Ryanair orders 175 new Boeing 737-800s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Ireland, Miscellaneous Spotting, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 19-03-2013


Hot on the heels of yesterday’s massive Lion Air Airbus order, Ryanair has come up trumps with its own record order (for a European airline) for 175 Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Ryanair currently operates 305 Boeing 737-800s on routes from its bases across Europe, offering low fares.

The new aircraft will partially replace older examples in the fleet, but mainly allow the fleet and route network to grow.

Ryanair CEO, Michale O’Leary, said: “Ryanair is pleased to sign this agreement with Boeing to purchase 175 new 737-800 jets, which will expand our fleet to over 400 units, creating over 3,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers, while allowing us to grow our low-cost airline service by about 5 percent per annum over the next several years and take our traffic to 100 million passengers by March 2019.”

So spotters in Europe will have some more numbers to crunch as deliveries arrive until 2018. Ryanair continues to evaluate the benefits of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft which enters service in 2017.

Lion Air looks to Airbus in 234 aircraft order

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Indonesia | Posted on 18-03-2013


A320neo Lion Air © Airbus S.A.S 2013Lion Air of Indonesia has switched sole allegiance from Boeing by ordering 234 Airbus A320 and A320neo family aircraft.

To date, Lion Air has operated a large fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, in addition to the McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90 series aircraft it began operations with. However, today the low-cost carrier announced the firm order from the European manufacturer.

The order comprises:

60x Airbus A320 classic
109x Airbus A320neo
65 Airbus A321neo

The neo, or New Engine Option, is a rework of the best-selling Airbus A320 family which offers better operating economics and fuel efficiency.

Lion Air still has over 200 of Boeing’s re-engined 737-900MAX aircraft on order. The airline is set to become one of the largest low-cost operators in the world.



Mumbai Airports Through Time – New photographic book

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Book Reviews, India | Posted on 14-03-2013


Mumbai Airports Through TimeI have been producing a new book by two prolific Indian photographers, entitled Mumbai Airports Through Time. The photographers are Sean DSilva and Jimmy Wadia.

The book is a fantastic photographic journey from the 1970s to the present day at both Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, and the smaller Juhu Aerodrome.

Formerly Bombay, Mumbai is one of the main centres of travel in India, and its airports see a lot of interesting aircraft from around the world flying in on a daily basis.

The main airport also sees a range of military, government, corporate and domestic traffic.

The smaller, original Juhu Aerodrome is a base for helicopter and general aviation operators today, but in the past was a busy airport handling the city’s main airline traffic.

Spotting in India is not easy, but these two photographers have been documenting movements at the airports for decades and have a vast range of spectacular images to show for it. Reproduced in this book in large, glossy images, it’s a chance for you to also enjoy the off-limits world of Indian aviation.

The book features 175 images of historic airliners, domestic, international, cargo, military, government, and helicopter traffic. It also covers the airport infrastructure at both airports. It’s a fantastic addition to any aviation book collection, and is available to buy now from Destinworld Publishing or Amazon.

You can buy a copy from this link: http://www.destinworld.co.uk/shop/mumbai-airports-through-time/

The book is 168 pages long, and full of glossy pictures. It is a nice 21cm x 21cm in size, too!

Here’s a selection of pictures from the book, showing off the quality of the shots Sean and Jimmy have taken:

SWISS goes for 777-300s to replace A340s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Germany, Miscellaneous Spotting, Switzerland, Western Europe | Posted on 14-03-2013


Swiss International Boeing 777-300ER (c) Swiss International Air Lines LtdSwiss International Air Lines has announced it will take six Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a deal worth $1.9bn at list prices.

The airline’s parent, Lufthansa, made the order on behalf of Swiss, who will use the aircraft to replace its Airbus A340-300 fleet.

Harry Hohmeister, Chief Executive Officer of Swiss commented: “The Boeing 777-300ER is the ideal size and range to meet our Swiss market needs.  “We have made a landmark decision to further invest in an advanced aircraft fleet to retain our competitive edge over many of our competitors who are operating aircraft with more than 300 seats on similar routes.”

In addition to this order, Lufthansa has also ordered two additional Airbus A380s, and 100 Airbus A320 family aircraft (split between 30 original and 70 neo variants).

Final Japan Airlines MD-90 flight

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Japan | Posted on 12-03-2013


JAL-MD-90Japan Airlines will fly its last McDonnell Douglas MD-90 flight on 30 March.

The type has been operating with the airline, and the former JAS subsidiary, for 17 years mainly on domestic routes.

The final flight will be from Hiroshima to Tokyo Haneda.

Emirates Cargo transferring to Dubai World Central

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Dubai, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 12-03-2013


Emirates Sky CargoEmirates is to move its cargo division’s flights to the new Dubai World Central airport, freeing space at the Dubai International Airport.

Dubai World Central has been operating as a cargo airport for a couple of years, and will eventually supersede the original airport when it begins accepting passenger flights. Its first passenger terminal is due to open in September this year, and Emirates has hinted that it may move all of its operations to DWC from 2025.

With the move of its cargo division to the new airport, belly cargo carried by its passenger flights will need to be transported between the two airports by road. Great news for truck spotters!

Las Vegas Spotting Hotels

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in North America, Spotting Hotels, USA | Posted on 10-03-2013


Las Vegas Spotting HotelsLas Vegas is a great destination for the spotter – McCarran International Airport is one of the busiest in the USA, with a good mix of international and domestic traffic. Plus, the city is a great holiday destination, and many of the big hotels at the southern end of “The Strip” have rooms overlooking part of the airport.

If you’re planning where to stay on your forthcoming trip, here’s a roundup of the best plane spotting hotels at Las Vegas:


Tropicana Hotel
One of the southernmost hotels on The Strip, The Tropicana is situated alongside the airport close to the business ramps and the EG&G (Area 51) terminal. High rooms overlook most of the action, but you’ll be particularly well suited for movements on runways 19L/R. The mesh covering the hotel windows makes photography and viewing a little limited. Even numbered rooms in the Island Tower are good, according to the Plane Spotting Hotels site.

Address: 3801 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Website: www.troplv.com


Las Vegas McCarran

La Quinta Inn
Although not one of the big casino resort hotels on The Strip which are great for holidays, La Quinta is probably the best for the spotter. High up rooms facing the airport look out onto the runways 25L/R thresholds. These runways are mainly used for takeoffs, with 25L often a landing runway too. Regular binoculars and a 300mm zoom lens should suffice most spotters’ needs.

During the day, the popular spotting location on the southern perimeter is only a ten minute walk from La Quinta.

Address: 6560 Surrey St
Website: www.lq.com


The iconic pyramid hotel at the southern end of The Strip has rooms facing the airport on one side of the building. Request a high room (above the Sphinx outside!) facing the airport. You will have a view of runways 19L/R and some of the biz jet ramps, with distant views of movements at the other terminals and on the southern runways. The hotel is not very good for photography, but if you’re a number cruncher with a SBS or Flightradar on you won’t miss many movements.

Address: 3900 S Las Vegas Blvd
Website: www.luxor.com 


Hampton Inn & Suites
Located very close to the La Quinta Inn & Suites (above), the Hampton Inn is part of the Hilton chain. It offers good views from rooms in the x38 to x44 range on the top two floors over the runways 25L/R thresholds, and is a short walk from the airport perimeter.

Address: 6575 South Eastern Avenue
Website: hamptoninn3.hilton.com


Hooters Hotel & Casino
A smaller hotel just behind the Tropicana (see above) is another option. Rooms facing the airport are close enough to see all action on runways 19L/R, and most movements at the airport. Photographs are possible, but not ideal. It is a short walk to the perimeter fence near the biz jet ramps.

Address: 115 E Tropicana Ave
Website: www.hooterscasinohotel.com


The map at the top of the post shows the locations of these hotels around Las Vegas McCarran Airport. Click to enlarge or print it.

The hotel scene in Las Vegas is always changing. If  you have a tip of a good hotel or room to spot aircraft at Las Vegas, please leave a comment below.

Bombardier CSeries Progress

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Canada, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting News | Posted on 08-03-2013


CSeries 300Bombardier recently unveiled the almost-complete CSeries 300 aircraft that that will go on to perform test flying.

The manufacturer is aiming for a June 2013 first flight of the aircraft, which will also come in a CS100 variant.

“We are very pleased with the progress being made on theCSeries aircraft program and we are excited to open our facility and publicly show the world the advances and key milestones we have achieved as we get ready for first flight,” said Mike Arcamone, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

Bombardier also confirmed today that it has introduced an extra capacity seating option that will increase the CS300aircraft seating to up to 160 passengers, providing customers with additional payload and range flexibility.

As of December 31, 2012, Bombardier had booked orders and commitments for 382 CSeriesaircraft that include firm orders for 148 CSeries airliners.

Sycamore Aviation starts scrapping airliners at Durham Tees Valley

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Miscellaneous Spotting, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 06-03-2013


Sycamore Aviation (c) Chris Smith

Sycamore Aviation has turned Durham Tees Valley Airport, in north east England, into one of the newest in a growing number of airports in which scrapping and recycling of old airliners takes place.

The company was founded by a former airline pilot, and he has big plans for the company, with potentially hundreds of aircraft ready to be disposed of over the coming years.

sycamore aviation

The company has already scrapped three Boeing 737 aircraft which had been retired in Russia – one -300 and two -500 models. The process involves removing usable parts for resale, whilst the fuselage is stripped down. One of the 737-500s is to have its cockpit section sent to an aviation academy.

Sycamore occupies Hangar 1 at Durham Tees Valley Airport. Aircraft will often be seen outside the hangar, and the company will potentially take aircraft on long term storage. These are likely to occupy one of the disused runways at the airport.

British Airways A380 flights bookable

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Heathrow, Hong Kong, North America, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 05-03-2013


British Airways A380British Airways have made the first flights on their new Airbus A380 aircraft available to book.

The aircraft are due to enter service in October, and will operate to both Hong Kong and Los Angeles on selective flights from London Heathrow.

The tentative dates of entry to service, which can be booked now (and are subject to change) are:

LHR-Los Angeles-LHR
15 October, BA269, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
18 October, BA283, Monday, Friday
27 October, BA269, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday

LHR-Hong Kong-LHR
15/16 November, BA25, Monday-Sunday

Here’s a video promoting the new aircraft in the fleet: