on 31st October 2020, the IATA code for the entire airport location will change with the start of the 2020/2021 winter flight schedule. SXF becomes BER.

It may be that passengers flying from Schönefeld in October take off from Schönefeld (SXF), but land at BER as the new code is applicable for all flights as of October 25 (last day of the holidays in Berlin-Brandenburg) going from or to the Schönefeld location. The code ‘BER’ is already in the booking systems of the airlines or stored on booking platforms and will be shown on booking confirmations and tickets. In practice that means: while the city code BER was previously used for all airports in the Berlin-Brandenburg airport location and travelers were able to search for flights from Schönefeld and/or Tegel, the code will be explicitly assigned to the Schönefeld location from October 25, 2020. The three-letter code SXF will disappear.

Map: Wikipedia.

Teruel Airport has found an expandable niche for airliner storage in Spain

All photos by Javier Rodriguez, reporting from Spain.

Teruel Airport in Spain has become the biggest aircraft storage airport in Europe.

The airport was built specifically for airliner storage and maintenance.

From Wikipedia:

“Teruel Airport (IATA: TEV, ICAO: LETL) is an airport near Teruel, Teruel (Province), Spain. Plataforma Aeroportuaria-Teruel (PLATA) was certified for public use by the Spanish Aviation Safety and Security Agency (AESA), on February 5, 2013. Permission for air operations was granted by the Spanish Aviation Authority and the Government of Aragon on February 28, 2013. It serves as an aircraft maintenance and aircraft storage for the Tarmac Aerosave company.

PLATA is owned by a consortium formed by the Government of Aragon and Teruel City Council, and it does not belong to AENA Group.

The dry climate makes it suitable for long-term storage of aircraft. During the COVID-19 pandemic around 100 grounded planes have been parked there.”

From the airport:

PLATA is built on the old Caudé Aerodrome, which was used during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). It was later used as an artillery range by the Spanish Air Force. It covered an area of 2,043,600 m2, now are 3.400.000 m2. This site was used historically for military aeronautical activities because of its exceptional climate conditions, location and low density of air traffic.

Texel Air adds its first Boeing 737-700 “FlexCombi”

Texel Air has made this announcement:

Texel Air, an established private airline and MRO based in the Kingdom of Bahrain, announces the arrival of the latest addition to its fleet, the Boeing 737-700 FlexCombi™ (N393AG), a first of a kind aircraft conversion developed to provide the most versatile third party cargo charter solution available in the market today. 

The aircraft arrived at the Company’s private hangar at the Bahrain International Airport where it was greeted by H.E Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohamed, Minister of Transportation & Telecommunications alongside other VIPs and the management and Board members of Texel Air. 

The aircraft, which will be based in the Kingdom of Bahrain, is unique in its ability to be configured in seven different ways for multiple purposes in a remarkably fast 48-hour time frame. The FlexCombi™ can switch seamlessly to operate humanitarian, government, express integrator and commercial flights from major airports to smaller remote runways with configuration flexibility achieved without compromise in cargo volumes and customised mission capability. In addition to cargo, the aircraft is able to transport up to 24 people as well as offering the option for medical evacuation flights using two speciality medical beds installed on the aircraft. The aircraft is able to load both civil (PAG) and (463L) pallets and its initial and planned configurations include: 

Initial Configurations 

  • Cargo Mode: eight pallet positions and the passenger interior is fully removable. 
  • Combi 1: seven pallet positions and 12 economy seats 
  • Combi 2: six pallet positions and 24 economy seats  

Planned configurations

  • Combi 3: six pallet positions and 12 economy, 4 business class seats (16 seats total)
  • Combi 4: six pallet positions and 8 business class seats 
  • Combi 5: seven pallet positions and 4 business class seats 
  • MEDEVAC : six pallet positions, 2 Spectrum AEROMED stretchers and 6 economy seats

The FlexCombi™ also has a number of standard and optional features outside of the multiple interior configurations. These operational enhancements were researched and adopted to ensure the aircraft was able to meet both current and evolving requirements of the airline’s diverse customer base. 

Lübeck Air starts operations in a pandemic

SE-MDB - Operated by Alsie Express

Lübeck Air started operations on August 17 between the city of Lübeck in the north of Germany (near Hamburg) to Munich twice a day using the pictured ATR 72 SE-MDB of Alsie Express.

The new airline also flies to Stuttgart.

The new airline describes its operations:

Lübeck Air’s home base is the beautiful Hanseatic city of Lübeck. We are a private aviation company from the region, operated in collaboration with Air Alsie of Denmark and closely affiliated with Lübeck Airport. We are looking forward to linking the Baltic Sea coast, home to beautiful resorts and Lübeck, a Unesco World Heritage Site, with the south of Germany from spring 2020.

Top Copyright Photo: Lübeck Air (Alsie Express) ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) SE-MDB (msn 822) MUC (Arnd Wolf). Image: 951017.

 

BER Airport to open on October 31, 2020

Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg made this announcement:

For the opening of the Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), the corporate communications department of the airport company is offering numerous media reporting opportunities between 25 October and 8 November.

Above Photo: Entrance hall, stairways to central check in at Terminal 1, Berlin Brandenburg Airport The photo may be used exclusively for editorial purposes. Graphical changes are not permitted, unless for the purpose of extracting the main motif. Usage is free of charge on quoting the reference “Photo: (Günter Wicker)/Berlin Brandenburg Airport”

With the opening of BER Airport, all air traffic in the German capital region will be concentrated in one location. Berlin is a tourist magnet, a political centre and a trade fair city. Brandenburg is an up-and-coming economic region with global players such as Tesla and attracts holidaymakers from around the world with sights such as the Sanssouci Palace. The new airport location is thus an important hub for linking the strong economic and tourism region to more than 150 destinations worldwide.

In the period between 25 October and 8 November, there will be multiple press events surrounding the opening of BER Airport and the closure of Tegel Airport, which is rich in traditions. Trial operations at the new airport, the move from Tegel to BER, the start of airline flight operations and the reactions of passengers to the new terminal are other potential topics. In addition, we will also give you the opportunity to report on partners from all areas of the airport, such as gastronomy and shopping, airport services and mobility.

Brisbane Airport opens its second runway

Brisbane Airport made this announcement:

Brisbane Airport, which is usually connected with five nonstop air services to North America, inaugurated its second runway yesterday. The airport, which is a major hub for both Qantas and Virgin Australia, had four air services to the United States pre-COVID: Honolulu (Hawaiian Airlines); Los Angeles (Qantas and Virgin Australia); and San Francisco (Qantas); as well as one Canadian route to Vancouver (Air Canada). Qantas was also originally scheduled to launch a new non-stop service on September 14 this year to Chicago.
With the second runway now open, when international border restrictions lift, BNE will be the best gateway to Queensland and Australia. BNE has the largest domestic network of all Australian airports and the most flights into the South Pacific islands. The Gold and Sunshine Coasts are within driving distance and tropical north Queensland’s heritage-listed barrier Great Barrier Reef and rainforests are only two hours flight away. The spectacular outback of Queensland is also within easy reach.
With sustainability as a focus, the new runway is the first 100 percent LED ‘Cat 1’ lighting system in the Southern Hemisphere. Some additional key facts include:
  • The runway, located on a 360-hectare site, is 3,300m long x 60m wide x 3.2m deep, with more than 12km of taxiways, 300 hectares of airfield landscaping and approx. 16km of drainage pipes.
  • 11 million cubic meters of sand was pumped (dredged and hydraulically placed) onto the site.
  • 330,000 wick drains measuring 8 million linear meters were installed (largest wick drain project in Australia).
  • Approx. 5,000,000m3 of earthworks were manually undertaken on site.
  • Approx. 260,000m3 of topsoil was generated from on-site, supplemented with approx. 15,000m3 imported from local sources.
  • Approx. 750,000 tonnes of quarry products were used (sourced and transported locally).
  • Approx. 100,000 tonnes of aircraft-grade asphalt were used (prepared on-site from local products).
  • Approx. 380,000 tonnes of aircraft-grade concrete were used (prepared on-site from local products).
  • More than 1.2 billion liters of recycled water were used during construction and to irrigate the landscaping.
  • More than 6,780 liters of paint were used on the runway and taxiways, spanning 120 kilometers in length. With two coats of paint, there is enough paint to create a straight line between Brisbane and Hervey Bay.
  • The paint for the taxiways incorporated more than 1.3 tonnes of glass beads – tiny balls that help make the paint reflective.
COVID measurements and results in Brisbane and Queensland:

 

The management of the spread of COVID within Queensland has been exceptional with strict measures ensuring low transmission throughout the state.  Travelers can rest assured that traveling to and through Queensland is safe.

Some further figures:

 

  • Pre COVID – BNE facilitated a daily average of 48,700 pax

 

  • During the border lockdown, the average daily pax numbers drop more than 97 percent to between 1000 to 2000 pax per day

 

  • First week of July – BNE experienced a daily average of pax 10,200 as intrastate travel increased

 

  • Since interstate borders opened, there’s been a further increase –  today 13 July, 16,045 domestic pax are expected, which shows domestic travelers are choosing Qld as the place to visit while international borders remain closed.
Ribbon cutting

Brisbane Airport’s new runway was opened on July 12 with a celebration of Queensland’s rich aviation history. Three vintage aircraft the first to land, following a breath-taking aerial acrobatics display above the airfield.

Virgin Australia, BNE’s home carrier, had the honour of the first historic departure, flying to Cairns in celebration of Brisbane’s deep connection with the regions and Queensland’s tourism industry.

Following an official ribbon cutting on the runway, invited VIP guests gathered airside with 150 Brisbane Airport Corporation staff and 10 local plane spotters, who won a place at the event in a lucky draw, to watch the first aircraft movements and sky show.

In a first for an Australian capital city airport, the air space above BNE was briefly closed to allow the aerobatics display by ‘Fighter Pilot Adventure Flights’, a Brisbane-based private aircraft collection and flight experience company specializing in warbird operations.

Flying at speeds of up to 500 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 100 meters the aerobatics display included a breath-taking series of linked maneuvers, V-formation flying, and a tail chase.

Harking back to Brisbane Airport’s historical past, the Great Nephew of pioneer Australian Aviator Bert Hinkler, Mitch Palm, joined the celebrations today.

A copy of today’s The Sunday Mail was the last item added to a special Time Capsule, along with items donated by schools, elected officials, and members of the public. The sealed Time Capsule will be stored on display at BNE’s Kingsford-Smith Memorial until it is opened in 2070.

BAC Chief Executive Gert-Jan de Graaff said, “It is with great pride we are commissioning Brisbane’s 01L/19R runway today, announcing it open for business.

“This is more than just a formality and a slab of very expensive asphalt. When I look at that 3.3 kilometer stretch of runway, I see hope.

“I see hope because I believe, absolutely, that travel is at the heart of modern society, and the human need to explore means that ultimately nothing will keep us grounded forever.

“While current world challenges mean less demand right now, the timing of this opening is fortuitous. Had we been any later, the project may have been delayed significantly creating more burden on the economy and dampening our spirits further.

“Instead Brisbane is an ideal position to take advantage of all opportunities on the road to recovery from COVID.

“Today we are making history. We are creating the future. And very soon, once again, we will be connecting the world.

“We are generating the jobs of tomorrow. We are reuniting people. We are creating new opportunities. We are fuelling the economy.

“And best of all, we are providing hope and inspiration. This runway is a beacon of hope for a very bright future. Our immediate future. The future of generations to come.

“A future we are ready for. A future we welcome and a future our community deserves.

“I acknowledge and thank every one of the thousands of people involved in the project.

“From those 50 years ago, who had the foresight to include this runway in their planning, to those involved in the design and construction over the last two decades.

“This runway is your legacy. You should be incredibly proud,” Mr de Graaff said.

 

Fast Facts  

  • The $1.1 billion privately funded project is the largest since the modern Brisbane Airport opened in 1988, and worth nearly as much as the price paid by Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) when it purchased the airport for $1.38 billion in 1997.
  • More than 3,740 people were involved in the construction phase, with a peak of 650 people on site in mid-2019.
  • Project Director, Paul Coughlan has overseen every aspect of the runway’s construction since December 2004.
  • 324 different subcontractors were engaged during the airfield works contract alone – 90 percent of which were based in South East Queensland – putting in approximately 3.3 million manhours.
  • The runway, located on a 360-hectare site, is 3,300m long x 60m wide x 3.2m deep, with more than 12km of taxiways, 300 hectares of airfield landscaping and approx. 16km of drainage pipes.
  • 11 million cubic meters of sand was pumped (dredged and hydraulically placed) onto the site.
  • 330,000 wick drains measuring 8 million linear meters were installed (largest wick drain project in Australia).
  • Approx. 5,000,000m3 of earthworks were manually undertaken on site.
  • Approx. 260,000m3 of topsoil was generated from on-site, supplemented with approx. 15,000m3 imported from local sources.
  • Approx. 750,000 tonnes of quarry products were used (sourced and transported locally).
  • Approx. 100,000 tonnes of aircraft-grade asphalt were used (prepared on-site from local products).
  • Approx. 380,000 tonnes of aircraft-grade concrete were used (prepared on-site from local products).
  • More than 1.2 billion liters of recycled water were used during construction and to irrigate the landscaping.
  • More than 6,780 liters of paint were used on the runway and taxiways, spanning 120 kilometers in length. With two coats of paint, there is enough paint to create a straight line between Brisbane and Hervey Bay.
  • The paint for the taxiways incorporated more than 1.3 tonnes of glass beads – tiny balls that help make the paint reflective.
  • Brisbane’s new runway is the first 100 percent LED ‘Cat 1’ lighting system in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Virgin Australia flight VA781 was piloted by Captain John Ridd and First Officer Troy Parker. Cpt Ridd is one of the initial group of pilots to start with Virgin Blue in 2000, he has flown the B737 exclusively and clocked up 20 years of service in July 2020. First Officer Parker flies B737, B777 and Embraer 170/190 and has just complete 10 years of services with Virgin Australia.
  • The vintage aircraft that participated in the celebrations included: L39 Albatros flown by Steve Boyd, Mark 16 Spitfire (Mk XVI) flown by Cameron Rolph-Smith, P51D Mustang flown by Brad Bishopp), and a CAC Wirraway flown by Ross Parker.

All photos by the airport.

Ryanair announces new Stuttgart and Dusseldorf flights from July 1

Ryanair has announced 26 routes from Dusseldorf and Stuttgart starting on July 1, 2020.

Sunshine holidays including Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro & Spain

City breaks including Barcelona, Bologna, Copenhagen & Naples

Business routes including Dublin, Milan & London

Speaking today, Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson said:

Ryanair is delighted to offer its low, low fares from Dusseldorf and Stuttgart on 26 routes, including brand new routes from Dusseldorf to Barcelona, Dublin and London and from Stuttgart to Barcelona.  Ryanair will be pleased to accommodate all Lauda passengers who have booked on these routes which will be operated on wet lease basis by Lauda A320 aircraft until the end of the summer.”

Note: Lauda, a Ryanair Group airline, will no longer offer scheduled services in its own name from Stuttgart and Dusseldorf.

In other news, Ryanair has also announced it will restore over 20 routes to/from Romania commencing on July 1, 2020, as part of Ryanair’s summer 2020 schedule.

Finally, Ryanair has also announced it will restore almost 200 routes to/from Poland commencing on July 1, 2020.