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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

SunExpress Leipzig Base

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, Egypt, Germany, Spain, Spotting News, Turkey, Western Europe | Posted on 28-05-2013


SunExpress B737-800One for the German spotters: SunExpress will base a Boeing 737-800 at Leipzig Halle Airport this summer.

The Turkish airline will operate the aircraft on charter routes to Egypt, the Canary Islands, and Turkey.


Thai Lion Air to base at Don Mueang Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Indonesia, Spotting News, Thailand | Posted on 27-05-2013


Lion Air 737The new Thai subsidiary of Indonesia’s Lion Air is likely to base six Boeing 737-800s at Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport later in 2013.

The airline will be named Thai Lion Air and will go head-to-head with Thai Smile, Nok Air, and Thai AirAsia by operating low-cost domestic and regional routes from the capital.

The choice of Bangkok’s older airport continues the revival of its fortunes. Whilst it was once empty following the move to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang is now enjoying a renaissance as a low-cost airport.

Thomson 787 entry into service details

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 24-05-2013


With Thomson set to take delivery of their first Boeing 787 Dreamliner very soon (and become the first UK customer for the type), I thought I’d share some details on when they will be arriving, and where you can see them flying.

G-TUIA will be delivered to Manchester on 31st May at 1100
G-TUIB will be delivered to Manchester on 1st June at 0650
G-TUIC will be delivered to Manchester on 14th June at 0650

A staff proving flight will take place from Manchester to London Gatwick on 13th June

Line training will be undertaken at a variety of regional airports, including Cardiff, Doncaster Sheffield, Newquay, Prestwick, Shannon, and also Hanover in Germany.

The first revenue flight will take place on 21st June, from Gatwick to Mahon (Menorca) and back.

The first long haul services will begin from Gatwick and Manchester on 8th July (see our Boeing 787 Routes page)

All subject to change, naturally


This information is credit to John Dyer, via Mark Howard

Jet Airways may switch to Amsterdam from Brussels

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airline News, Asia, Belgium, India, Middle East, Netherlands, North America, Western Europe | Posted on 24-05-2013


Jet Airways 777Etihad Airways’ CEO James Hogan has revealed that Jet Airways may switch its European ‘scissor hub’ from Brussels Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol.

Currently, Jet Airways operates a number of routes from India to Brussels, and then onwards to North America. In a move that aims to provide more connectivity through codeshares, switching the hub to Amsterdam will allow the airline to work more closely with Skyteam airline partners.

Etihad currently owns 24% of Jet Airways, and has itself recently started a new route to Amsterdam from Abu Dhabi. James Hogan has not mentioned any timescale, but the announcement is likely to be a big blow for Brussels which has very few long haul links.