Oklahoma City Will Rogers building observation deck

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 13-10-2015


Oklahoma City observation deck

As part of plans to expand its terminal Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers Airport will incorporate a public observation deck.

As well as expanding its security and retail areas, the airport will add a new concourse to its terminal, adding four gates initially. These will open in 2018, allowing the airport to attract more airlines and services. It is also hoped that the improvements to the terminal will allow it to avoid impending over-crowding as the airport has seen continued growth for many of the past ten years.

The public observation deck will be built into the terminal in an elevated area which offers views of the aircraft movements around the terminal. It is thought that this will be an enclosed area behind glass, but this is nevertheless a very welcome addition.

Oklahoma City Observation Deck

Will Rogers saw 3.8 million passengers in 2014, with United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Delta and Allegiant as the principal operators.

The airport is also a busy cargo hub for FedEx, UPS and Ameriflight.

Hopefully the views from the Oklahoma City observation deck will allow all movements to be seen and the possibility of photography. It is definitely a welcome addition to the spotting options at the airport.


JFK TWA Terminal to Become Hotel

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, North America, Spotting Hotels, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 01-09-2015



Built to ‘capture the spirit of flight’, Eero Saarinen’s masterpiece TWA Flight Center terminal at New York JFK airport is set to enjoy a new lease of life as it is redeveloped as a hotel. Whats more, there is potential for it becoming a valued spotting location at JFK.

The iconic building was constructed between 1956 and 1962 for use by TWA and features unique curves and spaces unlike any other terminal seen before or since. Inside, passengers flowed through space-age halls and up curving staircases before boarding their flights on what was then one of the country’s most important airlines.



However, since TWA was absorbed into American Airlines in 2001 the terminal has been left unused as a time capsule of days gone by. The new Jetblue terminal 5 was built to replace the TWA terminal, leaving it landlocked from the coming and going of passengers and aircraft. Its small size would mean it is no longer up to the demands put on JFK, but with its protected status a future was sought for the building to bring it back into use.

Now finally details have been revealed about how the building is to be turned into the TWA Flight Center Hotel. It will see the structure retained, with a 505-room facility built alongside. The original building will act as a lobby, and it will also feature a large meeting space, up to eight dining facilities, and a large observation deck to watch aircraft action.

Yes, you heard right – a viewing area at JFK airport!

Now, you’ll know if you’ve read our Spotting at New York JFK guide, that there are no official areas to watch aircraft for enthusiasts and families waving off relatives at this huge and interesting airport. So the promise that these facilities will be incorporated into the JFK TWA terminal are a little mouthwatering to say the least.


An impression of how the hotel will look

What this will look like is still very much unknown, but I’ll be making enquiries about what we can expect and giving you updates as construction progresses.

The CEO of MCR Development, the company working on the structure, said the hotel “will celebrate and preserve” the building, “returning the landmark to its original glory and reopening it to the public. […] Whether staying the night or simply exploring, international visitors and New Yorkers alike will be able to experience the magic of the Jet Age in this extraordinary mid-century icon.”

This to me sounds like viewing aircraft will be for everyone, and not just hotel guests.


Bristol Airport Aviation Fair

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 19-08-2015


Bristol Airport Aviation Fair

Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, Bristol Airport Spotting are hosting another Aviation Fair in partnership with Bristol Airport on Sunday 20th September 2015 between 10.30am and 4.30pm in aid of the airport charity of the year which this year is Children’s Hospice South West.

The event will take place within the Bristol Room which is located in the airport administration building. There will be free car parking.

Entry to the event is £1.50, and you will find a large amount of exhibitors coming along. Visitors to the fair this year can expect to see Bristol Aero Collection, miniature Bristol Airport project, IPMS Avon model club, T7 Models, Fly2Help aviation charity, Aviation Postcard Man, Bristol Airport Police and South West Aviation Photographers to name but a few.

The Bristol Room has great views across the apron of aircraft departing, arriving and taxiing just a short distance from the windows, ample seating will be available to sit and watch the activity.

For more information and directions to the event please visit – http://www.bristolairportspotting.co.uk/bas-events/aviation-fair-2015/

Register your interest in attending the fair by joining the event on Facebook

New World’s Longest Non-Stop Flight Coming from Emirates

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Dubai, Middle East | Posted on 13-08-2015


By Alex Steffler from Houston, TX, US (Emirates  Uploaded by Altair78) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Alex Steffler from Houston, TX, US (Emirates Uploaded by Altair78) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Emirates Airline has announced plans for a new route that will become the world’s longest non-stop scheduled airline flight.

The route will see the airline link its Dubai International base with Panama City Tocumen International in Central America.

The airline plans to operate the route on a daily basis using Boeing 777-200LR aircraft.

“Panama City will be our first destination gateway in Central America, providing a convenient option for our passengers travelling from or through our global hub in Dubai and onward to destinations throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the northern part of South America,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group. “We’re also pleased to be the only commercial airline to offer a daily, First Class service to travellers on what will be the world’s longest non-stop flight.”

Service to Panama City to begin on 1st February 2016. Flight EK251 will depart Dubai at 08:05 and arrive in Panama City at 16:40 daily. The return flight EK252 will leave Panama City at 22:10, arriving in Dubai at 22:55 the next day. That is a 17 hours and 35 minutes flight (westbound), beating the present longest flight operated by Qantas between Sydney and Dallas Ft Worth, which takes 16 hours and 50 minutes.

flydubai to start Dubai World Central flights

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Dubai, Middle East | Posted on 04-08-2015


Flydubai fleet

flydubai, the low-cost airline based at Dubai International Airport, will begin flights for the first time from the new Dubai World Central (DWC) Al Maktoum airport in October.

This move marks an important part of the transition which will ultimately see DWC become the primary airport for Dubai, and eventually the largest airport in the world.

flydubai will begin flights to the following destinations from DWC from 25 October 2015:

  • Amman
  • Beirut
  • Chittagong
  • Doha
  • Kathmandu
  • Kuwait
  • Muscat

Interestingly, all of these destinations will continue to be served by the airline from Dubai International for the time being.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, commenting on the announcement, said: “DWC is the new frontier of aviation in the UAE. There are very few international cities that do not have more than one airport and Dubai is planning to build the world’s largest airport. The start of our new operations at DWC provides further opportunities for growth for flydubai as we take delivery of more than 100 new Boeing aircraft by 2023.  We will continue to play an important role in the future of aviation in the UAE.”

In a planned approach flydubai will progressively grow its operations at DWC over the next few years. In addition, flydubai Cargo will be available offering a range of transport solutions.
Looking ahead at the opportunity the scale of the plans for DWC presents, Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, said: “we see this as the first step to increase opportunities for travel across Dubai. With the delivery of eight new aircraft each year for the next few years and as we prepare for the first delivery of the new model Boeing 737 MAX we remain focussed on supporting travel, trade and tourism by enhancing connectivity from Dubai’s two airports.”

The New LaGuardia Airport is Unveiled

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, North America, USA | Posted on 28-07-2015



Most travellers will concede that New York’s LaGuardia Airport is no longer fit for purpose. What was once a futuristic and flagship airport is now crowded and bursting at the seams. Vice President Joe Biden even compared it to a “third world country” a year ago.

However, an ambitious plan to completely revitalise and rebuild the airport has been unveiled which will address its key problems and outdated terminals.

The airport site, which is crammed between the busy Grand Central Parkway and the East River, will not change or grow. Nor will its two runways, 04/22 and 13/31, which will continue to operate during the changes.

The plan will see the systematic demolition of LaGuardia’s existing three terminals, B, C and D, and a new single structure built in stages to replace them. This will stretch closer to the Parkway, allowing more space to be created for aircraft to maneuver around their gates, and the addition of new taxiways. Passengers will access some gates via aerial walkways over the aprons and taxiways (and aircraft) below, similar to that at London Gatwick.

Construction on the first phase of the project would begin next year, pending final approval by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the airport. A second phase would be overseen by Delta Air Lines, which has agreed to the plans for rebuilding the terminals as LaGuardia’s dominant operator.

This video shows an interesting view of what the redeveloped airport will look like:

LaGuardia’s terminals were voted the worst in the country by Travel and Leisure magazine in most categories, including check-in, security and cleanliness. However, the new single terminal will feature wide open, bright spaces, new concessions and improvements in all aspects of the passenger experience.

“This is what New Yorkers deserve and have deserved for a long time. And now we’re going to get it,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. He added “It’s slow, it’s dated, it has a terrible front-door entrance way to New York.”

The first remade portions of the airport would open to passengers in 2019. The existing Marine Terminal – a historic monument – will be retained and developed into a high-speed water taxi hub.

At present LaGuardia has some opportunities for spotters on the roads around the airport, and this is likely to still be the case (see my new World Airports Spotting Guides book for tips on spotting at LaGuardia Airport). However, what the new terminal will offer remains to be seen. The old Central Terminal Building was a great place for watching aircraft movements, but is sadly no more.


Two new airport bases for Allegiant Air, at Asheville and Cincinnati

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, North America, USA | Posted on 27-07-2015


Allegiant A320

Allegiant Air will establish two new aircraft bases as it continues to expand its offering across the United States.

The airline will open bases as Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina, and Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Asheville will commence on September 1, 2015, with a single aircraft based. It will initially offer better connections for existing routes to Orlando Sanford, Punta Gorda, and St. Petersburg-Clearwater.

Three Airbus A319s will be based at Cincinnatie from 2016, allowing the airline to grow from its current 11 destinations and offer more frequencies.

“The Greater Cincinnati area has quickly become one of our strongest markets with a demonstrated demand for low-cost vacation travel,” said Jude Bricker, senior vice president of planning, Allegiant Travel Company. “The establishment of an aircraft base at Northern Kentucky International Airport will further increase the efficiency of our operations, while continuing our drive to be Cincinnati’s leading low-fare carrier.”

Allegiant is also expanding elsewhere, with new routes from Memphis to Austin-Bergstrom and St. Petersburg-Clearwater from October.

At present, a mix of Airbus A319/20, Boeing 757 and McDonnell Douglas MD-83/88 equipment is used, mainly from regional airports, but with an increasing focus on primary airports.

St. Helena Airport Takes Shape

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airport News, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 24-07-2015



The brand new international airport on the island of St. Helena in the south Atlantic Ocean is finally taking shape almost four years since the contract was signed to herald its development.

The British Overseas Territory – one of the most remote islands on earth – has always relied on the sea for communication and transport to the outside world. But with the regular passenger-carrying vessel, the RMS St. Helena, due to be retired next year, the need for an airport became a priority.

St. Helena Airport is now taking shape, with the final concrete poured onto the runway and work now beginning on lighting, navaids and other infrastructure.

Following this, calibration work will be carried out.

It is expected that St. Helena Airport will see its first scheduled flights in Easter 2016. Carriers confirmed so far are Comair, with a Boeing 737 link to Johannesburg, and Atlantic Star Airlines, which is a new carrier planning to operate a Boeing 757 to the island from the UK.StHelenaAirport

Recently the airport unveiled its new logo, and announced that its official IATA identification code would be HLE, and ICAO code FHSH.

The single runway is 1,950m long and has necessitated the infill of a gorge in order to provide enough flat space for its construction. This length will allow Airbus A320 and Boeing 737/757 aircraft, plus the military C-130 Hercules to fly in. But it would preclude any Category D aircraft, such as the Boeing 767.


Ryanair enters Israel market

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, Middle East, Poland | Posted on 07-07-2015


Ryanair Marrakech

Ryanair has announced its first flights from Israel, with three new routes planned.

The airline will serve Eilat Ovda Airport from Budapest, Kaunas and Krakow from 5th November 2015 using Boeing 737-800s.

Ovda Airport is a joint civil-military field at the southern tip of the country, and around 35 miles north of Eilat, and acts as a secondary airport for the city. It mainly handles seasonal charter and holiday flights from across Europe and Russia, as well as some domestic routes.

It’s Heathrow! UK Airports Commission publishes recommendation

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Heathrow, Miscellaneous Spotting, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 01-07-2015


Heathrow R3 south west option

The UK Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, has given its recommendation that Heathrow be the London airport that gets an extra runway, it has been announced.

The Commission was given the task in 2012 of settling the decades-long argument over where extra capacity should be considered in the south east of England. The two primary airports in the region – Gatwick and Heathrow – are both close to capacity, with Gatwick being the busiest single-runway airport in the world.

However, Heathrow is the busiest hub in the country and has the most need for a new runway (its third), according to the report. It said that, whilst Gatwick’s proposal was plausible, not expanding Heathrow would put the UK at risk of losing out to continental Europe.

Airports at Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle are already way ahead in runway capacity and are attracting growth from airlines.

Whilst this is only the recommendation, the government will make a decision in 2016 on any expansion.

Davies said: “Heathrow … provides the greatest benefits for business passengers, freight operators and the broader economy,” adding “Further delay will be increasingly costly and will be seen nationally and internationally as a sign that the UK is unwilling or unable to take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected, open trading economy,”

Heathrow has estimated that building could start in 2020 and the new runway would be ready in 2025, but that could be held up by the government’s decision and tough planning laws.