September 2013 News

Sept. 30, 2013

ACI National Conference & Exhibition

Sept. 22-25

San Jose Convention Center

San Jose, CA

inter airport Europe

Oct. 8-11

Munich Trade Fair

Munich, Germany

Business Buzz

Sea-Tac Centralizes PCA: The Seattle Tacoma International Airport centralized its PCA system to provide cool and warm air to planes at each of its 73 gates. The airport took advantage of a $22 million VALE grant, the largest federal grant of its kind, to offset the costs of the $43 million project that features 15 miles of piping installed within the terminal that connects to a central plant.  The central plant houses four 750 ton chillers that fill 16 ice storage tanks with ethylene-glycol solution cooled by electricity furnished by the airport. Four secondary pumps circulate the chilled liquid through pipes to the gates for cooling. Alternately, the airport’s steam plant heats water that is piped to gates for heating. The new service is  expected to save airlines more than $15 million in annual fuel costs, and reduce the airport’s carbon footprint by 40,000 metric tons each year.

Alaska Airlines Testing Solar-Powered Passenger Ramps: Alaska Airlines is testing solar-powered passenger ramps manufactured by Keith Consolidated Industries, White City, OR, at the Seattle-Tacoma International and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International airports, The mobile ramps  are equipped with solar panels that power the batteries that drive the ramps' electric motors. If the weather doesn't cooperate, the solar ramps can also be plugged in.

JBT AeroTech's Revenue Down 2 Percent: JBT AeroTech second quarter revenue of $76 million declined 2 percent from the same period in 2012. Strong equipment sales and aftermarket volume in ground support, particularly for deicers and cargo loaders during the second quarter was more than offset by lower sales of passenger boarding bridges, military loaders and automated systems.

Dual Boarding Process Tested: Alaska Airlines is considering letting passengers enter and exit its Boeing 737s by front and aft doors, the latter down a ramp or stairs to the tarmac. The airlines has been experimenting with variations on this “dual boarding” technique at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, San Jose and Long Beach airports The airline reports that letting passengers leave out the back can cut unloading time by eight to 10 minutes.

Demand for Aircraft To Remain Strong: Boeing Co. expects aircraft demand to remain strong during the next 20 years, and shift to long-range, fuel-efficient single-aisle planes with strongest growth in demand coming from Asia. The company forecasts demand for 35,000 commercial aircraft during the next two decades worth about $4.8 trillion. That would double the world's fleet of commercial planes.

Ecotality Exploring Restructuring or Sale: Ecotality Inc. said it is exploring strategic options, including a restructuring or sale, after citing a range of problems, including payment suspensions from the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE suspended payments to Ecotality after the company warned government funders last week about its poor sales performance and other issues. The company received nearly $98 million of about $115 million it expected from the department for the EV Project.

Baggage Handler Gets Jail Time for Theft: George Reyes pleaded no contest to one count of embezzlement and was sentenced to six months in jail. Prosecutors say Reyes, who worked for United Airlines, was found with iPads and purses when he was arrested in May. The items had been fitted with GPS trackers as part of a police sting after complaints to the airline from passengers.

Air Transat Renews IOSA Registration based on the E-IOSA Methodology: Air Transat, which has been registered under the International Air Transport Association's IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) program since 2008, recently became the first airline in the world to renew its IOSA Registration based on the E-IOSA methodology.

Wheelchair Attendants Drop Complaints Against PrimeFlight: Workers who push passengers in wheelchairs at Philadelphia International Airport have withdrawn complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation that alleged they did not receive proper training from their employer, PrimeFlight Aviation Services, and equipment to do their jobs safely. The workers dropped their action naming PrimeFlight and airlines including US Airways Group, United, and Southwest after seeing documentation that they had received the required training.

ONT Poised to Lose More Annual Passengers: The ongoing downward spiral of passenger loss at LA/Ontario International Airport could reach a point where it can become impossible for the medium-hub facility to regain the traffic, aviation expert Bob Hazel told the Ontario International Airport Authority. Decline in passenger activity this year has already led to $60 million in annual economic impact as well as 1,100 jobs lost to the region.

Airline Workers Protest to Prevent Outsourcing: About 100 United Airlines employees lined a main road leading to Bush Intercontinental Airport in August to protest the possible outsourcing of their jobs. Union leaders fear that outsourcing could drop wages to as low as $8 an hour and exclude health coverage.

Disabled Man Sues Delta: According to the lawsuit  filed last July against Delta Air Lines, D. Baraka Kanaan was "forced to crawl across an airport tarmac, up and down the stairs of an airplane, down the aisle of the aircraft and out of and into his seat" while boarding a flight last summer from Maui to Nantucket and again when boarding a return flight from Nantucket to Maui, where Kanaan lives. The lawsuit also contends that delta employees refused to physically assist him because they did not want to be held liable for any injury.

United Employee At SFO Charged with Luggage Theft: Surveillance video captured United customer service representative Sean Sharif Crudup, 44, of Richmond stealing luggage and handing the items off to his wife, Raychas Elizabeth Thomas, 32, and another woman. Crudup pleaded not guilty.

American Eagle Fined $200,000: The U. S. Department of Transportation fined American Eagle Airlines $200,000 for lengthy tarmac delays that took place at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Dec. 25, 2012. An investigation revealed that 10 flights experienced delays that exceeded the three-hour limit at Dallas-Fort Worth during a snow and ice storm.

$1 Million Plan to Upgrade LRU Fuel Farm Draws Criticism: An estimated $1 million upgrade to bring fuel storage tanks at Las Cruces International Airport into compliance with state environmental regulations is being questioned by some pilots and a longtime airport business. The airport contends that all five tanks and the existing fuel facility do not meet state regulatory rules.

EnerSys Marks 125 Years: From its beginning in 1888, EnerSys® has evolved to become the largest industrial battery manufacturer in the world, operating manufacturing, assembly, and distribution facilities worldwide for customers in more than 100 countries while exceeding $2.3 billion in sales in 2012. The extensive line of motive power, reserve power, aerospace and defense and specialty batteries are complemented with a full range of integrated services and systems.

New Deals

Menzies Buys into Australian, Columbian Markets: Menzies Aviation has agreed to acquire the Australian ground handling business, Skystar for £7.7 million in cash ($12 million), and the Colombian ground and cargo handling business, Desacol for £6.4 million in cash ($10 million). Skystar operates at eight airports throughout Australia and New Zealand handling 17,000 turnarounds annually for 10 airlines, including Jetstar and Qantas. The deal gives Menzies entry into the Perth ground handling market. Desacol operates in five airports, with its largest operation in Bogota. It handles 60,000 turnarounds and 50,000 tonnes of cargo each year with a number of Menzies’ existing customers and provides an opportunity to further develop relationships with key customers such as LAN and COPA airlines.

Swissport Acquires Servisair: Swissport acquired Servisair from Derichebourg SA (DBG) for of 450 million euros ($597 million) in its biggest purchase to date. Servisair provides service at 118 stations in 20 countries with a workforce of 15,000. In other recent deals, Swissport, announced in March it would buy the majority of the ground-handling operations from Nordic airline SAS Group AB. In September 2012, it purchased Flightcare Spain and Flightcare Belgium from Madrid-based FCC Versia SA.

Cargo Airport Services Acquires IAS: Cargo Airport Services USA, LLC, acquiredIntegrated Airline Services. Founded in 1984, IAS operates in 41 airports in the United States, and is the largest cargo handler at DFW. Some of IAS’ customers include EVA Airways, Kalitta Airways, Lufthansa Cargo AG, Singapore Airlines, China Airlines Cargo, Korean Airlines Cargo, Cargolux, DHL, and the UPS States Postal Service. IAS annual revenues are $65 million and its workforce of 1,600 handles over 300,000 tonnes of cargo a year, excluding integrator cargo airline volumes and USPS mail volumes. CAS has annual revenues of $130 million and handles 1.1 million tonnes of cargo a year with a workforce of 1,900 people.

JBT Wins Contract With RDU:JBT AeroTech has been awarded a five-year airport services five-year contract at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport that is estimated to generate in excess of $9 million in revenue during its term. JBT AeroTech will provide comprehensive maintenance and repair services for the gate and baggage handling equipment at RDU.  The contract also includes the integration and utilization of JBT AeroTech's Intelligent Operations Performance System computerized maintenance management system. The patented iOPS platform provides improved airport operational efficiency through real-time monitoring, performance measurement and coordination of gate and ground support equipment.

Frontier Airlines Could Become Low-Fare Carrier: Frontier Airlines may soon be sold to a private equity firm in Phoenix that wants to turn Denver's hometown airline into an ultra low-fare carrier. Republic Airways Holdings, which owns Frontier, told investors on an earnings call July 26 that it has signed a non-binding agreement with an unnamed buyer. However, Indigo Partners LLC, a Phoenix firm that invests in low-cost airlines around the world, including Spirit, Singapore-based Tiger Airways, and Hungary's Wizz Air, is reportedly the potential buyer.

Michigan Regulators OK Deicing Discharge Permit To GRR: The state's Department of Environmental Quality issued a first-of-its-kind discharge permit to Gerald R. Ford International Airport, concluding more than a year of review and public process to develop a system for the airport to safely deal with the deicing fluid it uses on planes each winter. Airport officials have committed to construct an on-site treatment system for storm water and a new outfall to the Thornapple River by Oct. 1, 2015. This will be the first on-site treatment system for de-icing fluids at a Michigan airport. Regulators expect it will improve water quality in the Thornapple River and Plaster Creek watersheds.

Lenders Take Possession of Kingfisher’s HQ: A consortium of banks has taken possession of Kingfisher Airlines Ltd's headquarters at Vile Parle in Mumbai as a part of its efforts at recovering loans from the grounded airline. Two bankers confirmed that the lenders have taken over "Kingfisher House" and will start proceedings to sell the office.

ASA Signs MOU With IATA: The Airport Services Association, which represents the needs of the independent ground handling companies around the world, has formally signed a MOU with the International Air Transport Association. The agreement marks an important milestone for the independent handling community since it will allow them to play a more significant part in all matters relating to the ground handling sector, according to Samim Aydin, chairman of the ASA. Aydin estimates that 55 percent of all handling operations are now carried out by independent handlers.


David Bermingham has been named CEO of Swissport UK Ground Handling and Swissport UK Cargo Services. Bermingham will replace interim CEO Robin Dickie, effective September 3, 2013. Bermingham joined the group during June 2012 as CEO, Swissport CargoServices UK. He previously held senior positions within TNT, CEVA Logistics and TDG Logistics.

Simon Fraser will be responsible for the overall business operations for Hobart and J&B Aviation while overseeing the operations of Houchin/ITW GSE UK. Simon has over 20 years of experience managing airport and airside operations. He is an accomplished leader with expertise in business and operations leadership, engineering, restructuring and business development. For the past six years, Simon has been General Manager of Houchin / ITW GSE UK located in Kent, UK.

Robert Sorok and Mike Karpe joined Palmer Johnson in June and July, respectively. Sorok joins as an outside sales representative based in Denver.  Sorok will cover Colorado, parts of New Mexico, Arizona, North Dakota and South Dakota. Sorok has more than 13 years of experience in the energy industry where he developed large scale energy conservation projects in a wide variety of vertical markets. Karpe comes to Palmer Johnson with a background in sales management. Karpe attended Bethel University where he completed coursework in business and marketing.