Iran Air retiring 747SP. Enthusiast flight planned

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Iran, Malaysia, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 21-09-2014

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"Iran Air Boeing 747SP Wedelstaedt" by Konstantin von Wedelstaedt - Website: http://www.airliners.net/photo/Iran-Air/Boeing-747SP-86/1569423/&sid=e6125fd7d37ff9970f760ad67faed7bd. Licensed under GNU Free Documentation License 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iran_Air_Boeing_747SP_Wedelstaedt.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Iran_Air_Boeing_747SP_Wedelstaedt.jpg

(c) Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

Iran Air is the last commercial operator of the stumpy Boeing 747SP (Special Performance) model. It has announced it will retire the type in November or December

The final day of operations will be in late November or early December, however on November 23rd and a special flight for enthusiasts is available aboard the aircraft (EP-IAC), departing from and returning to Tehran’s Mehrabad airport. The flight will include a fly past at Isfahan.

Booking can be done through Airevents.de at this link. In the meantime, the aircraft still flies between Tehran and Kuala Lumpur.

 

Spirit Airlines new livery

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 18-09-2014

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Spirit Airlines Yellow

Spirit Airlines has followed Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines in unveiling a new livery.

Spirit’s is probably the most extreme, looking more like a New York taxi than a plane. It reminds me of the old HLX.de scheme, and the Ryanair Hertz 737-200 in the 1990s.

The first aircraft to feature the new colours is Airbus A319 N534NK. Here’s a video of it being painted:

 

Three-way Embraer deal with Republic and Flybe

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Brazil, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, South America, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 18-09-2014

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Embraer 175

Republic Holdings and the UK’s Flybe have come to an agreement regarding orders for more Embraer aircraft to meet their fleet development needs.

Flybe has arranged to transfer 20 of its 24 outstanding Embraer 175 orders to Republic, which will use them as part of United Express. In addition to this, Republic has ordered another 30 E-175s, boosting its fleet by 50 in total.

As a reciprocal deal, Flybe will take on 24 of Republic’s fleet of Q400 turboprops on lease to allow it to replace similar examples coming to the end of lease in its current fleet.

Flybe Q400

The remaining four Flybe  E-175 orders will be deferred until 2018, with the Republic Q400s arriving from March 2015.

Republic, which still holds options on another 32 E-175s, will receive the new E-Jets from the third quarter of 2015, with the final delivery slated for 2017.

Qantas 767 retirement plans

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Australasia, Australia, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 17-09-2014

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"Qantas Boeing 767-300; VH-OGS@SYD;31.07.2012 666id (7863496018)" by Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland - Qantas Boeing 767-300; VH-OGS@SYD;31.07.2012/666idUploaded by russavia. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Qantas_Boeing_767-300;_VH-OGS@SYD;31.07.2012_666id_(7863496018).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Qantas_Boeing_767-300;_VH-OGS@SYD;31.07.2012_666id_(7863496018).jpg

Qantas will retire its fleet of Boeing 767-300s at the end of 2014 as it proceeds with fleet upgrades.

Many 767s have already left the fleet, or been converted to cargo carriers.

The final day of Qantas 767 operations will be 27 December 2014, with the final flight operating from Melbourne to Sydney as QF490.

Flights will also operate between Sydney and Brisbane on the final day.

Qantas has operated Boeing 767s since 1985, with the -300 model joining in 1988.

KLM MD-11 retirement flights announced

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting, Netherlands, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 15-09-2014

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KLM MD-11

KLM has announced a group of farewell flights for enthusiasts on its McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft.

The airline is the last to operate the tri-holer on passenger flights and will retire it by the end of the year. The fleet has been slowly reduced over the past year, with aircraft being sent to desert storage locations for part-out.

Many enthusiasts have been calling on the airline to offer a farewell flight as a way of saying goodbye to the MD-11; for many it will be the last chance to get a flight on board it.

KLM will fly three one-hour enthusiast flights from Amsterdam Schiphol on 11 November 2014, with all passengers receiving a commemorative book as part of their ticket cost.

Tickets go on sale from 16 September, at 11:11am, priced at 111 Euros. EDIT: You can buy tickets now from this link: https://md11farewellflight.klm.com/en_us/

 

Ilyushin IL-96 lives on with Cubana and Red Wings

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Caribbean, Cuba, Eastern Europe, Russia, Spotting News | Posted on 11-09-2014

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Ilyushin_Il-96

Aeroflot retired its fleet of Ilyushin IL-96 aircraft earlier this year as it moves towards more modern, Western types for its widebody operations.

One of the aircraft has even been destroyed by fire since it was retired.

However, now there’s a bit of hope for those who like to see Russian planes in the skies, or those who haven’t flown on the type yet (myself included) as both Cubana and Red Wings are taking on some of the former Aeroflot IL-96s for their own operations.

Cubana uses the type on some domestic schedules, and also to places like Buenos Aires, Madrid and Paris Orly from its Havana base. It will take one ex-Aeroflot aircraft.

Red Wings is planning to use the aircraft on flights from Moscow to Simferopol in Crimea. It will take three ex-Aeroflot aircraft. I think it’ll look fantastic in their colours!

 

Scoot’s 787 routes revealed

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Asia, Australasia, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Miscellaneous Spotting, Singapore | Posted on 11-09-2014

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(c) FlyScoot

Scoot, the low cost carrier owned by Singapore Airlines, has revealed the routes to be flown by its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The first of these aircraft, a 787-9 model, is due to arrive in November and will likely begin flying for crew familiarisation on some of the carrier’s shorter routes.

Then, from 29 March 2015 the type will enter service on routes from Singapore to Hong Kong, Perth and Sydney.

The airline has 10 787-8 and 10 787-9 aircraft on order. Additional routes to be started in April and May 2015 include Bangkok, Gold Coast, Shenyang and Tianjin.

Eventually all of the airline’s Boeing 777-200s will be replaced by the 787.

 

You can find out more from our Boeing 787 Routes Page.

Ryanair pushes the 737MAX as 200 launch customer

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Ireland, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting News, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 08-09-2014

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Ryanair 737-MAX 8 200

Boeing’s new 737 MAX family of aircraft launched an extra variant today with the announcement that Ryanair would become the launch customer for the 200 model.

This is essentially a 737 MAX 8 with 200 seats.

Ryanair has placed an initial order for 100 examples, which will replace its older 737-800s and allow further expansion of its widespread route network. In addition to the commitment, valued at $11 billion at current list prices, Ryanair has options to purchase another 100 737 MAX 200s.

“Ryanair is proud and honored to become the lead operator of Boeing’s ‘gamechanger’ 737 MAX 200, which will expand our fleet to 520 aircraft by 2024 and create another 3,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers in Europe, while allowing us to grow traffic from 82 million last year to over 150 million annually by 2024,” said Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary.

“These new “gamechanger” aircraft will allow Ryanair to lower our costs and airfares, while improving our customer experience with more leg room and the Boeing Sky Interior, as we roll out new offers, particularly for our Business Plus and Family Extra customers. As many of Europe’s flag carriers cut capacity on short haul routes, Ryanair looks forward to using these new Boeing 737 MAX 200s to grow at many more of Europe’s primary airports,” said O’Leary

Boeing developed the 737 MAX 200 in response to the needs of the fast growing low-cost sector, which is forecasted to account for 35 percent of single-aisle airline capacity by 2033. While the heart of the single-aisle market will remain at 160 seats, the 737 MAX 200 will provide carriers like Ryanair with up to 11 more seats of potential revenue and up to 5 percent lower operating costs than the 737 MAX 8, driving economic growth and increasing access to air travel.

 

Spotting at the Comfort Hotel RunWay at Oslo Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Norway, Spotting Hotels, Spotting Trip Reports, Western Europe | Posted on 06-09-2014

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Comfort Hotel Runway
This is a guest report from Mark Williams, who recently stayed at one of Norway’s best spotting hotels…I have recently returned from a one night stay at the Comfort Hotel RunWay at Oslo Airport.

The hotel is nicely situated next to the perimeter fence overlooking Runway 01L/19R. To get there from the airport you have a couple of options – the more expensive dedicated S44 hotel shuttle bus at 70NOK or the cheaper normal service bus 855 which involves a short 2 minute walk from the stop to the hotel.

I had emailed the hotel beforehand requesting a high floor room overlooking the airport and they replied very promptly saying a suitable room had been allocated. True to their word, they had reserved me such a room and with the minimal of fuss from an efficient front desk I was ready to spot. The fourth floor room (which is the top floor) contained a number of suitable rooms – 4015, 4017, 4019, 4021, 4023 and 4025 all being noted as among those suitable for our needs.

Runway 01L/19R is right in front of you and everything can be easily read off with binoculars. The hotel grounds actually end at the perimeter fence. There is an issue with trees in these grounds, and this will be to a greater or lesser extent from each individual room. However, there should be sufficient gaps from all to ensure nothing on this runway would be missed. Views over to the terminal are again affected by the trees, although the gaps will allow at least some sections of the piers to be seen. Where they are, reading the registrations off was no problem.

Oslo Spotting Hotel

Cargo was parked opposite the hotel, and being tail-on could not be read off. Runway 01L/19R seemed to handle the majority of the domestic or short regional traffic, and while this is probably favoured at first, the repeats start after about 5 or 6 hours After about 24 hours, little lands that hasn’t already been seen. However, much of the long haul traffic seemed to depart (not land) from this runway – including Norwegian B787s, Thai B777s and a SAS A330. While this can’t of course be guaranteed (the Qatar B787 for instance went off Runway 01R on one day and 01L on the other), from your perch at the Comfort Hotel RunWay most of the wide-body movements were read off.

The other runway (01R/19L) is just out of range for reading with binoculars (particularly of course as it is through glass and at an angle). However, seeing everything land on Runway 01R was no problem, so identification with SBS would ensure nothing is missed. They landed on 01R/01L during my entire stay – I imagine trees would mean if they were landing on 19L it wouldn’t have been so easy to even see them, so runway use could affect your logging considerably.

One thing I must mention. While the rooms are more than adequate, they only have a long thin window, which is set quite low. Not only does this mean the room is quite dark, but at 6ft, I had to bend down to actually see out (if you are 5ft it would be about perfect). However, if you settle down for a long spotting session, you will no doubt be seated, and I could see out of the window from a chair.

The room was priced at 849NOK (roughly £84 / $135) which included a half-decent breakfast – not bad for this location. There is a restaurant and a small snack area, and although there are other hotels nearby and a large conference centre, there appeared to be no other local places to get provisions.

osl3

Apart from the excellent view of the near runway that the hotel affords, it is also well placed to reach the SAS museum, which contains a small spotter’s terrace that is permanently open.

The museum itself is only open on Tuesday and Sunday. It is around a 15 minute walk away. Head out of the hotel and turn right on Hans Gaarders Veg. Keep heading along this road (running virtually parallel with the perimeter fence) and you will come to the museum and the raised spotting terrace. A quick look at Google Maps will show the way.

The terrace is a wooden structure, accessed via a few stairs, and gives a good panoramic view of the airport. The parked West Air ATPs (out of sight from the hotel) are right in front of you, and I could also read off the inhabitants of the cargo area (as well as a couple of biz jets in the GA area). The view of runway 01L/19R is restricted to about half the runway at one end but is very close with an excellent view of traffic departing off 01L. I imagine the views of traffic landing on 19R would be equally as impressive.
When I was departing I met an extremely helpful lady from NSSF – The Norwegian Plane Spotter Association who kindly gave me a copy of their viewing guide and offered advice as to the best spots. Check them out and show your support – they clearly do some good work to ensure that such facilities exist for us all. It appears that the majority of spotting locations for Runway 01R/19L require a car. All the long-haul traffic landed on this runway during my stay (but, as previously mentioned, the majority departed off the near 01L/19R runway). Most of the international traffic from Europe (if not all) seemed to land on 01R/19L and much went out that way too, so, for a registration reader, expect to miss some frames. While my success rate out in the open air and side on from the viewing terrace of departing traffic from 01R improved, it is still quite a long way away so success is by no means guaranteed. However, if the weather is good (there is no shelter here), this would be an extremely nice place to spend a few hours and is highly recommended.

Movements wise, Oslo was actually busier than I had expected. Norwegian and SAS dominate as you would expect with their B737s, although there was a healthy number of Wideroe Dash 8s in action. Three different Norwegian Dreamliners were seen in the 24 hours, plus a daily Thai B777, Qatar B787, a SAS A330, Primera B737 and Novair A321. Cargo offered a UPS B767, Jet Time B737 and Air Contractors ATR42.

Overall, an extremely enjoyable 24 hours in Oslo which, like the hotel and spotting terrace, comes highly recommended.

You can book a room at the Comfort Hotel RunWay Oslo here: http://www.comfortinn.com/hotel-gardermoen-norway-NO113

 

 

United’s first 787-9 delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Australasia, Australia, North America, USA | Posted on 04-09-2014

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787-9 CAL #181 ZB167

United Airlines is celebrating as it becomes the first North American airline to take delivery of the extended Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The first aircraft, N38950 (36401/181), was delivered on 4th September. United now has both -8 and -9 variants in its fleet.

“We’re proud that United has become the North America launch customer for both the 787-8 and 787-9, marking another important milestone in the successful history of Boeing and United working together,” said Brad McMullen, vice president of North America Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

United has announced a series of one-off domestic flights to aid in pilot training. From 26 October, the 787-9 will begin flights from Los Angeles to Melbourne.

Next year the Los Angeles – Shanghai route will be upgraded to the 787-9. See our Boeing 787 Routes Page for more information.

United operates 11 787 Dreamliners with an additional 54 on order, including the 787-10.