Vietnam Airlines first Boeing 787 rolled out

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Vietnam | Posted on 22-04-2015

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Vietnam787a

Vietnam787b

The first Boeing 787-9 for Vietnam Airlines has been rolled out of the factory at Everett Paine Field near Seattle.

The airline is due to take delivery of this, the first of 19 of the aircraft on order, in May. It will initially be used on flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for crew familiarisation, before commencing international flights to Frankfurt and London Heathrow later in the year (see our Boeing 787 Routes Page)

Vietnam Airlines will also soon take delivery of its first Airbus A350XWB, which was seen at Toulouse in March.

Air New Zealand retiring Boeing 737 in September

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Australasia, New Zealand | Posted on 22-04-2015

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Air New Zealand 737

Air New Zealand is planning to retire the Boeing 737 from its fleet in September 2015.

The airline has a long history of operating the type, with the introduction of the first 737-200 in 1968. Since then it has operated a sizable fleet of 737-300s on domestic and international flights.

Now, according to WorldAirlineNews, the type is to be retired on 6th September, with the final service being NZ557 from Auckland to Christchurch.

This is subject to change, but not change by much as Air New Zealand focuses on its Airbus A320 fleet.

 

Catching up with the Airbus prototypes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 17-04-2015

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This is a new series of hopefully useful posts to catch up with the prototype and demonstrator aircraft produced by different aircraft manufacturers around the world.

The prototype model is the first of the type to fly, and will later be joined by other examples to help achieve flight certification.

Following this, the prototype will often either be kept for future testing and modification, delivered to an airline customer, sent to a museum or stored and ultimately scrapped.

In this first post we’ll look at the various Airbus aircraft model prototypes produced from the first A300B1 to the most recent A350XWB.

 

 

A300B1A300-F-OCAZ

F-OCAZ. Scrapped. Centre section and wing on display at Munich City Museum Von Meisterwerke, Germany. Other parts exist at Paris Le Bourget and Toulouse Blagnac.

 

A300B2A300 ZeroG

F-BUAD. Stored at Cologne/Bonn, Germany for future public display.

A300B4

Scrapped

A300B4-600

HZ-AJA. Stored at Hofuf Al-Ahsa Airport, Saudi Arabia.

A310-200

A310 N450FE

N450FE. Active with FedEx Express.

A310-300

A310 N803FD

N803FD. Active with FedEx Express.

A318

A318 A6-AAM

A6-AAM. Private, based Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

A319-100

A319 C-GBIP

C-GBIP. Active with Air Canada.

A320-100

A320_MSN0001_I4D_FLIGHT_TRIAL_01

F-WWBA. Active as testbed, Toulouse Blagnac, France.

A320-200

Scrapped

A321-100

A321 TC-ONS

TC-ONS. Active with Onur Air.

A321-200

A321-B-HTF

B-HTF. Active with Dragonair, Hong Kong.

A330-200

A330-200 CS-TOH

CS-TOH. Active with TAP Portugal.

A330-300

A330-300 B-HLJ

B-HLJ. Active with Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong. On lease to Dragonair.

A340-200

A340-200 HZ-124

HZ-124. Active with Royal Saudi Air Force, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A340-300

A340-300 F-WWAI

F-WWAI. Stored at Toulouse Blagnac, France. Will be used as future testbed with BLADE.

A340-500

A340-500 A6-ERF

A6-ERF. Stored at Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. Will be scrapped.

A340-600

A340-600 F-WWCA

F-WWCA. Stored at Lourdes Tarbes, France.

A350-900

A350_XWB_MSN1_TAKE_OFF

F-WXWB. Active at Toulouse Blagnac, France.

A380-800

A380 F-WWOW

F-WWOW. Active at Toulouse Blagnac, France.

Dreamliner Arrives at Pima Air and Space Museum

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 12-04-2015

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N787EX Pima Air and Space Museum

The Pima Air and Space Museum at Tucson, AZ, has become the second to take a Boeing 787 Dreamliner for display.

This aircraft was the second Dreamliner built, and is registered N787EX (also known as ZA002).

“This is an extremely exciting and monumental time for the museum, the Tucson community and Arizona in general,” said Scott Marchand, Executive Director of the Pima Air & Space Museum. “We are honored to be selected by The Boeing Company to be the custodian of such a significant historic next generation aircraft and to be able to display it to the public from the USA and from around the world.”

This particular 787, ZA002, is the second Boeing 787-8 to be produced. The airplane flew for the first time on December 22, 2009, joining what would become a six-airplane flight test and certification program for the 787- 8. The primary focus of ZA002 was testing systems performance. It is currently wearing ANA All Nippon Airways colours, but has never flown for the airline.

In November we reported that ZA003, N787BX, was delivered to the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

The Pima Air & Space Museum is located at 6000 E. Valencia Road, Tucson, Exit 267 off Interstate 10. The museum is open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas, from 9 am to 5 pm with last admission at 4 pm. Admission is $15.50 ($12.25 for Pima County Residents) for adults, $12.75 for seniors 62 and older and active military, $9.00 for youth 7-12, and free for children under 6. For general museum information, please call 520- 574-0462 or visit www.pimaair.org.

Finnair flying the A350 to Europe on familiarisation flights

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Frankfurt, Germany, Heathrow, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spain, Spotting News, Sweden, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 09-04-2015

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A350XWB Finnair

Finnair is due to be the third airline customer of the Airbus A350XWB in September, after Qatar Airways and Vietnam Airlines.

The airline has announced that it will fly the new aircraft between Helsinki and a variety of European destinations on crew familiarisation flights before it begins service on Finnair’s long-haul network.

In addition it will also fly the A350 domestically from Helsinki to Oulu and Rovaniemi as part of the familiarisation schedule.

European destinations include Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, London Heathrow, Malaga, Paris CDG, Stockholm Arlanda and Vienna.

At the time of writing the following schedule is planned:

Helsinki–Rovaniemi 05-Oct-15 AY421
Rovaniemi–Helsinki 05-Oct-15 AY428
Helsinki–Oulu 05-Oct-15 AY2369
Oulu–Helsinki 05-Oct-15 AY2370
Helsinki–London 06-Oct-15 AY831
London–Helsinki 06-Oct-15 AY840
Helsinki–Frankfurt 07-Oct-15 AY821
Frankfurt–Helsinki 07-Oct-15 AY822
Helsinki–Stockholm (Arlanda) 07-Oct-15 AY645
Stockholm (Arlanda)–Helsinki 07-Oct-15 AY650
Helsinki–Paris 08-Oct-15 AY871
Paris–Helsinki 08-Oct-15 AY890
Helsinki–Copenhagen 08-Oct-15 AY667
Copenhagen–Helsinki 08-Oct-15 AY668
Helsinki–Amsterdam 09-Oct-15 AY841
Amsterdam–Helsinki 09-Oct-15 AY842
Helsinki–Oslo 09-Oct-15 AY659
Oslo–Helsinki 09-Oct-15 AY658
Helsinki–Barcelona 10-Oct-15 AY3271
Barcelona–Helsinki 10-Oct-15 AY3270
Helsinki–Málaga 10-Oct-15 AY735
Málaga–Helsinki 11-Oct-15 AY736
Helsinki–Hamburg 11-Oct-15 AY851
Hamburg–Helsinki 11-Oct-15 AY852
Helsinki–Barcelona 11-Oct-15 AY3269
Barcelona–Helsinki 11-Oct-15 AY3272
Helsinki–Brussels 12-Oct-15 AY811
Brussels–Helsinki 12-Oct-15 AY812
Helsinki–Málaga 12-Oct-15 AY735
Málaga–Helsinki 13-Oct-15 AY736
Helsinki–Berlin 13-Oct-15 AY911
Berlin–Helsinki 13-Oct-15 AY912
Helsinki–Gothenburg 13-Oct-15 AY677
Gothenburg–Helsinki 13-Oct-15 AY674
Helsinki–Düsseldorf 14-Oct-15 AY703
Düsseldorf–Helsinki 14-Oct-15 AY704
Helsinki–Vienna 14-Oct-15 AY767
Vienna–Helsinki 14-Oct-15 AY768
Helsinki–Munich 15-Oct-15 AY803
Munich–Helsinki 15-Oct-15 AY804
Helsinki–London 15-Oct-15 AY995
London–Helsinki 15-Oct-15 AY996
Helsinki–Brussels 16-Oct-15 AY811
Brussels–Helsinki 16-Oct-15 AY812
Helsinki–London 16-Oct-15 AY995
London–Helsinki 16-Oct-15 AY996
Helsinki–Barcelona 17-Oct-15 AY3271
Barcelona–Helsinki 17-Oct-15 AY3270
Helsinki–Málaga 17-Oct-15 AY735
Málaga–Helsinki 18-Oct-15 AY736
Helsinki–Copenhagen 18-Oct-15 AY661
Copenhagen–Helsinki 18-Oct-15 AY666
Helsinki–Barcelona 18-Oct-15 AY3269
Barcelona–Helsinki 18-Oct-15 AY3272

Flights are on sale now from the Finnair website’s A350 page: http://www.finnair.com/a350

 

A350RoutesSidebar

Remember to check out our Airbus A350 Routes Page for details of Finnair’s long-haul destinations, and routes by other A350 airlines.

Doha Airport Spotting Hotel – Oryx Rotana

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Middle East, Qatar, Spotting Hotels | Posted on 08-04-2015

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Oryx Rotana Hotel

Although the new Hamad International Airport at Doha, Qatar, is now in full operation, a hotel alongside the old Doha Airport is still a good option for spotting at both airports.

For the time being, the old Doha Airport still has a few private and GA operators using the runway, and there is at least one stored biz jet here. The new airport is only two miles further away.

The Oryx Rotana hotel is situated alongside the terminal at the old Doha Airport, but according to a recent report if you get a room above the entrance on the top floors, you can see movements at BOTH airports.

Oryx Rotana Doha Map

Admittedly, the view of the new airport is pretty distant. But with good binoculars and flight tracking equipment or websites, you should see all movements easily, as well as anything still using the old airport.

The Oryx Rotana is part of the Rotana chain of hotels, and is of a good standard as you would expect in the region. You can book rooms through their website, here.

Frankfurt Terminal 2 Visitors Terrace Reopens

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Frankfurt, Germany, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 05-04-2015

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Frankfurt Terminal 2 Visitors Terrace

After a length period of closure and renovation, the visitors terrace on Frankfurt’s Terminal 2 will reopen this month.

The new terrace has a new floor, and also now has a glazed frontage and protective overhang which means photography is not going to be as good as before.

The other big change is that you no longer need to have your bags screened before entering the visitors terrace, which is as a result of the new protective glass and overhang.

Work is still ongoing to improve more floor area, and also to install seating. But for spotters, one of the more useful areas will now be back in action.

Frankfurt Terminal 2 Visitors Terrace is open daily 10am to 6pm (7pm on weekends and public holidays). It is accessed upstairs in the food court area.

  • Adults €3
  • Family (5 people) €12
  • Under 4’s and disabled people FREE

For more information see http://www.frankfurt-airport.com/content/frankfurt_airport/en/services/visitors-terrace.html

Air India’s 20th 787 delivered; first in Star Alliance colours

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, India, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 03-04-2015

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Air India 787-8 Star Alliance

Air India has received its 20th Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, VT-ANU, from the manufacturer’s Charleston facility.

This aircraft is the first Dreamliner to date to wear the colours of an alliance, in this case Star Alliance.

“Taking delivery of our 20th 787 Dreamliner marks an important day for Air India,” said Rohit Nandan, Chairman and Managing Director, Air India. “With this airplane we are building on the success of our other 787s, which are providing an exceptional experience to our passengers while allowing us to expand our network both within India and around the world.”

Heathrow Terminal 4 viewing area – spotting video

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Heathrow, Spotting Videos, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 03-04-2015

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If you weren’t aware, London Heathrow airport relented recently and installed a new viewing area for plane spotting (here’s our report about its opening). The major drawback, however, was that it is located in the departures section of Terminal 4, so you’ll need an airline ticket to use it. Nevertheless, anything is better than nothing and you can also show up for your flight really early to make sure you get chance to enjoy it.

To give you an idea of what the Terminal 4 viewing area is like, here’s a decent video (by Dantorp Aviation) showing arrivals, departures and aircraft taxiing around the airport as seen from this area. The view is pretty good and you won’t miss much.

Marana Pinal Airpark opens to visitors

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 29-03-2015

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Marana Pinal Airpark

There are a number of storage airports in the western United States known to aviation enthusiasts, with row upon row of retired and stored airliners parked up awaiting their fate. Largest among these are Mojave, Victorville, and Marana Pinal Airpark.

The latter, located to the north of Tucson in Arizona, is notoriously difficult to get close to for the enthusiast, with guards manning the entrance, which in itself is a long way from any views of aircraft.

In fact, the standard way for an enthusiast to see airliners parked at Marana is to hire a private aircraft and pilot to fly them from Tucson to Marana, performing a number of low approaches, or a landing and slow taxi for takeoff, snapping photographs frantically in the hope of catching everything parked there, and preferably the registrations. Then a period of research would begin to work out exactly what was seen.

However, times are hard for Marana. It urgently needs to repair its runway, and to find new income streams to keep it in business. As a result it is looking at ways to attract more people to the site, and one of the first changes has been the removal of the guard posts blocking the entrance to the former military airport.

Jim Petty is the airport’s economic development director and knows exactly the draw that Marana has on enthusiasts and the curious public who have a fascination with the huge hulks of metal glinting in the sun, some sporting airline liveries of yesteryear, whilst others appear to be factory fresh. For most enthusiasts, storage airports have been a place to catch up with missed aircraft, sometimes classic old jets rarely seen in active service anymore. However, places like Marana offer a good mix, with some aircraft temporarily stored straight from the factory as airlines face economic problems or leasing companies find it difficult to place them.

Other aircraft still have a lot of life in them, but come to Marana to await a new customer.

Whilst enthusiasts will not be given free reign of the airport under its new relaxed rules, Petty has begun offering tours of Pinal Airpark in an SUV, stopping off to take in the different areas of parked airliners, and to watch a variety of different aircraft that still use the active airport.

Marana Map

Marana’s former locked-down security stance came from its long-standing involvement with the CIA, acting as a staging post for secret operations which were closely guarded from the public eye. It was also a military training post. However, Marana is officially listed as a general aviation airfield, and as such should be accessible to the general public. And so it now is.

Jim Petty may live to regret news of this opening of Marana for tours becoming public, as enthusiasts are sure to be planning trips already. But nevertheless, this is great news and I’m sure will be very much appreciated. I will certainly be taking the opportunity if I am in the area!

Free tours are by appointment only and subject to availability. Call Jim Petty, 520-866-6545.