Boeing finding homes for ‘terrible teen’ 787s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Asia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, North America, USA | Posted on 03-03-2015


Ethiopian 787 (c) Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

Boeing is making progress on finding homes for the early Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft which have been sat in storage at its Everett Paine Field manufacturing site since the early days of the aircraft.

These particular aircraft were built shortly after the prototypes began flying, with Boeing seeking to catch up on the delays it had incurred. The aircraft were completed, and most had the basic liveries of the airlines who had ordered them applied. But then they didn’t go anywhere.

When I visited Paine Field in early 2012 there were a number of these aircraft scattered around, painted in the colours of Royal Air Maroc, ANA All Nippon Airways, Air India and others.

Since these aircraft were among the first 20 built (hence the nickname ‘terrible teens’) they also incurred vital modifications which were necessary as a result of testing on the prototypes and first delivery aircraft. Notably, there were problems with electrical fires and the strength of the wing assemblies.

All future Dreamliners were built with fixes for these problems, but for the terrible teens a process of modifications took place to make them airworthy; this in turn added extra weight to the airframe and they incurred a range penalty of around 1,000 miles.

Naturally the planned operators of these aircraft demanded newer airframes, leaving the early examples looking for a new home.

Terrible Teen 787s at Paine Field

Terrible Teen 787s at Paine Field

But now Boeing seems set to announce where they’ll be heading. Since the backlog for orders is so great, taking a terrible teen will be a way to jump the queue for any airline – especially those who don’t mind the range restrictions so much, and would prefer to pay a reduced price tag, which presumably is the case for the unwanted aircraft.

Last week it was confirmed that Air Austral would be taking two of the aircraft, to operate from Reunion Island.

Now it looks like Ethiopian Airlines will take up to eight examples.

Garuda Indonesia and Malaysia Airlines have been approached to take some of the jets, according to ch-aviation, and it seems likely Rwandair will take two of the Royal Air Maroc candidates.


2014’s most popular Airport Spotting posts

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Airport News, Asia, Australasia, Australia, Eastern Europe, Germany, Ghana, Heathrow, India, Indonesia, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, Turkey, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 27-12-2014



With 2014 coming to an end and lots to look forward to next year, I wanted to revisit some of our most popular articles from the past year.

These have all had the most views, shares and comments.

What has been your aviation or spotting highlight of 2014? Leave a comment below!



Spotting News

Jakarta Airport FM7 Spotting Hotel
This new spotting hotel was a welcome addition to one of the most interesting airports for spotters to visit.

Guide to aviation and spotting in India
Spotting is notoriously difficult and misunderstood in India, so I put together this guide on what to expect and where to spot in this huge country.

Sydney to close observation deck
Sad new for spotters this year when Sydney’s International Terminal observation deck closed. But all was not lost.

Heathrow opens new viewing area
Few saw this coming – Heathrow opening an official viewing area again! But there was a catch…

ex-Ghana DC-10 turned into a restaurant
A former Ghana Airways Douglas DC-10 has been converted into a restaurant next to the main international airport.

BLOC Hotel Gatwick – Spotting Hotel Review
London’s second busiest airport got a new spotting hotel. I visited this summer and reported here on the excellent views and opportunities.

9 top spotting airports to reach by budget airline
This little guide offers some inspiration on the major international airports that are great to spot at, and also easily reached by budget airlines, helping keep the cost down.



Airline and Aircraft News

SunExpress expand with up to 50 Boeing 737 order
A large order for aircraft from the joint German/Turkish leisure airline SunExpress.

Farnborough Air Show Orders Summary
This year’s Farnborough Air Show brought an unprecedented number of aircraft orders from around the world. We put a summary together here.

Brazil World Cup Special Liveries
This year’s Football World Cup in Brazil brought a number of special airline liveries. See them here!

McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Farewell
The final passenger MD-11 flights took place in 2014. In this farewell piece we look at the history or the aircraft and where you can still see them flying today.


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


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.

9air takes first 737-800

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, China, Indonesia | Posted on 03-09-2014



9air is a new airline based in Guangzhou, China. It has taken delivery of its first aircraft – Boeing 737-800 B-1715 – in an attractive and colourful livery. The aircraft is leased from Lion Airlines.

The airline will offer low cost flights, and begin flying next month once its second aircraft has arrived. Initial routes are from Guangzhou to Shanghai, Chengdu, and Jieyang.

The airline is a subsidiary of Juneyao Airlines, and will eventually have 50 Boeing 737-800s, some of which will be the new MAX models.


Batik Air first A320 revealed

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Indonesia | Posted on 13-06-2014


A320 Batik Air

Batik Air’s first Airbus A320 aircraft has been revealed in Toulouse.

With the airline’s colourful livery, the aircraft will be delivered in Q3 2014 and will be operated by Lion Group’s full service unit Batik Air on its growing domestic and regional network. 

The aircraft is the first from a major order placed by the Lion Group in March 2013 for a total of 234 A320 Family aircraft (109 A320neo, 65 A321neo and 60 A320ceo).

Jakarta Airport FM7 Spotting Hotel

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Indonesia, Spotting Hotels | Posted on 03-03-2014


FM7 spotting hotelA new spotting hotel has emerged at Jakarta Airport and is receiving favourable reviews from spotters who have visited.

The FM7 Resort Hotel is situated close to the end of Runway 25R, and one of the main benefits is the proximity of aircraft approaching this runway, which can be photographed quite easily.

Although the hotel is only two stories high, rooms on the top floor can be found that have good views and are not too obstructed by the surrounding trees. Some rooms also have views across to runway 25L, but SBS is necessary to identify them as they disappear behind the buildings.

The owner of the hotel is aware of the needs of plane spotters and welcomes the trade this brings. A rooftop bar is being constructed which has views of both sides of the airport, although through glass.

The hotel is in a less than ideal neighbourhood, but once inside is quite luxurious and serves good food. It also provides a free shuttle to the airport. Here’s a map of the hotel’s location.

Visit the FM7 Hotel’s webpage here:

If you have visited, leave a comment below and tell us about your experience.

Thai Lion Air to base at Don Mueang Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Indonesia, Spotting News, Thailand | Posted on 27-05-2013


Lion Air 737The new Thai subsidiary of Indonesia’s Lion Air is likely to base six Boeing 737-800s at Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport later in 2013.

The airline will be named Thai Lion Air and will go head-to-head with Thai Smile, Nok Air, and Thai AirAsia by operating low-cost domestic and regional routes from the capital.

The choice of Bangkok’s older airport continues the revival of its fortunes. Whilst it was once empty following the move to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang is now enjoying a renaissance as a low-cost airport.

Lion Air looks to Airbus in 234 aircraft order

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Indonesia | Posted on 18-03-2013


A320neo Lion Air © Airbus S.A.S 2013Lion Air of Indonesia has switched sole allegiance from Boeing by ordering 234 Airbus A320 and A320neo family aircraft.

To date, Lion Air has operated a large fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, in addition to the McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90 series aircraft it began operations with. However, today the low-cost carrier announced the firm order from the European manufacturer.

The order comprises:

60x Airbus A320 classic
109x Airbus A320neo
65 Airbus A321neo

The neo, or New Engine Option, is a rework of the best-selling Airbus A320 family which offers better operating economics and fuel efficiency.

Lion Air still has over 200 of Boeing’s re-engined 737-900MAX aircraft on order. The airline is set to become one of the largest low-cost operators in the world.



Where can you fly on a Shorts SD360? Last Chance to Fly

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Aruba, Asia, Canada, Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Israel, Middle East, North America, South America, Venezuela | Posted on 17-11-2012


Shorts 360The Shorts SD-360 was a funny-looking commuter plane. Built alongside its twin Shorts SD-330 type, the 360 can be recognised for having a single fin (compared to the twin fins on the 330).

The aircraft was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland, between 1981-1991, and in total there were 164 examples built.

It was used around the world, popular with commuter and regional airlines in the UK and USA in particular. It was certainly a common sight in my youth, but sadly I never got to fly on the ‘Shed’, as it was commonly referred to. And today, it seems you hardly see them anywhere, save for a few cargo examples.

So, how many are still flying passengers, and where can you fly them? Here’s some information which is covered in the new update of Last Chance to Fly – our book on flying rarer passenger aircraft:

Airlines Still Flying Passenger SD-360s

Air Seychelles still operates a single Short 360 on its inter-island route to Praslin Island. They used to have a larger fleet of the aircraft.

Deraya Air Taxi operate two Short 360s from their Jakarta Halim base in Indonesia. These aircraft are used on commuter and air taxi flights.

Tiara Air of Aruba has two Short 360 aircraft in its fleet. These fly on routes around the Caribbean.

SAP – Servicios Aereos Profesionales, is a regional airline based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They have one Short 360-100 which is used on Caribbean routes.

Central America
La Costeña is a regional airline based in Managua, Nicaragua. It has one Short 360 in its fleet, which is flown on domestic routes.

Middle East
Ayeet Aviation & Tourism of Israel operate a single Short 360 aircraft on domestic services within Israel.

North America
Pacific Coastal Airlines, based in Vancouver, have two passenger Short 360’s in their fleet. These fly on services within British Columbia from Vancouver to Comox and Campbell River.


Passenger Examples

SH3602 – YN-CGF, La Costena – Managua, Nicaragua
SH3619 – P4-TIA, Tiara Air – Oranjestad, Aruba
SH3620 – C-GPCF, Pacific Coastal Airlines – Vancouver, Canada
SH3621 – P4-TIB, Tiara Air – Oranjestad, Aruba
SH3622 – C-GPCW, Pacific Coastal Airlines – Vancouver, Canada
SH3672 – HI657, SAP Servicios Aereos Profesionales – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
SH3713 – YV396T, Comeravia – Margarita, Venezuela
SH3724 – S7-PRI, Air Seychelles – Mahe Island, Seychelles
SH3743 – PK-DSS, Deraya Air Taxi – Jakarta Halim, Indonesia
SH3757 – PK-DSH, Deraya Air Taxi – Jakarta Halim, Indonesia
SH3758 – 4X-AVP, Ayeet Aviation & Tourism – Be Er-Sheba, Israel

Last Chance to Fly EBookLast Chance to Fly 2012 – ebook

Our latest book, Last Chance to Fly, is available to buy online now. The digital version of this book lists the world’s rarest passenger aircraft types, and where to find them and fly on them.

Click here to find out more and buy a copy.

Jakarta airlines move back to Halim Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Indonesia, Spotting News | Posted on 30-06-2012


licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licenseHalim Airport in Jakarta was the city’s main airport until 1985, when the new Soekarno-Hatta International Airport opened to replace it.

Since then Halim has been a base for government and military flights, plus a few domestic operators and air taxi companies. I had the pleasure of taking an airside tour there in 2004, and noted lots of old airliners stored around the airfield, and a few cargo operators also making use of the facility.

Now, news has surfaced that Garuda’s Citilink subsidiary, along with Merpati Nusantara, and the new Lion Air subsidiary Batik Air, are all to relocate operations to Halim airport from early 2013.

The move is to help combat the severe overcrowding at Soekarno-Hatta, which receives more than double its designed capacity.

It is understood that the move would be a temporary one, whilst Angkasa Pura (AP) II, the planning agency, constructs additional apron space at Soekarno-Hatta and modifies Terminal 3 to handle more passengers. They will also assess the future role of Halim to make sure best use is made of Jakarta’s airport facilities.