Spotting at the Comfort Hotel RunWay at Oslo Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Norway, Spotting Hotels, Spotting Trip Reports, Western Europe | Posted on 06-09-2014

0

Comfort Hotel Runway
This is a guest report from Mark Williams, who recently stayed at one of Norway’s best spotting hotels…I have recently returned from a one night stay at the Comfort Hotel RunWay at Oslo Airport.

The hotel is nicely situated next to the perimeter fence overlooking Runway 01L/19R. To get there from the airport you have a couple of options – the more expensive dedicated S44 hotel shuttle bus at 70NOK or the cheaper normal service bus 855 which involves a short 2 minute walk from the stop to the hotel.

I had emailed the hotel beforehand requesting a high floor room overlooking the airport and they replied very promptly saying a suitable room had been allocated. True to their word, they had reserved me such a room and with the minimal of fuss from an efficient front desk I was ready to spot. The fourth floor room (which is the top floor) contained a number of suitable rooms – 4015, 4017, 4019, 4021, 4023 and 4025 all being noted as among those suitable for our needs.

Runway 01L/19R is right in front of you and everything can be easily read off with binoculars. The hotel grounds actually end at the perimeter fence. There is an issue with trees in these grounds, and this will be to a greater or lesser extent from each individual room. However, there should be sufficient gaps from all to ensure nothing on this runway would be missed. Views over to the terminal are again affected by the trees, although the gaps will allow at least some sections of the piers to be seen. Where they are, reading the registrations off was no problem.

Oslo Spotting Hotel

Cargo was parked opposite the hotel, and being tail-on could not be read off. Runway 01L/19R seemed to handle the majority of the domestic or short regional traffic, and while this is probably favoured at first, the repeats start after about 5 or 6 hours After about 24 hours, little lands that hasn’t already been seen. However, much of the long haul traffic seemed to depart (not land) from this runway – including Norwegian B787s, Thai B777s and a SAS A330. While this can’t of course be guaranteed (the Qatar B787 for instance went off Runway 01R on one day and 01L on the other), from your perch at the Comfort Hotel RunWay most of the wide-body movements were read off.

The other runway (01R/19L) is just out of range for reading with binoculars (particularly of course as it is through glass and at an angle). However, seeing everything land on Runway 01R was no problem, so identification with SBS would ensure nothing is missed. They landed on 01R/01L during my entire stay – I imagine trees would mean if they were landing on 19L it wouldn’t have been so easy to even see them, so runway use could affect your logging considerably.

One thing I must mention. While the rooms are more than adequate, they only have a long thin window, which is set quite low. Not only does this mean the room is quite dark, but at 6ft, I had to bend down to actually see out (if you are 5ft it would be about perfect). However, if you settle down for a long spotting session, you will no doubt be seated, and I could see out of the window from a chair.

The room was priced at 849NOK (roughly £84 / $135) which included a half-decent breakfast – not bad for this location. There is a restaurant and a small snack area, and although there are other hotels nearby and a large conference centre, there appeared to be no other local places to get provisions.

osl3

Apart from the excellent view of the near runway that the hotel affords, it is also well placed to reach the SAS museum, which contains a small spotter’s terrace that is permanently open.

The museum itself is only open on Tuesday and Sunday. It is around a 15 minute walk away. Head out of the hotel and turn right on Hans Gaarders Veg. Keep heading along this road (running virtually parallel with the perimeter fence) and you will come to the museum and the raised spotting terrace. A quick look at Google Maps will show the way.

The terrace is a wooden structure, accessed via a few stairs, and gives a good panoramic view of the airport. The parked West Air ATPs (out of sight from the hotel) are right in front of you, and I could also read off the inhabitants of the cargo area (as well as a couple of biz jets in the GA area). The view of runway 01L/19R is restricted to about half the runway at one end but is very close with an excellent view of traffic departing off 01L. I imagine the views of traffic landing on 19R would be equally as impressive.
When I was departing I met an extremely helpful lady from NSSF – The Norwegian Plane Spotter Association who kindly gave me a copy of their viewing guide and offered advice as to the best spots. Check them out and show your support – they clearly do some good work to ensure that such facilities exist for us all. It appears that the majority of spotting locations for Runway 01R/19L require a car. All the long-haul traffic landed on this runway during my stay (but, as previously mentioned, the majority departed off the near 01L/19R runway). Most of the international traffic from Europe (if not all) seemed to land on 01R/19L and much went out that way too, so, for a registration reader, expect to miss some frames. While my success rate out in the open air and side on from the viewing terrace of departing traffic from 01R improved, it is still quite a long way away so success is by no means guaranteed. However, if the weather is good (there is no shelter here), this would be an extremely nice place to spend a few hours and is highly recommended.

Movements wise, Oslo was actually busier than I had expected. Norwegian and SAS dominate as you would expect with their B737s, although there was a healthy number of Wideroe Dash 8s in action. Three different Norwegian Dreamliners were seen in the 24 hours, plus a daily Thai B777, Qatar B787, a SAS A330, Primera B737 and Novair A321. Cargo offered a UPS B767, Jet Time B737 and Air Contractors ATR42.

Overall, an extremely enjoyable 24 hours in Oslo which, like the hotel and spotting terrace, comes highly recommended.

You can book a room at the Comfort Hotel RunWay Oslo here: http://www.comfortinn.com/hotel-gardermoen-norway-NO113

 

 

United’s first 787-9 delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Australasia, Australia, North America, USA | Posted on 04-09-2014

1

787-9 CAL #181 ZB167

United Airlines is celebrating as it becomes the first North American airline to take delivery of the extended Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The first aircraft, N38950 (36401/181), was delivered on 4th September. United now has both -8 and -9 variants in its fleet.

“We’re proud that United has become the North America launch customer for both the 787-8 and 787-9, marking another important milestone in the successful history of Boeing and United working together,” said Brad McMullen, vice president of North America Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

United has announced a series of one-off domestic flights to aid in pilot training. From 26 October, the 787-9 will begin flights from Los Angeles to Melbourne.

Next year the Los Angeles – Shanghai route will be upgraded to the 787-9. See our Boeing 787 Routes Page for more information.

United operates 11 787 Dreamliners with an additional 54 on order, including the 787-10.

9air takes first 737-800

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, China, Indonesia | Posted on 03-09-2014

0

9air

9air is a new airline based in Guangzhou, China. It has taken delivery of its first aircraft – Boeing 737-800 B-1715 – in an attractive and colourful livery. The aircraft is leased from Lion Airlines.

The airline will offer low cost flights, and begin flying next month once its second aircraft has arrived. Initial routes are from Guangzhou to Shanghai, Chengdu, and Jieyang.

The airline is a subsidiary of Juneyao Airlines, and will eventually have 50 Boeing 737-800s, some of which will be the new MAX models.

 

Xiamen Airlines’ first 787 delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, China, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 01-09-2014

0

787-8 XIA #201-ZA680

Hot on the heels of the first Boeing 787 delivery to Royal Jordanian, the Chinese carrier Xiamen Airlines has also received its first Dreamliner.

B-2768 was delivered from Everett Paine Field on 29th August. With this, Xiamen Airlines becomes the third Chinese airline to operate the 787. The airline will use the 787 on long-haul routes from its Fujian province base to Europe, North America and Australia.

As part of Xiamen Airlines’ 12th five-year plan ending 2015, the carrier plans to grow its fleet to 150 airplanes, including six 787s. The 787 is the most advanced airplane in commercial aviation and will help Xiamen Airlines develop more point-to-point routes globally, while also establishing the airline as an emerging force in the commercial aviation market.

From our Boeing 787 Routes page, Xiamen Airlines plans to initially operate their 787s on the following routes:

Xiamen – Amsterdam Schiphol
Xiamen – New York
Xiamen – Paris Charles de Gaulle
Xiamen – Sydney
Xiamen – Vancouver

Royal Jordanian’s first 787 delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Jordan, Middle East, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 30-08-2014

2

Royal Jordanian 787

Royal Jordanian has become the second Middle East airline to take delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, after Qatar Airways.

JY-BAA was delivered directly from Boeing’s facility at Everett Paine Field to Amman International Airport in Jordan on 27th August.

“The Middle East is one of the world’s highest growth areas for commercial aviation and we are proud that Royal Jordanian has selected the 787 to spearhead its fleet modernization strategy and route expansion plans,” said Ray Conner, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with Royal Jordanian well into the future.”

This aircraft is leased from AerCap, and is the first of 11 Dreamliners that Royal Jordanian has on order.

According to our Boeing 787 Routes Page, the initial routes planned for the airline’s 787s are:

Amman – Abu Dhabi – September 2014
Amman – Bangkok – Hong Kong – October 2014
Amman – Bangkok – Kuala Lumpur – October 2014
Amman – Jeddah – September 2014
Amman – Kuwait City – October 2014
Amman – London Heathrow – September 2014

Brussels Spotting Guide added

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Belgium, Spotting Hotels, Spotting Trip Reports, Spotting Videos, Western Europe | Posted on 29-08-2014

0

View from Wingtips Restaurant

View from Wingtips Restaurant

A new guide to spotting at Brussels Airport has been added, which is up-to-date from a recent trip (and will be kept up-to-date if anything changes). You can view the spotting guide at the top of the page under ‘Spotting Guides’, or by clicking this link: www.airportspotting.com/spotting-guides-2/brussels-airport-spotting-guide/

Brussels is the largest and busiest airport in Belgium, handling a large amount of passenger and cargo traffic.

Cargo and low-cost mix at Brussels

Cargo and low-cost mix at Brussels

It is also home to Melsbroek Air Base, which handles the Belgian Air Force transport aircraft and any visiting foreign governments etc.

The airport has three runways – 25L/07R, 25R/07L, and 01/19.
It has a single large terminal building, with two long piers and various remote stands.

On the northern and western portions of the airport are a number of aprons for cargo aircraft. DHL have a base here.

Passenger movements are dominated by Brussels Airlines, Jetairfly, Jet Airways, and Vueling.
Other airlines of note include Ethiopian Airlines (787), Etihad (A330), Qatar Airways (787), Thai (777-300), Tailwind (737-400), MEA (A320), Air Arabia Maroc (A320).

Spotting is quite easy at Brussels, with a number of locations in and around the terminal, and a few good spots for photography around the perimeter for those using a car or public transport.

Here’s a video showing the various spotting locations and airline operators from my recent visit.

Nearby attractions include the Royal Army Museum in Brussels, with a large collection of preserved aircraft, and Brussels South Charleroi Airport, which is a base for Ryanair and Jetairfly.

Check out the spotting guide to Brussels and keep it handy when planning your trip. It includes spotting hotels at Brussels too!

Bristol Airport Aviation Fair planned for September

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 25-08-2014

0

The Bristol Airport Spotting site has been in touch to let us know about an Aviation Fair that will be taking place at Bristol Airport on Sunday 21st September 2014.

When is the event taking place?

The event is being held on Sunday 21st September 2014 between 10.30am and 4.30pm.

Where is the event taking place?

The event is being held in the Bristol Room within the administration building at the airport, this is the first building on the left when you enter the airport site.

Will car parking be available?

Yes free car parking will be available in front of the admin building, the barrier will be removed for the day so there will be no restrictions on cars and duration at the event. Car parking is clearly signposted.

How do I find the admin building?

All visitors to the event should enter the Bristol Airport site from the main roundabout on the A38, then take the first left at the next mini roundabout and then head into the car park which will be in front of you, at this point the admin building is on your right hand side, you will see the entrance clearly marked. Us the map below to help you, follow the black arrows below to enter the car park marked in red, the admin building is marked in green.

How much is the event?

The event is free for children and £1.00 for adults, all money raised is being donated to the airport charity of the year which this year is Macmillan Cancer Support.

What can I see and do?

The Bristol Room has great views across the apron and will provide views of aircraft taking off, landing and taxiing past the window, exhibitors from Bristol Airport Police, Bristol Aero Collection, Bristol Airport Spotting and T7 Models will be available to view and purchase items from. A display from local model club IPMS Avon will also be on display. Refreshments will be available to purchase from the new cafe, choose from tea and coffee, sandwiches, crisps and bacon rolls. No food is to be taken into the Bristol Room.

How do I show my support for this event?

If you are coming along to the event please Join the Facebook event below so we have a rough idea of numbers – https://www.facebook.com/events/526622907439662/ or if you arent on Facebook just turn up on the day, bring a friend, family or colleagues. If you would like to advertise the event on your website you can download the event poster below.

aviation-fair-poster

Best of the Web – Airport Spotting Videos – Singapore Changi Time Lapse

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Singapore, Spotting Videos | Posted on 22-08-2014

0

Here’s a fantastic, atmospheric time lapse video of aircraft traffic at Singapore Changi Airport. It is mainly night time scenes, which really adds to the magic of the video as you see aircraft lights flickering past in time to the music and dancing around in the skies.

Cathay Pacific plans last passenger Boeing 747 flight on 31 August

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Hong Kong, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 20-08-2014

0

Creative Commons (c) Aero Icarus

Creative Commons (c) Aero Icarus

Cathay Pacific has signalled the end for its Boeing 747-400 passenger fleet by announcing the final flight of the type.

On 31st August, the airline will operate the final 747-400 passenger flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong, ending 18 years of service with the type since its first -200B example began flying in July 1986.

Significantly, the first route operated by a Cathay Pacific 747 was from San Francisco to Hong Kong, so this is a fitting tribute.

The airline will continue to fly Boeing 747-400 and -8 models as part of its cargo operation.

 

As a side note, the airline has also announced that it will retire its Airbus A340-300 fleet in 2017.

Avianca’s first Central America ATR 72 delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Colombia, Miscellaneous Spotting, South America | Posted on 18-08-2014

2

Avianca ATR 72-600

Avianca has taken delivery of the first Central America-based ATR 72-600 aircraft.

The aircraft is TG-TRC, and will be operated by Inter Regional from Guatemala City on behalf of Avianca, on regional and domestic operations. It wears full Avianca colours.

Avianca has another 14 ATR 72-600s on order.

Avianca ATR72