Kenya Airways first Boeing 787 delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Kenya, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 05-04-2014

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Kenya 787 Photography - AIRPROMO FISCHER DOUG (1824358) rms261138 cnsNEF14Kenya Airways has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The aircraft, 5Y-KZA , departed Paine Field in Everett for a 7,800 nautical mile (14,456 km) nonstop flight to Kenya Airways’ home base in Nairobi at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The 787 will form the backbone of the airline’s future long-haul fleet, providing greater range, improved efficiencies and outstanding passenger comfort.

“The delivery of our first ever 787 Dreamliner not only opens a new chapter for our airline, but also for Kenya,” said Dr. Titus Naikuni, chief executive officer, Kenya Airways. “The 787 will enable Kenya Airways to explore new markets, improve its economic performance, provide passengers with revolutionary comfort, while continuing to contribute towards the sustainable development of Africa.”

Kenya Airways’ first 787 is scheduled to begin flying regionally within Africa in the coming weeks, before beginning long-haul service to Paris in early June. Currently the “Pride of Africa” serves destinations across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.  To date, more than 130 Dreamliners have been delivered to 17 customers worldwide.

See our Boeing 787 Routes Page for more information on where Kenya Airways will fly its Dreamliners.

Greatest Flights – World’s Busiest Route – Seoul to Jeju

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Greatest Flights, South Korea | Posted on 04-04-2014

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Seoul Gimpo AirportIt’s not one that’s on many peoples’ radars, but a short domestic route in South Korea is actually the world’s busiest passenger route, and is the subject of this Greatest Flights.

The route is Seoul to Jeju, and island to the south of the country. It is operated by no fewer than seven airlines, namely Air Busan, Asiana Airlines, Eastar Jet, Jeju Air, Jin Air, Korean Air, and T’way.

Flights take off between Seoul’s Gimpo Airport and Jeju as often as every five minutes during the day, with over 69,000 flights between the two every year.

Whilst most flights are operated by regular Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 medium haul jets, the 280 mile trip is sometimes flown by Boeing 747-400 and 767-300s at peak times.

GMP-CJUmap

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

 

Previous Greatest Flights:
World’s Shortest Route – Westray to Papa Westray
World’s Longest Route – Sydney to Dallas Ft Worth
DC-3 Scheduled Flight – Yellowknife to Hay River
Singapore to Sydney in an A380
Winair to St Barths

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

 

Norwegian 787s to Gatwick

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Spotting News, Sweden, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 01-04-2014

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Norwegian Air takeoffNorwegian will again fly its Boeing 787 aircraft into Gatwick this summer.

The aircraft will operate daily from Stockholm Arlanda to London Gatwick, with two flights per day on weekdays.

The flights will operate from 6th May to 24th July 2014.

 

 

 

Credit AirlineRoute.net

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.

Asiana A380 emerges from paint shop

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Germany, South Korea, Western Europe | Posted on 31-03-2014

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Asiana A380 rolls out of paintshopAsiana’s first Airbus A380 has emerged from the paint shop in Hamburg in full colours of the South Korean airline.

Asiana Airlines has firm orders for six A380s and will operate the aircraft from Seoul initially on regional services in Asia followed by long-haul routes to the US.

Click to see a larger image.

Stobart Air and Flybe to launch London Southend partnership

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 31-03-2014

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Flybe Q400Stobart Air is the new name for Aer Arann, keeping it in line with its parent company Stobart Group.

The carrier operates franchise flights on behalf of Aer Lingus, but has now also announced a five year partnership with Flybe to operate services from London Southend Airport.

The five year agreement will initially see two 72 seat ATR 500/600 aircraft based at Stobart’s London Southend Airport, with options to extend the franchise further in the future.  The two planes, flying in Flybe livery, will serve six routes to Northern Europe and Benelux countries from 5 June 2014.  The franchise is aiming to carry over 200,000 passengers to and from London Southend Airport annually in 2015. Tickets will go on sale from 3 April via Flybe.com.

Saad Hammad (above left), Chief Executive Officer of Flybe said: “We are delighted to be extending the Flybe brand further into the South East.  Today’s news is also further evidence of our commitment to providing true regional connectivity across the UK and we look forward to unveiling a major programme of new base and route development over the coming months.”

Southend is owned by the Stobart Group and has seen impressive growth in recent years following the development of its passenger terminal, a runway extension, and the arrival of an easyJet base.

United to fly 787-9s domestically

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Australasia, Australia, North America, USA | Posted on 28-03-2014

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United Airlines 787-800United Airlines will begin operations with its new Boeing 787-9 aircraft by flying on a number of domestic routes.

The first of the aircraft, which is an extended version of the standard 787-8 model, will arrive in July. Flying shorter routes will help in gaining crew familiarity before the type begins long haul flying.

The aircraft will fly between Denver, Houston IAH and Los Angeles International from August.

Already announced, the first international route will be from Los Angeles International to Melbourne, starting in October.

 

Japan Transocean Air orders 737-800s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Japan | Posted on 27-03-2014

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Japan Trans Ocean Air 737 NGJapan Transocean Air has placed an order for 12 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, valued at $1.1 billion at list prices, which will mark the start of the airline’s fleet renewal program with the new airplanes scheduled to enter into service from 2016. As part of the agreement, JTA will have the flexibility to switch to the 737 MAX family of aircraft.

A member of the Japan Airlines Group, JTA is based in Naha, Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost island chain. Currently, the airline operates a fleet of 737-400 airplanes on domestic routes linking Okinawa with major Japanese cities as well as other islands within Okinawa.

Lockheed TriStar last day of RAF operations

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting Trip Reports, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 25-03-2014

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Boarding ZD950Monday 24th March saw the final sortie of the Royal Air Force 216 squadron and its Lockheed L1011 TriStar aircraft.

Many of you will know that these aircraft have a civilian heritage. The TriStar was a widebody tri-jet from the 1970s which competed head-to-head with the Douglas DC-10. Although some TriStars remain in operation as VIP transports and on ad-hoc charter flying, the RAF’s fleet, which came from British Airways and Pan Am in the 1980s, were the last in regular service and I got the opportunity to join the last sortie from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

216 squadron was originally formed 96 years ago in 1917. It found itself operating de Havilland Comets from RAF Lyneham until it was disbanded in 1975. In 1979 it reformed to operate Buccaneer aircraft for less than a year. Then in 1983 it was reformed again as a result of the Falklands War. This time it was to operate the new fleet of Lockheed TriStars as both a troop and civilian transport to the islands, and also as a refuelling platform to help other aircraft on the long journey to the South Atlantic. It was ideally suited to this role, and continued until March 2014 when the new Voyager aircraft took over.

RAF 216 squadron

The TriStar was also a significant force in the first Gulf War, as well as the conflict in Afghanistan. Again, it was vital as a troop transport and tanker, and also played a significant role in training pilots in air-to-air refuelling. Over 1,600 round trips were made by TriStars between the UK and bases in Bastion, Kabul and Kandahar.

Originally planned for retirement in 2017, the end date was recently brought forward to the end of this month as a cost-saving measure, and also because of the new Voyager aircraft coming on line.

On the trip today, our flight was to take us from Brize Norton out over the North Sea for the last refuelling exercise. Two TriStars were taking part – ZD950, which I was on, and ZD948 which was to refuel four fighter aircraft. The two aircraft flew in close formation to allow the best vantage point for those with cameras, and as you can see from the pictures here it was a spectacular view.

TriStar wing

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L1011 TriStar formation

I had missed the chance of flying a TriStar when they were more numerous in airline service, so this was a real last chance to fly the type and experience another classic airliner sadly in its final days. The aircraft still had a number of reminders of its time in airline service, from the curved bank of toilets at the rear to the rows of passenger seating down one half of the cabin. The remainder is an open space for fuel tanks and cargo, with a large cargo door having been installed during the conversion process.

L1011 cockpit

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Up in the cockpit the crew made meticulous adjustments to the controls to keep in close formation as we flew a racetrack pattern alongside the other TriStar and fighters. The Flight Engineer was tasked with monitoring both the aircraft instruments, and the green TV screen showing the aircraft flying alongside. Sadly this role will disappear in favour of a Mission Operator on the new Voyager aircraft.

L1011 tanker

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After each fighter had finished topping up its tanks, it passed underneath our aircraft and up the other side for another fantastic photo opportunity.

L1011 and Typhoon

Back at Brize Norton, passing over the crowds assembled at the end of the runway to witness the final landings, we settled onto the runway with a rattle (the loose cargo runners and largely empty cabin do nothing to muffle the noise) and taxied to our parking position, perhaps significantly alongside one of the new Voyagers, which are a variant of the Airbus A330-200.

Voyager TriStar Replacement

To top the day off, we were treated to a tour of the Air Tanker Ltd facility, which will now take over air-to-air refuelling operations and training, and also the air bridges to the Falklands and conflicts in the Middle East. ZZ337 was the aircraft in the purpose built docking bay. Having been delivered only four weeks ago, the new car smell and cleanliness was a stark contrast to the L1011. In the cockpit – essentially that of an A330 but with extra space for the Mission Operator and his camera/refuelling controls – it was explained how much of a joy it is to fly… not that any of the guys relish seeing the TriStar (and previously the VC-10) disappear when there are so many fond memories of these classics.

ZZ337

Voyager Cockpit

A330 Voyager interior

By the time this article is live, the four remaining RAF TriStars will have joined their stable mates at Bruntingthorpe Airfield near Leicester. It is deemed too costly to fund making any of them a museum piece, and so it seems likely all will be scrapped in the very near future. Of the fleet, two remain at Cambridge, one at Kemble, and now six at Bruntingthorpe.

I’d like to thank the Royal Air Force for the invitation to join this special final mission, and especially Flight Lieutenant Rachel McCulloch for running the day so smoothly.

Last operational sortie of the 216 Squadron RAF Tristar aircraft