7 Embraer E-Jets in Europe

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Eastern Europe, Miscellaneous Spotting, Western Europe | Posted on 13-08-2014

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Embraer’s E-jet series is a really versatile aircraft, as evident by the number of airlines operating it – from mainline national carriers to regional and charter companies.

Here are seven Embraer aircraft seen in Europe recently.

Finnair Embraer 190 OH-LKG at Manchester

Finnair Embraer 190 OH-LKG at Manchester

 

Flybe's Embraer 175 G-FBJD at Durham Tees Valley

Flybe’s Embraer 175 G-FBJD at Durham Tees Valley

BA CityFlyer Embraer 190 G-LCYK

BA CityFlyer Embraer 190 G-LCYK

 

LOT Embraer 175 SP-LIK at Stockholm Arlanda

LOT Embraer 175 SP-LIK at Stockholm Arlanda

Jetairfly Embraer 195 OO-JEB at Brussels

Jetairfly Embraer 195 OO-JEB at Brussels

 

Ukraine International UR-EMA

Ukraine International UR-EMA

Air Europa Embraer 195 EC-LIN

Air Europa Embraer 195 EC-LIN

 

Singapore A380s coming to Auckland

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Asia, Australasia, New Zealand, Singapore | Posted on 11-08-2014

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Singapore A380 9V-SKA

Auckland will soon receive another Airbus A380 operator in the form of Singapore Airlines.

The airline will begin flying the superjumbo from Singapore to Auckland on its SQ285/286 service from 27th October 2014.

Its other Auckland service will continue to be operated by Boeing 777 equipment for the time being.

Auckland is also an A380 stop for Emirates.

Frankfurt Terminal 2 terrace temporary closure

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Frankfurt, Germany, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 06-08-2014

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Frankfurt Terminal 2 Terrace

(c) Frankfurt Airport

Frankfurt Airport’s main viewing terrace, in Terminal 2, is to close temporarily whilst construction works take place in the building.

The outdoor terrace overlooks the eastern end of the airport, and is the main viewing area following the closure of the classic Terminal 1 terraces a while ago.

The works will take place from September, and will last until 2015. This includes the food court area, which was an alternative spotting location at the airport when the terrace was closed (or the weather was bad!).

Frankfurt Airport promises “We will celebrate its reopening in a big way in spring 2015.”   Watch this space – I’ll let you know what is happening when I hear about it.

Mojave Plane Crazy Days 16 August

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 06-08-2014

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This was news to me, so I thought I’d report it. Mojave Air and Space Port in California is hosting regular ‘Plane Crazy’ days where visitors get to enjoy talks by guest speakers, and displays by pilots and unusual aircraft.

Mojave Plane Crazy August

Mojave is well known as one of the desert storage airports in the western United States, and in recent years as a developing centre for space travel and testing.

The next Plane Crazy Saturday will be held on 16th August and will include the following:

  • Stargazer Lockheed L1011 on display
  • Joseph Weichmann speaking on ‘California and the Commercial Spaceflight Industry’
  • Local pilots displaying unique and one-of-a-kind aircraft

The Voyager Restaurant and other local businesses will also be open. It seems that visitors will also get access to the flightline to see aircraft close up, so this is a great opportunity to take along a camera!

 

Find out more at this link.

New Calgary Airport spotting hotel being built

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Canada, North America, Spotting Hotels, Spotting News | Posted on 04-08-2014

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Delta Hotel Calgary

A new four star hotel is being constructed at Calgary International Airport which promises excellent views of the action.

The 318-bedroom Delta Hotel is close to completion and is linked directly to the airport’s terminal. Rooms will face either the aircraft ramp or the curbside – no prizes for guessing which you readers will be interested in!

The hotel was conceived by the airport as an extra source of revenue, and a part of its $1.4 billion terminal expansion. However, it will be operated by Delta Hotels and Resorts. It is the first such example for Delta, who operate 41 other hotel properties.

Calgary Airport recently opened a second runway. It handled just over 14 million passengers in 2013, with Air Canada, Air Transat and WestJet as the principal operators.

Calgary Terminal Expansion

The new Calgary Airport Hotel will open in conjunction with the new terminal development in 2015.

 

Thai Airways – A300 retires and 787 arrives

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Spotting News, Thailand | Posted on 01-08-2014

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It’s been an important couple of weeks for Thai Airways’ fleet.

First of all, on 18th July their first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner arrived. Royally bestowed the name “ONGKHARAK”, with aircraft registration No. HS-TQA, it flew non-stop from Everett to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport.

Thai 787

This first 787-8 aircraft operated its first commercial flight on 25th July 2014 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. With the delivery of the second 787-8 aircraft, THAI will operate to and from Bangkok to Perth, Australia and Bangkok to Haneda, Japan sometime in September (see our 787 Routes Page).  THAI expects delivery of its third 787-8 in October and operate Bangkok-Narita, Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok-Hanoi routes.  The fourth 787-8 aircraft delivery is planned for December 2014 and will operate the Bangkok-Nagoya route.  The remaining two 787-8 Dreamliner deliveries are expected in the middle of 2015.

Meanwhile, Thai has this week retired its Airbus A300-600R fleet after many years’ service with the airline.

The final three aircraft, HS-TAT, HS-TAX and HS-TAZ performed the final flights on 31st July and bowed out under water-cannon salute.

Thai A300 Retirement

Thai A300

BLOC Hotel Gatwick – Spotting Hotel Review

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Spotting Hotels, Spotting Trip Reports, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 27-07-2014

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BLOC1

I recently had the pleasure of staying in the newly opened BLOC Hotel at London Gatwick Airport.

The hotel occupies part of the South Terminal at the airport, and is accessible pre-departures, making it an excellent place to stay before or after your flight without having to worry about transport to or from a hotel away from the airport itself.

But for enthusiasts the BLOC Hotel offers an even greater draw, and that’s fantastic views of the action at Gatwick itself.

Gatwick Airport has been notoriously difficult to spot from since the viewing terraces closed down in 2002. But for those who remember these terraces, the BLOC Hotel actually offers a similar view from many of its rooms, albeit with a further elevated perspective, meaning even more can be seen.

I was offered room 748 at the hotel, which is one of the best for spotting. It occupies a corner of the top floor of the hotel, with panoramic views from the runway to the left, round to the North Terminal and the South Terminal’s satellite to the right.

BLOC Hotel

The view from the BLOC hotel is similar to that of the old viewing terraces at Gatwick.

No movements can be missed from this room, as everything using the runway is visible, as are most stands. Some South Terminal stands are not visible, however. The maintenance area is also not visible.

BLOC5

The old viewing terraces still exist, but will not be reopened.

BLOC’s concept is modern design, and the furniture and fittings in the room are really unique. In this particular room there was a large bed, TV, bathroom (with equally good views),  and a touch-screen control panel to handle the lights, blinds, temperature etc.

One feature that always goes down well with spotters is Wi-Fi, and at the BLOC hotel it’s free for all guests, regardless of which room you stay in. This is ideal for running Flightradar24 or similar flight tracking websites to tie up distant or night time movements. On my stay I also noticed some Heathrow departures flying overhead, which could be identified on the internet.

BLOC6

Be careful when booking at this hotel as some rooms have no windows. These are clearly labelled on the website, and naturally will not offer any views of movements. It is best to try and get a higher room facing the airport (west or south) to ensure you can see movements easily; the benefit of Gatwick only having one runway is that all aircraft will be in the same place at some point.

BLOC Hotel Gatwick

An example of the photographs possible from the BLOC Hotel at Gatwick

Photography through the windows was easy on my stay. The windows were clean, and with a 200mm lens I could photograph any aircraft within a reasonable distance. I found, however, that as the light started to fade the windows took on a slight tint which stopped the ability to take good photographs.

The room rates at the BLOC Hotel are pretty good, and in most cases less than £100 per night for all but the VIP rooms. The website handily lists the full standard rate, and the actual rate they are charging over a range of dates. So you can plan your trip well.

This is easily one of the best spotting hotels I’ve ever experienced. I had the benefit of probably the best room for views, but many others at the hotel offer a similar panorama of this notoriously difficult-to-spot-at airport where nothing will be missed. Add to that easy access, comfortable facilities, friendly staff, and good prices.

BLOC2

To find out more or book a room, visit the BLOC Hotel Gatwick website.

ANA set to debut 787-9 on 4 August

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Australasia, Japan, New Zealand, North America, USA | Posted on 25-07-2014

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787 ANA

ANA All Nippon Airways will take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 aircraft on 28th July direct from Everett.

The airline will be the first to operate the stretched model of the Dreamliner when it operates a special flight from Tokyo Haneda airport over Mount Fuji carrying Japanese and American elementary school children living in Japan. These, the airline says, are the “next generation of air passengers.”

ANA will initially operate the 787-9 on domestic routes within Japan.

International flights will follow from April 2015.

In addition to this new, fellow launch customer Air New Zealand plans to start commercial flights between Auckland and Sydney with their new 787-9s from August.

Find out all the Boeing 787 Routes here.

New Georgian airline Flyvista set for August launch

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Georgia | Posted on 22-07-2014

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Flyvista 4L-AJC

Flyvista is a new airline based in Tbilisi, Georgia.

It is set to launch low-cost flights in August, flying to destinations in Europe and the Middle East (Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Turkey, Iran, Russia etc), although no definite schedules have been released.

The airline has taken delivery of its first aircraft, Boeing 737-300 4L-AJC,  and has also been operating two 737-500s from Khartoum on wet-leases to Badr Airlines.

 

Farnborough Air Show Orders Summary

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 18-07-2014

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The Farnborough Air Show is now over for another two years. But it has been a really significant show in terms of aircraft announcements and orders, breaking all previous records for the show. Here’s a summary of the proceedings…

 

A330-900neo_RR_Transaero

Airbus

  • Announced the A330neo aircraft at the show
  • AerCap ordered 50 A320neo family aircraft
  • AirAsia X ordered 50 A330neo
  • Air Lease Corporation ordered 25 A330neo and 60 A321neo
  • Air Mauritius ordered six A350XWB
  • Avolon ordered 15 A330neo – launch customer
  • BOC Aviation ordered 43 A320 family aircraft
  • CIT ordered 15 A330neo and five A321ceo
  • Hong Kong Aviation Capital ordered 70 A320neo family aircraft
  • IAG (British Airways, Iberia, Vueling) ordered 20 A320neo
  • SMBC Aviation Capital ordered 115 A320 family aircraft
  • Transaero ordered 20 A330neo

ATR Aircraft

  • Air Lease Corporation ordered seven ATR 72-600
  • Myanma Airways ordered up to 12 ATR 72-600
  • Nordic Aviation Capital ordered 75 ATR 42-600

Qatar_777X and 777F

Boeing

  • Air Algerie ordered two 737-700C
  • Air Lease Corporation ordered six 777-300ER and 20 737 MAX 8
  • Avolon ordered five 737 MAX 9 and six 787-9
  • CIT Group ordered ten 787-9
  • Hainan Airlines ordered 50 737 MAX 8
  • Intrepid Aviation ordered six 777-300ER
  • MG Aviation ordered two 787-9
  • Monarch Airlines ordered 30 737-MAX 8
  • Okay Airways ordered six 737 MAX 8 and four 737-800
  • Qatar Airways ordered 50 777X

Bombardier

  • “Existing Customer” ordered seven CS300 with rights for six more
  • “Existing African Customer” signed LOI for five CSeries aircraft
  • Nok Air converts options on two Q400 aircraft into firm order

ICBCEmbraer

Embraer

  • AZAL ordered two E190
  • Azul signs LOI for 50 E195-E2 – launch customer
  • Fuji Dream Airlines ordered up to six E175
    HNA Group ordered 20 E190 and 20 E190-E2
  • Royal Air Maroc ordered four E190
  • Trans States Airlines ordered up to 100 E175-E2