Spotting at Stansted – Belmer Road

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Spotting Trip Reports, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 18-06-2013


I recently visited London Stansted Airport and chose to use the Belmer Road spotting location as a base for watching the action.

Whilst there are no official spotting locations at Stansted Airport, this spot is kept in a good condition with cut grass and car parking permitted alongside the road. ‘Plane Watch’ signs attached to the fence also hints that the airport know this is a well-used spot.

After parking up alongside the road (there are usually other cars parked there, particularly at weekends), it is a short walk through one of the gaps in the trees to reach the open area which runs alongside a significant part of the fence on the northern side of the airport.

The airport’s runway runs in front of you, and it is possible to take pictures through the fence or as aircraft climb above it.

Most aircraft movements can be seen from this location, however you’ll usually have to wait for aircraft to move away from the passenger terminal before they can be identified.

Belmer Road Spotting

Directly opposite the spotting location is the cargo ramp, which is often home to a number of Boeing 747-8s. To the right is the VIP terminal and parking area. The aircraft can not be seen from Belmer Road, but it is a short drive or a 20 minute walk to reach the area.

To reach Belmer Road by car, follow directions for the Long Stay Car Park, but continue past their entrance along the narrow country road (Bury Lodge Lane). It eventually becomes Belmer Road, which has the postcode CM24.

The pictures on this post are from my recent visit and show what is possible from this location.

Air Berlin A319

Who has ordered the Airbus A350?

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, France, Miscellaneous Spotting, Western Europe | Posted on 15-06-2013


A350 OrdersFollowing yesterday’s first flight of the Airbus A350, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of who has ordered the aircraft and where you’ll see it flying.

Like our Boeing 787 Routes page, I’ll be adding a similar one for the A350 once airlines start taking deliveries (this is going to be in 2014).

I think this list will be added to now that the aircraft has flown, and with the Paris Air Show happening next week. I’ll try to report any new orders as they happen.

Asiana Airlines
AWAS Leasing
Hawaiian Airlines
ILFC Leasing
Libyan Airlines
US Airways (to become American Airlines)

Aer Lingus
Afriqiyah Airways
Air Asia X
Air China
Air Lease Corporation
Asiana Airlines
Cathay Pacific
China Airlines
CIT Leasing
Ethiopian Airlines
Hong Kong Airlines
ILFC Leasing
Qatar Airways
Singapore Airlines
Synergy Aerospace
TAM Linhas Aereas
TAP Portugal
Thai Airways
United Airlines
US Airways (to become American Airlines)
Vietnam Airlines

Air Lease Corporation
Asiana Airlines
Cathay Pacific
Etihad Airways
Qatar Airways


Airbus A350 flies

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in France, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 14-06-2013


The Airbus A350XWB made a successful first flight this morning from Toulouse, with millions watching live on TV around the world.

Initial responses were positive, particularly regarding the aircraft’s sleek appearance and extremely quiet nature. Airbus’ executives were quick to (rightly) point this out as a major advantage of the type, which has the potential to improve the noise impact at airports it will operate into. John Leahy commented “Did you hear how quiet it was? Did you hear what you didn’t hear? We’re going to set new standards. Not just for comfort, not just for performance. But for environmental friendliness. People living around airports won’t even know we’re taking off.”

The aircraft flew with its wheels extended on a general test flight and returned to Toulouse. The weather was a perfect backdrop for the event, with sun shining.

Qatar Airways 787s coming to Scandinavia

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Denmark, Middle East, Norway, Qatar, Spotting News, Sweden, Western Europe | Posted on 13-06-2013


Qatar 787Qatar Airways has announced that it will introduce its Boeing 787s on services from Doha to Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm Arlanda.

The flights commence on 1st August to Stockholm, and 1st September to both Copenhagen and Oslo.

Flights will operate daily.

Keep an eye on our 787 Routes Page for destinations you can see the Dreamliner.

American Airlines Airbus A319 routes announced

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 13-06-2013


American Airlines A319American Airlines is due to receive its first Airbus A319 aircraft soon, and will begin flying the type from its Dallas Ft. Worth base in September.

The airline is expecting to use the type initially on routes to Charlotte, Cleveland Hopkins, Memphis, and Wichita Mid-Continent from 16 September.

From 1 October Dayton and Lubbock will be added, with El Paso, Huntsville, McAllan, San Salvador, and Toronto Pearson being added later in the year.

Emirates adds A380 to Los Angeles

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Dubai, Middle East, North America, USA | Posted on 12-06-2013


Some good news for the Los Angeles spotters – Emirates is to upgrade its daily flight from Dubai to an Airbus A380 aircraft.

Currently operated by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, the Dubai – Los Angeles route will see the larger super-jumbo start flying on 2nd December 2013.

Emirates recently announced Zurich would also receive A380 service from later this year.

First A350 flight this Friday

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in France, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 12-06-2013


Airbus has confirmed the first flight of its new A350XWB aircraft will take place this Friday, 14th June.

The aircraft has recently been undergoing taxi trials and systems testing at Toulouse to prepare it for this momentous occasion.

Weather conditions permitting, the A350 XWB “MSN1” will take off from Toulouse-Blagnac airport at around 10:00 am local time on Friday.

Journey to the classic aircraft haven of North Korea

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, China, North Korea, Spotting Trip Reports | Posted on 11-06-2013


P-561 Tu154Mark Williams recently joined Juche Travel Services on one of their enthusiasts’ tours to North Korea to explore and fly on the country’s classic Russian aircraft. Here for you to enjoy is his account and pictures of the trip.


With the announcement by China that all the old classics are now banned on scheduled services to the country, it meant that the request to lay on an IL-62 for the Beijing to Pyongyang flight (which was granted last year) was denied, with services to Beijing now being purely in the hands of the 2 Tu-204’s and the AN148. Resultantly, it was Tu-204 P-633 that whisked a hugely excited group into the unknown.


The majority of the active (and not so active) Air Koryo fleet can be found on the single large ramp, and, by the end of the week, you will know exactly where every aircraft will be positioned. To step out onto the ramp on landing to be surrounded by the majority of what for me is by far the most interesting fleet on Earth was indescribable. A dream fulfilled, and it was going to take some time for it all to sink in. All 3 IL-76’s (P-912, P-913 and P-914) were present, as were IL-18 P-835, AN148 P-671, TU-134 P-814, TU-154’s P-552 and P-561, IL-62’s P-881 and P-885, AN24’s P-532, P-533 and P-537 along with the little present from Stalin in the shape of IL14 535.

Pyongyang Line-Up

I looked down at my pad on the coach from the airport to the hotel and could hardly believe a full column of P- registrations dominated the page. Priceless. So what of the remaining aircraft that weren’t on the ramp when we landed? Listen up those taking one of the future tours. When you taxi in from the runway to the terminal, on your right hand side you will see 2 stored aircraft. These are the other IL18 P-836 and TU154 P-551. Both are stored but fully intact. I am a reg reader, so have to read it off for myself in order to claim it and was concerned that these two may be difficult. The TU154 is at the front and easily readable, with the IL18 behind. However, the reg can be read off from the aircraft during taxi in, and also when you do the tour of the IL14 which is parked at the far end of the ramp. This left 5 other aircraft I wanted to see – P-553, a TU154, P-813, the other TU134, P-632, the other TU204 and the 2 government IL62’s, P618 and P-882.

P-671 An148

Firstly, forget the 2 government IL62’s – they are kept in a hangar behind some trees a distance from the ramp and you will get nowhere near. There is of course a chance that you are extremely lucky and see them active, but don’t expect to catch sight of either beast.

P-814 Tu134

Luck was on our side with regards TU134 P-813. Again on your right hand side as you taxi in, before you get to the stored IL18 and TU154, you will see a single taxi way that heads up between a row of trees. The hangar mentioned above is behind these trees, but through the gap in the trees, P-813 was handily parked right in the middle. I don’t know if this was just luck or it can normally be seen there, but if this is where it is normally parked (it may just have been in the hangar area for attention) you will only see it on taxi in and out of the airport – so stay alert and hopefully luck will also be on your side.


I enquired to an Air Koryo representative about the whereabouts of TU154 P-553, and he said that contrary to recent reports, the aircraft still exists (but in what state I do not know) and has been moved to a nearby aviation training centre and is no longer part of the Air Koryo fleet. He confirmed that they still had just 2 active TU154’s at their disposal (P-561 and P-552).

P-912 Il76

Along with P-633, TU204 P-632 operates the bulk of the Air Koryo scheduled services, so while it wasn’t on the deck when we landed, we saw it numerous times during the week.

P-633 Tu204

Lastly, the ex-Cubana IL62 (P-886P) has been dismantled for parts and no remains were evident during our visit.

P-835 Il18

All charter and optional pleasure flights were operated as promised by Air Koryo, so the group enjoyed flights on TU204, IL18, TU134, AN24, IL62, IL76 and TU154 aircraft. Not exactly your usual line up for a week of flying. All of the aircraft were in extremely good condition, and particularly in the case of the IL18, TU134, AN24 and TU154 flights, adequate opportunities were given to get shots of the aircraft from all angles, with Air Koryo even removing the stairs and positioning them at a location from where we were allowed to climb them again for some stunning elevated images. This was particularly rewarding for the IL18 flight, where stunning images of the 4 prop were captured with the awesome snow capped volcano MountPeaktuin the background. Memorable indeed.

P-537 An24

And that’s about all the advice I can give regarding the craft of Air Koryo. All I will say is that if you are tempted to do one of the trips, do so. I am absolutely sure you will not regret it. David of Juche Travel Services is a dream to do business with and I do not hesitate to recommend their services 100%. Do not believe all the hype – while their ideology is different from ours, it is absolutely nothing like I thought it would be – it is clean, safe, fascinating, extremely beautiful and the people are an absolute joy to spend the week with. While I consider myself extremely fortunate to have travelled with such an entertaining group (I really didn’t expect to be in tears of laughter for most of the week), I think it was best summed up on the last night by one of the participants, who said “I never expected to be leaving North Korea missing the people and the place as much as the aircraft”. If you are booked on one of the upcoming trips, you are in for a treat. If you are not, but would like to, do not hesitate. You will not regret it or ever forget it.

British Airways A380 and 787 delivery dates

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Frankfurt, Germany, Heathrow, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, Sweden, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 10-06-2013


British Airways A380

British Airways will receive its first two Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on 26th and 27th June.

The airline’s first Airbus A380 will be delivered on 4th July.

Both types are expected to be delivered direct to London Heathrow airport, so if you’re around on those days make sure you keep a camera handy.

It is expected that 787 training will take place at Manston Airport, with crew training flights likely operating to Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, and Stockholm Arlanda.

Crew familiarisation on the A380 will take place on flights to Frankfurt and possibly other European trunk routes. I’ll post any updates on here as soon as I find out more.


Budapest spotting terrace to reopen

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Eastern Europe, Hungary, Spotting News | Posted on 10-06-2013


Budapest Airport‘s spotting terrace is to be reopene following renovation work.

The terrace is atop Terminal 2A, and was closed a few years ago when work was being carried out to expand the building.

Now, work is being undertaken to install a glass frontage and netting to protect aircraft from foreign objects, ahead of it reopening in July. The terrace will be open 24 hours with an entrance fee of HUF 400 (EUR 1.35)

The terrace offers views over the airport’s two runways and aircraft using the terminal. Photographs are possible, however the new glass frontage may limit how your pictures turn out.