Cathay Pacific plans last passenger Boeing 747 flight on 31 August

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Hong Kong, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 20-08-2014

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Creative Commons (c) Aero Icarus

Creative Commons (c) Aero Icarus

Cathay Pacific has signalled the end for its Boeing 747-400 passenger fleet by announcing the final flight of the type.

On 31st August, the airline will operate the final 747-400 passenger flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong, ending 18 years of service with the type since its first -200B example began flying in July 1986.

Significantly, the first route operated by a Cathay Pacific 747 was from San Francisco to Hong Kong, so this is a fitting tribute.

The airline will continue to fly Boeing 747-400 and -8 models as part of its cargo operation.

 

As a side note, the airline has also announced that it will retire its Airbus A340-300 fleet in 2017.

Mojave Plane Crazy Days 16 August

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 06-08-2014

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This was news to me, so I thought I’d report it. Mojave Air and Space Port in California is hosting regular ‘Plane Crazy’ days where visitors get to enjoy talks by guest speakers, and displays by pilots and unusual aircraft.

Mojave Plane Crazy August

Mojave is well known as one of the desert storage airports in the western United States, and in recent years as a developing centre for space travel and testing.

The next Plane Crazy Saturday will be held on 16th August and will include the following:

  • Stargazer Lockheed L1011 on display
  • Joseph Weichmann speaking on ‘California and the Commercial Spaceflight Industry’
  • Local pilots displaying unique and one-of-a-kind aircraft

The Voyager Restaurant and other local businesses will also be open. It seems that visitors will also get access to the flightline to see aircraft close up, so this is a great opportunity to take along a camera!

 

Find out more at this link.

ANA set to debut 787-9 on 4 August

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Australasia, Japan, New Zealand, North America, USA | Posted on 25-07-2014

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787 ANA

ANA All Nippon Airways will take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 aircraft on 28th July direct from Everett.

The airline will be the first to operate the stretched model of the Dreamliner when it operates a special flight from Tokyo Haneda airport over Mount Fuji carrying Japanese and American elementary school children living in Japan. These, the airline says, are the “next generation of air passengers.”

ANA will initially operate the 787-9 on domestic routes within Japan.

International flights will follow from April 2015.

In addition to this new, fellow launch customer Air New Zealand plans to start commercial flights between Auckland and Sydney with their new 787-9s from August.

Find out all the Boeing 787 Routes here.

US Airways farewell 737-400 flight

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, North America, USA | Posted on 16-07-2014

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737-400US_livery

US Airways will retire its Boeing 737-400 fleet on 19th August 2014.

To mark the occasion the airline is putting on a special flight that will call at three cities on the final day of operation.

US flight number 0737 will leave Charlotte on a flight to Dallas Fort Worth. It will then fly to Philadelphia before returning to Charlotte. The flight times are expected to be:

Charlotte 0830 – Dallas Ft Worth 1016
Dallas Ft Worth 1245 – Philadelphia 1703
Philadelphia 2000 – Charlotte 2140

At each destination there will be a special farewell for the aircraft with staff and press.

The public are able to book on this flight, but it is expected to have sold out very quickly.

If you witness the final day of operation, why not send us your pictures!

Monarch close to 737 MAX order

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, North America, Spotting News, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 14-07-2014

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Monarch 737 MAX

Monarch Airlines is close to finalising a deal with Boeing to order 30 737 MAX 8 aircraft as part of its fleet upgrade.

Although it operates a couple of 757-200s, and in the past operated 737-300s, Monarch has been primarily an Airbus operator over recent years. It has a fleet of A320s and A321s, and recently retired its A300-600s. So this move is an interesting development for the UK holiday carrier.

The order is valued at $3.1 billion at current list prices.

“Today’s announcement is an important milestone in an exhaustive three year evaluation process, and a key part of The Monarch Group’s transformation and renewal,” said Iain Rawlinson, Executive Chairman, The Monarch Group. “Boeing truly understood our business and put together a complete package that fits extremely well with our ambitions for the Group.”

“We are delighted that Monarch intends to structure its future fleet around the 737 MAX,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner. “We look forward to finalizing the order and can’t wait to see the Monarch livery on 737s once again. Today is a proud moment for everyone at Boeing, as we welcome back a prestigious U.K. operator. We are confident that the 737 MAX will play a significant role in Monarch’s continued success.”

3 Cheap Airport View Hotels – 10% off code!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Heathrow, Japan, North America, Spotting Hotels, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 10-07-2014

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If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve probably visited so many airport hotels that they’ve become something of a blur to you — difficult to distinguish from one another. In most cases, their most notable amenity — proximity to the airport and your next flight — is the only reason you’ve selected them.

However, among the world’s thousands of airport hotels, some offer spectacular views of flights arriving and departing from the airport, a welcome change from watching the TV to pass your time. And among these hotels with striking airport views, a select few are affordably priced, making them all the more desirable.

Here are three such properties. All combine memorable airport views with reasonable room rates ($200 per night or less), which sets them apart from run-of-the-mill airport hotels the world over.

As an added incentive for readers of this website, you can get an additional 10 percent discount on any reservations — for these or other hotels — booked through HotelsCheap.org on or before July 31, 2014. More about this later.

Narita Tobu Hotel Airport

Many rooms at Narita Tobu Hotel Airport offer excellent views of arriving and departing flights at Tokyo's Narita International Airport.

Many rooms at Narita Tobu Hotel Airport offer excellent views of arriving and departing flights at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.

In 2013, Narita International Airport, which serves Tokyo, ranked 13th among the world’s busiest airports in terms of passenger traffic, serving more than 30.5 million passengers. Located nearby, the 12-story Narita Tobu Hotel Airport offers excellent views of airport action from most guestrooms on its upper floors.

If watching the comings and goings at Narita is important to you, be sure to request a room with a good airport view when booking your reservations. If the view from your room is less than perfect, relax with a drink in the hotel’s top-floor cocktail lounge, where you can be sure to catch all the action.

With rates as low as $116 per night, the hotel is a real bargain. Each of its 484 units features a mini-refrigerator, coffee/tea maker, complimentary wired Internet connection, desk/work area, and an en-suite bathroom with combination shower/tub and complimentary toiletries.

Other hotel amenities include an indoor swimming pool, health club, sauna, conference/meeting rooms, airport shuttle (complimentary during limited hours), free parking, gift shop/newsstand, game room, and restaurant.

Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel

From your room in Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel, you can watch flights come and go at the busiest airport in the United States.

From your room in Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel, you can watch flights come and go at the busiest airport in the United States.

For a front-row seat to all the runway action at America’s busiest airport, book a room at Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel, where room rates start at less than $100 a night. Many of the guestrooms and suites at the 11-story hotel directly overlook the runways at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which in 2012 handled nearly 46 million passengers.

The hotel’s 380 air-conditioned units have plenty of amenities, including cable/satellite TV with premium movie channels, room service, mini-refrigerators, Internet access (for surcharge), and en-suite bathrooms with shower/tub combinations, hair dryers, and designer toiletries.

Other hotel facilities and services include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a sauna, business center, health club, meeting rooms, a gift shop, porter/bellhop service, safe deposit boxes, and complimentary airport shuttle service.

ibis London Heathrow Airport

The sleekly contemporary front desk at the ibis London Heathrow Airport belies the hotel's cut-rate accommodations.

The sleekly contemporary front desk at the ibis London Heathrow Airport belies the hotel’s cut-rate accommodations.

Part of an international chain of economy hotels, ibis London Heathrow Airport sits near the heart of the action at London’s Heathrow Airport, which in 2013 was the world’s busiest airport according to Airports Council International. From the hotel’s rooms you can see plenty of airport action. What makes a stay at ibis even more attractive are its affordable rates, which start as low as $80.

Each of the air-conditioned guestrooms in the six-story hotel offers cable TV with premium channels, coffee/tea maker, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Some handicap-accessible rooms are available.

Other amenities at ibis include a 24-hour snack bar, business services, 24-hour front desk, parking, and shuttle service to all terminals (added fee). The on-site Foggs restaurant and bar serves breakfast and dinner daily.

To take advantage of HotelsCheap.org’s limited-time discount coupon for followers of Airport Spotting, visit the Loyalty Coupon gateway of HotelsCheap.org. Enter discount code AIRPORTSPOTTING10 in the appropriate field to get 10 percent off the site’s already very-affordable rates on any reservations booked on or before July 31, 2014.

Don Amerman is a travel expert based in Florida and Pennsylvania. He has traveled widely across the United States and overseas as well.

Virgin Atlantic reaches 30. Announces first 787 route

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Heathrow, North America, Spotting News, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 24-06-2014

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The first Virgin Atlantic service to New York (c) Steve Fitzgerald

The first Virgin Atlantic service to New York (c) Steve Fitzgerald

Richard Branson’s revolutionary airline, Virgin Atlantic, which was first conceived after he chartered an aircraft in the Caribbean to rescue the travel plans of himself and fellow passengers following a flight cancellation, is now 30 years old.

Richard was caught up in the idea of setting up a new airline arm to his Virgin empire, and soon took delivery of a Boeing 747 to start low fare flights from London Gatwick to New York on 22 June 1984. Passengers would experience staff hired for their fresh outlook on service, and flights with better entertainment and food options.

Virgin Atlantic launch press conference

It would grow to become a major player in long haul travel, both from Gatwick and Heathrow airports. It also opened Virgin Atlantic Little Red, a low-cost domestic airline, in 2013.

Fleet Upgrades

Virgin Atlantic VAA 787-9 Artwork K64012-01

Virgin operates a fleet of Airbus A340 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft, but it has been looking to upgrade with more fuel efficient aircraft.

The airline has been considering what to do about its Airbus A380 order since it deferred delivery, and will make a decision soon.

However, Virgin is due to take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 aircraft later this year and, to coincide with its 30th anniversary, has announced that the first route of the type will be from London Heathrow to Boston Logan, starting on 28th October.

It is likely the aircraft will be used on crew familiarisation sectors before then, possibly on the Little Red network. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear.

Skymark and Qatar Airways A380 delays

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Japan, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Qatar, USA | Posted on 23-06-2014

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A380_Skymark_take_off_maiden_flight

Japan’s Skymark Airlines has delayed delivery of its first Airbus A380 by six months. The first example will now arrive in February or March 2015, and begin flying between Tokyo Narita and New York JFK initially.

The delay is due to problems with fitting the aircraft’s interior.

This news comes after Qatar Airways announced it was also delaying its first A380 delivery due to problems with the interior installation. It will now take its first aircraft later this summer.

Delta orders 15 Airbus A321s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 02-06-2014

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Delta Airbus A321

Delta has placed an order for 15 Airbus A321 aircraft, which will be a new type to the airline. (Edit: this is a top-up from their previous order for A321s).

The aircraft are the current engine option (ceo) model, and are scheduled for delivery from 2018. They will be used to offset aircraft retirements at the time (likely McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and Boeing 757 aircraft).

Delta currently operates a large fleet of Airbus aircraft, including 126 A320 Family aircraft and 32 A330s. The order announced today brings Delta’s backlog to 45 single-aisle Airbus A321 and 10 widebody Airbus A330 aircraft.

Many of Delta’s A321s will be delivered from Airbus’ brand-new A320 Family assembly line, currently under construction in Mobile, Alabama.

First HondaJet executive aircraft nearing completion

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 28-05-2014

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HondaJet

The first HondaJet executive aircraft is approaching the end of construction at the company’s plant in North Carolina, reports Motoring.com.au.

The aircraft, known as the HA-420, is aimed at the growing biz jet market. It is a twin-jet T-tail design which it is hoped will begin deliveries to customers next year.

“Honda Aircraft Company’s most important goals are achieving Federal Aviation Administration Type Certification and delivering the first customer aircraft,” said Honda Aircraft Company President and CEO Michimasa Fujino. “Our total effort is focused on reaching these much anticipated milestones in the first quarter of 2015.”

The first aircraft will undergo ground tests soon, and will be followed by eight more test examples as part of the certification process.