Transaero Tiger 747 logojet revealed

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Russia | Posted on 23-06-2015





Transaero Airlines has painted one of its Boeing 747-400s in a striking tiger motif to promote the Amur Tiger Centre and promote the environmental and conservation issues surrounding rare species.

The Amur tiger has been chosen to symbolize the project as these subspecies rank among the biggest living cats and the most endangered big cats in the world. According to the surveys of 2015, the population of Amur tigers in Russia has stabilized to reach 510-540 individuals, and started to  increase sustainably. In the coming decade, the fate of Amur tigers and the wildlife in general will depend in significant part upon concerted actions by the international community.

The aircraft which has been painted is EI-XLN, which can be found on high density domestic and international routes from Moscow.

Transaero Airlines new livery appears

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Russia | Posted on 22-05-2015


Transaero Airlines new livery

Transaero Airlines has taken delivery of a new Boeing 737-800, seen here, which is in the airline’s new livery.

The aircraft, registered EI-RUR, features high speed internet and mobile phone connectivity.

The airline plans to use this new livery and corporate identity for all new aircraft joining the airline’s fleet.  This will be the first step in enhancing Transaero’s corporate identity that has remained unchanged for more than two decades and has received wide recognition both in Russia and abroad following the active development of Transaero Airlines and strengthening of its position in the international transportation market.


Ilyushin IL-96 to continue, and other common Russian types

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Eastern Europe, Russia, Spotting News | Posted on 23-02-2015


By Dmitriy Pichugin [GFDL 1.2 ( or GFDL 1.2 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Dmitriy Pichugin [GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

The Russian government has thrown a lifeline to the Ilyushin IL-96 – a type that has all but disappeared since Aeroflot retired its fleet in favour of western wide-body types recently.

Fourteen examples are expected to be taken over the coming decade, with the majority being new-build aircraft from the production factory at Voronezh.

The remaining examples will be converted from existing IL-96-400T freighter aircraft already in service or storage. One example, RA-96104, was recently converted into a IL-96-400VPU used for aerial command and control missions. Two aircraft will also be destined for use as presidential transports. Four older (and smaller) IL-96-300s are already used for this purpose and may be retired as a result.

With this news in mind, here’s a look at some other Russian types which have not yet succumbed to the dominance of western aircraft types:

Tupolev Tu-204/214

By Sergey Riabsev [GFDL 1.2 ( or GFDL 1.2 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Sergey Riabsev [GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

Although it made its debut in 1990, the Tu-204 has only seen 76 examples built. It is still officially in production. The Tu-214 was a modernised version which first flew in 1996.

Airlines currently flying the type include Red Wings, Transaero, Cubana, Air Koryo, Cairo Aviation/TNT, and the Russian Government. Transaero and China Cargo have a number of examples on order for the most recent variant ,the Tu-204SM.

Sukhoi Superjet 100


Despite a slow start, things have been looking up lately for this modern Russian regional jet. Around 90 are in service, with airlines such as Aeroflot, Interjet, Gazpromavia, Yakutia and Lao Central Airlines. Future deliveries will include examples for Red Wings, UT Air, Yamal Airlines, Transaero, Comlux, VLM, and the Thai Government, along with examples placed through a number of leasing companies.

This type is the first Russian airliner for years to truly gain international reach, and potential to challenge the dominance of western airliners.

Ilyushin IL-96


Despite Aeroflot retiring the type from passenger service in 2014, the type remains in active service with Cubana and can often be seen on routes to Europe.

Of the stored fleet of Aeroflot types, it is expected that some will go to Cubana to supplement its fleet. The remainder may also go to government use, or be used as spare part sources for active aircraft or rebuilds.

Czech Airlines bounces back with new routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eastern Europe, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 27-11-2014


CSA A320

CSA Czech Airlines has announced a bunch of new routes starting next year, following a period of cutting back and introspection over recent years.

The new routes to be opened by the airline are:

  • Prague – Bilbao – A319 (Starts 1 June 2015)
  • Prague – Billund – ATR42 (Starts 29 March 2015)
  • Prague – Bologna – ATR72 (Starts 29 March 2015)
  • Prague – Cork – A319 (Starts 14 May 2015)
  • Prague – Kaliningrad – ATR72 (Starts 29 March 2015)
  • Prague – Kazan – A319 (Starts 29 March 2015)
  • Prague – Oslo – A319 (Starts 30 March 2015)

The airline said:

“After a year of cutbacks, we plan to expand the existing Czech Airlines’ network starting the 2015 summer season. We feel that there is a significant business potential in our new destinations which we would like to use fully. At the same time, we would like to capitalise on Czech Airlines great reputation in the Russian market and, effective April 2015, service a total of nine destinations in Russia,” said Jozef Sinčák, Chairman of Czech Airlines Board of Directors, and added: “We have set the new destinations timetables in a way to best use the market potential and at the same time appeal to both local and transfer passengers as the connections were designed with the customers’ priorities in mind. We will operate all new destinations using the existing free capacity of Czech Airlines and thus improve the fleet use.”

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


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


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 (], 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.

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



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!


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


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.


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


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.

Belavia announces Embraer 195 routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Belarus, Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, Netherlands, Russia, Western Europe | Posted on 02-04-2014


This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Belavia EMB175, (c) Magic Aviation.

Belavia will introduce the Embraer 195 aircraft in May, alongside its existing EMB 175, CRJ, and Boeing 737 aircraft.

The airline has announced that the 195 will operate on the following routes from 6 May:

Minsk – Amsterdam (from 16 May)
Minsk – Batumi (from July)
Minsk – Moscow Domodedovo
Minsk – Prague
Minsk – St Petersburg


Aeroflot first in Russia with Sharklet A320s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Russia | Posted on 10-02-2014


Aeroflot Sharklet A320Aeroflot is the first airline in Russia to take Sharklet-equipped Airbus A320s, with delivery of its latest example.

The airline is operating the biggest Airbus fleet in the region with 90 A320 Family aircraft and 22 A330 Family aircraft.