TAAG Angola aims to develop Luanda into large hub

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Airport News, Belgium, Brazil, China, Dubai, France, Heathrow, Italy, Middle East, Portugal, South America, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 01-04-2014


TAAG_777-3M2ERTAAG Angola Airlines is planning to turn its Luanda Airport base into a hub to link Central Africa with worldwide destinations in association with Emirates Airline.

TAAG is currently on the EU banned airline list, but it is hoped it will emerge soon and begin expanding its connections to Europe, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, London Heathrow, Paris CDG, and Rome Fiumicino.

Luanda will also be linked through Dubai via Emirates, who will also take on TAAG’s links to Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo.

A new airport is being built at Luanda which will be able to handle this increased traffic, and match modern standards expected at airports.

Ryanair opening Rome and Brussels bases

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 28-11-2013


Ryanair MarrakechOld news you might think – Ryanair has operated bases at Rome Ciampino and Brussels Charleroi for years. But now the airline has announced bases at both of the cities’ primary airports – Fiumicino and Zaventem respectively.

This comes shortly after the announcement by Vueling of its new base at Rome Fiumicino, and seems to be part of a bid by low cost airlines to wipe out ailing Alitalia on its home turf.

In Ryanair’s case, it is starting five new routes from Fiumicino, including Barcelona, Brussels Zaventem, Catania, Lamezia Terme, and Palermo.

At Brussels, it is starting ten new routes, which include: Alicante, Barcelona, Ibiza, Lisbon, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Porto, Rome Fiumicino, Valencia, and Venice Treviso.

The Rome base will start in December, and Brussels in February.

Will we see more big airports covered by Ryanair in the near future? It has made no secret that it is targeting business passengers these days and trying to improve its public image, so it is likely it will go where it can achieve these aims. Stay tuned.

Vueling starting Brussels base

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 07-11-2013


This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.Spanish low-cos carrier Vueling will open a new base at Brussels Airport in May 2014.

The carrier already operates four routes from the airport, and will commence seven new ones to Rome, Lisbon, Oporto, Venice, Santiago de Compostela, Ibiza and Palma when the base opens.


Adria Airways setting up non-Slovenian bases

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Eastern Europe, Italy, Kosovo, Slovenia, Switzerland, Western Europe | Posted on 14-10-2013


Adria CRJSlovenian national carrier Adria Airways is looking to set up a number of hubs or focus cities at airports outside of its home country.

The airline has already based a CRJ900 aircraft at Pristina Airport in Kosovo, and is now looking to set up similar operations at Tirana in Albania, Verona in Italy, and Klagenfurt in Austria.

All of these airports are within close proximity of Slovenia.

The newly-announced Verona hub will allow Adria to take up routes dropped recently by Air Dolomiti, and it intends to connect the city to its fellow Star Alliance partner hubs at Brussels, Vienna and Zurich. Flights will start in 2014.

Klagenfurt is still being evaluated as a possible base for 2014.

Air Lituanica launches operations

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Belgium, Eastern Europe, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, Russia, Western Europe | Posted on 04-07-2013


New Lithuanian airline Air Lituanica has launched operations using a single Embraer 170 aircraft from its Vilnius base.

The airline has initially launched daily flights to Brussels, with the intention of attracting inbound tourism to Lithuania.

Flights to Amsterdam Schiphol are due to commence on 8th July, followed by Berlin on 5th August. Later, flights will be introduced to Moscow, Munich and Prague.

Air Lituanica flights are operated in cooperation with Estonian Air.

TUI orders 60 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 02-06-2013


Thomson 737TUI Travel, which operates leisure airlines in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Scandinavia, and France, has announced a commitment to purchase 60 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft.

This order will allow the company to expand and upgrade the fleets of its various airlines, and will primarily be used for flights to Europe and Africa.

“Boeing and TUI Travel airlines have a relationship which goes back almost 50 years” said Todd Nelp, vice president of European Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “TUI Travel’s airlines currently operate more than 135 Boeing airplanes and the commitment for 60 737 MAXs marks the next chapter in their continued fleet expansion, ensuring unrivalled efficiencies and superior passenger comfort. All of us at Boeing could not be more proud to see our relationship extended for years to come.”

Jet Airways may switch to Amsterdam from Brussels

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airline News, Asia, Belgium, India, Middle East, Netherlands, North America, Western Europe | Posted on 24-05-2013


Jet Airways 777Etihad Airways’ CEO James Hogan has revealed that Jet Airways may switch its European ‘scissor hub’ from Brussels Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol.

Currently, Jet Airways operates a number of routes from India to Brussels, and then onwards to North America. In a move that aims to provide more connectivity through codeshares, switching the hub to Amsterdam will allow the airline to work more closely with Skyteam airline partners.

Etihad currently owns 24% of Jet Airways, and has itself recently started a new route to Amsterdam from Abu Dhabi. James Hogan has not mentioned any timescale, but the announcement is likely to be a big blow for Brussels which has very few long haul links.


Ryanair coming to Montenegro

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Belgium, Eastern Europe, Montenegro, Western Europe | Posted on 25-04-2013


Ryanair 737Ryanair has announced it will begin serving Montenegro from June – its 29th country.

Flights will launch 4x weekly from Brussels Charleroi to Podgorica from 20th June using Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

It is unknown at the moment whether further routes will be added to the country from other Ryanair bases.

LOT Polish 787 flights in Europe

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, Frankfurt, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia and CIS, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 20-09-2012


LOT 787LOT Polish Airlines has announced a series of intra-European flights on their new Boeing 787 aircraft to aid in crew familiarity.

The first aircraft is due for delivery in November, making LOT the first European airline to take on the Dreamliner.

The European flights are bookable now, and include:

Warsaw – Brussels, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th January 2013
Warsaw – Budapest, 11th-14th January 2013
Warsaw – Frankfurt, 3rd-6th,  9th, 10th January 2013
Warsaw – Hanover, 23rd December 2012 & 4th January 2013
Warsaw – Kiev, 17th, 20th, 27th December 2012
Warsaw – London Heathrow, 22nd, 29th, 31st December 2012, 1st-2nd January 2013.
Warsaw – Munich, 14th-16th, 18th, 19th, 28th December 2012
Warsaw – Prague, 14th-16th, 18th-20th, 28th December 2012 & 2nd, 11th-14th January 2013.
Warsaw – Vienna, 17th, 21st-24th, 27th, 29th, 30th December 2012 & 13th January

If you manage to get on one of these flights, I’d love you to send in a report!


Europe’s Top 5 Cargo Airports

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Belgium, France, Germany, Miscellaneous Spotting, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 31-05-2012


DHL 767 at East MidlandsSpotting cargo airliners is often a different challenge for the spotter.

In order to do it justice, finding one of the hubs of these cargo airlines is your best bet for catching up with the airliners in any significant numbers. Otherwise, only the odd example is usually seen on any particular day at a regular airport.

With that in mind, I thought I’d introduce five of the best airports in Europe for cargo spotting. I’ll follow it up with North America and Asia airports.

1. East Midlands, UK
A regional airport in the UK. It has grown into one of the major cargo airports in the country, with dedicated infrastructure such as handling facilities and aprons. East Midlands is a major hub for DHL, and also sees daily flights from Air Contractors, Atlantic Airways, Lufthansa Cargo, Star Air (Maersk), UPS, and other airlines.

2. Leipzig Halle, Germany
Another DHL hub, Leipzig recently took over the Continental Europe hub role from Brussels National. Most flights are in association with DHL, and include airlines such as Bluebird, Swiftair, Kalitta, Europe Air Post, Air Atlantique, ABX, RAF Avia, Aerologic, Aviastar. You’ll also see the odd Russian type, such as AN-24 and TU-204.

3. Liege, Belgium
A major cargo hub on the motorway network close to Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. It is the main hub for TNT Airways, and also sees FedEx Express, Kalitta Air, Southern Air, Icelandair Cargo, Avient, Africa West Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines.

YSSYguy at en.wikipedia4. Cologne/Bonn, Germany
Germany’s sixth largest airport, and also the main European hub for UPS. It’s large dedicated facilities can be observed from the viewing areas atop the passenger terminal opposite. Other airlines visiting include Lufthansa Cargo, FedEx Express, British Airways World Cargo, Cargojet, Farnair, Star Air (Maersk), and BlueBird Cargo.

5. Paris Charles de Gaulle, France
The busiest airport in France for passengers is also the busiest for cargo. Paris CDG is a major hub for FedEx Express, who have a base to the west of Terminal 1, and Air France Cargo. In addition, other cargo airlines serving the airport include Cathay Pacific Cargo, TNT Airways, UPS, China Airlines Cargo, and Europe Airpost.