RwandAir selects A330

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 24-03-2015

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RwandAir has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus to order two A330-200 aircraft. These will be the airline’s first wide-body jets, although it is expected to take delivery of Boeing 787s.

“As we look to introduce wide body aircraft for the first time into our fleet, with its proven economics, reliability and passenger comfort, we have found the A330 to perfectly support our plans to expand into Europe and Asia, to enhance our regional presence, to open up new routes and to grow our market share,’’ said John Mirenge, Chief Executive Officer of RwandAir.

RwandAir’s A330s will be delivered in the second half of 2016 and will be equipped with Rolls Royce Trent 772B engines.

Rwanda’s flagship carrier will deploy the new A330 aircraft on medium and long haul routes from their Kigali home base to long-haul destinations throughout Europe, the Middle-East and Asia.

Airbus Photography Contest

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 23-03-2015

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Airbus Group Photo Contest

Airbus Group is holding an amateur photography contest with the fantastic prize of a tour around their site, and your photo featured in their 2014 Annual Report.

The aim of the Contest is to discover Airbus Group through your eyes. The pictures should be related to their wide range of products and activities at the Divisions: Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space and Airbus Helicopters plus corporate entities like Airbus Group Innovations.

To find out more, including entry requirements and prize details, visit this link: http://www.airbusgroup.com/int/en/news-media/Events/Photo-contest-2015.html

Even if you don’t win, the best entries will be published on Airbus Group’s Social Media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Flickr) to promote your pictures.

Good luck!

Plane Spotting at Washington Reagan National Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in North America, Spotting Videos, USA | Posted on 21-03-2015

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If you want to get an idea of what it’s like spotting at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, here’s a selection of four videos for you to enjoy showing the aircraft coming and going.

Almost 30 minutes of video is presented here!

 

Spotting at Teruel – Spain’s storage and maintenance airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Spain, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 19-03-2015

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Spotters watch the first 747 land (Photo: EL PAÍS)

Spotters watch the first 747 land (Photo: EL PAÍS)

Teruel Airport has suddenly started making waves amongst the spotter community as it has sprung up in no time from the dry land of eastern Spain.

Unlike other new Spanish airports built to attract passengers and ultimately languishing semi-mothballed, Teruel was designed from the start to act as a storage, maintenance and recycling base for airlines and other operators to bring their aircraft to.

Teruel2

The airport has a single, long runway, with ramp space and a tiny terminal. However, behind this is a grid pattern of taxiways which are designed for long-term storage of airliners, much like you would see in Arizona or California. Teruel boasts the largest storage area in Europe for aircraft.

One of the first arrivals at Teruel was a Boeing 747 freighter of Air Cargo Germany. Since then the airport has filled with over 30 airliners, mainly from the fleet of struggling Russian carrier UT Air. Types include Boeing 737s, Airbus A321s and Bombardier CRJs.

There are also Airbus A330s from Libya and Brazil and Boeing 747s from France and the Netherlands present at the time of writing.

Teruel3

The airport is operated by Tarmac Aerosave (which also manages storage at Tarbes Airport in France). It is around 100 miles south of Zaragoza and 95 miles north-west of Valencia, just off the A-23 motorway and N-234 highway at Caude.

Teruel in relation to the main cities in Spain

Teruel in relation to the main cities in Spain

Early reports from spotters passing by are that aircraft can be seen with some perseverance and with the use of a car to explore the minor roads surrounding the field. However, security have also made their presence known, stopping spotters and asking what their business is. Therefore caution is advised.

The owners hope to grow this new business, and may even see passenger flights servicing the nearby ski resorts eventually.

 

Castellon “ghost airport” gains Ryanair routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 12-03-2015

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Castellon Airport

One of Spain’s infamous “ghost airports”, built amid a period of wasteful spending by the Spanish government, is to gain its first commercial airline service.

Castellon Costa Azahar Airport in the east of Spain, situated to the north of Valencia, was built for €150 million despite having no formal offers from airlines.

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Now, Ryanair has committed to starting 3x weekly flights to London Stansted and 2x weekly flights to Bristol, presumably to test its potential. The flights will commence in September 2015.

Castellon Airport has a single runway and small terminal building. For spotters, although I haven’t visited, it looks like roads passing either end of the runway offer opportunities for watching aircraft arrivals and departures. But I don’t think it’s worth the visit just yet!

Kelowna Flightcraft rebranding and shifting focus

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Belgium, Canada, North America, Western Europe | Posted on 12-03-2015

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Kelowna Flightcraft

Canada’s specialist cargo operator Kelowna Flightcraft is rebranding in a bid to reestablish itself following the loss of a major contract.

The airline, which flies Boeing 727, Convair 580 and Douglas DC-10 freighters, will now be known as KF Cargo. It will also relocate one of its bases to Toronto Pearson International Airport from Hamilton.

Its aircraft will now be seen travelling to Europe more often, with a 4x weekly DC-10 flight to Brussels National starting on 17 May.

It will also fly from Vancouver to both Anchorage, AK, and Calgary, as well as between Toronto and Halifax, from July.

“We’ve lost our single source of revenue and cargo, and now the majority of the customers we want to fly for are based in Toronto,” Flightcraft spokesman Grant Stevens told Canada’s Spectator magazine. “Now we’re trying to break into a new market, so we have to be in Toronto.”

“There is a lot of cargo from Europe, Africa and South America destined for Canada, but we are concentrating on the EU market through Brussels right now. The rest we’ll worry about later,” Bryan Akerstream, Director of Business Development, said.

(Source: CH-Aviation)

Vietnam Airlines first Airbus A350 revealed

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Vietnam | Posted on 09-03-2015

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The first A350 XWB for Vietnam Airlines was rolled out of the Airbus paint shop in Toulouse on Friday 6th March, featuring the airline’s updated distinctive blue and gold lotus livery.

The aircraft, which will be leased from AerCap, is now entering the advanced stage of production. This will include installation of the engines, completion of cabin furnishing, and cockpit fitting, followed by ground and flight tests. The aircraft is scheduled for delivery in the middle of the year.

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Vietnam Airlines will become the first Asian airline to fly the A350 XWB and the second operator in the world. Vietnam Airlines will acquire 14 A350 XWBs, including ten on order from Airbus and four under lease agreements. The carrier will operate its A350 XWB fleet on premium long haul routes, beginning with services between Hanoi and Paris.

To find out where Vietnam Airlines and other A350 customers will be flying their aircraft, visit our A350 Routes Page.

Dusseldorf railway station spotting area closed

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Germany, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 08-03-2015

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By Konstantin von Wedelstaedt [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Konstantin von Wedelstaedt [GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately one of the two official spotting locations at Dusseldorf Airport has been closed.

The railway station, linked to the national and local rail network, as well as to the terminal via a monorail, featured an open air viewing area which overlooked the ends of runways 23L and 23R, as well as the taxiways linking them. As such it was a great place for photographing airliners both on the ground and in the air.

But sadly the viewing area is now closed, and it is reportedly a permanent closure.

A.Savin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

A.Savin [CC BY-SA 3.0 or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

The other official viewing area, atop the terminal building, remains open. It is on top of concourse B, and reached via the third floor. There is a small entrance fee.

Opening times are now 10am-7pm year-round (no early summer opening now)

Iberia brings forward Airbus A330 deliveries

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 04-03-2015

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Iberia A330

Iberia has brought forward the introduction of the Airbus A330-200 into its fleet by 14 months.

Eight examples are now due to enter the fleet between December 2015 and November 2016, from an order placed last year.

The aircraft will replace the ageing A340-300s still being flown by the airline, and will join the A330-300 and A340-600 fleet in operating Iberia’s long-haul flights from Madrid Barajas.

The A340-600s are in the process of being upgraded, with new long-haul cabins and better Business class. The airline will also take delivery of eight A350-900s in the future.

 

Boeing finding homes for ‘terrible teen’ 787s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Asia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, North America, USA | Posted on 03-03-2015

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Ethiopian 787 (c) Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

Boeing is making progress on finding homes for the early Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft which have been sat in storage at its Everett Paine Field manufacturing site since the early days of the aircraft.

These particular aircraft were built shortly after the prototypes began flying, with Boeing seeking to catch up on the delays it had incurred. The aircraft were completed, and most had the basic liveries of the airlines who had ordered them applied. But then they didn’t go anywhere.

When I visited Paine Field in early 2012 there were a number of these aircraft scattered around, painted in the colours of Royal Air Maroc, ANA All Nippon Airways, Air India and others.

Since these aircraft were among the first 20 built (hence the nickname ‘terrible teens’) they also incurred vital modifications which were necessary as a result of testing on the prototypes and first delivery aircraft. Notably, there were problems with electrical fires and the strength of the wing assemblies.

All future Dreamliners were built with fixes for these problems, but for the terrible teens a process of modifications took place to make them airworthy; this in turn added extra weight to the airframe and they incurred a range penalty of around 1,000 miles.

Naturally the planned operators of these aircraft demanded newer airframes, leaving the early examples looking for a new home.

Terrible Teen 787s at Paine Field

Terrible Teen 787s at Paine Field

But now Boeing seems set to announce where they’ll be heading. Since the backlog for orders is so great, taking a terrible teen will be a way to jump the queue for any airline – especially those who don’t mind the range restrictions so much, and would prefer to pay a reduced price tag, which presumably is the case for the unwanted aircraft.

Last week it was confirmed that Air Austral would be taking two of the aircraft, to operate from Reunion Island.

Now it looks like Ethiopian Airlines will take up to eight examples.

Garuda Indonesia and Malaysia Airlines have been approached to take some of the jets, according to ch-aviation, and it seems likely Rwandair will take two of the Royal Air Maroc candidates.