Two 787-9s unveiled in Seattle

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Australasia, Miscellaneous Spotting, New Zealand, North America, USA | Posted on 09-04-2014

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Two of the new stretched Boeing 787-9 aircraft have been unveiled in their airline colours at Seattle in the past week.

ANZ in paint Hangar before rollout

Air New Zealand’s first aircraft was unveiled on 6 April wearing a smart all black livery (similar to that seen on the airline’s Airbus A320s).

Air New Zealand Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan, who was in Seattle for the unveiling, says it’s exciting to see the 787-9 in Air New Zealand colours for the first time.

“It’s great to see the Koru and the beautiful New Zealand fern emblazoned on this aircraft. This will soon be the first 787-9 aircraft anywhere in the world to operate commercially and I think it will instil a sense of pride in Kiwis and turn heads when it touches down at airports throughout Asia and the Pacific.”

United 787-9 Factory Rollout - April 8, 2014

Then, yesterday United Airlines’ first 787-9 was rolled out of the hanger fully painted.

Over the next several months, the aircraft will move to the next phase of completion, which includes final cabin configuration and painting. United’s 787-9 will be configured with 252 seats. United’s first 787-9 will also be one of five aircraft used by Boeing in a flight test program to certify the aircraft.

Boeing 787-9 to visit Auckland in January

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Australasia, Australia, New Zealand | Posted on 03-01-2014

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787-9 First FlightBoeing will be bringing its 787-9 to Auckland in early January to visit launch customer Air New Zealand. This will be the first international trip for the new, extended model of Dreamliner.

“Having one of Air New Zealand’s 787-9s touch down on Kiwi soil for the first time is hugely exciting,” said Christopher Luxon, chief executive officer, Air New Zealand. “It’s a real reminder that we will soon welcome the first of these more modern, fuel-efficient airplanes into our fleet.”

The aircraft, ZB002, is the second of three 787-9s dedicated to the test program. As the only 787-9 test aircraft to be fitted with elements of the passenger interior, in addition to test racks and instrumentation, Boeing uses ZB002 to test the environmental control system and other aspects of aircraft performance. After the test program is complete, the aircraft will be reconfigured for delivery to Air New Zealand.

From Auckland, ZB002 is scheduled to continue on to Alice Springs, Australia, where Boeing plans to conduct flight testing in hot weather. Boeing chose Alice Springs Airport for this testing because the location meets specific test requirements for both facilities and atmospheric conditions. Testing is contingent on favorable weather and is scheduled to last approximately one week.

Top 5 spotting airports in January

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Africa, Australasia, Eastern Europe, Greece, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, New Zealand, North America, South Africa, USA | Posted on 31-12-2013

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January – typically a cold month for those in Europe and the USA; a month where people try to make new starts and pursue the resolutions they made at the end of the last year.

The weather doesn’t have to be a hindrance for your spotting. Here are five suggestions of places to spot in January.

 

Los Angeles International
One of the greatest airports in America. Los Angeles boasts sunshine and warmer temperatures than most of the country at this time of the year, and the sunlight is always great for photography. Head to one of the locations around the perimeter and snap some heavies landing.

Skiathos Airport

Johannesburg O R Tambo
South Africa’s principal airport is great at this time of year – warm, sunny and with lots of daylight. The airport is a hub for South African Airways, and a focal point for many African operators. You can also see a number of older aircraft operating here.

Skiathos
Dubbed the St. Maarten of Europe, the Greek island of Skiathos is an amazing place for the aircraft spotter and photographer. With average temperatures in the low teens, it is much more pleasant than the rest of Europe, and always popular with charter airlines.

Abu Dhabi
Always hot at this time of year, Abu Dhabi is an up-and-coming alternative to Dubai. Hub for Etihad Airways, the airport has a new Premier Inn with views of aircraft movements, making a much cheaper alternative to Dubai’s Sheraton Deira.

NZ Warbirds DC-3 Dakota Ardmore

Auckland
Catch up with aviation in New Zealand at its principal gateway and home hub of Air New Zealand. Auckland has a pleasant climate at this time of year, and offers some great local aviation attractions in addition to the airlines it serves, such as Ardmore Airport and its classic aircraft.

 
Whatever you get up to with your spotting in January, remember to comment on which airports you’ve been to and send us your tips and photographs from around the world!

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

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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.

 

Where to spot the new Fiji Airways A330

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Australasia, Australia, New Zealand, North America, Pacific, Pacific, USA | Posted on 20-02-2013

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Fiji Airways A330Fiji Airways, formerly Air Pacific, have announced the routes and destinations its new Airbus A330 aircraft will serve.

The aircraft feature the new livery of the airline and look pretty nice!

From 21 April 2013, the Fiji Airways A330s will fly from Nadi to:

Auckland
Brisbane
Los Angeles (from 1 July)
Melbourne (from 2-27 August)
Sydney (from 8 June)

The airline’s Boeing 747-400 will continue to operate routes alongside the A330, with a retirement set for January 2014.

The first aircraft is Airbus A330-243 DQ-FJT, msn 1394

 

Around Auckland – Nearby Aviation Attractions

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Australasia, New Zealand | Posted on 22-11-2012

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NZ Warbirds DC-3 Dakota ArdmoreIn the first of a new series of posts, I’m starting to look at the aviation attractions to see around the various airports around the world that spotters visit.

Quite often, a city will have a second airport with some unique aircraft to see, or an aviation museum telling the region’s aviation history and displaying preserved aircraft.

In this post we’ll look at Auckland. The city’s airport is the main gateway to New Zealand, and is quite busy with large airliners arriving from around the Far East, Asia, Middle East and the Americas. It’s also a busy hub for Air New Zealand and its feeder airlines, and is also busy with cargo carriers.

Nearby Attractions
Ardmore Aerodrome is a former WWII USAF bomber base and is now a general aviation airfield around 15 miles east of Auckland International. It has a single runway and is the busiest airport in New Zealand by number of movements.

Mountain Air have their maintenance base here, and the airfield is home to NZ Warbirds restoration company in residence with a number of historic aircraft that are regularly flown and displayed. They have an immaculate DC-3 which operates scenic and charter flights from the airfield.

 

North Shore Airfield is situated 16 miles north of Auckland city centre. It is a small general aviation field which is popular for flight training. It also has flights to Great Barrier Island and a few other destinations. Movements can be seen from Postman Road which also runs past the parking aprons.

 

Airport Spotting Guides Far East and AustralasiaAuckland and many other airports are covered in my book, Airport Spotting Guides Far East and Australasia. It covers where to spot, what you’ll see, nearby attractions, spotting hotels and detailed maps for each airport.

Buy here

Air New Zealand announces new colours

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Australasia, New Zealand, Spotting News | Posted on 25-07-2012

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Air New Zealand new colours (c) Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has announced its new colour scheme and branding.

Whilst its nothing too drastic, it sees the airline stepping away from its green and blue tail colours, and adopting the national colour of black on its tail. It will also adopt revised titling on the airline name.

The traditional Koru symbol will still be retained on the tail, giving it a strong link with the previous scheme.

Air New Zealand began using black as its corporate colour ahead of the All Blacks’ campaign last year.

“Black has resonated well with our customers and staff who identify with it as the colour of New Zealand and a natural choice for our national airline. It inspires pride, is part of our Kiwi identity and a symbol of Kiwi success on the world stage,” Chief Executive Office Rob Fyfe says.

Final leg of 787 Dream Tour announced

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Australasia, Australia, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Morocco, New Zealand, Spotting News | Posted on 21-05-2012

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner World TourThe final leg of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner World Tour has been announced, with airports in Australia, New Zealand, Morocco and Uzbekistan on the list.

The third prototype, N787BX, has been visiting countries, airlines and press around the world over the past couple of months, promoting the new type and demonstrating its abilities.

This leg sees it visit:

  • May 24 – Sydney, Australia
  • May 29 – Auckland, New Zealand
  • May 31 – Darwin, Australia
  • June 1 – Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • June 3 – Casablanca, Morocco

I was lucky enough to get invited on board the aircraft when it visited British Airways at London Heathrow in April. You can read about that here.

To follow the Dream Tour, visit the website http://www.newairplane.com/787/dreamtour

Have you lost baggage in New Zealand?

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in New Zealand | Posted on 26-05-2011

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I came across this video today showing baggage handlers at Christchurch International Airport openly crushing baggage in a garbage truck in front of hundreds of horrified passengers waiting on an Air Asia X aircraft alongside.

Whether this is simply old ‘test’ luggage as the official line says, or lost luggage with peoples’ personal items in, we don’t know. It certainly spurs you on to claim anything you’ve lost!

Baggage being destroyed

Christchurch Viewing Deck

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Australasia, New Zealand | Posted on 08-05-2008

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Christchurch Airport in New Zealand has had an excellent outdoor viewing deck for many years. This is now under threat, however, according to a report by Geoff Pierce.

Improvements to the terminal are likely to close the viewing area, with much more limited views only available from inside.

Geoff states: “I have been in touch with the Airport authorities on an irregular basis, since my last visit in 2006 and subscribe to the CHC redevelopment newsletter. The latest news received today, is that the
viewing deck will `probably` not be finally closing until around November 2009. (usual caveats apply)”