9 top spotting airports to reach by budget airline

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Caribbean, Dubai, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Netherlands, North America, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Spain, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 21-11-2014

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Spotting isn’t the cheapest hobby, especially if you want to do a lot of it. So I thought I’d look at a few of the best spotting airports that are easily accessible by budget airlines. Hopefully it’ll give you some inspiration for your next trips!

 

Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Palma-Vueling

By Peter Bakema [GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

Palma is one of the busiest holiday airports in Europe, particularly during the summer months. Airlines ferry holidaymakers in droves from all over northern Europe, so you’ll see charter and low-cost airlines as well as Spanish regional aircraft. Palma is a big base for Air Berlin, and plenty of other budget airlines also fly there year-round, including easyJet, Ryanair and Vueling.

 

Amsterdam Schiphol, Netherlands

Amsterdam easyJet

By Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Although it is one of Europe’s busiest and largest airports, and is also a stronghold of national airline KLM, Schiphol is surprisingly easy to get to by budget airline. easyJet links many destinations across Europe, whilst Flybe and Jet2 link a number of additional points in the UK.

 

Singapore Changi

Photo by Calvin Teo

Photo by Calvin Teo

A major Asian powerhouse and the hub of the large Singapore Airlines. Changi is also on the route map of many low cost and budget airlines, including home-based Jetstar Asia, Tigerair and Valuair, plus regional carriers Air Asia and Lion Air. Long haul low-cost flights are provided by Jetstar and Scoot to destinations across Asia and Australia.

 

Dubai International, UAE

Flydubai fleet

You may think of Emirates when you think of Dubai, but the second largest carrier at the Middle East hub is Flydubai, a budget airline serving destinations across Africa, the Middle East, Indian subcontinent They even fly into Europe. It makes a more affordable way to reach the airport for some spotting.

 

Atlanta Hartsfield International, GA

Southwest Airlines Heart Livery

Atlanta was known as the busiest airport in the world for many years, largely because of the huge presence of Delta Air Lines reaching across the globe and to many points across the United States. However, the airport’s second largest carrier is Southwest Airlines following its acquisition of Airtran. This means you can get to Atlanta from destinations across America at great prices.

 

Dallas Ft Worth, TX

Spirit Airlines

Another US airport which is dominated by a home based legacy carrier – in this case American Airlines – you may be surprised to find that you have good budget options that don’t require a trip to nearby Love Field. Spirit Airlines recently announced a number of new routes from Dallas to regional and leisure destinations to add to its existing network from the airport.

 

Warsaw Chopin, Poland

Wizz Air

The capital of Poland is a major hub for budget carrier Wizz Air which fights bitterly with full service national carrier LOT. You can also reach Warsaw via carriers Norwegian, Air Berlin, Germanwings and Vueling.

 

Moscow Domodedovo, Russia

By Milad A380 (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Milad A380 (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

For years it was only possible to reach Moscow via traditional full service airlines, or one of Aeroflot’s classic Soviet airliners. However, recent agreements have led to a number of low cost airlines from outside Russia offering flights to Domodedovo. Most significant perhaps is easyJet, which flies from two points in the UK. Other budget airlines flying to Moscow include Air Berlin, Germania, Niki, Meridiana fly, Vueling and Air Arabia.

 

St Maarten, Caribbean

St Maarten Jetblue

A spotters paradise which is on the bucket list of many who like to photograph airliners at close quarters. But it’s not necessary to spend mega bucks getting there with big airlines, particularly from North America, since budget airlines such as Jetblue, Sun Country and Westjet fly regularly to the island.

British Airways’ second hand A320 fleet details

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Brazil, Eastern Europe, Hungary, South America, Spotting News, Turkey, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 08-10-2014

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British Airways A320

British Airways is taking on ten second-hand Airbus A320 aircraft to be based at London Gatwick airport.

The aircraft are all due for delivery between October 2014 and June 2015. Here’s a lowdown on the aircraft details.

G-GATH, c/n 1482, ex TC-OBH (Onur Air) – due November 2014
G-GATJ, c/n 1509, ex TC-OBI (Onur Air) – due October 2014
G-GATK, c/n 1902, ex HA-LPD (Wizz Air) – due January 2015
G-GATL, c/n 1834, ex HA-LPF (Wizz Air) – due January 2015
G-GATM, c/n 1892, ex HA-LPE (Wizz Air) – due March 2015
G-GATN, c/n 1613, ex PT-MZX (TAM) – due February 2015
G-GATO, c/n 1663, ex PR-MAB (TAM) – due March 2015
G-GATP, c/n 1804, ex PR-MAE (TAM) – due April 2015
G-GATR, c/n 1771, ex PR-MAD (TAM) – due May 2015
G-GATS, c/n 1672, ex PR-MAC (TAM) – due June 2015

These aircraft will operate the European schedules from Gatwick, mostly replacing the Boeing 737-400 and Airbus A319s based there currently.

Ilyushin IL-96 lives on with Cubana and Red Wings

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Caribbean, Cuba, Eastern Europe, Russia, Spotting News | Posted on 11-09-2014

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Ilyushin_Il-96

Aeroflot retired its fleet of Ilyushin IL-96 aircraft earlier this year as it moves towards more modern, Western types for its widebody operations.

One of the aircraft has even been destroyed by fire since it was retired.

However, now there’s a bit of hope for those who like to see Russian planes in the skies, or those who haven’t flown on the type yet (myself included) as both Cubana and Red Wings are taking on some of the former Aeroflot IL-96s for their own operations.

Cubana uses the type on some domestic schedules, and also to places like Buenos Aires, Madrid and Paris Orly from its Havana base. It will take one ex-Aeroflot aircraft.

Red Wings is planning to use the aircraft on flights from Moscow to Simferopol in Crimea. It will take three ex-Aeroflot aircraft. I think it’ll look fantastic in their colours!

 

7 Embraer E-Jets in Europe

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Eastern Europe, Miscellaneous Spotting, Western Europe | Posted on 13-08-2014

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Embraer’s E-jet series is a really versatile aircraft, as evident by the number of airlines operating it – from mainline national carriers to regional and charter companies.

Here are seven Embraer aircraft seen in Europe recently.

Finnair Embraer 190 OH-LKG at Manchester

Finnair Embraer 190 OH-LKG at Manchester

 

Flybe's Embraer 175 G-FBJD at Durham Tees Valley

Flybe’s Embraer 175 G-FBJD at Durham Tees Valley

BA CityFlyer Embraer 190 G-LCYK

BA CityFlyer Embraer 190 G-LCYK

 

LOT Embraer 175 SP-LIK at Stockholm Arlanda

LOT Embraer 175 SP-LIK at Stockholm Arlanda

Jetairfly Embraer 195 OO-JEB at Brussels

Jetairfly Embraer 195 OO-JEB at Brussels

 

Ukraine International UR-EMA

Ukraine International UR-EMA

Air Europa Embraer 195 EC-LIN

Air Europa Embraer 195 EC-LIN

 

New Georgian airline Flyvista set for August launch

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Georgia | Posted on 22-07-2014

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Flyvista 4L-AJC

Flyvista is a new airline based in Tbilisi, Georgia.

It is set to launch low-cost flights in August, flying to destinations in Europe and the Middle East (Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Turkey, Iran, Russia etc), although no definite schedules have been released.

The airline has taken delivery of its first aircraft, Boeing 737-300 4L-AJC,  and has also been operating two 737-500s from Khartoum on wet-leases to Badr Airlines.

 

UTair backs Moscow Yermolino Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, Miscellaneous Spotting, Russia | Posted on 09-07-2014

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Yermolino Airport

UTair has signed an agreement with the regional government to develop Yermolino Aerodrome into another international airport for Moscow and the surrounding area.

The facility is currently under utilised and lacking any significant infrastructure. However, given investment which would adapt it into a fully fledged airport, UTair says it will introduce up to 20 based Airbus A321 aircraft and a significant network of routes.

Yermolino Airport Map

Yermolino is around 90 miles to the south west of Moscow and has fairly good road links.

The regional government would provide support in attracting investors for the project, whilst additional funding would also be provided by the Ministry for Internal Affairs.

Construction is expected to start later in 2014, with the airport opening for airline flights in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which is to be held in Russia. A throughput of 6.5 million passengers would be expected by 2020.

The airport would not be limited to UTair flights, with other airlines being invited to begin services to Yermolino.

 

Boeing 727 services return to Europe!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Azerbaijan, Eastern Europe, Spotting News, Switzerland, Western Europe | Posted on 28-06-2014

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Photo (c) Babak T

Photo (c) Babak Taghvaee

A new Boeing 727 scheduled service is to begin in Europe, a number of years since the last was seen.

The route is to be flown by Azerbaijan Airlines, and will link Baku with Geneva, flying twice weekly (Friday and Sunday) using a specially configured aircraft with executive interior. It will seat 65 passengers in a First and Business Class layout.

The route will begin on 11th July, and it is expected that the aircraft used on the service will be 4K-8888, a 727-251 originally operated by Northwest Airlines, and now in a striking livery with immaculate interior.

Flights will be operated with the schedule as follows:

Baku – Geneva, departure 7:55am arrival 9:55am
Geneva – Baku, departure 11:15am arrival 6:55pm

But it will come at a cost. Premium fares will be charged to the mainly business clientèle using the service. Let’s hope it lasts a long time!

 

 

Transaero to operate Boeing 747 on domestic routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, Russia | Posted on 04-06-2014

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Transaero Boeing 747-400

Transaero Airlines will begin flights from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Vladivostok and Khabarovsk using Boeing 747-400 aircraft. This move is aimed at meeting the increasing demand during the summer season 2014.

Flights began to Vladivostok on 21 May, with other routes coming online in June and July.

Transaero is the only operator of passenger Boeing 747-400 aircraft in Eastern Europe, the CIS and Russia. These aircraft operate flights on the most popular leisure and scheduled routes from Moscow to numerous destinations in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. In summer season 2014, Boeing 747-400 aircraft will operate from Saint Petersburg to Greece, Cyprus, Tunisia and Turkey.

Air Serbia 737s live on as Aviolet

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Serbia | Posted on 26-05-2014

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Aviolet 737-300

Air Serbia (formerly Jat Airways) will retain three of its Boeing 737-300 aircraft to operate charters under the new brand Aviolet.

The 144-seat aircraft will be based at Belgrade Airport and operate passenger charters to Greece, Turkey, Spain, Italy and Egypt. The first flight operated from Belgrade to Antalya on 24 May.

A schedule of planned flights is available on the airline’s website.

Ryanair expands with more bases

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, Germany, Poland, Western Europe | Posted on 11-04-2014

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Ryanair 737

Ryanair has announced it is to open new bases in Cologne/Bonn, Gdansk, and Warsaw-Modlin from Winter 2014.

The new bases will each see aircraft being based at the airports, and new routes being opened to a variety of destinations.

“Ryanair is delighted to announce that we will be opening a new base at Cologne this winter, offering 8 exciting routes, including 5 new routes to Dublin, London Stansted, Madrid, Riga and Rome Ciampino, which will deliver over 700,000 passengers annually”

“Ryanair is[also] delighted to announce that we will be opening a new base at Gdansk this winter, offering 10 exciting routes, including 3 new winter routes to Birmingham, Leeds Bradford and Warsaw Modlin”

And finally: “Ryanair is delighted to announce that we will be opening a new base at Warsaw Modlin this winter, offering 20 exciting routes, including 4 new winter routes to Gdansk, Madrid, Shannon and Wroclaw, which will deliver some 1.9m passengers annually”