Estonian Air moving into Swedish domestic market

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Estonia, Miscellaneous Spotting, Sweden, Western Europe | Posted on 28-08-2015

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Estonian Air CRJ900 at Stockholm Arlanda

Estonian Air has announced plans to move into the Swedish domestic market by announcing two new routes.

The airline will commence services from the winter timetable this year, starting on 25 October, on the following routes:4

  • Stockholm Arlanda – Arvidsjaur
  • Arvidsjaur – Gallivare

Both flights will operate 11x weekly and act as an extension of each other (ie Stockholm – Arvidsjaur – Gallivare). They will be operated by Estonian’s CRJ900 aircraft equipment.

The airline also operates from Tallinn to Stockholm Arlanda with the CRJ900.

 

First Finnair A350 rolled out

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Finland, Miscellaneous Spotting, Western Europe | Posted on 27-08-2015

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Finnair A350

The first fully painted Airbus A350 for Finnair has rolled out of the paint shop at Toulouse and here’s the picture.

The aircraft is OH-LWA, and is one of 19 on order with the airline. The first delivery is due in September, with flights commencing in October.

See our Airbus A350 Routes Page for more information.

 

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

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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

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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

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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 – http://www.bristolairportspotting.co.uk/bas-events/aviation-fair-2015/

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

10 Airports You Need to Visit

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Colombia, Eastern Europe, France, Frankfurt, Germany, North America, North Korea, Portugal, South America, Turkey, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 05-07-2015

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The world is full of such a variety of airports and each has its own appeal to spotters. I’ve put together this list of airports which every spotter should try to visit at some time to help enrich their aviation interests and make the most of their hobby.

 

1. Everett Paine Field

Paine Field Spotting

Home of Boeing’s widebodie production lines and the world’s largest building – currently responsible for producing 747s, 777s, 787s and the occasional 767. Once aircraft have been completed they are taken to the paint assembly building, and then placed outside whilst final preparations are made.

Aircraft undertake testing regularly once complete, so you’ll always see something of interest using the airport’s single main runway.

Aircraft that have been completed are sometimes placed in storage at the airport – seen recently with some early 787s and 747-8s. You may also be lucky to see the first Boeing 727 aircraft, which is preserved at the airport, along with a De Havilland Comet 4 and some other historic aircraft.

Head to the Future of Flight centre for a grandstand view over the airport. Here’s a post about spotting at Paine Field.

 

2. Pyongyang

Pyongyang Line-Up

It’s not the busiest, and some might be a little sensitive about the way North Korea is run, but purely from an enthusiast’s point of view this is a very interesting place. Air Koryo, the national carrier, still flies classic Russian types such as the Tu-134, Tu-154, Tu-204, IL-62 and IL-18.

Pyongyang airport recently opened its brand new terminal, which looks much more akin to those found in the West. But to be able to experience the aircraft here you’ll need to take part in an organised tour, such as those on offer with Juche Travel Service.

 

3. London City

London City Airport Morning Ramp

The British capital is served by many airports, but London City is by far one of the world’s more unusual. Built on a former dock at the heart of the city, it makes for a challenging and restricted environment to operate large airliners in. Yet every day aircraft arrive from across Europe, and even New York. Its location among the skyscrapers of London’s financial district means the short runway requires a steep approach angle and only certified aircraft are permitted to operate there.

It’s easy to watch aircraft come and go here from the docks opposite the runway, or under the approach paths at either end.

Here’s a post about London City Behind The Scenes.

 

4. Los Angeles International

LosAngeles-LAX

With California’s amazing climate, endless sunshine, and an incredible mix of aircraft, LAX should be on anyone’s list of must-visit airports.

Los Angeles has four runways and nine passenger terminals. Each major US airline has a decent presence here, as well as large airliners from across the globe, and leisure airlines from Mexico, Hawaii and the Caribbean. On the south side of the airport, cargo airliners and biz jets complete the lineup.

Head to Imperial Hill or the In ‘n’ Out Burger restaurant for the best views. Here’s a post about spotting at Los Angeles.

 

5. Frankfurt Main

Frankfurt Terminal 2 Visitors Terrace

Germany’s busiest airport, and one of the main gateways to Europe. Like LAX, its mix is mouthwatering to the enthusiast, comprising all main European carriers, low-cost airlines, leisure carriers, cargo, regional, and long-haul traffic.

Spotting is not as good here as in days gone by, but the airport still provides two official locations – at Terminal 2 and alongside runway 18 – and there are some other good spots to watch aircraft.

 

6. Toulouse Blagnac

A350 © Airbus S.A.S 2013 Photo by H. Goussé

Europe’s busiest aircraft manufacturing airport. Most Airbus A319, A320, A330, A340 and A380 aircraft are constructed here, as well as ATR turboprops. Regular airline traffic isn’t much to write home about, but who cares when you’ve got airliners destined for all corners of the globe undergoing completion and flight testing in the southern France sun?

There are various places to watch aircraft around the airport perimeter, and an official viewing deck at the terminal. Plus, you can arrange tours of the Airbus plant, and visit historic aircraft at the on-site museum.

 

7. Funchal

By Thomas Klein (Own work (own photography)) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Thomas Klein (Own work (own photography)) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

When space is limited, sometimes the only option is to build your airport runway on stilts. That’s exactly what heppend at Funchal, on the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. When demand from leisure airlines grew, the runway was extended out from the cliff-side that it occupies to allow larger aircraft to be handled. The position of this airport also means aircraft take an interesting approach path before landing, often in crosswind conditions.

Spotters can position themselves on the hillside above the runway for some excellent photographs and videos.

 

8. Phoenix Deer Valley

Phoenix Deer Valley

Unlike other airports on this list, Deer Valley isn’t on the route map of lots of scheduled airlines or a place to see the latest Dreamliners and Airbus A380s. Yet it is one of the busiest airports in the world. In particular, it is actually the busiest airport in the world for biz jet movements, according to recent statistics.

So if you’re looking for something different, or like to log and photograph Citations, Global Expresses and Gulfstreams, this is the place to head to.

The Arizona airport has two runways and is in the north east of the city. You can watch movements from the official observation deck on top of the terminal building, which even pipes in ATC broadcasts.

 

9. Bogota

Bogota

Probably the most interesting of South America’s main airports. Bogota, in Colombia, is a hub for Aviana, LAN Colombia, Copa Airlines and VivaColombia. This is great in itself, but the airport is also one of the last bastions for some older jets, like Boeing 727s of AeroSucre and Lineas Aereas Suramericanas, and F-28s and DC-3s of the Colombian Government.

The airport also has a nice collection of preserved aircraft on the military side of the airport.

Spotting is possible inside the terminal, or from the end of the runways if you have a car.

 

10. Istanbul Ataturk

Istanbul Spotting

Europe’s latest up-and-coming airport thanks mainly to the explosive growth of Turkish Airlines, which is trying to emulate what Middle East carriers are doing in connecting east and west. As such, this main base for the airline (it also operates from nearby Sabiha Gokcen Airport) sees a constant stream of the carrier’s red tails coming and going.

Traffic comprises a good mix of European and long-haul flights, with the vast majority naturally made up of Turkish Airlines and AtlasJet. The draw for enthusiasts is the growing fleet of the national airline, and the opportunity for photography in the warm climate. A good mix of cargo carriers can also be seen.

There are a number of places to spot from round the perimeter, as well as the excellent FlyInn shopping mall which is great for viewing and photographing aircraft from the cafe balcony. There is also a nice aviation museum on the southern boundary.

 

World Airports Spotting Guides

World Airports Spotting Guide

My upcoming book, World Airports Spotting Guides covers over 300 of the world’s airports, including details on what you can see there, and where to spot from. Many of the guides also include the best spotting hotels and aviation museum attractions. Find out more and pre-order the book here: http://www.destinworld.co.uk/products/world-airport-spotting-guides/

Chasing retired airliners in Belgium

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Belgium, Spotting Trip Reports, Western Europe | Posted on 02-07-2015

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A recent visit to Belgium gave me the opportunity to track down a few former airliners scattered around the small country which are now looking a little forlorn and in need of some care an attention. Here’s what I found…

 

Boeing 707-300 TY-BBW
Originally N758PA with Pan American, and more recently with Government of Benin, this sorry looking 707 sits in a car park in Wetteren, not far from Ghent (map). There are still plans to convert it into a restaurant, so watch this space.

TY-BBW

 

Vickers Viscoun 800 G-AZNA
After a busy life with British Midland and a few other carriers, this Viscount was retired and put in use outside a disco called Kokorico on the N9 near Zomergem and Ghent (map).

IMG_6993

 

Boeing 727-200 OO-DHS
A former DHL aircraft in later life, this Boeing classic is now used by the fire training department at Brussels South Charleroi airport (map). It is visible from the Rue Santos Dumont which heads towards Gosselies from the terminal.


Click Here
to view the photo


Airbus A310 5N-AUG
Preserved in Gilly, near Charleroi (map), is this former Nigeria Airways A310. It has been used as a cafe.

Photo: Daniel Brackx www.belgian-wings.be

Photo: Daniel Brackx www.belgian-wings.be

 

Douglas C-54 N2894C
Situated on the grass airfield at Overboelare (map). This military DC-4 was used as a cargo carrier in later life, and then became the club house at the airfield.

N2894C

 

Sud Caravelle 6N OO-SRA
Part of the Musee Royal De L’Armee in central Brussels is this Caravelle in Sabena colours, positioned above ground in the vast museum hall. Other aircraft here include a Fairchild Boxcar and Boeing 707 nose section.

OO-SRA

 

Other aircraft exist at Ostend, including a Boeing 727, and at Melsbroek Air Base, including a C-47 and Boxcar.

It’s Heathrow! UK Airports Commission publishes recommendation

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Heathrow, Miscellaneous Spotting, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 01-07-2015

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Heathrow R3 south west option

The UK Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, has given its recommendation that Heathrow be the London airport that gets an extra runway, it has been announced.

The Commission was given the task in 2012 of settling the decades-long argument over where extra capacity should be considered in the south east of England. The two primary airports in the region – Gatwick and Heathrow – are both close to capacity, with Gatwick being the busiest single-runway airport in the world.

However, Heathrow is the busiest hub in the country and has the most need for a new runway (its third), according to the report. It said that, whilst Gatwick’s proposal was plausible, not expanding Heathrow would put the UK at risk of losing out to continental Europe.

Airports at Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle are already way ahead in runway capacity and are attracting growth from airlines.

Whilst this is only the recommendation, the government will make a decision in 2016 on any expansion.

Davies said: “Heathrow … provides the greatest benefits for business passengers, freight operators and the broader economy,” adding “Further delay will be increasingly costly and will be seen nationally and internationally as a sign that the UK is unwilling or unable to take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected, open trading economy,”

Heathrow has estimated that building could start in 2020 and the new runway would be ready in 2025, but that could be held up by the government’s decision and tough planning laws.

Belavia Tu-154 flight video

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Belarus, Eastern Europe, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting Trip Reports, Spotting Videos, Switzerland, Western Europe | Posted on 16-06-2015

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At the end of May I was on board Belavia’s Tupolev Tu-154 EW-85748 on what was billed as the final regular scheduled service of the type in western Europe. The flight was from Geneva to Minsk, and you can read the report here.

I’ve put together this video of the flight. I hope you enjoy the sound of those engines!

Alitalia unveils its new livery

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Italy, Miscellaneous Spotting, Western Europe | Posted on 04-06-2015

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AlitaliaNewLivery2

It doesn’t seem long since Alitalia started painting its aircraft in the new livery we see today, but at a ceremony in Rome today, Airbus A330-200 I-EJGA was unveiled in a brand new corporate scheme.

The new scheme is clearly based on the Alitalia livery we all know well from the 1980s and 90s, but goes for a much more conservative look without the cheatline.

James Hogan, vice chairman of Alitalia and president and CEO of Etihad Airways, said: “The old Alitalia was a great brand but a challenged business. Now we are well on the way to seeing the rebirth of this iconic airline, in a new era of commercial success.

“The steps taken by Alitalia’s senior management team over the last five months are to be applauded. What we see here today is a business growing in confidence. The future is bright for the new Alitalia.”

“The new livery presented today marks a major milestone in the history of one of the most iconic Italian brands in the world,” added Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, chairman of Alitalia.

Some may consider this to be too much towards the ‘eurowhite’ which has plagued so many other European carriers, where the fuselage is devoid of any interesting scheme and simply painted white. But Alitalia may have been smart here, after so many criticised the placing of the cheatline below the windows on the previous livery.

Alitalia New Livery

What do you think?