Xiamen Airlines’ first 787 delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, China, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 01-09-2014


787-8 XIA #201-ZA680

Hot on the heels of the first Boeing 787 delivery to Royal Jordanian, the Chinese carrier Xiamen Airlines has also received its first Dreamliner.

B-2768 was delivered from Everett Paine Field on 29th August. With this, Xiamen Airlines becomes the third Chinese airline to operate the 787. The airline will use the 787 on long-haul routes from its Fujian province base to Europe, North America and Australia.

As part of Xiamen Airlines’ 12th five-year plan ending 2015, the carrier plans to grow its fleet to 150 airplanes, including six 787s. The 787 is the most advanced airplane in commercial aviation and will help Xiamen Airlines develop more point-to-point routes globally, while also establishing the airline as an emerging force in the commercial aviation market.

From our Boeing 787 Routes page, Xiamen Airlines plans to initially operate their 787s on the following routes:

Xiamen – Amsterdam Schiphol
Xiamen – New York
Xiamen – Paris Charles de Gaulle
Xiamen – Sydney
Xiamen – Vancouver

Finnair A350 routes announced

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, China, Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Western Europe | Posted on 16-08-2014


A350XWB Finnair

Finnair has announced an initial batch of routes that it will fly with its Airbus A350 aircraft.

The airline has opted for the A350-900 model, and will take delivery of the first of 11 aircraft on order in the middle of 2015. It has eight options for additional aircraft.

The first routes to be operated by the A350 will be from Helsinki to Bangkok, Beijing, and Shanghai. They are likely to commence in the second half of 2015.

Additionally, Hong Kong and Singapore will be added in 2016.

For Finnair, the A350 will be its flagship long haul aircraft, and these are the airline’s flagship international routes, as it has a significant presence on the Europe – Asia network.

Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo said: “Since Finnair’s founding in 1923, we have had a long history of operations using the most advanced aircraft available,” he added ”As the first European operator of the A350, we are proud to carry forward this tradition on behalf of our passengers, whose safety and comfort remain our first priority.”

TAAG Angola aims to develop Luanda into large hub

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Airport News, Belgium, Brazil, China, Dubai, France, Heathrow, Italy, Middle East, Portugal, South America, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 01-04-2014


TAAG_777-3M2ERTAAG Angola Airlines is planning to turn its Luanda Airport base into a hub to link Central Africa with worldwide destinations in association with Emirates Airline.

TAAG is currently on the EU banned airline list, but it is hoped it will emerge soon and begin expanding its connections to Europe, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, London Heathrow, Paris CDG, and Rome Fiumicino.

Luanda will also be linked through Dubai via Emirates, who will also take on TAAG’s links to Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo.

A new airport is being built at Luanda which will be able to handle this increased traffic, and match modern standards expected at airports.

China Southern first 777-300 delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, China, North America, USA | Posted on 26-02-2014


777 China Southern Delivery EventChina Southern Airlines has taken delivery of its first Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, registered B-2099.

The new airplane is the first of 10 777-300ERs China Southern has on order with Boeing.

“The 777-300ER’s long-haul capability is a perfect fit for our network expansion plans as it will enable us serve our existing long-range markets more efficiently and open new routes in the future,” said Zhang Zifang, Chief Operating Officer, China Southern Airlines. “The 777-300ER will support the development of Guangzhou as our main international hub and will be a vital part of our ‘Canton Route’ services.”

China Southern plans to operate its first 777-300ER on its new North America routes, where it will be able to directly connect passengers in the southern region of China to the eastern coast of the United States.


Air China Cargo to add 757 and 777 aircraft

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, China, Frankfurt, Germany, Japan, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 05-11-2013


Air China 777Air China Cargo has announced plans to introduce both Boeing 757 and 777 freighters to its operation.

A total of five converted Air China 757s will join the fleet, with the first beginning domestic flights from Chengdu to Nanjing in mid-November.

Eight Boeing 777 freighters are on order, which will be used on international services to Frankfurt and Osaka amongst others. They will begin flying in January 2014.


(credit CH-Aviation)

Thai AirAsia to set up Chiang Mai base

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Asia, China, Thailand | Posted on 11-09-2013


Air Asia A320Thai AirAsia is set to re-establish a base at Chiang Mai in northern Thailand in order to establish itself further in the Chinese market.

It already serves a number of domestic destinations from Chiang Mai, and intends to add services into China when this new base opens – which could be as soon as November 2013.

Where to fly Scoot

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Australasia, Australia, China, Japan, Miscellaneous Spotting, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand | Posted on 02-09-2013


(c) FlyScootScoot is the long-haul low-cost arm of Singapore Airlines. It recently celebrated its first anniversary, having launched operations between Singapore and Sydney on 4th June 2012.

The airline flies Boeing 777-200 aircraft in a bright yellow colour scheme. The airline recently added Seoul, South Korea, to its network. So where can you catch a Scoot aircraft? They currently fly to the following destinations (all from Singapore Changi):

  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Gold Coast, Australia
  • Nanjing, China
  • Qingdao, China
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Shenyang, China
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • Tianjin, China
  • Tokyo Narita, Japan

Have you flown with Scoot? How do they compare to other low cost carriers in Asia?


Air New Zealand announces 787 routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Australasia, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, North America, Pacific, USA | Posted on 05-07-2013


Air New Zealand 787-9Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the Boeing 787-9 variant. It has recently announced the destinations it will send the aircraft to once it takes delivery in 2014. They are:

Auckland – Honolulu
Auckland – Papeete
Auckland – Perth
Auckland – Shanghai Pudong
Auckland – Tokyo Narita

Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the 787-9 is a game changer for the airline.

“This modern flexible fuel efficient aircraft will not only replace our current fleet of Boeing 767s, it also represents a significant growth opportunity for our business and opens up the prospect of expanding our Pacific Rim footprint.


Journey to the classic aircraft haven of North Korea

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, China, North Korea, Spotting Trip Reports | Posted on 11-06-2013


P-561 Tu154Mark Williams recently joined Juche Travel Services on one of their enthusiasts’ tours to North Korea to explore and fly on the country’s classic Russian aircraft. Here for you to enjoy is his account and pictures of the trip.


With the announcement by China that all the old classics are now banned on scheduled services to the country, it meant that the request to lay on an IL-62 for the Beijing to Pyongyang flight (which was granted last year) was denied, with services to Beijing now being purely in the hands of the 2 Tu-204’s and the AN148. Resultantly, it was Tu-204 P-633 that whisked a hugely excited group into the unknown.


The majority of the active (and not so active) Air Koryo fleet can be found on the single large ramp, and, by the end of the week, you will know exactly where every aircraft will be positioned. To step out onto the ramp on landing to be surrounded by the majority of what for me is by far the most interesting fleet on Earth was indescribable. A dream fulfilled, and it was going to take some time for it all to sink in. All 3 IL-76’s (P-912, P-913 and P-914) were present, as were IL-18 P-835, AN148 P-671, TU-134 P-814, TU-154’s P-552 and P-561, IL-62’s P-881 and P-885, AN24’s P-532, P-533 and P-537 along with the little present from Stalin in the shape of IL14 535.

Pyongyang Line-Up

I looked down at my pad on the coach from the airport to the hotel and could hardly believe a full column of P- registrations dominated the page. Priceless. So what of the remaining aircraft that weren’t on the ramp when we landed? Listen up those taking one of the future tours. When you taxi in from the runway to the terminal, on your right hand side you will see 2 stored aircraft. These are the other IL18 P-836 and TU154 P-551. Both are stored but fully intact. I am a reg reader, so have to read it off for myself in order to claim it and was concerned that these two may be difficult. The TU154 is at the front and easily readable, with the IL18 behind. However, the reg can be read off from the aircraft during taxi in, and also when you do the tour of the IL14 which is parked at the far end of the ramp. This left 5 other aircraft I wanted to see – P-553, a TU154, P-813, the other TU134, P-632, the other TU204 and the 2 government IL62’s, P618 and P-882.

P-671 An148

Firstly, forget the 2 government IL62’s – they are kept in a hangar behind some trees a distance from the ramp and you will get nowhere near. There is of course a chance that you are extremely lucky and see them active, but don’t expect to catch sight of either beast.

P-814 Tu134

Luck was on our side with regards TU134 P-813. Again on your right hand side as you taxi in, before you get to the stored IL18 and TU154, you will see a single taxi way that heads up between a row of trees. The hangar mentioned above is behind these trees, but through the gap in the trees, P-813 was handily parked right in the middle. I don’t know if this was just luck or it can normally be seen there, but if this is where it is normally parked (it may just have been in the hangar area for attention) you will only see it on taxi in and out of the airport – so stay alert and hopefully luck will also be on your side.


I enquired to an Air Koryo representative about the whereabouts of TU154 P-553, and he said that contrary to recent reports, the aircraft still exists (but in what state I do not know) and has been moved to a nearby aviation training centre and is no longer part of the Air Koryo fleet. He confirmed that they still had just 2 active TU154’s at their disposal (P-561 and P-552).

P-912 Il76

Along with P-633, TU204 P-632 operates the bulk of the Air Koryo scheduled services, so while it wasn’t on the deck when we landed, we saw it numerous times during the week.

P-633 Tu204

Lastly, the ex-Cubana IL62 (P-886P) has been dismantled for parts and no remains were evident during our visit.

P-835 Il18

All charter and optional pleasure flights were operated as promised by Air Koryo, so the group enjoyed flights on TU204, IL18, TU134, AN24, IL62, IL76 and TU154 aircraft. Not exactly your usual line up for a week of flying. All of the aircraft were in extremely good condition, and particularly in the case of the IL18, TU134, AN24 and TU154 flights, adequate opportunities were given to get shots of the aircraft from all angles, with Air Koryo even removing the stairs and positioning them at a location from where we were allowed to climb them again for some stunning elevated images. This was particularly rewarding for the IL18 flight, where stunning images of the 4 prop were captured with the awesome snow capped volcano MountPeaktuin the background. Memorable indeed.

P-537 An24

And that’s about all the advice I can give regarding the craft of Air Koryo. All I will say is that if you are tempted to do one of the trips, do so. I am absolutely sure you will not regret it. David of Juche Travel Services is a dream to do business with and I do not hesitate to recommend their services 100%. Do not believe all the hype – while their ideology is different from ours, it is absolutely nothing like I thought it would be – it is clean, safe, fascinating, extremely beautiful and the people are an absolute joy to spend the week with. While I consider myself extremely fortunate to have travelled with such an entertaining group (I really didn’t expect to be in tears of laughter for most of the week), I think it was best summed up on the last night by one of the participants, who said “I never expected to be leaving North Korea missing the people and the place as much as the aircraft”. If you are booked on one of the upcoming trips, you are in for a treat. If you are not, but would like to, do not hesitate. You will not regret it or ever forget it.

Lufthansa A380s coming to Shanghai

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, China, Frankfurt, Germany, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 20-04-2013


© Photographer: Jens Görlich - © CGI: MO CGI GbRLufthansa will introduce its Airbus A380 to one of its flights from Frankfurt to Shanghai Pudong Airport from September.

The aircraft will operate on Mondays and Wednesdays (Tuesdays and Thursdays from Shanghai) from 26 September.

From the winter season the Boeing 747-400 will replace the Airbus A340-600 on Lufthansa‘s daily departure to Shanghai. The A380 operates in addition to this daily service.