Belavia announces Embraer 195 routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Belarus, Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, Netherlands, Russia, Western Europe | Posted on 02-04-2014

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This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Belavia EMB175, (c) Magic Aviation.

Belavia will introduce the Embraer 195 aircraft in May, alongside its existing EMB 175, CRJ, and Boeing 737 aircraft.

The airline has announced that the 195 will operate on the following routes from 6 May:

Minsk – Amsterdam (from 16 May)
Minsk – Batumi (from July)
Minsk – Moscow Domodedovo
Minsk – Prague
Minsk – St Petersburg

 

Where to still see DC-10s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Bolivia, Canada, Netherlands, North America, South America, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 21-02-2014

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This month sees the final passenger flights to be operated by a Douglas DC-10, with Biman Bangladesh operating a number of enthusiast flights from Birmingham, UK, ahead of the retirement of their last example.

The DC-10 first flew in August 1970, and despite a few early setbacks including some notable crashes, it went on to be a very successful airliner used both for long and medium haul flying.

In recent years the number of operators has been dwindling, and with Biman retiring their last example it leaves only cargo and military operators operating the type. So where can you still see the DC-10? Here’s a handy list.

 

FedEx DC-10 at San Jose (c) Dylan Ashe. Creative Commons

FedEx DC-10 at San Jose (c) Dylan Ashe. Creative Commons

FedEx Express
Along with the US Air Force, FedEx are the largest operator of DC-10s today. With around 60 in service at the time of writing, they have all been converted to MD-10 configuration, which converts them to a two-man, glass cockpit to match their more modern MD-11 fleet. FedEx’s main hub is at Memphis, TN, and you can see their MD-10s flying many domestic and trans-continental freight routes. However, the airline is retiring its fleet at an alarming pace as it introduces more fuel efficient aircraft.

 

USAF KC-10

USAF KC-10

US Air Force
Also with around 60 DC-10s in service at the time of writing, the US Air Force uses the military KC-10A derivative. These are used as refuelling tankers and transport aircraft, supporting the air force in conflicts and war zones around the world. They are primarily based at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ, and Travis AFB, CA. The US Air Force initially said the KC-10 would operate until 2043, but it is thought the fleet will be retired much earlier than that as part of cost cutting measures.

 

Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 (c) Sebastian Barheier. Creative Commons

Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 (c) Sebastian Barheier. Creative Commons

Royal Netherlands Air Force
Continuing with the military variant, the RNAF owns three KDC-10 tanker/transport aircraft, which are based at Eindhoven Airport in support of peacekeeping operations around the world.

 

TAB Cargo DC-10

TAB Cargo DC-10

TAB Cargo
This Bolivian cargo operator has three DC-10s in its flee, one of which is an ex-FedEx MD-10. It operates cargo flights around South America and to Miami.

 

Kelowna Purolator DC-10 (c) Matthew Capina

Kelowna Purolator DC-10 (c) Matthew Capina

Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter / Purolator Canada
The Canadian cargo operator has four DC-10s operating usually from its Kelowna and Hamilton bases, although two aircraft have been in storage recently.

 

Omega Air DC-10 (c) Phil Vabre

Omega Air DC-10 (c) Phil Vabre

Omega Air
Another tanker operator, Omega Air has a lot of DC-10s on its books, but most are in storage or in the process of being scrapped. The active ones are used to support military refuelling operations, and can thus be found operating all over on missions, including with foreign air forces.

 

10 Tanker DC-10 (c) Alan Radecki. Creative Commons.

10 Tanker DC-10 (c) Alan Radecki. Creative Commons.

10 Tanker Air Carrier
One of the more spectacular DC-10 operations are these converted aerial firefighting aircraft. Using two former passenger examples, these huge aircraft now fight wild fires and are capable of dumping 12,000 US gallons at at time. The aircraft are painted white and red, with 910 and 911 fleet numbers.

 

 

DC-10 Project Orbis

DC-10 Project Orbis

Project Orbis
Finally, another unusual operator of two DC-10s is Project Orbis – a non-profit organisation whose mission is to perform eye operations around the world to prevent blindness and eye diseases. These two Flying Eye Hospital aircraft are equipped with hospital equipment, operating theatres, and teaching facilities. Their N220AU aircraft was the second DC-10 built, and since then an MD-10, N330AU, has been donated by FedEx.

Solar Cargo
A Venezuelan cargo carrier with bases in Caracas and Valencia. They have a single DC-10 in a smart livery which flies throughout Latin America on scheduled and charter flights.

 

In addition to these active DC-10s, stored and retired aircraft can be seen at a number of the bigger storage airports around the US, including Davis-Monthan, AZ, Marana, AZ, Mojave, CA, Roswell, NM, Sanford, FL and Victorville, CA.

Netherlands to host Nuclear Summit with lots of visiting aircraft

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Netherlands, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 07-01-2014

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As a heads up for those planning spotting trips in 2014, The Hague in The Netherlands will host the Nuclear Security Summit from 22-24 March.

The event is expected to attract around 50 global leaders, who will mostly descend on the country in their own VIP and government aircraft. Therefore, expect Rotterdam in particular, and Amsterdam Schiphol, airports to receive a lot of unusual and unique visitors worth seeing.

If you do visit, send us your pictures!

Vueling adds Rome Fiumicino base

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Spain, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 21-11-2013

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This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.Hot off the heels of its announcement about creating a hub at Brussels, Vueling has come up trumps again with the announcement that Rome Fiumicino Airport will also become a base from Summer 2014.

This time the airline is adding a massive 24 new routes from Rome.

This will no doubt capitalise on the struggling Alitalia and its own network from Rome, as Vueling are targeting both domestic and international routes.

The new routes are:

  • Alicante
  • Amsterdam
  • Athens
  • Bari
  • Berlin
  • Brindisi
  • Brussels
  • Catania
  • Corfu
  • Dubrovnik
  • Genoa
  • Heraklion
  • Lamezia
  • Malta
  • Munich
  • Mykonos
  • Palermo
  • Prague
  • Rhodes
  • Santiago de Compostela
  • Santorini
  • Seville
  • Split
  • Torino

The airline already operates from Rome to Barcelona, Ibiza, Malaga, Mahon, Nantes, Palma de Mallorca, Paris Orly, and Valencia.

KLM brings forward MD-11 retirement

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, Dubai, Middle East, Netherlands, North America, Spotting News, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 31-10-2013

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KLM MD-11The retirement date for the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 from passenger service has been brought forward by two years as KLM looks to end operations in a year’s time.

KLM are now the only operator of the MD-11 in passenger configuration, and is currently flying it from its Amsterdam Schiphol hub to destinations such as Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco and Dubai on a seasonal basis, with four examples still in active service.

However, whilst the retirement was originally planned for 2016, it has now been brought forward to October 2014.

Final flights will be from Montreal and Toronto on 25th October 2014 (exact details not yet known).

Interestingly, the MD-11 will be retired from passenger service in the same year as its predecessor, the DC-10, despite them entering service almost 20 years apart.

I have had the pleasure of flying on MD-11s twice – first with American Airlines in 1995, and most recently on KLM’s PH-KCK in 2007. It has had mixed fortunes, with poor performance stats and a number of high profile crashes contrasted with a reputation as a solid and reliable aircraft – particularly for cargo carriers. It will be a sad day when the MD-11 is finally retired.

Find out more about rare passenger aircraft and how you can fly on them today in our ebook, Last Chance to Fly, featuring the MD-11

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

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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

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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.”

Etihad Cargo round-the-world with 747-8

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airline News, Airport News, Asia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Middle East, Netherlands, North America, South America, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 30-05-2013

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Etihad Cargo 747-8Etihad Cargo is to commence a round-the-world route taking in new destinations, and using a Boeing 747-8 freighter.

The aircraft will be leased from Atlas Air under an Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (ACMI) agreement, and it will be painted in the colours of Etihad Cargo.

The round-the-world route will originate in Abu Dhabi and see stops in Hong Kong, Chicago, Miami, Viracopos (Brazil), Quito, and Amsterdam, before returning to its point of origin.

Kevin Knight, Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Etihad Airways, said, “Etihad Cargo is reinforcing its position as a global operator with the entry into service of this round-the-world routing, touching the Middle East, Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe.

The Boeing 747-8 Freighter is the largest in Etihad Cargo’s current freighter fleet.  The airline also operates three Boeing B777F, one Boeing 747-400ERF, one Boeing 747-400F and two Airbus A330-200F.

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

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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 for three more Swedish airports

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Netherlands, Poland, Spotting News, Sweden, Western Europe | Posted on 15-12-2012

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Ryanair 737Ryanair has announced plans to begin flights to three more airports in Sweden as part of its recent expansion announcements.

Angelholm, Jonkoping, and Kalmar in southern Sweden will all receive a single route from Ryanair to holiday destinations; the first to Alicante, and the latter two to Barcelona Girona.

Flights will start in April next year, each served 4x weekly.

In other news, Ryanair will start new bases in Eindhoven and Krakow in April, basing aircraft and opening new routes from each.