SAS to retire last MD-82 in October

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

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SAS MD82SAS Scandinavian Airlines has announced that it will retire its last McDonnell Douglas MD-82 aircraft in October.

It will reduce its remaining fleet of nine aircraft between now and 26 October, when the final flight will take place between Stockholm Arlanda and Copenhagen Kastrup.

Prior to this final flight, a special tour of the three Scandinavian capitals will depart from Copenhagen, and include flying over the Arctic Circle in Norway and a fly by of Bodø Airport. A farewell ceremony will also be held at Copenhagen.

First 787-9 begins assembly

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 04-06-2013

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First 787-9 in Factory at Final Body JoinBoeing has begun assembling the first 787-9 aircraft at its Everett facility, with the joining of the main parts of the fuselage.

Boeing’s global partners delivered the first 787-9 sections to final assembly on or ahead of schedule, and strong progress continues beyond, with major assembly under way on the other flight-test airplanes. “The dedication, quality and skill of our partners are helping drive our disciplined performance,” said Jenks.

Boeing will build the first three 787-9s on its Temporary Surge Line in Everett to allow for smoother integration of the 787-9 into the production system while continuing to ramp up production across the 787 program. The 787-9 will complement and extend the 787 family, offering airlines the ability to grow routes opened with the 787-8. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters), the 787-9 will carry 40 more passengers an additional 300 nautical miles (555 kilometers) while using 20 percent less fuel than similarly sized aircraft.

First flight of the 787-9 is scheduled for the second half of 2013, with first delivery to launch customer Air New Zealand set for early 2014. 20 customers around the world have ordered 355 787-9s, accounting for 40 percent of all 787 orders.

Malta Airport’s new viewing area

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Malta, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 04-06-2013

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Malta AirportIt’s not often that you hear about new spotting facilities being provided by airports, however Malta Airport recently bucked the trend by opening a new outdoor viewing area.

The terrace is on Level 3 of the airport terminal and gives views across the main apron for passenger aircraft, and the runway beyond.

You can visit the viewing area during the airport’s daytime opening hours. It will be closed during adverse weather.

Airbus A350XWB’s engines power up for the first time

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in France, Miscellaneous Spotting, Western Europe | Posted on 02-06-2013

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Airbus has just released this picture of the A350XWB being ‘powered up’ for the first time at Toulouse.

The Rolls-Royce Trent engines can be seen emitting a cloud of exhaust (perfectly normal) as they are run for the first time. This is part of the preparations for the first flight of the type, expected to take place some time in June!

TUI orders 60 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 02-06-2013

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Thomson 737TUI Travel, which operates leisure airlines in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Scandinavia, and France, has announced a commitment to purchase 60 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft.

This order will allow the company to expand and upgrade the fleets of its various airlines, and will primarily be used for flights to Europe and Africa.

“Boeing and TUI Travel airlines have a relationship which goes back almost 50 years” said Todd Nelp, vice president of European Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “TUI Travel’s airlines currently operate more than 135 Boeing airplanes and the commitment for 60 737 MAXs marks the next chapter in their continued fleet expansion, ensuring unrivalled efficiencies and superior passenger comfort. All of us at Boeing could not be more proud to see our relationship extended for years to come.”

The UK’s first Dreamliner arrives

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 31-05-2013

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787 Thomson DeliveryThomson Airways has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner today at its Manchester base.

This makes them the first airline in the UK to operate the type, with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to follow.

I have to say the airline’s new livery looks really nice on the 787 and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action at Manchester, Gatwick and other UK airports (you can see a list on our Boeing 787 Routes page).

The first aircraft is G-TUIA, with G-TUIB to follow soon.

FedEx announces end of 727 operations

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, North America, South America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 31-05-2013

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Fedex 727-233FedEx Express has announced the final flying dates of its Boeing 727 freighter fleet, ending a long association with the type.

The final two domestic routes will be from both Lafayette Regional Airport and South Bend Regional to Memphis on 21st June.

Following that, two examples will continue flying in Latin America until 30th June. So by July, there will be no FedEx 727s flying commercial services.

I’m really sad to hear this as I’d planned to go to Memphis to catch as many of the flying examples as possible before they retire (I’m a number cruncher and a big fan of classic aircraft, so it would have been a dream trip).

I expect a number of aircraft will be sent to the desert for storage, and maybe some more will be donated to colleges, universities and airport training departments like many other examples.

Etihad Cargo round-the-world with 747-8

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airline News, Airport News, Asia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Middle East, Netherlands, North America, South America, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 30-05-2013

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Etihad Cargo 747-8Etihad Cargo is to commence a round-the-world route taking in new destinations, and using a Boeing 747-8 freighter.

The aircraft will be leased from Atlas Air under an Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (ACMI) agreement, and it will be painted in the colours of Etihad Cargo.

The round-the-world route will originate in Abu Dhabi and see stops in Hong Kong, Chicago, Miami, Viracopos (Brazil), Quito, and Amsterdam, before returning to its point of origin.

Kevin Knight, Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Etihad Airways, said, “Etihad Cargo is reinforcing its position as a global operator with the entry into service of this round-the-world routing, touching the Middle East, Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe.

The Boeing 747-8 Freighter is the largest in Etihad Cargo’s current freighter fleet.  The airline also operates three Boeing B777F, one Boeing 747-400ERF, one Boeing 747-400F and two Airbus A330-200F.

Singapore Airlines’ large A350 and 787 order

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Miscellaneous Spotting, Singapore | Posted on 30-05-2013

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Singapore A350Singapore Airlines has committed to the Airbus A350 by ordering 30 of the -900 variant.

The airline has also placed an order for 30 of the stretched Boeing 787 variant, which has not yet officially been launched. This would make Singapore Airlines the launch customer for the type.

It was commented that some of the A350-900 orders may be switched to the -1000 model.

Dubai sees 9 months of double-digit growth

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Dubai, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 28-05-2013

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Dubai Airport © Dubai AirportsDubai International Airport has seen nine consecutive months of double-digit passenger growth.

The world’s second busiest airport for international passenger traffic, Dubai International recorded 5,418,946 passengers in April, an increase of 18.7 per cent compared to 4,566,673 during the corresponding month in 2012. April was the fifth consecutive month with more than five million passengers passing through Dubai International. The year to date traffic increased by 16.3 per cent to 21,905,363 compared to 18,828,279 recorded in the first four months of 2012.

Dubai is still definitely a top place for spotters, as aircraft movements increased by 6.9 per cent to 30,469 compared to 28,503 recorded in April 2012. Year to date aircraft movements totalled 121,599, an increase of 6.2 per cent compared to 114,517 during the same period in 2012.