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Airports Suspending Night Operations

The COVID-19 crisis has reduced passenger traffic in all airports in Europe by more than 90% in recent weeks, and there are currently no prospects of traffic returning to normal. In order to ease costs, especially for the ground handling businesses serving the aircraft, airports will be suspending nights commercial air traffic.

Copenhagen Airports and the few airlines still maintaining scheduled flights (Bornholm, Oslo, Frankfurt) in and out of CPH have agreed a plan for flights to operate during the day and evening hours. Night operations will initially be suspended for a three-week period from monday 13 (all nights of the week from 22:00 to 06:00.). April, after which the airport will review the situation with the airlines and the groundhandlers each Friday.

“Being categorised as critical Danish infrastructure, we have a responsibility to cater to all traffic coming into Denmark. That’s what makes it important to emphasise that our decision to suspend night operations applies only to scheduled commercial flights. It does not include cargo traffic and will not affect the critical role we have in supporting Danish business in upholding exports and imports,” says Dan Meincke, Director of Traffic at Copenhagen Airport.

“We are also maintaining capacity to ensure we can accommodate special flights such as those bringing home Danish residents being evacuated from other countries, ambulance flights, diplomatic flights, and such,” says Meincke.

There are four groundhandlers at the airport: SGH, Aviator, Menzies and CFS. They handle aircraft, passengers and cargo on behalf of the airlines. Like the airlines, the groundhandlers have also been severely affected by the massive crisis that has hit the aviation industry.

“By suspending commercial night flights, we can help ease the cost pressure for the groundhandlers, so they won’t have to schedule a lot of people for night duty. The same goes for Falck, the assistance and emergency services provider at the airport,” says Meincke.

Copenhagen Airport is also tightening its belt. For example, it is cutting operating costs in a rotation scheme in which 2,200 of its 2,600 employees (corresponding to 1,600 FTEs) are temporarily laid off with wage compensation. At the same time, a large number of investments and projects have been put on hold. Overall, costs may be cut by up to one billion Danish kroner during the rest of 2020.

On April 10, 2020, Northern Capital Gateway LLC (NCG), the operator of Pulkovo St. Petersburg Airport (Russia), will adjust operating hours of the airport. On April 10, 2020, Pulkovo will be open until 11 p.m. (local time). From April 11 to April 30, 2020, the airport will be handling flights daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (local time).

The entrance to the passenger terminal will be open from 5.30 a.m., check-in will start at 6 a.m. In the evening, the entrance to the terminal will be closed at 11.30 p.m.

Gatwick Airport has taken necessary and appropriate steps to safeguard the financial resilience of the business – and prepare it for a quick recovery – by significantly reducing costs. Operationally, this includes closing the airport to flights between midnight and 05.30.


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