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

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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.

See the new Qatar A380 first class interior

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Heathrow, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Qatar, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 06-03-2014

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Qatar A380 First ClassQatar Airways have revealed the interior of their soon to be delivered Airbus A380s. Their first aircraft has recently been seen in testing.

With a customised interior meeting the high demand specifications of Qatar Airways, the airline´s new A380s will undoubtedly be the talk of aviation enthusiasts and passengers alike when the first aircraft enters service this year, the first of 13 such aircraft on order.

The new First Class A380 seat, revealed by Mr. Al Baker at a ceremony attended by the Mayor of Berlin, Mr Klaus Wowereit as Guest of Honour, features a 90-inch seat pitch, transforming into a fully flat bed, together with an expansive choice of entertainment options displayed on individual 26-inch television screens.

A380 Qatar maiden flight

Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “It is a landmark moment to see this fantastic new First Class A380 seat displayed here at ITB Berlin, the perfect event at which to announce such important innovations to our global audience. Operating on the Doha to London Heathrow route, this cabin will offer a new level of comfort for passengers travelling to the United Kingdom, who will also benefit from our Premium Terminal in Doha and the new Qatar Airways Premium Lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 4.

The arrival this year of the airline´s first A380 marks a significant milestone for the airline, whose future home, Hamad International Airport (HIA), has been specially designed to cater to the aircraft, with six contact gates designed with specifications required for the superjumbo. In addition, the maintenance hangar at HIA – which will be the largest in the world – is able to accommodate two A380s simultaneously.

In addition to the 13 A380 aircraft the airline currently has on order, Qatar Airways is also set this year to welcome the first of 80 A350 aircraft, the world’s newest aircraft, as Airbus’s launch customer.

The A380 will enter service between Doha and London Heathrow this summer.

Austin welcomes BA Dreamliner. Where to view from

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Heathrow, North America, Spotting News, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 28-02-2014

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British Airways 787Austin-Bergstrom International Airport becomes the latest to add Boeing 787 Dreamliner service on 3rd March when British Airways begin a daily flight from London Heathrow.

The airport’s Family Viewing Area will provide a vantage point and refreshments for spotters and other members of the public wishing to see the first arrival of the Dreamliner. British Airways’ flight 191 is scheduled for its first landing at 5 pm. Inaugural flight BA 190 is scheduled to depart ABIA for London Heathrow at 7 pm (after the inaugural launch, British Airways’ flights are scheduled to depart Austin at 8 pm).

Austin Bergstrom Family Viewing Area

Austin Bergstrom Family Viewing Area

The Family Viewing Area is located near the airport’s east runway. Please note, while the 787 may land on the east or west runway, Gate 2, used by British Airways, faces the viewing area providing ample time to see the aircraft. To access the airport’s Family Viewing Area, take the Hwy. 71 access road past Presidential Blvd. (road to airport terminal). Take the first right past Presidential Blvd. to Golf Course Rd. Follow Golf Course Rd. to the end, where the Family Viewing Area is located.

AeroMexico 787s to London in March

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Heathrow, Mexico, North America, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 13-01-2014

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AeroMexico has brought forward the date it will start using its Boeing 787s to London Heathrow to 15th March.

Originally they were due to operate from 16th April.

The aircraft will be used twice weekly from Mexico City, but is due to stop operating in late May.

Heathrow opens new viewing area

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Heathrow, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 01-01-2014

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View HeathrowLondon Heathrow airport has opened a new viewing area in Terminal 4, called View Heathrow.

The room offers views over the southern runway (09R/27L), the stands at Terminal 4, and some distant stands at other terminals. It also boasts a view of the stored British Airways Concorde (G-BOAB) which remains at Heathrow.

The viewing area was created out of an old lounge, and sadly is only available to airside passengers who have passed through security (with a boarding card). But if that’s you, it’s an excuse to check in a few hours early to enjoy the view.

View Heathrow 2

From the pictures it looks like photography is possible, albeit through glass. You will enter the room through a faux aircraft door and stairway, and it is free to use the room at any time the terminal is open.

Have you used the new viewing area? Why not post some pictures of it on our Facebook page!

Visitors to View Heathrow can get involved with the airport’s social media team by hashtagging their spectacular Instagram pics and Twitter comments using #ViewHeathrow.

More British Airways A380 routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Heathrow, North America, South Africa, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 12-11-2013

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British Airways A380British Airways have released details about future Airbus A380 services.

From May 2014 the airline will add a second daily A380 on its London Heathrow – Los Angeles service (delayed from April).

Then, from 26 October 2014 the superjumbo will be used on one of the daily London Heathrow – Johannesburg flights.

 

Royal Brunei Boeing 787 routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Brunei, Heathrow, Malaysia, Singapore, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 20-09-2013

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Royal Brunei 787

Royal Brunei will soon receive its first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft.

The first routes operated by the type will be short hops from Bandar Seri Begawan to both Kuala Lumpur (from 1 – 30 November) and Singapore Changi (from 18 October – 30 November). Both flights will operate 1-2 times daily.

From 2 December, Royal Brunei will begin its long haul Boeing 787 service from Bandar Seri Begawan to London Heathrow.

Keep an eye on our Boeing 787 Routes page to find out where to catch airlines flying their new Dreamliners.

Qatar Airways A380 flies

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Heathrow, Middle East, Qatar, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 10-09-2013

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 © Airbus S.A.S 2013

Qatar Airways‘ first Airbus A380 has performed its maiden flight from Toulouse ahead of a planned delivery in 2014.

Between now and delivery it will fly to Hamburg for interior and cabin outfitting.

Qatar Airways plans to fly its A380s from Doha to London Heathrow and other principal destinations. It has 13 of the type on order.

Record breaking airports

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Heathrow, Lesotho, Middle East, North America, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tibet, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 01-08-2013

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Dubai Airport © Dubai AirportsAir travel has gone from strength to strength since the Wright brothers invented the first pilot controlled aircraft in 1903. After a steep increase in aircraft production during the World Wars, a move was made towards commercial air travel by the 1950s when the large body planes took to the sky. By 1976, Concorde’s luxury supersonic flight reduced crossing the Atlantic to just three hours.

Over the last three decades, the industry has been striving to create bigger, better, faster, sleeker, safer, greener and more efficient ways to travel. The industry took a leap forward in 2007 with the introduction of the A380, the world’s largest commercial aircraft that has the ability to carry more passengers than any other.

The progress of design and technology has also extended to airports around the world. If you fly with Emirates to Dubai you’ll arrive at the Emirates hub in Terminal 3, one of the largest buildings in the world in terms of floor space. The first class facilities include an on-site hotel, so you can relax between connections, as well as plenty of restaurants and shops to keep you entertained. Airport terminals like this now feel like small, self-contained towns, in fact some are bigger than small towns!

 

Unique airports around the world

Read our mini-guide to extreme airports around the world.

 

Busiest airport
All big city airports feel busy, but London Heathrow is officially the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passengers travelling through its terminals. The airport reports that during 2012, an incredible 69.98 million passengers (65.3 million of which were international passengers) arrived and departed. The airport’s busiest day was 31 July 2011, when 233,561 passengers passed through the airport.

Atlanta at night (c) Omoo at en.wikipediaGuinness Book of World Records lists Harsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as the busiest airport in terms of the number of aircraft taking off and landing. In 2011, 924,000 planes used the airport, and with a staggering 92 million passengers travelling through, it is the busiest airport in the world for both domestic and international travellers combined.

 

Largest airport
King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia is the largest airport in the world. It takes up 780 square kilometres, roughly the same size as New York or larger than the neighbouring country of Bahrain!

The impressive terminal has six stories, including an area that is reserved entirely for the Royal Family.

 

Highest airport
Sitting at 4,334m above sea level, and hugged by the surrounding mountains, Bangda Airport in Tibet is a scenic (if nail biting) destination to land in. Thankfully the runway is longer to account for the longer stopping distance due to the atmospheric resistance caused by the altitude. However, construction is underway to build an even higher airport. Naggu, also in Tibet, is due to open in 2014 and will be at an altitude of 4,436m. With average temperatures remaining below zero throughout the year, this is a difficult part of the world to build and operate an airport.

 

Saba AirportShortest runway
The shortest runway in the world can be found on Saba, a tiny island in the Caribbean that is administered by the Netherlands. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is flanked on one side by high hills and the landing strip is just 396m long, with cliffs dropping off into the sea at each end. Only small planes and helicopters can land and take off from the airport, as most commercial liners are far too large for such a short space.

 

Scariest runway
In the mountainous monarchy of Lesotho lies the scariest runway in the world. The take-off strip literally runs off a cliff due to the lack of flat space in the region to fit a full length runway. Often planes are forced to plunge off the 610m high cliff and take flight during the drop in order to get airborne.

 

Best airport
Singapore’s Changi Airport has been announced as the World’s Best Airport 2013 at the World Airport Awards. The awards are voted for by customers and this year the survey had 12.1 million responses. It has been in the top three of the awards for the last 14 years and has won the award four times. It also won the Best Airport in Asia and Best Airport Leisure Amenities, proving Changi is a great place for a layover.

Barra Airport

Unusual airport
Barra Airport in Scotland may look like any other small island airport, but pilots have to check the tide chart as well as the weather and air traffic before setting off for the destination. This is because one of the three runways used for commercial aircraft is underwater a high tide!

Heathrow unveils new third runway options

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Heathrow, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 17-07-2013

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Heathrow R3 south west optionHeathrow Airport has submitted three options for a new third runway to the Davies Commission, which is looking at raising airport capacity.

The airport argues that building a third runway at the hub would raise capacity from 480,000 flights each year to 740,000. It would also be the cheapest and quickest option to solve the capacity problems, instead of building a completely new airport.

Heathrow’s preferred option would be to place a new runway to the north-west or the south-west of the airport.

The Davies Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, was set up last year to examine “the need for additional UK airport capacity and recommend to government how this can be met in the short, medium and long term”.

It is expected to recommend options by the end of this year, but will not submit its final report until summer 2015.