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!

Vueling adds Rome Fiumicino base

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Spain, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 21-11-2013

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This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.Hot off the heels of its announcement about creating a hub at Brussels, Vueling has come up trumps again with the announcement that Rome Fiumicino Airport will also become a base from Summer 2014.

This time the airline is adding a massive 24 new routes from Rome.

This will no doubt capitalise on the struggling Alitalia and its own network from Rome, as Vueling are targeting both domestic and international routes.

The new routes are:

  • Alicante
  • Amsterdam
  • Athens
  • Bari
  • Berlin
  • Brindisi
  • Brussels
  • Catania
  • Corfu
  • Dubrovnik
  • Genoa
  • Heraklion
  • Lamezia
  • Malta
  • Munich
  • Mykonos
  • Palermo
  • Prague
  • Rhodes
  • Santiago de Compostela
  • Santorini
  • Seville
  • Split
  • Torino

The airline already operates from Rome to Barcelona, Ibiza, Malaga, Mahon, Nantes, Palma de Mallorca, Paris Orly, and Valencia.

Skygreece Airlines to start in 2014

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, Eastern Europe, Greece, North America, USA | Posted on 05-07-2013

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Skygreece AirlinesA new carrier, Skygreece Airlines, aims to start flights to North America in Summer 2014.

The airline has recently acquired a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.

Its website (www.skygreece.com) indicates that the following routes will commence next year:

Athens – Chicago
Athens – Montreal
Athens – New York
Athens – Toronto
The 767 aircraft acquired is formerly PH-MCM of Martinair.

Crete Spotting Hotel – Arina Sands

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Eastern Europe, Greece, Spotting Hotels | Posted on 02-07-2013

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Arina Sands Spotting HotelMike Harper has been in touch to let us know about one of the best plane spotting hotels on the island of Crete.

The Arina Sands is located at Kokkini Hani, and most importantly is only about a mile and a half from the end of runway 27 at Heraklion Airport.

Aircraft approaching will pass right in front of the hotel, so requesting a room facing in that direction will provide you with plenty of opportunities for spotting and photographing aircraft.

The pictures on this page are provided by Mike from one of his trips to the hotel.

Transaero 767

Olympic A319

Scary runways around the world

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Eastern Europe, France, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 22-06-2013

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Faith Norris from LowCostHolidays.com has written this run-down of some of the scariest runways around the world. How many have you flown to?

 

Scary Runways around the World

Flying can be a turbulent experience for some, especially the take-off and landing. However, the thrill of arriving at an exciting and fun location means that most of us are keen fliers who love knowing we’re just hours away from dream destinations. So, fasten your seatbelts, and let’s look at five of the shortest and scariest runways around the world.

 

Madeira Airport Runway - credit futureshapeSanta Catarina, Madeira, FNC

The international airport on Madeira Island is known as Funchal Airport, located just 13km from the Funchal Cathedral. The runway is 9000 ft. long and the landing process is not a straight forward descent. With the Atlantic Ocean to one side of the runway and sheer mountains to the other, the pilot has to direct the plane towards these mountains before making a last minute turn to land on this short runway. The airport opened in 1964, when the runway was just 5,200 ft., before being revamped in the 21st century. Once landed on this beautiful Portuguese island, tourists can enjoy exploring towns such as Funchal and Canico, taking stunning mountainous walks, as well as visiting excellent beaches. The southern location of the island means that the weather on Madeira is great all year round.  Click here for information on Madeira hotels and to find out more about the island.

 

Nepal Airport - credit ilkerenderTenzing Hillary, Nepal, LUA

Also known as Lukla, the Himalayan airport is renowned for having one of the most feared runways in the world. Built on a steep incline in the middle of the Himalayan Mountains, it’s a mere 1500 ft. long and 65 ft. wide! There is no room for error when landing as you approach the runway, winding your way through mountain peaks and clouds. The take-off is just as daunting, accelerating at full speed down the runway before reaching a 9000 foot drop into the valley. The airport is usually quite a busy place as it’s the starting point for people trekking to the Khumbu and the Mount Everest Base Camps.

 

Courchevel Airport - credit pr1001Corcheval, France, CVF

The airport at Corcheval in the French Alps has a steep runway, with a gradient of 18%, a length of just 1700 ft. and a vertical drop at the end. The weather conditions throw another spanner in the works, with snow, wind and ice making for a challenging landing at the best of times. As pilots approach to land they have to carefully manoeuvre between the snowy valleys and mountains, this can only be performed by specially trained pilots. As well as being rather dangerous, the airport also has another claim to fame; filming for the James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies took place here. Even Pierce Brosnan must have been slightly scared! To calm your nerves, make a detour at the après-ski bar in the airport, grab a hot chocolate or a shot of schnapps to really warm you through, as you watch the planes attempt the awkward landing. Once sufficiently settled after the nerve-racking land, tighten those ski boots, click on your skis and carve up the piste.

 

Heraklion, Crete, HER

Heraklion airport, also known as Nikos Kazantzakis, is the second busiest airport in Greece after Athens. It was first opened in March 1939 where it was simply a flat area of agricultural land. It wasn’t until 1953 that it had a concrete runway measuring a mere 5,100 ft. Over the years, the airport has had a number of improvements, with terminals being built as well as the runway being extended to 8,000 ft. It operates to 102 destinations in 27 countries offering stunning views of the island as you fly over the Mediterranean Sea. In 2012 over forty thousand flights arrived and departed the airport. Unfortunately, it’s requested that photographs or videos are not to be taken, as the airport is the base for the Hellenic Air Force. Fear not, as once you’ve landed, there will be plenty of opportunities to take your holiday snaps. The island has a lot to offer, with sandy beaches, shallow waters and a vibrant nightlife. Discover more information and places to stay in Crete here.

 

Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, FUE

The runway at Fuerteventura airport, also known as El Matorral, is 7000 ft. long and requires a skilled pilot to land safely on the short stretch. It reaches out to 66 destinations in 11 countries and caters to millions of tourists every year; 5 million in 2012! Built in the 1960s, and next to the Atlantic Ocean, it gives passengers a stunning view as they arrive in Puerto del Rosario, the island’s capital. As you come in to land, you’ll notice the lunar landscape and golden sand dunes. Once you’ve touched down, head to the coast to try out water sports activities, such as windsurfing and kite surfing, taking advantage of the strong winds and great waves. Corralejo and Costa Calma are both popular resorts, with long sandy beaches and excellent restaurants. To experience the landing and explore the island, find accommodation in Fuerteventura here.

 

Even though you may have to overcome some minor panic, the destination will make the flying experience worthwhile, and you’ll have some great stories to tell your friends if you spend time one of these iconic runways. Buckle up and enjoy your travels.

Best of the Web – Airport Spotting Videos – AMC 737 overrun

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Eastern Europe, Friday Favourite, Greece, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting Videos | Posted on 21-06-2013

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I came across this crazy video yesterday of a runway overrun by an AMC Airlines Boeing 737-800 at Thessaloniki Airport in Greece.

All manner of things seem to be wrong with the approach, from being too high and too fast, to not deploying flaps until almost touching down and floating down the runway.

Air Canada launches Rouge

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Greece, Italy, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 19-12-2012

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Air Canada Rouge Fleet

Air Canada‘s new leisure airline has been announced, and it’s called ‘Rouge’.

The national carrier of Canada announced a few months ago that it was seeking to set up a new carrier to handle lower cost flights to Europe and the Caribbean using Boeing 767 and Airbus A320 aircraft in 2013.

Rouge will initially fly from Montreal and Toronto, and will launch operations on 1 July, 2013. It features a new colour scheme on its two A319s and two 767-300s.

For enthusiasts, look out for some new destinations, including Edinburgh. The full list of flights are:

Toronto to:
Athens
Cayo Coco
Edinburgh
Holguin
Kingston
Liberia
Puerto Plata
Punta Cana
Samara
San José
Santa Clara
Varadero
Venice

Montreal to:
Athens

All flights will have introductory low fares to take advantage of.

Volotea bringing growth to Europe’s mid-size cities

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 22-04-2012

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(c) Volotea Airlines

Volotea Airlines seems to have sprung up from nowhere, in no time at all. But if its ambitious growth plans are realised, it will quickly become one of Europe’s main low-cost airlines.

Flying a fleet of seven Boeing 717 aircraft, sourced second-hand from the manufacturer, Volotea is positioning itself to serve small- and mid-sized cities across Europe initially from bases in Venice Marco Polo (Italy), Nantes (France), and Ibiza (Spain).

The airline is run by former founding members of Vueling Airlines, and has its corporate headquarters in Barcelona.

Volotea’s first flight took off on 5th April from Venice, bound for Palermo – one of the 76 routes announced by the airline, and one of a number of domestic routes within Italy – set to challenge the dominance of Alitalia and Ryanair in this much sought-after market.

In fact, Venice Marco Polo will clearly be the bigger base initially, with 24 routes planned.

The airline will not initially venture as far north as the UK, Ireland or Scandinavia, choosing to focus on Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Poland.

The choice of Boeing 717 is interesting for a low-cost airline, but is likely due to the cheap prices of sourcing them, and the regard with which they’ve been held in Spain over the past ten years. Nevertheless, for the enthusiast, this offers another chance to fly on the relatively rare type in Boeing’s stable (Blue1 is currently the only other European operator of the type).

All going well, the airline is likely to expand into other territories fairly soon, but I also suspect some routes will be non-starters, and others will see frequency changes. For a full list of planned routes, see Volotea’s homepage http://www.volotea.com/en/destinations/