Qantas Retro Roo II takes flight

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Australasia, Australia, Spotting News | Posted on 17-11-2015



Qantas has revealed its new Retro Roo II aircraft, which harks back to its classic early 1960s livery.

Boeing 737-800 VH-VXQ, which was painted in Townsville, wears the livery to celebrate the airline’s 95th anniversary.


The Retro Roo livery originally appeared on the airline’s first Boeing 707 jetliners from 1959-1961. The 707 represented a step-change in aviation and Qantas was the first carrier outside the United States to operate the jet. In 1959, Qantas used it to become the first airline to operate regular passenger jet services across the Pacific Ocean, connecting Sydney and San Francisco.
Qantas was also the first airline to offer a round-the-world jet service with the 707. The flying time was 70 hours compared to 127 hours with the Super Constellation aircraft that the 707 replaced. Today a Qantas flight from Sydney to London stops just once, in Dubai, and takes 21 flying hours.

Welcoming the freshly-painted Qantas retro jet into a hangar with more than 300 employees, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce described the vintage livery as a flying tribute to the airline’s history of innovation.

“As we celebrate our 95th birthday today, I hope this livery inspires a sense of pride in what our national airline has achieved during all those years of taking Australians around the world and bringing them safely home again,” said Mr Joyce.

“A large part of the national pride people feel towards the flying kangaroo comes from the fact it has been responsible for so many innovations in global aviation.”

Minneapolis St Paul spotting area opens

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 07-11-2015


Minneapolis St Paul Spotting Area

Minneapolis St Paul Spotting Area by Emmanuel Canaan

Minneapolis St Paul Spotting Area by Emmanuele Canaan

Photo by Emmanuel Canaan

Minneapolis St. Paul Airport in Minnesota has enamored itself to local plane spotters and enthusiasts by opening a new place to watch aircraft on airport property.

“I’ve always thought MSP Airport should have a place for the public to watch airplanes land and takeoff,” said Dan Boivin, Chair of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, at a ribbon cutting event. “When MSP first opened its doors for commercial air travel, people were able to come right up to the fence. Then, when Terminal 1-Lindbergh was constructed, we offered an indoor observation deck to anyone who wished to make the trip to the airport. But since 2002, when new security regulations were put in place, we haven’t had a designated public space for this activity – until now.”

The Minneapolis St Paul spotting area includes parking, picnic tables, and benches. Trees have been planted that, when mature, will provide shade and natural beauty – perhaps not ideal during the typically harsh winters the area experiences, but no doubt very much welcome by local spotters.

Views available from the spotting area include all four runways, plus terminals 1 and 2. The airport said that they had seen the need for such a place when observing spotters finding spaces alongside the roads and Cell Phone Lot at the airport trying to find good vantage points.

Access to the viewing area is from the west side of the airport. To get to the viewing area from Richfield or Cedar Avenue, travel on 66th St. east to Longfellow Avenue and follow Longfellow south to Cargo Road. Follow Cargo Road to its end at the new viewing area. From Bloomington or I-494, take 24th Ave. north to 77th St. Take 77th St. west to Longfellow Road, and follow Longfellow north to Cargo Road. Turn right on Cargo Road and follow it to the new viewing area, located just past and the Federal Express shipping facility.

The airport has produced a handy map with driving instructions. Download it here:

The space is open every day, dawn to dusk.

Photographs on this post are kindly provided by the excellent aviation photographer Emmanuel Canaan. Check out his website!


World Airports Spotting Guide Book

Oklahoma City Will Rogers building observation deck

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 13-10-2015


Oklahoma City observation deck

As part of plans to expand its terminal Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers Airport will incorporate a public observation deck.

As well as expanding its security and retail areas, the airport will add a new concourse to its terminal, adding four gates initially. These will open in 2018, allowing the airport to attract more airlines and services. It is also hoped that the improvements to the terminal will allow it to avoid impending over-crowding as the airport has seen continued growth for many of the past ten years.

The public observation deck will be built into the terminal in an elevated area which offers views of the aircraft movements around the terminal. It is thought that this will be an enclosed area behind glass, but this is nevertheless a very welcome addition.

Oklahoma City Observation Deck

Will Rogers saw 3.8 million passengers in 2014, with United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Delta and Allegiant as the principal operators.

The airport is also a busy cargo hub for FedEx, UPS and Ameriflight.

Hopefully the views from the Oklahoma City observation deck will allow all movements to be seen and the possibility of photography. It is definitely a welcome addition to the spotting options at the airport.


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.


JFK TWA Terminal to Become Hotel

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, North America, Spotting Hotels, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 01-09-2015



Built to ‘capture the spirit of flight’, Eero Saarinen’s masterpiece TWA Flight Center terminal at New York JFK airport is set to enjoy a new lease of life as it is redeveloped as a hotel. Whats more, there is potential for it becoming a valued spotting location at JFK.

The iconic building was constructed between 1956 and 1962 for use by TWA and features unique curves and spaces unlike any other terminal seen before or since. Inside, passengers flowed through space-age halls and up curving staircases before boarding their flights on what was then one of the country’s most important airlines.



However, since TWA was absorbed into American Airlines in 2001 the terminal has been left unused as a time capsule of days gone by. The new Jetblue terminal 5 was built to replace the TWA terminal, leaving it landlocked from the coming and going of passengers and aircraft. Its small size would mean it is no longer up to the demands put on JFK, but with its protected status a future was sought for the building to bring it back into use.

Now finally details have been revealed about how the building is to be turned into the TWA Flight Center Hotel. It will see the structure retained, with a 505-room facility built alongside. The original building will act as a lobby, and it will also feature a large meeting space, up to eight dining facilities, and a large observation deck to watch aircraft action.

Yes, you heard right – a viewing area at JFK airport!

Now, you’ll know if you’ve read our Spotting at New York JFK guide, that there are no official areas to watch aircraft for enthusiasts and families waving off relatives at this huge and interesting airport. So the promise that these facilities will be incorporated into the JFK TWA terminal are a little mouthwatering to say the least.


An impression of how the hotel will look

What this will look like is still very much unknown, but I’ll be making enquiries about what we can expect and giving you updates as construction progresses.

The CEO of MCR Development, the company working on the structure, said the hotel “will celebrate and preserve” the building, “returning the landmark to its original glory and reopening it to the public. […] Whether staying the night or simply exploring, international visitors and New Yorkers alike will be able to experience the magic of the Jet Age in this extraordinary mid-century icon.”

This to me sounds like viewing aircraft will be for everyone, and not just hotel guests.


Korean Air’s first 747-8i delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Frankfurt, Germany, South Korea, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 26-08-2015


747-8I KAL #1506-RC051

747-8I KAL HL7630

Korean Air has had its first Boeing 747-8i delivered – the first of ten it has on order of the passenger variant of the latest jumbo jet.

With this delivery, Korean Air becomes the first airline in the world to operate both the passenger and freighter versions of the 747-8. Korean Air currently operates seven 747-8 Freighters.

Korea’s flag carrier currently operates a fleet of 87 Boeing passenger airplanes that includes 737, 747 and 777s. The airline also operates an all-Boeing cargo fleet of 28 747-400, 747-8 and 777 Freighters.

Its new 747-8i’s will fly on the route from Seoul Incheon to Frankfurt from 2 September 2015, going daily from 1 October.

Other routes will be Singapore and San Francisco from November, followed at some stage by London Heathrow, which was announced initially before changing to Frankfurt.

The first aircraft is registered HL7630.

Oman Air 787 Routes Announced

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Frankfurt, Germany, Italy, Middle East, Oman, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 19-08-2015


Oman Air 787 Routes

Oman Air is due to take delivery of their first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner in September. The airline has announced the first routes that the type will operate when in service from October. They are:

Oman Air 787 Routes

  • Muscat – Salalah – 1x daily from 25 October
  • Muscat – Frankfurt – 1x daily from 25 October
  • Muscat – Milan Malpensa – 1x daily from 1 December

Salalah is a short domestic route which will be operated initially to aid in training crews. It is not likely to feature as a long-term 787 route for the airline.


The airline has four 787-8s on order, and six 787-9s which are due for delivery between 2016-2018.


As always, keep an eye on our Boeing 787 Routes Page for a full list of all of the Dreamliner routes operated by different carriers.

Bristol Airport Aviation Fair

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 19-08-2015


Bristol Airport Aviation Fair

Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, Bristol Airport Spotting are hosting another Aviation Fair in partnership with Bristol Airport on Sunday 20th September 2015 between 10.30am and 4.30pm in aid of the airport charity of the year which this year is Children’s Hospice South West.

The event will take place within the Bristol Room which is located in the airport administration building. There will be free car parking.

Entry to the event is £1.50, and you will find a large amount of exhibitors coming along. Visitors to the fair this year can expect to see Bristol Aero Collection, miniature Bristol Airport project, IPMS Avon model club, T7 Models, Fly2Help aviation charity, Aviation Postcard Man, Bristol Airport Police and South West Aviation Photographers to name but a few.

The Bristol Room has great views across the apron of aircraft departing, arriving and taxiing just a short distance from the windows, ample seating will be available to sit and watch the activity.

For more information and directions to the event please visit –

Register your interest in attending the fair by joining the event on Facebook

Another Dreamliner donated to a museum

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Japan, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 25-06-2015


Boeing has donated another of its prototype 787 Dreamliner aircraft to a museum.

This time the first prototype to fly, ZA001 / N787BA, has been sent to Japan for preservation!

The aircraft flew from Seattle to Nagoya Chubu Airport on 22nd June, where it will be put on display and made accessible to the public. Fittingly two of the crew members who flew this aircraft on the 787s maiden flight in 2009 were the ones to ferry it to Japan.

Japan had a lot of involvement in the 787 programme, helping to fund development. Its two main carriers, ANA and Japan Air Lines, were also the first to operate the type commercially.

Two other Dreamliners were recently donated to museums, with ZA002 / N787EX sent to the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, AZ, and ZA003 / N787BX retired at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.


First Swiss CSeries painted

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News | Posted on 10-06-2015


CSeries Swiss

Ahead of its appearance at the Paris Air Salon, the first Bombardier CSeries aircraft has been painted in the colours of a customer airline.

The aircraft, CS100 C-GWXZ, now wears the full colours of Swiss European Airlines.

CSeries Swiss2