ANA Star Wars planes coming to a galaxy near you

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Japan | Posted on 18-08-2015


ANA Star Wars Planes

ANA All Nippon Airways has released details of yet more Star Wars liveries for its aircraft, which will be appearing in a galaxy – or at least an airport – near you soon!

In an agreement with The Walt Disney Company, which owns the Star Wars franchise, the airline will now be painting three aircraft in total in special schemes to promote the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is due for release in December.

The aircraft chosen for the special Star Wars planes include a Boeing 767-300, a 777-300ER and a 787-9 Dreamliner.

ANA launched the Star Wars Project in April 2015 after signing a five year promotion license contract for the Star Wars brand with The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd. As part of the agreement, the ANA Star Wars planes’ will also display in-flight decorations, such as headrest covers, paper napkins and cups featuring Star Wars characters – more details will be announced at a later date. The partnership also means ANA will be the only airline in the world to offer all six of the currently released Star Wars films as part of its extensive in-flight entertainment options on international routes. This will be the first time that any of the Star Wars movies have been included as part of an in-flight entertainment system.




The three ANA Star Wars planes will fly international and domestic routes. On October 18, the R2-D2™ ANA Jet (787-9) is scheduled to go into service on international routes, initially as flight NH116 between Tokyo and Vancouver, and then fly between Japan and other cities in ANA’s robust international network including the US (Seattle and San Jose), Europe (Munich, Paris and Brussels), Australia (Sydney), China (Beijing), and Indonesia (Jakarta).

In November, the Star Wars™ ANA Jet will fly domestic Japanese routes, and then in March 2016 the BB-8™ ANA Jet (777-300ER) is scheduled to start serving international routes principally between Japan and North America.

You’ll be able to follow the schedules on the special website,

Another Dreamliner donated to a museum

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Japan, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 25-06-2015


Boeing has donated another of its prototype 787 Dreamliner aircraft to a museum.

This time the first prototype to fly, ZA001 / N787BA, has been sent to Japan for preservation!

The aircraft flew from Seattle to Nagoya Chubu Airport on 22nd June, where it will be put on display and made accessible to the public. Fittingly two of the crew members who flew this aircraft on the 787s maiden flight in 2009 were the ones to ferry it to Japan.

Japan had a lot of involvement in the 787 programme, helping to fund development. Its two main carriers, ANA and Japan Air Lines, were also the first to operate the type commercially.

Two other Dreamliners were recently donated to museums, with ZA002 / N787EX sent to the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, AZ, and ZA003 / N787BX retired at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.


Top 10 airports to number crunch at

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, China, Dubai, Eastern Europe, Frankfurt, Germany, Heathrow, Japan, Middle East, North America, Turkey, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 30-04-2015


If you’re the kind of spotter who likes to number crunch… that is, collect aircraft registration (or tail) numbers… then there are certain airports and spotting locations that are made for you. At these locations you’re likely to see lots of aircraft in a short period of time, and make the most numbers in your book possible.

Whilst everyone reading this will live in a different location and probably already have seen the aircraft of certain airlines, hopefully at least some of the airports will be an inspiration of how to make more inroads into filling your logbooks on future spotting trips.

If you have a particular favourite, or would like to suggest another airport, leave a comment below!


1. Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International


Atlanta Airport

Atlanta has been for many years the busiest airport in the world. Last year it handled almost 900,000 aircraft movements and, as home to Delta Air Lines, most of them were flown by its aircraft and those of its feeder partners. Southwest Airlines is also a major carrier here, along with a number of interesting international airlines.

Atlanta doesn’t offer any official viewing areas, but for most spotters here the only place to go is the Renaissance Concourse Hotel on the southern perimeter. A room (which will have a balcony) facing the airport on a higher floor will be paradise for plane spotters. It is a bit distant to photograph airliners on anything but the nearest runway, but with good binoculars and the help of flight tracking software you will log hundreds of aircraft registrations each day.


2. Dallas Fort Worth


Dallas Ft Worth

A huge airport in Texas, with seven runways and a complex of five terminals in the central area. Dallas Fort Worth is the home base of American Airlines, whose fleet of aircraft numbers almost 1,000 including that of regional partner Envoy and the former US Airways fleet. So if you need to add these aircraft to your log books, this airport is a good place to begin as movements are non-stop all day long.

The best place to watch aircraft at Dallas Fort Worth is the official Founders Plaza observation area off Highway 114. You’ll see a lot of aircraft movements from here, but with so many runways it’s hard to catch everything!

You can also do a loop on the Skylink Train monorail which passes all terminals with elevated views over many gate areas.


3. Oshkosh Wittman Regional



Oshkosh for most of the year is a quiet regional airport with various general aviation and executive aircraft movements, along with historic aircraft from the interesting EAA Museum on site. However, come here for a week at the end of July each year and you’ll encounter the world’s busiest airport as it plays host to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Air Show. In recent years up to 15,000 aircraft have flown into the airport over the course of the air show week, with number crunchers filling multiple notebooks and all available time trying to catch everything! One pro tip is to photograph rows of aircraft and note them down later when you have more time, as logging everything simply becomes too demanding.

Most aircraft visiting Oshkosh during the air show are light aircraft, however you will also see many interesting experimental, historic, military and airliner aircraft in attendance to sweeten the log.


4. London Heathrow


Airbus A380 at Heathrow's Myrtle Avenue Spotting Location

Airbus A380 approaching Heathrow’s Myrtle Avenue Spotting Location

The busiest airport in the United Kingdom, and one of the busiest airports for international flights. Heathrow is great for its mix of airlines arriving from all over the world. Although there are a lot of European and North American carriers, plus British Airways and Virgin Atlantic aircraft, interesting carriers more than make up for it. The airport is also one of the busiest for Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft.

There are a number of places to spot around the perimeter, plus the Renaissance Hotel has great views and even does spotter packages! One of the favourite spotting locations when arrivals are from the east is Myrtle Avenue.


5. Dubai International


Dubai Airport © Dubai Airports

Having newly taken the crown of the busiest international airport in the world from Heathrow (see above), Dubai continues to offer a mouthwatering mix of aircraft from around the world. True, most movements are by the impressive Emirates Airline, with its huge fleet of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, but other types from around the Middle East and Asia are fascinating to see and often very rare to the log book.

Spotting can be tricky (and misunderstood) here, so it’s best to find a hotel with a view, such as the excellent Sheraton Deira or the Nojoum Apartments.


6. Istanbul Ataturk International


Istanbul Spotting

Turkish Airlines’ phenomenal growth over recent years has thrust Istanbul’s two airports into the major leagues. Almost 57 million passengers used the larger Ataturk airport last year, mainly on Turkish Airlines’ flights, but also on a variety of other interesting carriers from around the world. It’s also a great airport for interesting cargo movements, often using some older airliners.

There is a shopping mall alongside one of the runways at Ataturk, with a seating area as part of the food court that overlooks the runway and is close enough to see all movements. Spotters are rarely bothered as long as they buy food and drink. Then, on an evening you can retire to a room at the Radisson Blu hotel, which has rooms overlooking the runway and taxiways.


7. Beijing Capital



With almost 90 million passengers flying through last year, Beijing Capital is teetering on the verge of becoming the busiest in the world. It is certainly the busiest in Asia and China, and an obvious place to make dents into logging aircraft, particularly from the many domestic and regional airlines in China, and the airlines from around the Far East.

Although Capital is due to be superseded by a new airport in the coming years, for the time being it will keep on going, bursting at the seams.

The best place to spot is at the southern end of the airport, where there are a variety of locations just under the approach path to two of the runways. These can be walked to from the terminal, or ask a taxi driver to take you.


8. Tokyo Haneda



Haneda is the busiest airport in Japan, and home to most of the domestic aircraft fleets in the country – namely the ones you are unlikely to see anywhere else in the world… and there are lot of them! In addition to this, the airport is regaining international flights at a good rate after years of living in the shadow of nearby Narita.

The airport has three official observation decks – one on each terminal. These are the best, and easiest, places to spot from to log aircraft. However, the problem with them is that you can’t see all movements from just one deck. So you’ll have to move around a bit. The decks on Terminal 1 and 2 are probably the best.


9. Frankfurt Main


Frankfurt Terminal 2 Visitors Terrace

Frankfurt is another of Europe’s more interesting airports, and one of the busiest. Like Heathrow it has a really nice mix of international airlines flying in, as well as the fleet of Lufthansa and its partners, plus a variety of charter and low cost airlines.

Spotting at Frankfurt is possible from a few locations, but these are spread out and none is perfect for catching all movements. The observation area on Terminal 2 is good for seeing aircraft on the ground and the main runways. There is also a small viewing area alongside the departure-only runway 18, but you’ll need a taxi or car to get there.


10. Van Nuys



Van Nuys Airport is in the north of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley. It doesn’t handle any airline services at present, however it is on of the world’s busiest general aviation airports. It has two parallel runways, and last year handled over 260,000 aircraft movements. General aviation doesn’t just mean light aircraft… Van Nuys also handles a great number of executive movements, with all manner of biz jets.

The best place to spot aircraft at Van Nuys is the dedicated viewing area off Woodley Avenue at the end of Waterman Drive on the eastern side of the airport. You’ll see all runway movements from here.

Last Airbus A300B2 retired from passenger service

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Iran, Japan, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 27-02-2015


A300B2 MahanAir (c) Mohammad Razzazan

The final example of the first model Airbus A300B2 has been retired from passenger service by Iranian carrier Mahain Air after a career spanning 34 years.

Originally delivered to Japanese airline TOA Domestic Airlines in 1981 and later joining Japan Air System, EP-MHA (c/n 160) started flying for Mahan Air in 2006 on routes around Iran and the Middle East.

Now the aircraft has been ferried to Kerman, according to ch-aviation, to join two other stablemates which were retired recently. It is expected that the aircraft will be scrapped rather than going on to serve with another airline.

It is expected that Mahan Air will also retire its ageing A300B4 fleet this year, too.

Mitsubishi Regional Jet rolled out

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


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.

ANA set to debut 787-9 on 4 August

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Australasia, Japan, New Zealand, North America, USA | Posted on 25-07-2014


787 ANA

ANA All Nippon Airways will take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 aircraft on 28th July direct from Everett.

The airline will be the first to operate the stretched model of the Dreamliner when it operates a special flight from Tokyo Haneda airport over Mount Fuji carrying Japanese and American elementary school children living in Japan. These, the airline says, are the “next generation of air passengers.”

ANA will initially operate the 787-9 on domestic routes within Japan.

International flights will follow from April 2015.

In addition to this new, fellow launch customer Air New Zealand plans to start commercial flights between Auckland and Sydney with their new 787-9s from August.

Find out all the Boeing 787 Routes here.

3 Cheap Airport View Hotels – 10% off code!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Heathrow, Japan, North America, Spotting Hotels, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 10-07-2014


If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve probably visited so many airport hotels that they’ve become something of a blur to you — difficult to distinguish from one another. In most cases, their most notable amenity — proximity to the airport and your next flight — is the only reason you’ve selected them.

However, among the world’s thousands of airport hotels, some offer spectacular views of flights arriving and departing from the airport, a welcome change from watching the TV to pass your time. And among these hotels with striking airport views, a select few are affordably priced, making them all the more desirable.

Here are three such properties. All combine memorable airport views with reasonable room rates ($200 per night or less), which sets them apart from run-of-the-mill airport hotels the world over.

As an added incentive for readers of this website, you can get an additional 10 percent discount on any reservations — for these or other hotels — booked through on or before July 31, 2014. More about this later.

Narita Tobu Hotel Airport

Many rooms at Narita Tobu Hotel Airport offer excellent views of arriving and departing flights at Tokyo's Narita International Airport.

Many rooms at Narita Tobu Hotel Airport offer excellent views of arriving and departing flights at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.

In 2013, Narita International Airport, which serves Tokyo, ranked 13th among the world’s busiest airports in terms of passenger traffic, serving more than 30.5 million passengers. Located nearby, the 12-story Narita Tobu Hotel Airport offers excellent views of airport action from most guestrooms on its upper floors.

If watching the comings and goings at Narita is important to you, be sure to request a room with a good airport view when booking your reservations. If the view from your room is less than perfect, relax with a drink in the hotel’s top-floor cocktail lounge, where you can be sure to catch all the action.

With rates as low as $116 per night, the hotel is a real bargain. Each of its 484 units features a mini-refrigerator, coffee/tea maker, complimentary wired Internet connection, desk/work area, and an en-suite bathroom with combination shower/tub and complimentary toiletries.

Other hotel amenities include an indoor swimming pool, health club, sauna, conference/meeting rooms, airport shuttle (complimentary during limited hours), free parking, gift shop/newsstand, game room, and restaurant.

Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel

From your room in Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel, you can watch flights come and go at the busiest airport in the United States.

From your room in Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel, you can watch flights come and go at the busiest airport in the United States.

For a front-row seat to all the runway action at America’s busiest airport, book a room at Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel, where room rates start at less than $100 a night. Many of the guestrooms and suites at the 11-story hotel directly overlook the runways at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which in 2012 handled nearly 46 million passengers.

The hotel’s 380 air-conditioned units have plenty of amenities, including cable/satellite TV with premium movie channels, room service, mini-refrigerators, Internet access (for surcharge), and en-suite bathrooms with shower/tub combinations, hair dryers, and designer toiletries.

Other hotel facilities and services include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a sauna, business center, health club, meeting rooms, a gift shop, porter/bellhop service, safe deposit boxes, and complimentary airport shuttle service.

ibis London Heathrow Airport

The sleekly contemporary front desk at the ibis London Heathrow Airport belies the hotel's cut-rate accommodations.

The sleekly contemporary front desk at the ibis London Heathrow Airport belies the hotel’s cut-rate accommodations.

Part of an international chain of economy hotels, ibis London Heathrow Airport sits near the heart of the action at London’s Heathrow Airport, which in 2013 was the world’s busiest airport according to Airports Council International. From the hotel’s rooms you can see plenty of airport action. What makes a stay at ibis even more attractive are its affordable rates, which start as low as $80.

Each of the air-conditioned guestrooms in the six-story hotel offers cable TV with premium channels, coffee/tea maker, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Some handicap-accessible rooms are available.

Other amenities at ibis include a 24-hour snack bar, business services, 24-hour front desk, parking, and shuttle service to all terminals (added fee). The on-site Foggs restaurant and bar serves breakfast and dinner daily.

To take advantage of’s limited-time discount coupon for followers of Airport Spotting, visit the Loyalty Coupon gateway of Enter discount code AIRPORTSPOTTING10 in the appropriate field to get 10 percent off the site’s already very-affordable rates on any reservations booked on or before July 31, 2014.

Don Amerman is a travel expert based in Florida and Pennsylvania. He has traveled widely across the United States and overseas as well.

Skymark and Qatar Airways A380 delays

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Japan, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Qatar, USA | Posted on 23-06-2014



Japan’s Skymark Airlines has delayed delivery of its first Airbus A380 by six months. The first example will now arrive in February or March 2015, and begin flying between Tokyo Narita and New York JFK initially.

The delay is due to problems with fitting the aircraft’s interior.

This news comes after Qatar Airways announced it was also delaying its first A380 delivery due to problems with the interior installation. It will now take its first aircraft later this summer.

5 Airports for Crosswind Landing Videos

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Germany, Japan, Miscellaneous Spotting, Portugal, Spotting Videos, Switzerland, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 11-05-2014


If you want to get out there and capture some stunning videos or pictures of crosswind landings, here is some inspiration from five different airports.

The key to emphasising the crosswind is to be positioned looking down the runway, either in front of or behind arriving traffic.

Birmingham, UK

Dusseldorf, Germany

Funchal, Madeira

Tokyo Narita, Japan

Zurich, Switzerland


Airport Spotting Guides Europe book

Airport Spotting Guides Europe

Comprehensive guide book to Europe’s best airports for spotting aircraft. Includes:

  • Maps with spotting locations marked
  • Spotting hotels
  • Airlines, runway details, radio frequencies
  • Nearby aviation attractions – museums, airfields, preserved aircraft.

Perfect for your spotting trips. Buy your copy here!

Japan Transocean Air orders 737-800s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Japan | Posted on 27-03-2014


Japan Trans Ocean Air 737 NGJapan Transocean Air has placed an order for 12 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, valued at $1.1 billion at list prices, which will mark the start of the airline’s fleet renewal program with the new airplanes scheduled to enter into service from 2016. As part of the agreement, JTA will have the flexibility to switch to the 737 MAX family of aircraft.

A member of the Japan Airlines Group, JTA is based in Naha, Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost island chain. Currently, the airline operates a fleet of 737-400 airplanes on domestic routes linking Okinawa with major Japanese cities as well as other islands within Okinawa.