KLM to arrive in Ireland

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Ireland, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 06-01-2015

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KLM Fokker 70 at Durham Tees Valley

KLM is to begin its first flights to Ireland in May when it commences a new Belfast service.

George Best Belfast City Airport is the only airport in the UK or Ireland included in expansion plans announced today by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines who will commence a daily service to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport from May 2015 providing greater access to global destinations through KLM’s extensive network.

Belfast City Airport’s Commercial and Marketing Director, Katy Best, said: “Attracting an airline such as KLM to Northern Ireland, is a major win for the airport, tourism within the region and local businesses who will benefit from KLM’s worldwide network.”

KLM ANNOUNCES ARRIVAL TO NORTHERN IRELAND

The airport, situated in Belfast’s docklands, competes against the larger Belfast International Airport 18 miles to the west. Attracting an airline such as KLM is a majour coup and will no doubt attract a lot of business passenger to the city, and a lot of outbound travellers onto KLM’s worldwide network.

US Airways Boeing 767-200 retiring in February

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 05-01-2015

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USAirways767

US Airways is set to retire its Boeing 767-200 fleet in February, marking the end of passenger operations with the type in the USA.

The final flight is currently scheduled as US1798 from Charlotte to Philadelphia and return on 11th February.

Other flights operating with the type that day, according to Airline Route, include:

  • Charlotte-Cancun-Charlotte
  • Charlotte-Orlando-Charlotte
  • Charlotte-St Thomas-Charlotte

These aircraft have a long heritage, with some of the fleet being operated by Piedmont Airlines in the 1980s before its merger with USAir.

What to look out for in 2015 – aviation events

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News | Posted on 31-12-2014

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Let me take this opportunity to say ‘Happy New Year’ to you all, and thanks so much for making 2014 a great year for Airport Spotting Blog.

I wondered what aviation events you are looking forward to in 2015? I have put together this list of events that you might be interested in:

January

  • Airbus A350 enters commercial service between Doha and Frankfurt with Qatar Airways.
  • First American Airlines 787 due
  • First Etihad 787 due
  • First Korean Air 787 due
  • First Qantas 787 due
  • First Scoot 787 due

February

  • 18th-22nd – Aero India
    Largest air show in India, held at Yelahanka, Bengaluru
  • First Royal Air Maroc 787 due

March

April

May

  • 19th-21st EBACE European Business Aviation Convention
    Held at Geneva Airport
  • First Vietnam Airlines 787 due
  • 29th Final scheduled TU-154 flight in Europe – Geneva to Minsk, Belavia

June

  • 11th-13th AviationExpo Europe
    A festival of aviation. Held at Kbely Airport in the Czech Republic
  • 15th-21st – Paris Air Salon
    The great biannual air show and industry event where new aircraft are displayed and many airline orders are made. Takes place at Paris Le Bourget Airport.
  • First PrivatAir 787 due

July

  • 20th-26th EAA Airventure Oshkosh
    The largest air show in the world returns to Wittman Regional Airport in Wisconsin

August

  • 25th-30th MAKS Air Show
    Held at Moscow Zhukovsky Airport.
  • First Vietnam Airlines A350 due

September

  • First Finnair A350 due
  • First Oman Air 787 due

October

  • 24th – Final Virgin Atlantic A340-300 flight
  • First KLM 787 due
  • First Transaero A380 due

November

  • 8th-12th Dubai Air Show
    Held at the new Dubai World Central airport.
  • 17th-25th NBAA Business Aviation Convention
    Held at Las Vegas Henderson Executive Airport

December

  • First Saudia 787 due

Other events include the entry into service of the new Bombardier C Series airliner, which has been delayed. It is due to fly with Korean Air and Lufthansa first.

 

Leave a comment below if you can think of any other important aviation events or have anything that you’re looking forward to!

2014’s most popular Airport Spotting posts

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Airport News, Asia, Australasia, Australia, Eastern Europe, Germany, Ghana, Heathrow, India, Indonesia, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, Turkey, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 27-12-2014

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MostPopular2014

With 2014 coming to an end and lots to look forward to next year, I wanted to revisit some of our most popular articles from the past year.

These have all had the most views, shares and comments.

What has been your aviation or spotting highlight of 2014? Leave a comment below!

 

 

Spotting News

Jakarta Airport FM7 Spotting Hotel
This new spotting hotel was a welcome addition to one of the most interesting airports for spotters to visit.

Guide to aviation and spotting in India
Spotting is notoriously difficult and misunderstood in India, so I put together this guide on what to expect and where to spot in this huge country.

Sydney to close observation deck
Sad new for spotters this year when Sydney’s International Terminal observation deck closed. But all was not lost.

Heathrow opens new viewing area
Few saw this coming – Heathrow opening an official viewing area again! But there was a catch…

ex-Ghana DC-10 turned into a restaurant
A former Ghana Airways Douglas DC-10 has been converted into a restaurant next to the main international airport.

BLOC Hotel Gatwick – Spotting Hotel Review
London’s second busiest airport got a new spotting hotel. I visited this summer and reported here on the excellent views and opportunities.

9 top spotting airports to reach by budget airline
This little guide offers some inspiration on the major international airports that are great to spot at, and also easily reached by budget airlines, helping keep the cost down.

 

BrazilThemeWeek

Airline and Aircraft News

SunExpress expand with up to 50 Boeing 737 order
A large order for aircraft from the joint German/Turkish leisure airline SunExpress.

Farnborough Air Show Orders Summary
This year’s Farnborough Air Show brought an unprecedented number of aircraft orders from around the world. We put a summary together here.

Brazil World Cup Special Liveries
This year’s Football World Cup in Brazil brought a number of special airline liveries. See them here!

McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Farewell
The final passenger MD-11 flights took place in 2014. In this farewell piece we look at the history or the aircraft and where you can still see them flying today.

 

Norwegian planning South America and Caribbean routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Caribbean, South America, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 23-12-2014

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Norwegian 737-800

Norwegian’s relentless push into new bases and new markets could take an even bigger step next year as it plans a possible new base which would give low-cost access to South America and the Caribbean.

The airline is looking at opening a new base at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, which puts its Boeing 737s – and especially the future 737MAX fleet – in easy reach of destinations such as Brazil and the various holiday islands of the Caribbean.

Norwegian is currently suffering set backs in its plans to establish an Irish subsidiary which would offer low-cost flights to America from the island with its Boeing 787 Dreamliners. However, given that it already operates a number of Spanish bases and would bring about significant employment and income to the country with this new venture, it seems more likely to succeed should it go ahead.

This could open up a lot of opportunities for cheap, one-stop flights to destinations which are usually quite expensive to get to, and offers an interesting alternative to the full service airlines flying the routes.

Singapore Seletar airport to be upgraded

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Asia, Singapore | Posted on 22-12-2014

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Seletar Airport

Singapore’s historic Seletar Airport will be upgraded in 2015 to allow it to relieve some of the pressure on the busy Changi Airport.

Built in 1928, Seletar once handled scheduled services, and has remained a base for general aviation and aircraft maintenance.

Now, the ageing passenger terminal will be demolished and replaced by a new structure capable of handling the smaller turboprop types currently operating into Changi, and acting as a regional airport. This will likely affect carriers such as Firefly and Berjaya Air, but it might also encourage more smaller regional airlines to start services to Singapore using the upgraded Seletar.

Seletar is around 13 miles from Changi and the city, and easily reached by road. It is managed by the same owners as Changi airport.

In praise of winter spotting

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 16-12-2014

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Spotting in the sun or on the beach is a bit obvious and easy, don’t you think? One of the greatest challenges for spotters is making the most of winter conditions at airports, such as low light and poor weather.

One of the main reasons people venture out in the winter is a lack of choice – the need to be out around airports and aircraft is greater than the drawbacks of the weather. So how do you make the most of winter conditions when you’re spotting aircraft?

1. Spotting in the winter is an opportunity to photograph and video some spectacular flying. Think crosswinds, go-arounds, aircraft positioned at unusual angles in relation to the runway. Use the opportunity of windy conditions to find a good spot for pointing your camera at aircraft just before touchdown.

By Andreas Hoppe [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Andreas Hoppe [GFDL or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

2. Winter means snow! Use a snowy backdrop to add something unsual to your aircraft photographs. It doesn’t happen all that often, so it makes a change to frame airliners with a bit of the white stuff. It’s particularly nice when you have a crisp clear day with bright blue skies, low sun, and lots of fresh snow.

A picture I took from the Holiday Inn Ariel at Heathrow in winter

A picture I took from the Holiday Inn Ariel at Heathrow in winter

3. Spotting hotels come into their own. You don’t have to be outdoors braving the weather. Pick one of the many spotting hotels, position yourself by the window with fresh coffee and room service on order, and watch the action in warmth and safety.

Duxford

4. Make the most of museums! Winter down time is a great chance to catch up with some aviation museums. Most countries have a few great collections, big and small, and lots of historical material to absorb yourself in. Admittedly lots of museums also have aircraft outdoors, but many also have indoor collections to enjoy.

By Advanstra (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Advanstra (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

5. If all else fails, remember that winter in one hemisphere is summer in another. Take advantage of low airfares to make an off-season trip to somewhere warm for a few days spotting in the sun as a nice break from the cold and darkness at home.

Do you venture out in the dark months? What are your winter spotting tips? Leave a comment below.

Fly in a Spitfire!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 11-12-2014

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VS_Spitfire_T9_G-BMSB_MJ627_9G-P_(6623115903)

This is not the usual topic I cover on here, but I love featuring chances to fly on rare planes and this is certainly one of them!

A company in the UK called Into the Blue, which specialises in flying experiences, is now offering the chance to fly in a two-seat Spitfire aircraft on a 30 minute flight.

Following a change in the CAA rules, you can now fly in this aircraft – which actually saw combat in World War 2, including downing enemy aircraft. It was later converted into a two-seat aircraft, allowing these experience flights to take place. Two-seater Spitfires are incredibly rare. Supermarine did come up with the design for a two-seater version of the Spitfire, but none were ever ordered and only one was ever built. However, following several ‘unofficial’ conversions, Supermarine converted a handful of Mark IX Spitfires into two-seaters, called TR9s after the Second World War.

The aircraft is operated by Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, operating from Biggin Hill airfield to the south of London – the heart of ‘Battle of Britain Country’. You’ll be given a full pre-flight briefing, tour of the heritage hangar, Q&A session with the team, in-flight video recording, debrief, and time to hang around at the venue.

If you’re interested in finding out more, check out Into the Blue’s website here www.intotheblue.co.uk

I’m going to start saving up for this!

Iberia to launch 13 new routes in 2015

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 11-12-2014

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Iberia A321

Iberia and its partner Iberia Express will launch 13 new routes in the summer 2015 season.

The airlines will operate non-stop flights from Madrid to Florence, Naples, Palermo, Catania and Verona in Italy, Manchester and Edinburgh in the UK, Hamburg in Germany, Funchal in Madeira, Portugal, and Budapest in Hungary.

They will also launch non-stop flights from Asturias to Tenerife in the Canary Islands, from Madrid to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and from Madrid to London Gatwick.

In addition the airlines will add 65 weekly flights to 24 existing Spanish, European and long-haul routes

Luis Gallego, Iberia’s Chairman and CEO, commented that “The introduction of additional routes and frequencies in such a competitive short- and medium-haul market is an indication of the effectiveness of our cost-cutting measures, and also of the quality of the new product and services that we offer our customers.”

The new routes and additional frequencies follow the eight destinations launched by Iberia in 2014 (Montevideo, Santo Domingo, Amsterdam, Athens, Hanover, Istanbul, Stockholm and Stuttgart), the capacity increase to Panama City and Santiago in Chile, as well as the summer destinations operated by the airline (St. Petersburg, Ibiza, Dubrovnik and Zagreb)

Ryanair adding Azores base

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Portugal, Western Europe | Posted on 09-12-2014

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Ryanair Marrakech

Ryanair is stretching out into the Atlantic with the announcement of a new base at Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

The base will open on 1 April 2015 (no fool!), with one Boeing  737-800 based initially.

The first routes will be to Lisbon and Porto in mainland Portgual, along with a 1x weekly flight to London Stansted.

It remains to be seen whether this is some stepping stone across the Atlantic or into Africa.