Austrian Airlines Fokker fleet sold to Alliance Aviation

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Australasia, Australia, Austria, Miscellaneous Spotting, Western Europe | Posted on 25-11-2015


Austrian Fokker 100

Austrian Airlines has completed a deal that will see its entire Fokker aircraft fleet sent to Australia’s Alliance Aviation.

Austrian currently flies 15 Fokker 100s and six Fokker 70s on regional and domestic routes.

All 21 aircraft will be heading to Australia from December 2015 to December 2017 as newer Embraer 195 aircraft enter the fleet, replacing the Fokkers on a one-for-one basis. The purchase price for the Fokker aircraft is USD 15 million, and will comprise an issue of new shares in Alliance and a cash component.

By Phil Vabre [GFDL ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Phil Vabre [GFDL or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Alliance Aviation has a fleet of 15 Fokker 100 and eight Fokker 70 jet planes, and says it is the largest global operator of these types of aircraft. The company operates bases in Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Auckland. For many years it has been a customer of Austrian Technik Bratislava, which specializes in the repair and maintenance of Fokker aircraft. A long-term service agreement between Alliance Aviation and Austrian Technik Bratislava was just concluded in the spring of 2015.

TAM A350 flights open for reservations

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Brazil, Miscellaneous Spotting, South America | Posted on 17-11-2015


TAM A350 flights

TAM has opened its first Airbus A350XWB flights for reservations ahead of the type’s imminent delivery.

The airline will inaugurate service with the A350 on its Sao Paulo Guarulhos – Manaus domestic service from 25th January 2016, operating once per day until at least the end of February. According to World Airline Route News it appears in the schedule until at least April.

You can book TAM A350 flights here:

Other destinations that TAM plans to operate their A350s on are Sao Paulo Guarulhos to both Miami and Madrid, starting in March and April respectively. TAM has a total of 27 A350 XWB on order and we would expect many more routes to be announced soon. Check out our A350 Routes Page.

Fleet renewal at TAP Portugal with large Airbus order

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting, Portugal, Western Europe | Posted on 13-11-2015


TAP Portugal Airbus Order

TAP Portugal has announced its planned fleet renewal by placing a large order for 53 Airbus aircraft valued at $8.5 billion at list prices.

The new order will cover both its medium and long haul fleets, and comprises:

  • 15 A320neo
  • 24 A321neo
  • 14 A330-900neo

Interestingly, this new order will replace a previously placed order for 12 A350-900 aircraft.

“Our latest order for 14 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft and 39 A320neo Family aircraft reflects our ongoing commitment to provide our customers with the next generation of fuel efficient aircraft,” said Fernando Pinto, TAP Portugal CEO. “The A330neo, like the A320neo Family, will give us the flexibility to enter new markets and improve the frequency of existing ones due to its combination of high reliability, low operating costs and exceptional comfort,” he added.

TAP Portugal is an all Airbus customer, currently operating 43 A320 Family aircraft and 18 Widebody Family aircraft.

Comac C919 rolled out

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, China, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 02-11-2015


Comac C919

The first Comac C919 airliner has been rolled out at a ceremony in China.

The twin jet regional airliner is the first large scale airliner to be built in China, and was unveiled at the Shanghai factory that it has been developed in. It can carry up to 168 passengers in a single-class layout, with a range of up to 5,555km. It is intended to fulfill the needs of airlines operating trunk routes in China and beyond, and is a competitor for the Airbus A320, Boeing 737 and Embraer E-Jet families of aircraft which dominate.

The rollout of the new aircraft, registered B-001A (c/n 101) at Comac’s facility near Shanghai Pudong, was to great fanfare and attended by politicians and journalists eager to see it.

There will be six flying prototype aircraft involved in certification, along with two grounded examples. First flight is expected in early 2016.

Orders for the C919 so far total over 500 aircraft, making it a large scale success. All of the orders are from Chinese companies, apart from an order of 20 examples from GECAS in the USA. Air China, China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Air and Sichuan Airlines are all expected to take delivery of the type.

Recently Comac announced its new ARJ-21 airliner will enter service in February 2016.


Cathay Pacific’s new livery revealed

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Hong Kong, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 31-10-2015


Cathay Pacific's New Livery

Revealed via YouTube is Cathay Pacific’s new livery, which has been painted on Boeing 777-300ER B-KPH.

The still image above is not too clear, however it doesn’t appear to be too much of a change from the existing livery. You can watch the official video posted on Youtube here, which shows it a lot clearer:

What do you think?

KLM Fokker 70 aircraft going to Air Niugini

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Miscellaneous Spotting, Netherlands, Western Europe | Posted on 26-10-2015


KLM Fokker 70 for Air Niugini

KLM Cityhopper’s fleet of ageing Fokker 70 aircraft are to be replaced by more Embraer 190s and 175s over the coming years.

Now it has been announced that Air Niugini is to purchase seven of the aircraft, adding to the one former KLM Fokker 70 example it is already operating.

The aircraft will operate on domestic and regional routes alongside its Fokker 100 aircraft. The aircraft may also be flown on routes to Cairns, Vanuatu and Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

Air Niugini Board Chairman, Sir Frederick Reiher said the airline’s board and management believes the F70s aircraft are perfectly suited to PNG market due to their performance and operating economics. Subsequently, they were chosen over the closest alternatives, the Dash -8 Q400 and ATR. In-fact, the Fokker 70’s will be replacing the existing Dash8 Q400 fleet at Air Niugini.

Five of the aircraft are due for delivery by the end of 2015, with two more following in 2016.

In addition to Air Niugini, some of the Fokker 70 fleet has already gone to Insel Air in the Caribbean, with three currently serving the airline and four more due for delivery from 2016.

Where to see the Vulcan

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Canada, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 10-10-2015


Photo (c) Vulcan to the Sky Trust

Photo (c) Vulcan to the Sky Trust

Bear with me… this is going to be a slight departure from the usual focus of this site on airports and commercial aviation. I hope you will still read it!

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Avro Vulcan heavy bomber. I remember seeing them flying a lot in the 1980s, and have loved the fact that a last airworthy example has remained in flight for the past few years, performing at airshows all over the UK.

But the inevitable is now happening – the type is being retired from flight forever this month.

Surprisingly there are a number of Vulcans that you can still visit and see, and some of them are even kept in ‘working’ condition, if not actually flyable. So I thought I’d put together a list of where to see the Vulcan if you happen to be missing seeing it in the skies.



XH558 (G-VLCN)
Doncaster Sheffield Airport

The last airworthy example will retire to its base at Doncaster Sheffield Airport in northern England. Its hangar is being turned into a visitor experience and a working trust that will train young engineers to work on aircraft. Vulcan to the Sky Trust website,where you can donate to their excellent work.

This Vulcan will remain in ‘live’ condition and still taxi on occasion. But it will sadly be grounded.


Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield

Another complete example which has been restored into fantastic condition over the past couple of decades by the 655 Maintenance & Preservation Society. She is now capable of fast taxis. Unfortunately the future of Wellesbourne Mountford airfield is in doubt, so the future of this Vulcan is not entirely certain.


XL319 at Sunderland

XL319 at Sunderland

North East Land, Sea and Air Museum, Sunderland

As a regular volunteer at this museum, I see XL319 a lot. It flew into what was once Sunderland Airport in 1983 and took up residence in the new museum. It is still there, complete, and you can often go inside the cockpit. Museum website.


Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, London

A significant part of the collection at the RAF Museum in Hendon is XL318. It is complete, but has been reassembled following delivery to the museum. Museum website.


London Southend Airport

This is another Vulcan that was kept in working order following retirement. It was fully decommissioned for a time, but has recently been returned to power by the Vulcan Restoration Trust and it is often opened to the public.


BAE Woodford

The airfield at Woodford, near Manchester, has recently been demolished for redevelopment. But a huge white Vulcan still sits on the site. There is a proposal to build a new museum around this aircraft, which is the only Vulcan to wear the original all-white colour scheme.


RAF Waddington

One of the Vulcans which took part in the bombing of the Falkland Islands, XM607 sits as a gate guard at its former home of RAF Waddington. It is situated next to the public viewing area and in pretty good condition.


Newark Air Museum

Another complete Vulcan in great condition, and on display at the Newark Air Museum in Lincolnshire, England. It is occasionally opened to the public. Museum website.


XM597 at Museum of Flight, East Fortune

XM597 at Museum of Flight, East Fortune

National Museum of Flight, Scotland

The only Vulcan to reside in Scotland is XM597, which is at the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune, not too far from Edinburgh. Museum website.


Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford

The other RAF Museum in the UK is at Cosford, close to Birmingham. Their Vulcan is XM598, which is displayed inside a hangar. Museum website.

This museum also holds the cockpit section of Vulcan XA893.



XM612 at Norwich

City of Norwich Aviation Museum

Displayed outside at this museum on the perimeter of Norwich Airport. Museum website.


Goose Bay

Vulcan at Goose Bay

Goose Bay Airport, Canada

The only Vulcan in Canada. This one flew across the Atlantic and had a technical problem which grounded it. As a result, it was decided to turn XL361 into a gate guard display to commemorate the RAF’s involvement with Goose Bay Airport.


Ashland Vulcan

Strategic Air and Space Museum, Ashland, NE

One of three Vulcans preserved in the USA. XM573 is complete and can be seen by visitors to the museum. She arrived here in 1982. Museum website.


Castle Air Museum, Atwater, CA

This museum is at the Castle AFB in California. Its Vulcan, XM605, arrived in 1981. Museum website.


XJ824 at Duxford

XJ824 at Duxford

Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Displayed indoors at this famous British aviation museum in Cambridgeshire. Museum website.


Global Power Museum, Barksdale, LA

The third Vulcan in America. XM606 is displayed outside at this museum at Barksdale AFB. Museum website.


Midland Air Museum, Coventry

One of three Vulcans in the English Midlands, XL360 is displayed outside. It is usually open to the public. Museum website.


East Midlands Aeropark

On display in this compact open-air museum next to the runway at East Midlands Airport, close to Nottingham and Leicester. Museum website.


Solway Aviation Museum, Carlisle

Finally, XJ823 is tucked away in north-west England, a few miles from the border with Scotland, at Carlisle Airport. Museum website.



In addition to these complete airframes, you can also see part fuselages of Vulcans in the following locations:

  • Aeroventure Museum, Doncaster
  • Jet Age Museum, Gloucester Staverton Airport
  • Bournemouth Aviation Museum
  • Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum

Plus a few cockpit sections in private hands.



I hope this has given you some good insight about where to see the Vulcan bomber in all its glory, even though it is now grounded. Go and visit some of these magnificent aircraft and inspect them at close quarters.


Finnair A350 enters service

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Finland, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 08-10-2015


Finnair A350 enters service

Finnair has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350XWB, OH-LWA (cn 018) an a flight from Toulouse to Helsinki. It is the first of 19 aircraft on order.

This makes Finnair the first airline in Europe to operate the A350, after Qatar Airways and Vietnam Airlines started flying the type.

The Finnair A350 enters service amid much hype, and the airline will be flying it on a series of crew familiarisation routes on many of its European schedules from 9th October, before it enters service on long haul routes to the Far East from November.

Finnair A350

The aircraft will join the airline’s all-Airbus fleet of 45 aircraft in operation, today comprising 30 A320 Family aircraft and 15 A330/A340s.

 “Finnair has enjoyed a long and prosperous working relationship with Airbus and the A350 takes our cooperation to another level. This aircraft is the future of flying and will give our passengers a completely new and enhanced travel experience,” says Finnair CEO, Pekka Vauramo.
“At Airbus, we’re proud and delighted to see Finnair, one of the world’s longest-standing and most respected airlines, become the first European carrier to fly the A350 XWB,”  said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “The A350 XWB’s unrivalled fuel efficiency and passenger comfort make it the perfect aircraft to spearhead Finnair’s Asian expansion.‎”

For a full list of Finnair’s short haul and long haul A350 routes, please visit our A350 Routes Page.


British Airways’ first 787-9 delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Heathrow, Miscellaneous Spotting, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 01-10-2015


British Airways 787-9

British Airways yesterday took delivery of their first Boeing 787-9, G-ZBKA, at London Heathrow following a flight directly from Paine Field near Seattle.

The aircraft is the first of 18 that the airline has on order, and complements its fleet of eight shorter 787-8 aircraft operating on long haul services.

All of the aircraft will be based at London Heathrow, and will initially fly to destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Austin, Kuala Lumpur and San Jose.

The 787-9 is likely to appear on a few domestic or European services for crew familiarisation. However, the first dedicated service is from London Heathrow to Delhi, starting 25th October 2015.


Keep an eye on our Boeing 787 Dreamliner Routes Page for all routes flown by each airline.

Catching up with the Boeing prototype aircraft

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 14-09-2015


Recently we put together a post charting the various prototype aircraft produced for each Airbus type. It proved popular, so next in line is the Boeing prototype aircraft.

The prototype model is the first of the type to fly, and will later be joined by other examples to help achieve flight certification.

Following this, the prototype will often either be kept for future testing and modification, delivered to an airline customer, sent to a museum or stored and ultimately scrapped.


Boeing 707 (original 367-80)

707 prototypeN70700. Preserved at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA (alongside Washington Dulles Airport).

Boeing 707-100

Crashed 17 September 1965.

Boeing 717

N717XA. Scrapped at Long Beach, CA. Parts may still exist.

Boeing 720

Scrapped in 1982.

Boeing 727-100

TMOF 727 Arriving at TMOF

TMOF 727 at Museum of Flight

N7001U. Preserved at Everett Paine Field, being readied for a return to flight. It will be flown to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, WA.

Boeing 727-200

Scrapped in 2003.

Boeing 737-100

737-100 prototype

N515NA. Preserved at Museum of Flight, Boeing Field, Seattle, WA.

Boeing 737-200

Scrapped in 2013.

Boeing 737-300

Scrapped in 2006.

Boeing 737-400

N406US. Withdrawn from use and being broken up at Tucson, AZ. May be gone already.

Boeing 737-500

Scrapped in 2013

Boeing 737-600

737-600 prototype

LN-RRO. Active with SAS.

Boeing 737-700

© Marco Dotti
N707SA. Active with Southwest Airlines.

Boeing 737-800

737-800 prototype

TC-SNY. Active with SunExpress.

Boeing 737-900

737-900 prototype N302AS

N302AS. Active with Alaska Airlines.

Boeing 747-100

747 prototype

N7470. Preserved at the Museum of Flight, Boeing Field, Seattle, WA.

Boeing 747-200B

Scrapped in 2003

Boeing 747-300

Scrapped in 2010.

Boeing 747-400

N661US Delta Boeing 747-400 prototype

N661US. Recently retired at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, GA. Will be preserved at Delta Flight Museum.

Boeing 747SP

Scrapped in 1999.

Boeing 747-8i

FlightAware Photo
Photo Courtesy of

9K-GAA. Active with Kuwait Government.

Boeing 747-8 Freighter

LX-VCA 747-8 prototype

LX-VCA. Active with Cargolux.

Boeing 757-200

757-200 prototype

N757A. Active as a testbed with Boeing. Usually at Boeing Field, Seattle, WA.

Boeing 757-300

757-300 prototype

Julian Herzog [GFDL or CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

D-ABOA. Active with Condor.

Boeing 767-200

Scrapped in 2006.

Boeing 767-300

JA8236. Scrapped, but cockpit retained with Scroggins Aviation for movie work.

Boeing 767-400

767-400 prototype

By Curimedia | P H O T O G R A P H Y [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

N825MH. Active with Delta Air Lines.

Boeing 777-200

777-200 prototype

By Aldo Bidini [GFDL 1.2, GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

B-HNL. Active with Cathay Pacific.

Boeing 777-300

777-300 prototype

By Kentaro Iemoto from Tokyo, Japan [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

B-HNE. Active with Cathay Pacific.

Boeing 787-8

Picture from

Picture from

N787BA. Preserved at Nagoya Chubu Centrair Airport, Japan.

Boeing 787-9

© Nathen Sieben
ZK-NZC. Active with Air New Zealand.