Berlin Brandenburg cargo facility opens

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Germany, Western Europe | Posted on 12-08-2013

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BER cargoThe much-delayed Berlin Brandenburg Airport made a step towards its full opening this month as its new cargo facility handled its first flights.

Farnair Switzerland linked the airport using one of its ATR72 freighters, marking a milestone in the project.

The ATR 72 took off early in the morning from Cologne/Bonn Airport and landed at Schönefeld Airport at 04:58.

“The expected annual 100.000 tons of cargo at the capital’s BER airport can now be handled with this modern infrastructure at the Cargo Ceand are looking forward to receiving Farnair Switzerland.

Tampa Airport webcams – for some armchair spotting

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in North America, USA | Posted on 10-08-2013

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Tampa Airport WebcamsTampa Airport’s website hosts no less than four different webcams for viewing what’s going on, from the comfort of your armchair or computer desk.

Each camera points at one of the runway thresholds, so no matter what the weather is you’re always able to see aircraft landing and departing. One of the cameras also shows some of the gates.

The link to the webcams is http://www.tampaairport.com/webcams/

Thomas Cook boost Stansted

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, UK | Posted on 09-08-2013

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Thomas Cook A321Thomas Cook Airlines are to boost their services at London Stansted from next Summer by basing two Airbus A321 aircraft at the airport.

The additional and larger aircraft means that a range of new destinations are now within reach of holidaymakers travelling from Stansted, including new Thomas Cook destinations of Corfu, Fuerteventura, Heraklion, Izmir, Kefalonia, Kos, Rhodes and – brand new to Stansted – Skiathos – as well as increased frequency to popular resorts.

Stansted Airport’s Managing Director, Andrew Harrison, said, “Today’s announcement by Thomas Cook is excellent news for Stansted and our passengers and another significant step on the road to providing more choice to more destinations from the airport than ever before.

“Under new ownership, we have very ambitious plans for Stansted, including an £80 million re-vamp of the award-winning terminal to transform the passenger experience and services, and to compete for and attract new routes, airlines and passengers in the London market.

JetBlue A321 destinations

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Caribbean, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 07-08-2013

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JetBlue will receive its first Airbus A321 aircraft in December, and the airline has announced the first destinations the type will serve.

From December 19th, JetBlue’s A321s will fly:

– New York JFK to San Juan 2x daily
– New York JFK to Fort Lauderdale 1x daily
– New York JFK to Bridgetown 1x daily

 

Hub airports of the USA

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 04-08-2013

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Airlines USA - Peter Van Dyke PHX SpottersHere’s a handy reference to the main airports of the USA, and the airlines that have a hub of operations there.

Anchorage Ted Stevens International, AK
Alaska Airlines
FedEx Express

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International, GA
Delta Air Lines
Southwest Airlines

Baltimore/Washington International, MD
Southwest Airlines

Boston Logan, MA
JetBlue

Bradley International, CT
UPS Airlines

Charlotte/Douglas International, NC
US Airways

Chicago O’Hare, IL
American Airlines
American Eagle
United Airlines

Chicago Midway, IL
Southwest Airlines

Chicago Rockford, IL
UPS Airlines

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, KY
Delta Air Lines

Cleveland Hopkins International, OH
United Airlines

Columbia Metropolitan, SC
UPS Airlines

Dallas/Fort Worth International, TX
American Airlines
American Eagle
UPS Airlines

Dallas Love Field, TX
Southwest Airlines

Denver International, CO
Frontier Airlines
Southwest Airlines
United Airlines

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, MI
Delta Air Lines

Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International, FL
JetBlue

Fort Worth Alliance, TX
FedEx Express

Houston George Bush Intercontinental, TX
United Airlines

Houston William P Hobby, TX
Southwest Airlines

Indianapolis International, IN
FedEx Express

Lambert/St Louis International, MO
Southwest Airlines

Las Vegas McCarran, NV
Southwest Airlines

Long Beach, CA
JetBlue

YSSYguy at en.wikipediaLos Angeles International, CA
Alaska Airlines
American Airlines
Southwest Airlines
United Airlines
Virgin America

Los Angeles/Ontario, CA
UPS Airlines

Louisville International, KY
UPS Airlines

Memphis International, TN
FedEx Express

Miami, FL
American Airlines
American Eagle
FedEx Express
UPS Airlines

Minneapolis/St Paul International, MN
Delta Air Lines
Sun Country Airlines

Nashville International, TN
Southwest Airlines

New York JFK, NY
American Airlines
American Eagle
Delta Air Lines
JetBlue

New York La Guardia, NY
American Eagle
Delta Air Lines

New York Newark Liberty, NJ
FedEx Express
United Airlines

Oakland International, CA
FedEx Express
Southwest Airlines

Orlando International, FL
JetBlue
Southwest Airlines

Philadelphia International, PA
UPS Airlines
US Airways

Phoenix Sky Harbor, AZ
Southwest Airlines
US Airways

Portland International, OR
Alaska Airlines

Salt Lake City International, UT
Delta Air Lines

Southwest Airlines 737-300

San Diego International, CA
Southwest Airlines

San Francisco International, CA
United Airlines
Virgin America

Seattle/Tacoma International, WA
Alaska Airlines

Washington Dulles International, VA
United Airlines

Washington Ronald Reagan National, VA
US Airways

 

Airlines of the USAThe history and operations of all of these airlines, and many more from the golden days of aviation in America, are charted in my book, Airlines of the USA

Available now from Destinworld and Amazon, it is a full colour look at how airlines such as Pan Am, Eastern, Southwest, United, and many more became household names and changed the face of aviation. Includes fleet details and hubs.

Punta Gorda gets eight new Allegiant routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, North America, USA | Posted on 02-08-2013

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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Allegiant Air is adding eight new routes from Punta Gorda airport in Florida from October.

“Adding these additional cities opens up an opportunity to visit Southwest Florida. It also enables our community additional options to fly to their hometowns,” stated James Herston, Charlotte County Airport Authority Chair. He continued, “the additional based aircraft and crews create a significant economic impact in our community.”

The routes are:

  • Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton, PA  from October 31
  • Asheville, NC from November 2
  • Bangor, ME from October 30
  • Cedar Rapids, IA from December 18
  • Des Moines, IA from December 19
  • Moline/Quad Cities, IL from November 1
  • Springfield/Branson, MO from October 31
  • Youngstown, OH from October 30

The airline will base an additional two McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft at Punta Gorda to operate these routes.

Jat Airways becomes Air Serbia

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airline News, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Serbia | Posted on 01-08-2013

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Jat Airways 737-300Struggling Jat Airways is to be revamped, with a new name and fleet.

The airline is to become Air Serbia, and will operate a fleet of Airbus A319 aircraft leased from Etihad Airways.

Etihad has taken a 49 per cent stake in the European carrier, which dates back to 1927.

The first two A319s will join the fleet immediately in order to operate a busy summer schedule. Then, alongside Jat’s existing destination network, Air Serbia will launch a further fourteen new routes this winter, Siniša Mali, the finance advisor to Serbia’s Deputy Minister says. EX-YU Aviation News has revealed eleven destinations the airline will launch this winter. They are Abu Dhabi, Banja Luka, Beirut, Budapest, Bucharest, Cairo, Ljubljana, Prague, Sofia, Varna and Warsaw.

To allow this to take place, the airline’s ageing Boeing 737 aircraft will be retired and a further six A319s leased.

Record breaking airports

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Heathrow, Lesotho, Middle East, North America, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tibet, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 01-08-2013

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Dubai Airport © Dubai AirportsAir travel has gone from strength to strength since the Wright brothers invented the first pilot controlled aircraft in 1903. After a steep increase in aircraft production during the World Wars, a move was made towards commercial air travel by the 1950s when the large body planes took to the sky. By 1976, Concorde’s luxury supersonic flight reduced crossing the Atlantic to just three hours.

Over the last three decades, the industry has been striving to create bigger, better, faster, sleeker, safer, greener and more efficient ways to travel. The industry took a leap forward in 2007 with the introduction of the A380, the world’s largest commercial aircraft that has the ability to carry more passengers than any other.

The progress of design and technology has also extended to airports around the world. If you fly with Emirates to Dubai you’ll arrive at the Emirates hub in Terminal 3, one of the largest buildings in the world in terms of floor space. The first class facilities include an on-site hotel, so you can relax between connections, as well as plenty of restaurants and shops to keep you entertained. Airport terminals like this now feel like small, self-contained towns, in fact some are bigger than small towns!

 

Unique airports around the world

Read our mini-guide to extreme airports around the world.

 

Busiest airport
All big city airports feel busy, but London Heathrow is officially the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passengers travelling through its terminals. The airport reports that during 2012, an incredible 69.98 million passengers (65.3 million of which were international passengers) arrived and departed. The airport’s busiest day was 31 July 2011, when 233,561 passengers passed through the airport.

Atlanta at night (c) Omoo at en.wikipediaGuinness Book of World Records lists Harsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as the busiest airport in terms of the number of aircraft taking off and landing. In 2011, 924,000 planes used the airport, and with a staggering 92 million passengers travelling through, it is the busiest airport in the world for both domestic and international travellers combined.

 

Largest airport
King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia is the largest airport in the world. It takes up 780 square kilometres, roughly the same size as New York or larger than the neighbouring country of Bahrain!

The impressive terminal has six stories, including an area that is reserved entirely for the Royal Family.

 

Highest airport
Sitting at 4,334m above sea level, and hugged by the surrounding mountains, Bangda Airport in Tibet is a scenic (if nail biting) destination to land in. Thankfully the runway is longer to account for the longer stopping distance due to the atmospheric resistance caused by the altitude. However, construction is underway to build an even higher airport. Naggu, also in Tibet, is due to open in 2014 and will be at an altitude of 4,436m. With average temperatures remaining below zero throughout the year, this is a difficult part of the world to build and operate an airport.

 

Saba AirportShortest runway
The shortest runway in the world can be found on Saba, a tiny island in the Caribbean that is administered by the Netherlands. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is flanked on one side by high hills and the landing strip is just 396m long, with cliffs dropping off into the sea at each end. Only small planes and helicopters can land and take off from the airport, as most commercial liners are far too large for such a short space.

 

Scariest runway
In the mountainous monarchy of Lesotho lies the scariest runway in the world. The take-off strip literally runs off a cliff due to the lack of flat space in the region to fit a full length runway. Often planes are forced to plunge off the 610m high cliff and take flight during the drop in order to get airborne.

 

Best airport
Singapore’s Changi Airport has been announced as the World’s Best Airport 2013 at the World Airport Awards. The awards are voted for by customers and this year the survey had 12.1 million responses. It has been in the top three of the awards for the last 14 years and has won the award four times. It also won the Best Airport in Asia and Best Airport Leisure Amenities, proving Changi is a great place for a layover.

Barra Airport

Unusual airport
Barra Airport in Scotland may look like any other small island airport, but pilots have to check the tide chart as well as the weather and air traffic before setting off for the destination. This is because one of the three runways used for commercial aircraft is underwater a high tide!

Iberia increasing Quito flights

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Ecuador, Miscellaneous Spotting, South America | Posted on 31-07-2013

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Iberia A340-600Iberia will add three weekly Madrid-Quito return flights from 26 October.

Flights will operate with Airbus A340-600 aircraft into the city’s new Tababela Airport.

Iberia will continue to operate on the Madrid-Quito-Guayaquil-Madrid route.

Manchester Airport spotting hotel – Radisson Blu

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Spotting Hotels, Spotting Trip Reports, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 30-07-2013

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Radisson Blu SpottingI recently had the opportunity to check out the Radisson Blu hotel at Manchester Airport in the UK, spending a night in an airport view room.

The hotel is known as probably the best at Manchester Airport for spotting, since it is located between terminals 1 and 2. It is linked via walkway to both, and also to the airport train station.

I was surprised to get a good rate for a room when I booked. It was around £65 for a Saturday night in July.

Unfortunately I was only able to get a room on the fifth floor, but with an airport view all the same. At this level, Terminal 2 partly blocks the view. However, I was still able to see some of  the parking stands at Terminal 1, and all movements were visible on the runway. Combined with SBS or Flightradar24, you won’t miss anything from here.

Radisson Blu Manchester

To try and catch what was parked opposite Terminal 2, I checked out the stairwells at both ends of the building. This let me see some aircraft on the remote stands and cargo ramp, but not those parked at the terminal.

The best rooms to try are even-numbered ones, on as high a floor as possible. The check-in staff are helpful and able to give you what you’re looking for if it’s available.

Although the hotel was going through renovation when I stayed, I still enjoyed eating at the restaurant, and the room was adequate and comfortable.

The pictures in this report are from my stay.