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

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By Dmitriy Pichugin [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], 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 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], 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

aeroflotsuperjet

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

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.

Two Boeing 747-400s heading to museums. It’s really that old!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Australasia, Australia, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 31-01-2015

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The first Boeing 747-400 flew in February 1989 – that’s almost 26 years ago!

Although it remained in production until 2009, the early airframes in this penultimate model in the ‘jumbo jet’ line are now starting to look a little long in the tooth. Many have already been retired, scrapped, put in long-term storage, or converted to freighters as passenger carriers look to modern twin-engine long haul replacements.

Today I heard of two Boeing 747-400 examples that are earmarked for preservation in museums. This is incredible news for aircraft enthusiasts, but very scary when I remember watching footage of the first flight and it doesn’t seem that long ago!

Photo: Paul Spijkers

Photo: Paul Spijkers

First off, Qantas is to donate VH-OJA – their first 747-400, and the record-holder for the world’s longest ever commercial non-stop flight. Named the City of Canberra, the aircraft flew non-stop from London to Sydney in August 1989 in 20 hours and 9 minutes.

VH-OJA is to be donated to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) at Illawara Regional Airport, only ten minutes flying time from Sydney for public display – something that will be a sight to behold at the small regional airport. The official handover will take place on 15th March, although the positioning flight may take place earlier.

Secondly, Delta Air Lines is rumoured to have earmarked the first ever Boeing 747-400, N661US, to be preserved at the Delta Flight Museum at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport later this year once its current flying commitments are finished.

Photo: Paul Spijkers

Photo: Paul Spijkers

This particular aircraft undertook the initial flight testing during certification for the new type in 1989, prior to entering service with Northwest Airlines. It has flown in Delta colours since the airlines merged in 2008.

The Delta Flight Museum is already home to a number of retired types flown by the airline and Northwest, including a Boeing 757-200, 767-200, Douglas DC-9, part of a L1011 TriStar, and a Douglas DC-3.

Transavia gets a new look

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, France, Miscellaneous Spotting, Netherlands, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 30-01-2015

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Transavia new livery

Transavia Airlines and Transavia France have introduced a new branding and colour scheme across the company, including its aircraft livery.

It only seems a shot time since their last rebrand, but apparently it’s been ten years!

The first aircraft to wear the new, brighter look is Boeing 737-700 PH-XRX and is already flying.

Transavia new scheme

The new branding was completed by Studio Dumbar, and you can see more examples of the new look on their website. Most notably, the airline is no longer called transavia.com. It’s apparently old news to do that now.

What do you think of the new scheme? Have you see it in real life yet?

 

 

242 tonne take-off weight Airbus A330 takes to the skies

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in France, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 13-01-2015

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A330_242T__First_flight_take_off_2_

Airbus has successfully flown the first A330 aircraft with the increased 242 tonne maximum take-off weight (MTOW) at Toulouse Blagnac.

Didier Evrard, Airbus Executive Vice President Head of Programmes said: “I congratulate the whole team in charge of the A330 242 tonnes weight variant for making this day happen ahead of schedule. We are on track to deliver this new higher weight variant in 2015 to launch customer Delta Air Lines, who will also be the launch customer for the A330neo.”

The A330 242 tonne MTOW is the platform for the future A330neo and is concrete example of Airbus’ incremental innovation strategy. The newest enhancement offers more capability at lower operating cost with a range extended by up to 500 nautical miles and up to two percent reduced fuel consumption while also benefiting from operational reliability of above 99 percent. The 242 tonne MTOW is capable of flying missions up to 15 hours.

US Airways Boeing 767-200 retiring in February

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 05-01-2015

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USAirways767

US Airways is set to retire its Boeing 767-200 fleet in February, marking the end of passenger operations with the type in the USA.

The final flight is currently scheduled as US1798 from Charlotte to Philadelphia and return on 11th February.

Other flights operating with the type that day, according to Airline Route, include:

  • Charlotte-Cancun-Charlotte
  • Charlotte-Orlando-Charlotte
  • Charlotte-St Thomas-Charlotte

These aircraft have a long heritage, with some of the fleet being operated by Piedmont Airlines in the 1980s before its merger with USAir.

What to look out for in 2015 – aviation events

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News | Posted on 31-12-2014

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Let me take this opportunity to say ‘Happy New Year’ to you all, and thanks so much for making 2014 a great year for Airport Spotting Blog.

I wondered what aviation events you are looking forward to in 2015? I have put together this list of events that you might be interested in:

January

  • Airbus A350 enters commercial service between Doha and Frankfurt with Qatar Airways.
  • First American Airlines 787 due
  • First Etihad 787 due
  • First Korean Air 787 due
  • First Qantas 787 due
  • First Scoot 787 due

February

  • 18th-22nd – Aero India
    Largest air show in India, held at Yelahanka, Bengaluru
  • First Royal Air Maroc 787 due

March

April

May

  • 19th-21st EBACE European Business Aviation Convention
    Held at Geneva Airport
  • First Vietnam Airlines 787 due
  • 29th Final scheduled TU-154 flight in Europe – Geneva to Minsk, Belavia

June

  • 11th-13th AviationExpo Europe
    A festival of aviation. Held at Kbely Airport in the Czech Republic
  • 15th-21st – Paris Air Salon
    The great biannual air show and industry event where new aircraft are displayed and many airline orders are made. Takes place at Paris Le Bourget Airport.
  • First PrivatAir 787 due

July

  • 20th-26th EAA Airventure Oshkosh
    The largest air show in the world returns to Wittman Regional Airport in Wisconsin

August

  • 25th-30th MAKS Air Show
    Held at Moscow Zhukovsky Airport.
  • First Vietnam Airlines A350 due

September

  • First Finnair A350 due
  • First Oman Air 787 due

October

  • 24th – Final Virgin Atlantic A340-300 flight
  • First KLM 787 due
  • First Transaero A380 due

November

  • 8th-12th Dubai Air Show
    Held at the new Dubai World Central airport.
  • 17th-25th NBAA Business Aviation Convention
    Held at Las Vegas Henderson Executive Airport

December

  • First Saudia 787 due

Other events include the entry into service of the new Bombardier C Series airliner, which has been delayed. It is due to fly with Korean Air and Lufthansa first.

 

Leave a comment below if you can think of any other important aviation events or have anything that you’re looking forward to!

2014’s most popular Airport Spotting posts

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Airport News, Asia, Australasia, Australia, Eastern Europe, Germany, Ghana, Heathrow, India, Indonesia, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, Turkey, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 27-12-2014

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MostPopular2014

With 2014 coming to an end and lots to look forward to next year, I wanted to revisit some of our most popular articles from the past year.

These have all had the most views, shares and comments.

What has been your aviation or spotting highlight of 2014? Leave a comment below!

 

 

Spotting News

Jakarta Airport FM7 Spotting Hotel
This new spotting hotel was a welcome addition to one of the most interesting airports for spotters to visit.

Guide to aviation and spotting in India
Spotting is notoriously difficult and misunderstood in India, so I put together this guide on what to expect and where to spot in this huge country.

Sydney to close observation deck
Sad new for spotters this year when Sydney’s International Terminal observation deck closed. But all was not lost.

Heathrow opens new viewing area
Few saw this coming – Heathrow opening an official viewing area again! But there was a catch…

ex-Ghana DC-10 turned into a restaurant
A former Ghana Airways Douglas DC-10 has been converted into a restaurant next to the main international airport.

BLOC Hotel Gatwick – Spotting Hotel Review
London’s second busiest airport got a new spotting hotel. I visited this summer and reported here on the excellent views and opportunities.

9 top spotting airports to reach by budget airline
This little guide offers some inspiration on the major international airports that are great to spot at, and also easily reached by budget airlines, helping keep the cost down.

 

BrazilThemeWeek

Airline and Aircraft News

SunExpress expand with up to 50 Boeing 737 order
A large order for aircraft from the joint German/Turkish leisure airline SunExpress.

Farnborough Air Show Orders Summary
This year’s Farnborough Air Show brought an unprecedented number of aircraft orders from around the world. We put a summary together here.

Brazil World Cup Special Liveries
This year’s Football World Cup in Brazil brought a number of special airline liveries. See them here!

McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Farewell
The final passenger MD-11 flights took place in 2014. In this farewell piece we look at the history or the aircraft and where you can still see them flying today.

 

New Eastern Airlines to start flying on 19 December

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 26-11-2014

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eastern 737-800

The new Eastern Airlines, which recently took delivery of its first Boeing 737-800, is due to start flying on 19 December from its Miami base.

Initially the airline will operate charter flights, however it has just signed a strategic partnership with Surinam Airways.

“Surinam Airways is delighted to be in a partnership with the new Eastern Air Lines. We believe this is an effective way for our airline to extend its reach by cooperating with Eastern at its Miami base of operations. We look forward to our teams working together to find operational synergies between our two airlines.” Said Ewald Henshuijs, CEO of Surinam Airways.

Eastern’s aircraft wear the classic livery of its predecessor, which went out of business in 1991. It was also based at Miami.

5 more Beluga’s coming to Airbus

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 19-11-2014

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MSN 6101 First NEO fuselage loading into Beluga from HAM to TLS

Airbus has taken action to address its large-scale delivery abilities with the approval to construct five new Beluga aircraft.

The manufacturer already operates five Belugas, which are based on their A300-600 aircraft. However, the new examples will be based upon the A330 and are specifically designed to aid in the new A350XWB production line, delivering parts between Airbus plants across Europe.

The first of the five new Belugas will enter in service in mid-2019. The existing Beluga fleet will operate in parallel, and will be progressively retired through to 2025.

 

Air Leisure to revive Airbus A340-200s in Egypt

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Asia, Egypt, Spotting News | Posted on 27-10-2014

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By Paul Spijkers [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Spijkers [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

A new leisure carrier in Egypt, named (suitably) Air Leisure, is planning to lease a number of the retired Airbus A340-200s from EgyptAir (although one recently returned to flying for the national carrier).

The wide-body type is the original model of A340 and is now pretty rare, with Aerolineas Argentinas retiring theirs, and a sole example still flying sporadically in Venezuela.

Air Leisure plans to use the aircraft on flights from regional airports such as Aswan, Hurghada and Luxor to destinations in the Far East.

At present Air Leisure operates a single McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft. No date has been set for the launch of A340 flights yet.