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WBP News


The latest news from ACI’s World Business Partners.

Modalis launches talent solutions provider

Strategic investment advisory and professional services company, Modalis, has added another string to its bow with the launch of airport talent solutions (airportsTS), a specialist recruitment operation designed to find airport operators and project managers the experts they need for one-off projects or on a short-term or permanent basis.

Modalis boasts around 100 specialists in international transport infrastructure privatisation, investment, development and operations that can call on the expertise of a further 400 airport experts across the globe.

Indeed, it notes that on average its members have more than 20 years of real-world, hands-on management experience at airports with skillsets covering every aspect of the airport business.

Curtis Grad, Modalis’ founder, president and CEO, says: “The difference between airporTS and other recruitment agencies is that we have someone onboard who has done the job and knows exactly what is required from a particular role, so we know what is needed and how best to meet the talent needs of our clients.”

In short, airportTS offers airport operators and project teams highly experienced on-demand strategic and technical advisors, site management professionals and subject matter specialists, who can be deployed on-site and remotely (or both) as part of short, medium and long-term talent solutions/resources.

And Grad is quick to point out that airportsTS offers clients the opportunity to employ recruits by contract, secondment or direct employment (i.e. specialist and executive search).

He adds: “We also provide mentorship and capacity building to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to local management teams and staff during the course of our engagements.

“Ultimately, our aim is to support airport operators, owners and project sponsors in achieving higher operational standards and efficiency along with increased long-term commercial revenues and profitability.”

Siemens continues to innovate

Siemens Logistics has launched VarioBelt TilterPlus, a new belt conveyor which it claims has an “unparalleled tilting device for efficient transport of baggage at airports”.

It notes that its latest innovation has a highly functional mechanism capable of conveying baggage straight ahead as well as to the left and the right. And since three directions are served with just one sorting device, it effectively means that less machines are required for a baggage handling system – and that in turn means a smaller footprint.

“We support our customers with the most modern solutions for smooth business processes,” says Michael Reichle, CEO of Siemens Logistics. “VarioBelt TilterPlus is a ground-breaking product that makes baggage handling with belt conveyors even more flexible – for both regional airports and international hubs.”

MAI enhances global ORAT offering

Munich Airport subsidiary, Munich Airport International (MAI), is to partner with Atlanta-based Citiri to offer digital operational readiness and airport transfer (ORAT) services to airport operators and infrastructure developers across the globe.

MAI claims that by combining its know-how and experience of helping airports open new facilities with Citiri’s ORAT management platform software, the partners will be able to offer an advanced ORAT solution including remote services to clients worldwide.

It believes that their new partnership can serve any airport operator, authority or investor that are planning and implementing an airport development project, be it an extension of existing infrastructure or construction of a new airport with landside and airfield facilities and systems.

“ORAT was effectively born in Munich in 1992, when Munich Airport relocated to its current site in an unprecedented overnight operation,” enthuses MAI managing director, Dr Ralf Gaffal. “Over the past 30 years we have successfully delivered more than 40 ORAT programmes worldwide.”

Gebr Heinemann unveils new Ljubljana offering

Gebr Heinemann and casualfood – a company specialising in high-quality food-to-go outlets – have opened their first integrative retail space combining duty free, F&B and convenience at Ljubljana Airport in Slovenia.

The walk-through area is located in the airport’s new terminal and extends over a span of 1,000 square metres, of which the majority opened its doors on July 1, 2021. The remaining space is scheduled to open in April 2022.

While ‘smartseller’ is the name of the operating joint venture, the in-store presence has the customised brand name ‘all yours’ at Ljubljana Airport.

“The concept evolves retail spaces from formerly rigid, category-centred assortments into four needs-oriented zones, creating smooth and intuitive transitions between themes, products and services,” explains Karl Niendorf, managing director of smartseller.

While Fraport Slovenia’s chief commercial, finance and administrative officer, Babett Stapel, notes: “The fresh and innovative concept of the duty free area, where retail and F&B offerings are intertwined, is one of the highlights of the new terminal at Ljubljana Airport.

“We believe that the perfectly designed shop and product offer, combined with an attractive food corner will win over even the most demanding travellers.”

Digitalisation drive at King Khaled International Airport

Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport (KKIA) has begun utilising a new integrated airport management platform that it expects to help it optimise operational efficiency and enhance passenger satisfaction levels.

The Saudi Arabian gateway worked with ADB SAFEGATE on the project, and states that the new platform will enable it to take full control of airport operations by “facilitating proactive and data-driven decision-making, improving planning, disruption management and the utilisation of airport assets and resources”.

The platform acts as the central database for all operational information generated manually or automatically from different airport data sources. It provides all flight-related data accurately and efficiently in a real-time environment, for example.

Riyadh Airport Company’s general manager for ICT, Mohammed Alshammari, said: “Our goal is to enhance the overall experience of our passengers by adopting advanced solutions and digitally transforming the airport. This partnership will enable us to capitalise on the potential represented by the future passenger demand.”

ADB SAFEGATE’s vice president of airport systems and tower, Sébastien Jodeau, noted: “KKIA’s digital transformation is to utilise technology to better use of data, to improve processes, and bring stakeholders closer for a better outcome. We aim to help KKIA elevate its offerings and experience through our partnership.”

Buy now, pay later

Elenium Automation has launched a $200 million COVID recovery programme that it hopes will convince airports to invest in its passenger processing and security solutions as the unique thing about it is that airports will only pay for the technology when they use it.

The company believes that its VYGR initiative will help airports and airlines upgrade their technology to make travel seamless, touchless, and ready for a post-COVID recovery.

It states: “The purpose of the $200 million programme is to eliminate the financial risk of deploying such technology during an uncertain time with a consumption-based model, paying only on a per use basis.

“The aviation industry has a unique opportunity to modernise its infrastructure and make the passenger experience seamless and safe, bringing back confidence to the travelling public impacted by the global pandemic.

Elenium specialises in using biometrics, telepresence and touchless technologies that effectively allow passenger to walk into the terminal, drop off their bag, and continue to the lounge or boarding gate without having to touch a boarding pass, bag tag or screen.

Elenium Automtion’s CEO, Aaron Hornlimann, says: “The aviation industry can use VYGR to implement new technologies without worrying about the upfront cost and managing the risk of operational disruptions from pandemics to bad weather. They only pay for it when they use it.

“In my opinion, we need to upgrade our airports now so the industry recovery can be supported with efficient, touchless and confidence-building automation. VYGR removes a hurdle by dealing with capital constraints.”

Elenium’s products can be found today at across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East ranging from Avalon (Australia) and Queenstown (New Zealand) to the international hubs of Abu Dhabi, Bengaluru Kempegowda and Hong Kong in the UAE, India and HKSAR respectively.

SSP expands business in Asia-Pacific region

SSP Group is to grow its footprint in Asia-Pacific with the addition of three new F&B outlets at Gold Coast Airport (OOL) in Australia and more airport lounge openings in Malaysia.

The new F&B outlets at OOL will include Liv-Eat, a quick service concept focused on healthy eating; Roll’d, offering authentic Vietnamese dishes including bánh mi and pho; and Red Rooster, Australia’s second largest chicken quick service restaurant.

About 6.4 million passengers annually used the airport prior to COVID-19, and each brand has been carefully selected to appeal to OOL’s demographic of primarily domestic visitors.

OOL is the gateway to the Gold Coast – Australia’s sixth largest city – and the popular northern NSW region.

The airport’s chief operating officer, Marion Charlton, said the new offerings would give passengers greater choice and additional healthy food options.

“The opening of these news stores signal a return to full capacity across our commercial tenancies after a number closed due to COVID-19 impacts,” notes Charlton.

Meanwhile in Malaysia, SSP now operates a total of six airport lounges across Kuching and Kuala Lumpur international airports after signing a contract with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).

The new business will be operated by SSP Malaysia, a joint venture between SSP Group and Travel Food Services (TFS), which also partners with SSP in India where it operates 20 lounges in major travel hubs throughout India, including the award winning GVK lounge at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.

According to SSP, the lounges offer a new range of quality local and international food and beverage offerings.

Mark Angela, CEO of SSP Asia Pacific, said: “This business win marks the beginning of an exciting expansion programme in Malaysia. Our detailed knowledge of this market and strong track record as operators, plus a phased investment plan aligned to the return of travellers, mean that our lounge offerings will be perfectly aligned to the needs of our guests in each of these locations.

“We’re looking forward to working with MAHB on these exciting plans to provide a quality airport experience for travellers, while also increasing our presence in this important market.”

Onmevo’s ground-breaking new digital collaboration

Frankfurt Airport and Omnevo have extended their long-term partnership for another five years to “further develop the digitalisation of the airport’s range of products and services” for passengers passing through Germany’s biggest gateway.

The news coincided with the launch of the latest advanced version of Omnevo’s award-winning omnichannel e-commerce solution, which parent company AOE originally developed for Fraport.

Through its original partnership with AOE, Fraport utilised the OM³ digital platform (now known as Omnevo) to become the world’s first omnichannel airport focused entirely on omnichannel both before and, especially, during the pandemic.

The newly enhanced Omnevo cloud solution is said to enable the operation of a complete airport marketplace solution for all travel retail sales at a fraction of the costs previously required for such a leading ecosystem, creating new revenue opportunities for crisis-hit airports of any size.

Kian Gould, CEO of AOE and founder and chairman of Omnevo, boldly states the highly flexible software as a solution (SaaS) ensures that Fraport has effectively future-proofed its digital strategy by integrating directly in the Omnevo product roadmap, enabling it to benefit from Omnevo’s strategy of continuous improvements to the solution.

“Frankfurt Airport has maintained a clear focus on the vision that originally motivated Fraport to digitalise its business model, namely, to transform stationary trade into an omnichannel travel retail and shopping hub, with the ultimate goal of serving passengers with relevant information, shopping options and services – all instantly available, in the right place, at the right time.”

He notes that Frankfurt Airport’s digitial solutions allowed its retail and F&B outlets to contiunue generating sales throughout the COVID pandemic – despite the lack of passengers – while many other airports’ shops remained closed, incurring huge losses in revenue.

Fraport’s head of retail & digital, Jens Paul, says: “By continuing on our digital path, we are able to react much faster and more flexibly to unpredictable situations and dynamic market developments, and to implement new digital business models.”

Airbiz to work on Western Sydney project

Multiplex Constructions has won the contract to design and build the passenger terminal at Australia’s planned new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport.

The A$5.3 billion airport is slated to open in late 2026 and will initially be equipped to handle around 10 million passengers per annum.

Airbiz is the designated specialist airport planner on the project, led by Multiplex and supported by Woods Bagot and Arup.

Australia’s Minister for Communications, Urban infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, believes that the contract award is an important step in the development of Sydney’s new airport.

“The unveiling of the final designs of the new Western Sydney Airport is a major milestone towards the delivery of one of the most significant infrastructure projects in Australia,” said Fletcher.

“After several years of preparing the airport site, including moving 18 million cubic metres of earth to date, construction is on track to commence on the integrated passenger terminal at the end of the year.

“This project is a unique opportunity to build an airport from the ground up – allowing us to deploy the latest technology to ensure the passenger experience is smoother and easier than today’s airports, and the security systems more effective but less intrusive.

“The new terminal will not only be a state-of-the art piece of infrastructure but a driver of jobs and economic growth for the region, and form an integral element of the surrounding aerotropolis and the broader Western Parkland city.”

Airbiz describes the new airport as an exciting project, which it states will be a “world-class, full-service airport” designed to cater for both domestic and international traffic.

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