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


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.

SunExpress expand with up to 50 Boeing 737 order

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Miscellaneous Spotting, Turkey | Posted on 20-02-2014


SunExpress SXD 737 MAX 8 ArtworkTurkey’s SunExpress is to significantly add to its fleet after placing and order for Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX-8 aircraft.

The firm order is for 25 737-800s and 15 737 MAX-8s, valued at more than $3.8 billion at list prices. Additional options for 10 MAX-8s have also been secured.

“Twenty-four years ago we started to fly tourists to Turkey with brand-new 737-300s and ten years later the company began to operate the Next-Generation 737-800s. Next year at the age of 25, SunExpress will start the process of renewing its entire fleet and in the future add the latest achievement of Boeing, the 737 MAX,” said Paul Schwaiger, managing director of SunExpress.

Based in Antalya on the Turkish Riviera, SunExpress was founded in October 1989 as a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa. Today, SunExpress carries more than seven million passengers per year and is one of the leading airlines in terms of passenger numbers between Germany and Turkey. The carrier operates an all-Boeing fleet of more than 60 Next-Generation 737-700s and 737-800s and serves more than 90 destinations across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Etihad A321 routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airline News, Asia, Eastern Europe, India, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Turkey | Posted on 19-09-2013


Etihad Airways will take delivery of its first Airbus A321 in December.

This will be the first of 11 the airline has on order. They will initially fly on the following routes:

Abu Dhabi – Chennai
Abu Dhabi – Istanbul Ataturk
Abu Dhabi – Riyadh

More destinations will be introduced as more aircraft arrive.

Tassili Airlines launches France routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in About The Site, Africa, Algeria, Dubai, Eastern Europe, France, Middle East, Spain, Turkey, Western Europe | Posted on 17-07-2013


Tassili AirlinesAlgeria’s recently-formed Tassili Airlines has started its first international services, with routes linking Bejaja to St. Etienne, and Jijel to Grenoble.

The airline is planning further international expansion, with routes linking Algeria to Dubai, Morocco, Spain, and Turkey all touted for a start before the end of 2013.

SunExpress Leipzig Base

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, Egypt, Germany, Spain, Spotting News, Turkey, Western Europe | Posted on 28-05-2013


SunExpress B737-800One for the German spotters: SunExpress will base a Boeing 737-800 at Leipzig Halle Airport this summer.

The Turkish airline will operate the aircraft on charter routes to Egypt, the Canary Islands, and Turkey.


Istanbul to build world’s largest airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Eastern Europe, Miscellaneous Spotting, Turkey | Posted on 24-01-2013


Turkish AirlinesWork is to begin on a new airport to serve Istanbul which will grow to accommodate up to 150 million passengers per year.

Despite already being served by Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen airport, the infrastructure at both is not capable of expanding meeting future demand, and so it has been decided to build the new facility on a former mine site on the Black Sea coast near the city.

The airport will initially open in 2017, capable of handling 90 million passengers.

By the time all phases are complete, it will have six runways, and be capable of handling 150 million passengers, putting it ahead of Atlanta Airport, which is currently the world’s largest in terms of passengers.

Istanbul is expecting huge demand in its airport services as national carrier Turkish Airlines expands at a great pace, turning the city into an east-west transfer point. The city is also due to host the Summer Olympics in 2020.


Pegasus Airlines places Turkey’s largest aircraft order

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Miscellaneous Spotting, Turkey | Posted on 18-12-2012


Pegasus 737 (c) Pegasus AirlinesDespite all the talk about the speed and size of growth at Turkish Airlines as it tries (quite successfully so far!) to provide a more suited alternative hub and spoke system at Istanbul Ataturk to those offered by Middle East carriers, Pegasus Airlines has just shown its own cards by placing Turkey’s largest aircraft order to date.

The order comprises a mix of 100 Airbus A320neo and A321s, with deliveries starting in 2016.

This is also significant in the fact that Pegasus to date has been a solely Boeing 737 operator, and has now chosen to switch to the European manufacturer as it seeks a “Fleet of the Future”.

The airline is hoping to capitalise further on Turkey’s dramatic growth in aviation and will challenge Turkish Airlines and other carriers’ networks from Istanbul.

Dreamliner Tour continues

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Azerbaijan, Chile, Eastern Europe, Ireland, Miscellaneous Spotting, Russia, South America, Spain, Spotting News, Turkey, Western Europe | Posted on 22-03-2012


Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner World Tour continues with a bunch of new dates and airports over the next couple of weeks.

You can see the aircraft at the following destinations:

26-31 March – Santiago, Chile (including display at FIDAE Air Show)
1-2 April – Shannon, Ireland for maintenance
2-3 April – Baku, Azerbaijan
3-6 April – Moscow, Russia
6-11 April – Istanbul, Turkey
11-13 April – Madrid, Spain

The aircraft will be visiting airline customers, supply customers and demonstrating to potential customers.

Turkish revolution – time to head to Istanbul!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Spotting News, Turkey | Posted on 05-11-2011


Turkish Boeing 737-800I just read something on the great site that really interested me. But it also pleased me because it confirmed something I’d noticed without paying too much attention. Turkish Airlines (THY) are on the up – big style!

I’ve been occasionally aware lately of how the airline has been expanding its route network, adding more frequencies and destinations, and upgrading its fleet. I hadn’t even realised that they had another 60 Boeing 737-800s on order – that’s going to be a massive fleet of the type when all are delivered.

It seems that Turkish want to leverage their position to take on the big guns in the Middle East (Emirates, Qatar and Etihad) by turning Istanbul Ataturk Airport into a staging post between East and West, much like we see in Dubai, Doha etc. But whilst the big carriers use mainly larger widebody fleets (especially Emirates), Turkish sees its geographical location as a much better place to operate the smaller Boeing 737-800s from an increasing number of European, Middle Eastern and African destinations, feeding through its Istanbul hub.

“Right now, Turkish serves around 70 cities in Europe, but with over 60 737-800s on order, this will double” promised Dr Temel Kotil, President and CEO Turkish Airlines, in a recent interview with

And to prove the point, Turkish has remained more profitable through the recession, and gone from 10 million passengers per year in 2006, to 30 million today. It will soon take over British Airways as third biggest European carrier.

So it’s probably time to start thinking about what kind of airport Istanbul Ataturk will be for the enthusiast in years to come. Plenty of red tails, for sure. But plenty of action as well.

Istanbul Airport Radisson SAS Hotel

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Eastern Europe, Spotting Hotels, Turkey | Posted on 09-09-2010


This report comes from Simon Brooke, who reports on the Radisson SAS Hotel at Istanbul Ataturk Airport…

Some six years ago, I reported on the Radisson SAS hotel which is immediately to the north of Istanbul’s Ataturk International airport. I’ve just been back there for a few days and had a splendid time clearing the blanks in my THY fleet plus a goodly number of others….

OK, on this occasion I splurged and got myself a suite for the 4 nights – having done so, I would seriously suggest that (if there are enough of you) somebody gets the suite (I had 386) – everybody else can “slum” it, but the suite is the spotting room! Assuming that the numbers are the same on
higher floors then 486 and 586 would be even better – however, I wanted a smoking room……

My suite had an enormous living room/dining room with picture windows on two sides. The windows on one side gave a superb view of the airport and on the other gave a good view of approaches onto 18L/R or departures on 36L/R. Any arrivals on the cross runway at the far end of the airfield (05) were also easily visible.

The suite was huge, easily able to accommodate a bunch of enthusiasts during the airport’s operational day.

There is a Shell petrol station next to the hotel with a shop, so snacks are available.

The restaurants in the hotel are appallingly expensive so I would suggest that a taxi or walk of some 500 yards would offer much cheaper Turkish food.

IST is surrounded by watch-towers manned by armed Turkish Air Force personnel. Two of those watch-towers are clearly visible from the hotel – whether the guys on the watch-towers can see into the hotel rooms is a different matter….

I was keeping the proverbial low profile, aided by a constant supply of “Efes” and had no problems at all with the Turkish authorities. Indeed, when the WiFi failed to operate, I got the hotel’s IT manager up to sort out a cable connection and he was fascinated by SBS (he has a degree in Aeronautics and Meteorology from Istanbul University and is really helpful).

Great spotting hotel – not too good for pics, though and horribly expensive!!!!

During the 3 full days of my visit, I saw….

All THY A320s bar one
All THY A319s bar one
All THY A321s bar one (which was around – I just never saw it)
Most THY A340s (I wasn’t taking much notice as I’ve already seen them all)

Very few A332s/B773s – maybe it was my sleep pattern….

THY 737s/738s were a bit of a pain – a substantial number are now operating out of SAW and came nowhere near IST (apart from the very occasional low-level over-flight identified on SBS); I never saw one in AnadoluJet colours at IST.

Other than THY, the major Turkish operators are Onur Air and AtlasJet, with a few Izmir A319s operating for Pegasus.

There are some nice oddities operating into IST as well….

Royal Jordanian E170
Air Moldova E190
Gulf Air E170
Saudia MD90/A330

Plus many second-hand aircraft – mostly of the Boeing 737 family – from the “stans”.

Also a few biz jets, and plenty of helicopters around although I only read off and identified one of them.