TAAG Angola aims to develop Luanda into large hub

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Airport News, Belgium, Brazil, China, Dubai, France, Heathrow, Italy, Middle East, Portugal, South America, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 01-04-2014


TAAG_777-3M2ERTAAG Angola Airlines is planning to turn its Luanda Airport base into a hub to link Central Africa with worldwide destinations in association with Emirates Airline.

TAAG is currently on the EU banned airline list, but it is hoped it will emerge soon and begin expanding its connections to Europe, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, London Heathrow, Paris CDG, and Rome Fiumicino.

Luanda will also be linked through Dubai via Emirates, who will also take on TAAG’s links to Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo.

A new airport is being built at Luanda which will be able to handle this increased traffic, and match modern standards expected at airports.

Dubai runway closure leads to reduced frequencies and aircraft grounding

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Dubai, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 07-03-2014


Dubai Airport © Dubai AirportsDubai International Airport will close one of its two runways on 1st May for heavy maintenance and resurfacing work to take place.

The closure will last for 80 days, and will mean the airport’s carriers – in particular based airline Emirates – will have to reduce frequencies and make other changes in order to cope with the restrictions in place.

Emirates has also confirmed that it will ground 20 aircraft during the period, including all of its Airbus A340-500s, some A330-200s, and some Boeing 777s.

The airline recently relocated its dedicated freight operations to the new Dubai World Central Airport.

A380 ban lifted in India

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Asia, Dubai, Germany, India, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Singapore, Western Europe | Posted on 28-01-2014


Filton A380In a move that is likely to see airlines such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines reviewing their operations to India, the government there has agreed to lift a ban on Airbus A380 flights to the country.

The ban was put in place to protect national carrier Air India from predatory carriers stealing passengers and market share to the country. It was also in part because of a lack of infrastructure to handle the huge superjumbo.

Now, however, A380s will be allowed to fly to the country’s four biggest airports: Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.

Both Emirates and Singapore Airlines have now said they will review their operations to India with a view to introducing A380 services. Lufthansa, which currently operates Boeing 747-8s to India said it would also not rule out the possibility of flying its A380s to the country.


Emirates A380 to start on Gatwick route

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Dubai, Middle East, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 30-12-2013


Emirates A380Emirates will upgrade one of its three daily flights from Dubai to London Gatwick airport to use Airbus A380 equipment.

The change will take effect from 30th March 2014.

Gatwick’s other two daily services will continue to be served by Boeing 777-300 equipment.

New Abu Dhabi Airport Premier Inn hotel offers spotting views

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airport News, Dubai, Middle East, Spotting Hotels, Spotting News | Posted on 18-12-2013


Premier Inn Abu DhabiA new Premier Inn hotel has opened at Abu Dhabi Airport and promises views of aircraft movements from both rooms and the rooftop terrace.

The new hotel is linked to Terminals 1 and 3 at the airport by the Skypark retail corridor.

Although I haven’t stayed there yet, the hotel confirms that some rooms have views of aircraft movements, and can be reserved if you leave a note with your booking or call ahead of your stay.

The hotel also boasts a rooftop terrace with pool and loungers. This also offers spectacular views all around, and over the airport (similar to the Sheraton Deira in Dubai).

Premier Inn AUHAs always, discretion is advised when using binoculars, poles and cameras around airports in the UAE as police can be less tolerant of this. Make sure you check it is ok with hotel staff when using the rooftop terrace.

The link for the hotel is here: http://global.premierinn.com/gcc/en/hotel/UKPAD2/abu-dhabi-international-airport

If you have stayed there, why not comment below with your findings or details of the best rooms with views!

Cathay Pacific Cargo switching to Dubai World Central

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Asia, Dubai, Hong Kong, Middle East | Posted on 16-12-2013


Cathay Pacific CargoFrom 1st February 2014 Cathay Pacific will move its Cargo operations from Dubai International Airport to Dubai World Central (Al Maktoum) Airport.

The airline’s passenger flights will remain at the existing airport, however.

Boeing 777X officially launches with Dubai orders

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airline News, Dubai, Germany, Middle East, North America, Qatar, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 18-11-2013


Boeing 777-8X & 777-9XBoeing has officially launched its new 777X aircraft having now received numerous orders for the type at the Dubai Air Show.

Orders for the 777X now stands at 259 examples. New orders in Dubai have come from Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, and Qatar Airways.

Representing the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history by dollar value, 777X orders and commitments include Lufthansa with 34 airplanes; Etihad Airways with 25; Qatar Airways with 50 and Emirates with 150 airplanes. The combined value of the agreements is more than $95 billion at list prices.

“We are proud to partner with each of these esteemed airlines to launch the 777X – the largest and most-efficient twin-engine jetliner in the world,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “Its ground-breaking engine technologies and all-new composite wing will deliver unsurpassed value and growth potential to our customers.”

The 777X builds on the passenger-preferred and market-leading 777, which today commands 55 percent of market share in its category in terms of backlog, and 71 percent of the in-service fleet worldwide. The 777X family includes the 777-8X and the 777-9X, both designed to respond to market needs and customer preferences.

flydubai places large 737 order

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Dubai, Middle East | Posted on 17-11-2013


Flydubai fleetLow cost carrier flydubai has placed a large order for Boeing 737 aircraft at the Dubai Air Show.

The order includes 11 737-800s and 100 737MAX 8 variants.

“flydubai is pleased to continue its partnership with Boeing. We believe that the commitment for up to 111 Boeing 737 aircraft will give flydubai one of the best performing aircraft available in the single-aisle market,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of flydubai. “This will ensure that flydubai is well positioned to continue to set new standards in aviation and support the further economic development of the United Arab Emirates.”

Development of the 737 MAX is on schedule with firm configuration of the airplane achieved in July 2013. First flight is scheduled in 2016 with deliveries to customers beginning in 2017. Already a market success, the 737 MAX has accumulated more than 1,600 orders to date.

Huge Etihad aircraft order at Dubai Air Show

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airline News, Dubai, Middle East | Posted on 17-11-2013


Etihad Boeing ordersThe Dubai Air Show has gotten off to an incredible start with some historic aircraft orders.

One of most notable so far has been from Etihad Airways, which has committed to over 140 new aircraft, along with a number of options. Orders come from both Airbus and Boeing.

From Airbus, Etihad has ordered 40 A350-900s, ten A350-1000s, one A330-200F, 26 A321neo’s and 10 A320neo’s.

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said, “Ten years ago this month, we celebrated our inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi using an Airbus A330. As one of the first airlines set to receive the much-awaited Airbus A350-1000, we look forward to benefiting from its operational efficiencies and cost savings.”

800x600_1384524372_A350-900_EtihadFrom Boeing, the airline will take 30 787-10 Dreamliners and 25 777X. This is notable in that the 787 has now surpassed 1,000 orders, and the 777X will now officially launch due to this (and other) orders.

“Our ongoing investment in the 787 is well-founded and is apparent by the record time in which the Dreamliner family received its 1,000th order,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “We are truly grateful for the continued confidence that our customers have placed in the 787 and together, we are excited about growing the product line and expanding our presence with this family of airplanes.”

Etihad now has 71 787 Dreamliners on order and is the world’s largest airline customer for the airplane.




KLM brings forward MD-11 retirement

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, Dubai, Middle East, Netherlands, North America, Spotting News, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 31-10-2013


KLM MD-11The retirement date for the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 from passenger service has been brought forward by two years as KLM looks to end operations in a year’s time.

KLM are now the only operator of the MD-11 in passenger configuration, and is currently flying it from its Amsterdam Schiphol hub to destinations such as Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco and Dubai on a seasonal basis, with four examples still in active service.

However, whilst the retirement was originally planned for 2016, it has now been brought forward to October 2014.

Final flights will be from Montreal and Toronto on 25th October 2014 (exact details not yet known).

Interestingly, the MD-11 will be retired from passenger service in the same year as its predecessor, the DC-10, despite them entering service almost 20 years apart.

I have had the pleasure of flying on MD-11s twice – first with American Airlines in 1995, and most recently on KLM’s PH-KCK in 2007. It has had mixed fortunes, with poor performance stats and a number of high profile crashes contrasted with a reputation as a solid and reliable aircraft – particularly for cargo carriers. It will be a sad day when the MD-11 is finally retired.

Find out more about rare passenger aircraft and how you can fly on them today in our ebook, Last Chance to Fly, featuring the MD-11