March 2013 Ground Support Worldwide News

March 18, 2013


April 16-18

Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition

Shanghai, China

April 24-26

GSE Buyers Conference

Lisbon, Portugal

May 5-8

IATA Ground Handling Conference

Vancouver, Canada

Business Buzz

Goldhofer buys SCHOPF: On Jan. 1, 2013, Goldhofer Aktiengesellschaft took over the SCHOPF group.t.The group includes SCHOPF Maschinenbau GmbH and SCHOPF ROFAN GmbH, which together have a workforce of about 160 employees.

Swissport reports 2012 sales: Swissport International Ltd. reported total revenue of $2.03 billion last year, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2011. The results included the acquisition of the former Flightcare operations in Spain and Belgium. Swissport´s growth was mainly organic and resulted from larger contract wins at important European airports, such as Paris Charles-de-Gaulle, Copenhagen and London-Gatwick airports.

Labor unrest for Iberia: Striking ground workers and flight attendants for Iberia clashed with riot police officers at Madrid-Barajas Airport last month at the start three weeks of work stoppages intended to protest a plan to eliminate more than 3,800 jobs. Pilots are expected to join the strikes in March.

Boeing recognition: HBD/Thermoid, Inc. received a 2012 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. The Boeing Company issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance. HBD/Thermoid, Inc. is one of only 441 suppliers to receive the Silver Level Award.

Baggage handling record: The nation’s largest airlines reported their lowest rate of mishandled baggage for a year during 2012, and set high marks for on-time performance, the fewest long tarmac delays and a low rate of canceled flights.

Proposed lithium ban: The International Civil Aviation Organization's dangerous goods committee has proposed revoking an exemption that permits lithium ion aircraft batteries as heavy as 77 pounds to be shipped on passenger planes.

EU approval: Green energy company ITM Power secured European Union approval for fuel cells to power baggage handling equipment. The company specializes in developing equipment that stores energy from renewable sources by using it to generate hydrogen.

Pennies in profits: The 10 largest U.S.-based airlines earned a combined $152 million in profits in 2012, according to a report from Airlines for America. That represents 21 cents of profit for every passenger who boarded a plane in the year, or a margin of 0.1 percent. The trade group blamed the razor-thin margin in 2012 on an increase in maintenance material, fuel and labor, among other costs. The price of jet fuel reached a record-setting, yearlong average of $128 per barrel. Fuel now represents as much as 49 percent of total operating costs for the airlines.

Delta refines ND crude: Delta Air Lines received its first shipment of North Dakota crude oil at the Pennsylvania refinery it purchased to produce its own jet fuel more cheaply. Jet fuel is Delta’s largest expense, and it hopes to save $300 million annually by producing its own using more domestic crude oil instead of foreign oil.

Record numbers for DC airports: More than 42 million passengers traveled through Washington-area airports in 2012, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Reagan National Airport posted an annual record of 19.7 million passengers, a 4.1 percent increase from 2011, and well above the 1 percent average growth rate nationally. Dulles International Airport sent 6.7 million travelers to their destinations, and the number of international flights out of the Northern Virginia airport increased for the ninth straight year.

'It's a miracle': The Wall Street Journal reported that airports across the country say more able-bodied travelers have figured out they can use wheelchairs for convenience, making waits a lot longer for travelers with genuine needs. At Los Angeles International Airport, airlines and companies that provide wheelchair service estimate 15 percent of all requests are phony, said Lawrence Rolon, coordinator for disabled services for Los Angeles World Airports. Airport officials estimate nearly 300 wheelchair requests a day are bogus.

New Deals

Swissport to hire 1,000: Swissport USA plans to hire 1,000 New Jersey residents for available positions with the aviation ground services company at Newark Liberty International Airport as it opens a new cargo and baggage handling operation this April. Swissport asked the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to help fill the positions, giving priority consideration to people displaced by Superstorm Sandy and New Jersey's long-term unemployed, particularly those already involved in storm cleanup efforts through a National Emergency Grant. 

Bridges forBOD: Adelte Airport Technologies will install two passenger boarding bridges at the Bordeaux-Merignac Airport. The French airport,which sees almost 4 million passengers each year, is updating its facilities to improve both traveller experience and aircraft services.

Operations at BJV, DLM: Turkish Ground Services, which celebrated the handling of its millionth aircraft at the start of this year, is to expand its operation to Milas-Bodrum and Dalaman airports.

Authorized repair: JLG appointed Palmer Johnson Power Systems’ Madison,WI, branch as an Authorized Ground Support Service Provider. The Madison branch is the fifth Palmer Johnson branch awarded the JLG status.

New Service: Valley International Airport, Harlingen, TX, is offering above- and below-wing, ground handling service. The first airline to take advantage of the airport’s ground handling service was Sun Country Airlines effective last October with Republic Airways following suit effective Jan. 1.

Renewals in Changi: Air India SATS Airport Services won a ground handling contract with All Nippon Airways at Indira Gandhi airport. SATS also announced the renewal of its ground handling and inflight catering contracts at Singapore Changi airport with Singapore Airlines.

Three-year agreement: BidAir Services will be providing passenger and ramp services under the terms of a three-year agreement for German airline Condor to Cape Town. Condor will operate two weekly flights.

Service increases: Jet Aviation Dubai has increased its service offerings to include VIP handling services at Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International airport. Jet Aviation Dubai, which opened in 2005, continues to provide MRO and FBO services at Dubai International airport.

Catering award: Gategroup announced contracts totaling more than $462 million over a three-year agreement with United Airlines. This award was part of a tender that covered the majority of United’s contracts with the gategroup brand, Gate Gourmet.

People in the News

Michael Doane retired from Douglas Equipment after 50 years with the company, including positions in engineering, sales and marketing. Doane joined the company in 1963 on a five-year engineering apprenticeship and in 1968 qualified as a production engineer.

Doane rose steadily through the ranks progressing from production engineer to senior design engineer from 1963 to 1973. He then became technical sales engineer, rising to general sales manager in 1987 and became Douglas' sales and marketing director in 1988. Among his biggest achievements was the launch of a completely new product range of towbarless aircraft-handling tractors, which became the global market leader in less than five years.

In 2010, Douglas achieved the rare accolade of winning two Queen's Awards for Enterprise in one year. It received the Queen's Award for Innovation for the Douglas RAM Handler which reduced the deck handling time for aircraft from seven minutes to just 50 seconds. It was developed for the Royal Navy and subsequently marketed to other forces. And it also took the Queen's Award for International Trade.

Alexis Frantz joins Servair as head of strategy.

Betsy Bacon was named managing director of Alaska Air Cargo. Bacon previously served as director of cargo operations and compliance.

Captain John Floyd was appointed director of safety for Aloha Air Cargo.


Tom Hendershot, executive director of the AMT Society, died on Feb. 21. He was 72. Hendershot led the AMTSociety since 2007, and his service to the aviation industry spanned more than five decades. His passion for promoting the craft of aviation maintenance was ever present, and served on many boards including Denver FAASTeam, the FAA/Industry AMT Program, Aviation Technician Education Council; National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies; Joint Service Aviation Maintenance Technician Certification Council; and the NBAA Maintenance Committee. He was also instrumental in creating the Maintenance Skills Competition, held annually at Cygnus’ AviationPros LIVE event in Las Vegas.

Individual honors did not elude Hendershot as he was recognized many times for his skills and service to aviation maintenance. He was one of only a handful of individuals worldwide to receive both the FAA’s Charles E. Taylor Master Mechanic award and the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot awards. He was named 2003 National Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) of the Year and serving on the selection committee for the annual National Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) of the Year.

He is also a member of two industry Halls of Fame, including receiving unanimous endorsement for induction into the OX5 Aviation Pioneers Aviation Hall of Fame in 2011 and enshrinement into the Colorado Aviation Historical Society’s Hall of Fame in 2010.

About the Author

Steve Smith | Editor