VLM bringing Superjet to Europe

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 30-10-2014

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VLM Superjet

VLM Airlines is undergoing restructuring following a management buyout, and will be the first airline in Europe to introduce the Sukhoi Superjet.

The airline, based in Antwerp, currently operates a fleet of Fokker 50 aircraft on contract and charter work, and also flies on behalf of Cityjet on a number of business routes.

“We received an offer from the management of VLM Airlines that we felt we could not refuse.” said Peter Oncken, Managing Director at Intro Aviation. “We are happy to see VLM now to develop as a wholly independent airline in the ownership of a management which is dedicated to VLM”.

The airline has agreed a lease with Ilyushin Finance for two Sukhoi Superjet 100s, with options on a further two, and purchase rights on an additional ten examples.

The aircraft will be used to help VLM return to its independent scheduled service roots, beginning a network of short-haul services from Antwerp from April 2015. The Fokker 50 fleet will also be used on the scheduled services, and the Cityjet deal will continue.

“We looked at a number of aircraft types in the 100-seat range to see which would give the best passenger experience, flexibility in short-to-medium range destinations and low operating costs – the SSJ100 LR won hands down. It has been great working with IFC and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company and I am looking forward to a mutually profitable long-term relationship.”

Air Leisure to revive Airbus A340-200s in Egypt

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Asia, Egypt, Spotting News | Posted on 27-10-2014

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By Paul Spijkers [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Spijkers [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

A new leisure carrier in Egypt, named (suitably) Air Leisure, is planning to lease a number of the retired Airbus A340-200s from EgyptAir (although one recently returned to flying for the national carrier).

The wide-body type is the original model of A340 and is now pretty rare, with Aerolineas Argentinas retiring theirs, and a sole example still flying sporadically in Venezuela.

Air Leisure plans to use the aircraft on flights from regional airports such as Aswan, Hurghada and Luxor to destinations in the Far East.

At present Air Leisure operates a single McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft. No date has been set for the launch of A340 flights yet.

CitizenM Paris Charles de Gaulle Spotting Hotel

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, France, Spotting Hotels, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 25-10-2014

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CitizenM Paris Airport Spotting

A new citizenM hotel opened recently at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport which is proving to be a useful option for aircraft spotters looking for a Paris spotting hotel.

The hotel also offers a less expensive alternative to the other hotels at Charles de Gaulle, such as the Hyatt and Hilton. Rooms can be booked from €70 per night, and the hotel operates a self-service check-in, with a snack bar available.

When checking in to the hotel, visitors are offered either a ‘Runway View’ or ‘Office View’ room. No prizes for guessing which you should pick if you’re wanting to watch aircraft movements from your room. Naturally, a higher room would be more advantageous, and it’s possible to select a different room if you’re offered an unacceptable one at first.

Views from the ‘Runway View’ rooms face the northerly runways, alongside Terminal 2, and the taxiways which link the northerly part with Terminal 1 and the southern runways.

Paris Spotting Hotel

citizenM offer free wi-fi internet in their rooms, which is ideal for using SBS equipment or flight tracking websites to tie up aircraft seen out of the window or on distant runways.

The hotel is only a short walk to what remains of the Mound viewing area at Paris Charles de Gaulle. This is one of the only places to easily log and photograph movements at the airport, even with its recent remodeling. Here’s a map of where the hotel is located in relation to other parts of the airport.

citizenM Paris location

The Citizen M Paris CDG hotel can be found and booked here: http://www.citizenm.com/destinations/paris/paris-charles-de-gaulle-hotel

 

Monarch retiring Boeing 757 in November

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 23-10-2014

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Monarch 757

Monarch will retire its Boeing 757 fleet in November according to the airline’s latest plans.

Unlike its Airbus A300 retirement earlier this year, which saw a specially laid-on enthusiast flight to celebrate the event, the 757 will go quietly after performing its final flights on 2nd November.

A couple of ad-hoc charter flights are planned for the type following that date, after which it will be disposed of as the airline focuses on its modern fleet of Airbus A320s, A321s and A330s

Monarch is currently undergoing a change of ownership as the Mantegazza family sells the longstanding airline to Greybull Capital. Already announced this week is the departure of strategy director Stuart Jackson, among hundreds of job layoffs planned for the restructuring of the airline, which will only focus on scheduled services in the future.

Whilst visiting Gatwick recently I took this time lapse sequence of a Monarch Boeing 757 during preparation for departure, which is a nice tribute to the type.

Monarch was one of the first airlines in the world to operate the Boeing 757 when it took delivery in 1983, alongside other UK operators Air Europe and British Airways. The fleet could be seen on charters across Europe, Africa and North America, but the natural life of the airframes is coming to an end and the airline must look forward to a brand new fleet. It recently ordered 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, and has taken a number of second hand A321s recently to bolster its capacity.

 

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Frankfurt will be Qatar’s first A350 route

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Frankfurt, Germany, Middle East, Qatar, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 21-10-2014

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Qatar A350

Qatar Airways will introduce its new Airbus A350XWB aircraft on the Doha – Frankfurt route once delivered next year.

The A350-900 was certified recently, with one aircraft now wearing the full Qatar Airways livery. It is anticipated that delivery to the airline of the first of its 80 aircraft order will be in late 2015.

It will then operate on both of the airline’s daily flights to Frankfurt.

Qatar Airways took delivery of its first double-decker A380 aircraft in September this year and it is currently operated daily on the Doha – London Heathrow route.

Mitsubishi Regional Jet rolled out

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Japan, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 21-10-2014

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MRJ Rollout

The first new Japanese-built airliner in many years has been rolled out in a ceremony at the Komaki Minami Plant of MHI’s Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works in Aichi Prefecture.

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) is a 92-seat regional jet which hopes to prove popular in this competitive market around the world.

Five prototype aircraft will go on to perform testing before deliveries. A first flight of the type, which is Japan’s first ever jet airliner, is expected between April and June 2015.

This particular aircraft is the MRJ90. A smaller, 75-seat MRJ70, will also be produced at a later date.

The MRJ family currently has 191 firm orders, with another 184 options. Key carriers to introduce the type include Japan Airlines, Eastern Air Lines and Air Mandalay.

Blackpool Airport closes today

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 15-10-2014

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Blackpool Airport

Blackpool Airport will close today after it was announced that owners Balfour Beatty could not find a buyer to take over.

The airport has been loss-making for a number of years, despite having a number of based operators and regular scheduled flights with Jet2, Aer Lingus and Citywing.

The final commercial flight will leave Blackpool at 6pm on 15th October, ending over 100 years of aviation use on the site at Squire’s Gate, close to the heart of the seaside resort in northern England.

Balfour Beatty bought the airport in 2008. In recent years it has pushed for approval to use various parts of the site to generate capital for the business, but has been blocked. Blackpool handled 262,000 passengers in 2013.

The final flight will operate to the Isle of Man, with the airport closing an hour later. Based light aircraft are likely to be removed over coming weeks.

This is a sad fate for another regional airport fighting to make ends meet in the increasingly difficult passenger market. Other airports, such as Biggin Hill and Durham Tees Valley are making strides to change their business plans to rely less on aircraft income and more from other aviation activities and spare land on the site.

Do you have any memories of Blackpool Airport, either as a passenger or a spotter?

Airport Industry Review Magazine

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Spotting Equipment Reviews | Posted on 15-10-2014

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Airport Industry Review

Among the readers of this site are many airport workers and professionals, so I wanted to share a resource that you may be interested in for further reading on your industry…

Airport Industry Review is a magazine available quarterly which offers in-depth coverage of the airport industry in an exciting, interactive format for iPad and online.

The magazine is brought to you by an experienced and dedicated editorial and design team, and brings together the latest trends, projects and technologies, as well as insiders’ views and analysis of issues affecting airports today.

With content covering the latest terminals, airport architecture, economic effects, safety and dangers, the latest technological developments, global comparisons and much more, it is easy to see why AIR is becoming essential airport industry reading for any key industry decision maker.

You can find out more, read sample content, and subscribe to Airport Industry Review at this link: www.nridigital.com/airport-industry-review.html

Garuda large Boeing 737 MAX order

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Indonesia, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 14-10-2014

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Garuda 737 MAX 8

Garuda Indonesia has placed a large order for Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

The flag carrier of Indonesia will purchase 46 737 MAX 8s and will convert existing orders for four Next-Generation 737-800s to 737 MAX 8s.

Garuda recently announced it was halting progress on its international expansion in order to deal with the decline in its domestic and regional fleet, namely the classic and older NG Boeing 737s that it operates. This order is thought to be a response to this need to improve the quality and safety of its fleet.

Today’s order from Garuda Indonesia continues the momentum of the 737 MAX in the marketplace. The total number of 737 MAX orders to date is 2,295 airplanes from 47 customers worldwide.

British Airways’ second hand A320 fleet details

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Brazil, Eastern Europe, Hungary, South America, Spotting News, Turkey, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 08-10-2014

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British Airways A320

British Airways is taking on ten second-hand Airbus A320 aircraft to be based at London Gatwick airport.

The aircraft are all due for delivery between October 2014 and June 2015. Here’s a lowdown on the aircraft details.

G-GATH, c/n 1482, ex TC-OBH (Onur Air) – due November 2014
G-GATJ, c/n 1509, ex TC-OBI (Onur Air) – due October 2014
G-GATK, c/n 1902, ex HA-LPD (Wizz Air) – due January 2015
G-GATL, c/n 1834, ex HA-LPF (Wizz Air) – due January 2015
G-GATM, c/n 1892, ex HA-LPE (Wizz Air) – due March 2015
G-GATN, c/n 1613, ex PT-MZX (TAM) – due February 2015
G-GATO, c/n 1663, ex PR-MAB (TAM) – due March 2015
G-GATP, c/n 1804, ex PR-MAE (TAM) – due April 2015
G-GATR, c/n 1771, ex PR-MAD (TAM) – due May 2015
G-GATS, c/n 1672, ex PR-MAC (TAM) – due June 2015

These aircraft will operate the European schedules from Gatwick, mostly replacing the Boeing 737-400 and Airbus A319s based there currently.