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UK Air Routes Agreements Offer Reassurance Post-Brexit Passengers travelling to Canadian airports can continue to enjoy clear passage after Brexit, according to the UKs Transport Secretary, following an aviation agreement made between the two countries at the end of last month.

The agreement spells good news for the aviation industry, which has been surrounded by uncertainty following the UKs decision to leave the EU in 2016. The UK-Canada arrangement will replace the current EU aviation agreement, thus assuring continued access to the aviation routes the UK currently enjoys with Canada.

This follows the UK government’s announcement last month of a new Open Skies agreement with the United States, which will also mirror and replace the current EU arrangement.

The recent agreements will ensure continued access to vital air routes that carry millions of people across the Atlantic every year, will also make sure business operators will not lose out, and will pave the way for future trade deals supported by air travel.

The UK-Canada air route has been steadily growing over the past six years, and more than 3.5 million passengers were transported last year alone.

This is all good news for the aviation industry, and for global trade opportunities, which rely on the UK as a major European hub. These two latest arrangements with the US and Canada come after an announcement that another eight bilateral arrangements have already been concluded with other countries – Switzerland, Israel, Iceland, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Georgia and Morocco.

UK transport secretary, Chris Grayling said after the US agreement, ‘Our transatlantic flights have helped to bring our countries even closer together, strengthening our ties and boosting our economies. This new arrangement and those concluded with 8 other countries around the world are proof that the UK will continue to be a major player on the world stage after we leave the EU.

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Airport News | Trends in Aviation for 2019While passenger traffic numbers will continue to grow at a stable rate, some industry experts are looking at what could be trending next year, such as how many airports are looking at expansion projects all over the world, how the competitive framework will create opportunities and how disruptive the UKs departure from the EU will be.

Biometrics and integration

Intensified competition driven by passenger growth is already encouraging greater investment in airports infrastructure. This is most commonly seen in the introduction of biometrics, and the drive towards the single-token airport journey. Biometrics are creating opportunities, but are also creating disparate data, so integration is becoming the focus of airports on a global scale.

Brexit

Across Europe, traffic is increasing, and industry analysts conclude that the rise in line with GDP could spell airport revenue increases of 2-4%. The uncertainty still surrounding Brexit and the UKs access to the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) following March 2019 is creating concern about reduced passage of passengers and freight through the UK.

Although many experts agree that the likelihood of a standstill of EU-UK traffic is slim, in the short-term, traffic could be affected, particularly when another area of uncertainty surrounds the right of movement of passengers between the two areas and whether visa arrangements will be made. Airport operators and airlines with a reliance upon EU-UK traffic may face a period of disruption which could result in revenues being affected.

Merging airports and acquisition

Airports across the world, and notably in the Asia-Pacific region are looking towards the consolidation of assets as competitive positioning increases. Opportunities for mergers and acquisitions are popping up all over Europe due to the expansion of favourable conditions such as low interest rates, for example.

This trend is likely to increase, according to industry analysts, and additional opportunities look favourable in regions such as Latin America, where in 2019, 12 airports in Brazil are being scheduled for investment and privatisation. This is expected to attract global interest.

Airports Integrate Systems Software to Improve Efficiency and Passenger SatisfactionAirports all over the world are investing in the latest software solutions to reinforce their commitments to improving efficiency and passenger satisfaction. In today’s airport environment, greater efficiency is being achieved via systems integration and this is an area that can benefit the airport in many ways, from the back office to the terminal front line.

At this year’s Airport IT & Security 2018 conference in Amsterdam, held next month at Schiphol Airport’s Hilton, attendees will be invited and welcomed to the seminar – Keeping Pace with the Challenges of Security and Operational Efficiency.

The seminar will focus on the importance of drawing together disparate, new technologies and systems, integrating them to deliver greater situational awareness, enhanced analytics and ultimately increased efficiency.

What airport systems are integrable?

Within the airport environment every system and operational solution should be integrable. Only when systems can communicate with each other can a truly seamless airport operational environment be created.

For example, when access to airport and airline systems can be launched from any workstation, the operational environment becomes much smoother in its approach to check-in, loading and flight control, or when airport messaging happens in a secure, integrated environment, greater security is achieved, and reporting is made simpler.

In a world where security, efficiency and passenger experience is paramount, it is clear to see how systems integration can benefit airports of all sizes.

About the conference

Visitors to the exhibition and conference will have an opportunity to discover how airports can begin to work more closely with airlines and third-party providers in terms of messaging and real-time information-sharing. Connecting government agencies, customs and security providers, emergency services and local authorities delivers more flexibility and offers a transparent, yet seamlessly secure environment via automated, real-time messaging.

Imran Khan Government Grounds VIP Protocols | Airports NewsThe historic VIP protocols granted by the Federal Investigation Agency in Pakistan have just been withdrawn by the new Government, led by cricketer Imran Khan this week.

Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Sunday, ‘We have decided to strictly implement the decision to provide equal opportunities to all travellers without discrimination. We have seen that influential people used to seek assistance of FIA officials at airports, who accompanied them to promptly clear their luggage.

The new changes have already taken effect, and from yesterday (26/08/18), FIA officials attempting to give preferential treatment to VIPs will now face ‘strict action,’ according to the Ministry.

In Pakistan, VIP protocols were historically granted to a wide range of people, such as politicians, senior bureaucrats, court judges, legislators, high-ranking military officials and even some journalists. The shake-up has been brought on by observations at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport, where reports were given of FIA officials, Civil Aviation Authority or Airport Security Staff clearing luggage, while VIPs relaxed in the dedicated VIP lounge.

The new Pakistani Government, led by Imran Khan has deemed these practices old-fashioned and damaging, which has led to the abolishment of the outdated process and introduction of the new, equal opportunity system, which will be strictly enforced.

The newly-built Islamabad airport notably has no VIP lounge or facilities, and all passengers follow the same check-in, baggage handling and processing system.

Consumer aviation survey shows drop in satisfaction for flight passengers | Aviation NewsAs airports around the world appear to be placing more and more importance on passenger experience and satisfaction, it is interesting to read that the latest Aviation Consumer Survey results from the CAA show that there is a clear drop in just that. But where are passengers less satisfied?

This, the fifth wave of the UK Aviation Consumer Survey, investigates the current behaviour and attitudes of flight passengers to air travel. The survey looks at every aspect of the passenger journey, from arrival at the originating airport to arrival at the destination airport.

3,500 consumers took part in this survey, selected from a cross-section of UK citizens aged 18+, nationally representative of the population.

The results are used by the Civil Aviation Authority to ascertain the most current and rising aviation issues according to consumers, and to assist in decision-making, regulatory requirements, policy and strategic positioning to improve systems and services.

What to the latest results highlight about passenger satisfaction?

The latest results show that satisfaction amongst flight travellers has been dropping consistently over a two-year period (2016-18). The decreases are slight, but significant, with 90% in the first quarter survey of 2016 to 83% in 2018. However, the decreases in passenger satisfaction are not happening on the ground.

Systems and technologies are streamlining airports of all sizes all over the world, and this is paying off in terms of passenger satisfaction. The reduction in queuing and lengthy security screening processing times have both contributed. Airports in particular have been showing an increasing interest in improving passenger experience, and the latest in self-service technologies have placed greater control of the passenger journey directly into the hands of flight travellers.

The greatest dissatisfactions are happening in the air, during flights and during problematic times, when around half of respondents are worried that any complaints they do have, may be falling on deaf ears.

Speaking about the recent drop in satisfaction, the CAA Director, Tim Johnson said, ‘Delays and disruption can be caused by a range of different factors. Some of these are within the control of airlines, and some are not. Whatever the cause, these delays can be frustrating for passengers. We expect airlines to always provide prompt and accurate information and if passengers are entitled to further care and compensation, this should be provided without delay.

The in-flight experience is making passengers less satisfied, according to survey results. Over two years, the number has fallen from 81% (2016) to 77% (2018), and while still a reasonable satisfaction measurement, it shows a significant drop since 2016.

Where are the least satisfied flight passengers?

An interesting highlight of the survey is that there are regional changes. It seems that flight passengers are more satisfied the further north of the UK they are.

East Midlands travellers are the least happy, at just 76%, with Wales close behind at 78%, where passengers in the north east are 89% happy, on average.

It is widely felt that airports are working hard towards making the ground experience as seamless as possible to improve passenger experience and satisfaction. Infrastructural changes, master systems integration and implementation of the latest innovations in self-service kiosks, biometrics and common use airport systems are all helping to improve not only satisfaction, but also airport operational management.

It is now time for airlines to follow suit and take passenger experience and satisfaction to another level.

Frankfurt Airport Roof Terrace Opens T1 | Airport Industry NewsPassengers will get a different view of Frankfurt Airport this summer, as the German operator opens a new roof terrace in Terminal 1’s transit zone.

The roof terrace, or Open Air Deck, as the largest airport in Germany has called it, overlooks the busy airside of Terminal 1, giving passengers a great view of the ‘back-end’ workings of the airport, such as the ground handling aspects, in addition to the take-offs and landings.

There is a weather monitor on the 1382-meter deck, in addition to comfortable seating and a free-to-use telescope if travellers want a closer look at their aircraft. Open between 5am and 11pm, the €1.5 million open air deck can be accessed by all passengers in the non-Schengen zone.

There has been a terrace for airport visitors at the airport for some time, accessible from Terminal 2 on Level 4, but this new addition is already garnering positive attention from flight passengers, who feel that some fresh air and a fresh view of the airport is a welcome change from waiting inside to board or arriving at the terminal after a long flight.

New Departure Hall B Opens at FRA | Airports NewsFrankfurt Airport’s new Departures Hall B within Terminal One has been completed and opened in time to give passengers a new departure experience over the Christmas holiday season.

Travellers will now be able to enjoy freshly-baked bread and pizzas around the clock in the new Airport Bistro, in addition to new, comfortable waiting areas, concept lighting and brand new information desk.

Airport operators, Fraport, are delighted with the new facility, and hope that passengers will enjoy the new meeting, waiting, eating and passenger information areas.

The new departure hall has the addition of careful planting, and the new areas have been created with an enhanced passenger experience in mind. Frankfurt Airport already offers an exclusive shopping experience, with many top designer stores on site, such as Versace and Pfueller, superb duty-free areas and a personal shopper service.

Find out more about Frankfurt Airport here.