Korean Air’s first 747-8i delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Frankfurt, Germany, South Korea, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 26-08-2015


747-8I KAL #1506-RC051

747-8I KAL HL7630

Korean Air has had its first Boeing 747-8i delivered – the first of ten it has on order of the passenger variant of the latest jumbo jet.

With this delivery, Korean Air becomes the first airline in the world to operate both the passenger and freighter versions of the 747-8. Korean Air currently operates seven 747-8 Freighters.

Korea’s flag carrier currently operates a fleet of 87 Boeing passenger airplanes that includes 737, 747 and 777s. The airline also operates an all-Boeing cargo fleet of 28 747-400, 747-8 and 777 Freighters.

Its new 747-8i’s will fly on the route from Seoul Incheon to Frankfurt from 2 September 2015, going daily from 1 October.

Other routes will be Singapore and San Francisco from November, followed at some stage by London Heathrow, which was announced initially before changing to Frankfurt.

The first aircraft is registered HL7630.

Iran Air Boeing 747SP Schedule

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, China, India, Iran, Malaysia, Middle East | Posted on 21-08-2015


"Iran Air Boeing 747SP Wedelstaedt" by Konstantin von Wedelstaedt - Website: http://www.airliners.net/photo/Iran-Air/Boeing-747SP-86/1569423/&sid=e6125fd7d37ff9970f760ad67faed7bd. Licensed under GNU Free Documentation License 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iran_Air_Boeing_747SP_Wedelstaedt.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Iran_Air_Boeing_747SP_Wedelstaedt.jpg

(c) Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

Despite planning to retire the type a year ago and operating enthusiast flights, Iran Air still continues to fly the world’s last passenger-carrying Boeing 747SP aircraft.

The stubby ‘Special Performance’ variant is one of the rarer passenger aircraft still flying. So I thought I’d look at the schedules it is operating, in case you want to grab a flight before it’s too late.

0705 1200 Tehran IKA Mumbai Int’l IR810 Tue
0735 1230 Tehran IKA Mumbai Int’l IR810 Fri
1205 1655 Kuala Lumpur Int’l Tehran IKA IR815 Wed
1330 1710 Mumbai Int’l Tehran IKA IR811 Tue
1330 1820 Kuala Lumpur Int’l Tehran IKA IR815 Mon, Sat
1400 1710 Mumbai Int’l Tehran IKA IR811 Fri
1925 0625+1 Tehran IKA Beijing Capital IR800 Wed
2155 0925+1 Tehran IKA Kuala Lumpur Int’l IR814 Tue
2240 0325+1 Beijing Capital Tehran IKA IR801 Thu
2325 1055+1 Tehran IKA Kuala Lumpur Int’l IR814 Fri, Sun

At present the 747SP still appears on some services beyond 25th October, when the winter timetable starts. So it may be flying for a while yet!


Oman Air 787 Routes Announced

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Frankfurt, Germany, Italy, Middle East, Oman, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 19-08-2015


Oman Air 787 Routes

Oman Air is due to take delivery of their first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner in September. The airline has announced the first routes that the type will operate when in service from October. They are:

Oman Air 787 Routes

  • Muscat – Salalah – 1x daily from 25 October
  • Muscat – Frankfurt – 1x daily from 25 October
  • Muscat – Milan Malpensa – 1x daily from 1 December

Salalah is a short domestic route which will be operated initially to aid in training crews. It is not likely to feature as a long-term 787 route for the airline.


The airline has four 787-8s on order, and six 787-9s which are due for delivery between 2016-2018.


As always, keep an eye on our Boeing 787 Routes Page for a full list of all of the Dreamliner routes operated by different carriers.

Bristol Airport Aviation Fair

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 19-08-2015


Bristol Airport Aviation Fair

Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, Bristol Airport Spotting are hosting another Aviation Fair in partnership with Bristol Airport on Sunday 20th September 2015 between 10.30am and 4.30pm in aid of the airport charity of the year which this year is Children’s Hospice South West.

The event will take place within the Bristol Room which is located in the airport administration building. There will be free car parking.

Entry to the event is £1.50, and you will find a large amount of exhibitors coming along. Visitors to the fair this year can expect to see Bristol Aero Collection, miniature Bristol Airport project, IPMS Avon model club, T7 Models, Fly2Help aviation charity, Aviation Postcard Man, Bristol Airport Police and South West Aviation Photographers to name but a few.

The Bristol Room has great views across the apron of aircraft departing, arriving and taxiing just a short distance from the windows, ample seating will be available to sit and watch the activity.

For more information and directions to the event please visit – http://www.bristolairportspotting.co.uk/bas-events/aviation-fair-2015/

Register your interest in attending the fair by joining the event on Facebook

ANA Star Wars planes coming to a galaxy near you

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Japan | Posted on 18-08-2015


ANA Star Wars Planes

ANA All Nippon Airways has released details of yet more Star Wars liveries for its aircraft, which will be appearing in a galaxy – or at least an airport – near you soon!

In an agreement with The Walt Disney Company, which owns the Star Wars franchise, the airline will now be painting three aircraft in total in special schemes to promote the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is due for release in December.

The aircraft chosen for the special Star Wars planes include a Boeing 767-300, a 777-300ER and a 787-9 Dreamliner.

ANA launched the Star Wars Project in April 2015 after signing a five year promotion license contract for the Star Wars brand with The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd. As part of the agreement, the ANA Star Wars planes’ will also display in-flight decorations, such as headrest covers, paper napkins and cups featuring Star Wars characters – more details will be announced at a later date. The partnership also means ANA will be the only airline in the world to offer all six of the currently released Star Wars films as part of its extensive in-flight entertainment options on international routes. This will be the first time that any of the Star Wars movies have been included as part of an in-flight entertainment system.




The three ANA Star Wars planes will fly international and domestic routes. On October 18, the R2-D2™ ANA Jet (787-9) is scheduled to go into service on international routes, initially as flight NH116 between Tokyo and Vancouver, and then fly between Japan and other cities in ANA’s robust international network including the US (Seattle and San Jose), Europe (Munich, Paris and Brussels), Australia (Sydney), China (Beijing), and Indonesia (Jakarta).

In November, the Star Wars™ ANA Jet will fly domestic Japanese routes, and then in March 2016 the BB-8™ ANA Jet (777-300ER) is scheduled to start serving international routes principally between Japan and North America.

You’ll be able to follow the schedules on the special website, www.ana-sw.com

Final US Airways flight scheduled

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, North America, USA | Posted on 17-08-2015


American US Airways merger

US Airways will perform a ceremonial final scheduled flight on 16th October 2015 to mark the end of the transition into American Airlines.

The two carriers have been merging for the past few years and now operate under one Air Operator’s Certificate, with many aircraft already having been painted into the colours of American.

From 17th October all flights will transition to the AA/AAL flight numbers (although many aircraft still need to be painted).

To mark the occasion a US Airways Airbus A321 will operate four sectors across the country as flight US1939, before the code is retired.

The flight US Airways flight number is significant as 1939 was the year the company can trace its ancestry to, when All American Aviation was founded.

The four flight sectors are:

  • 1005 Philadelphia – Charlotte 1204
  • 1435 Charlotte – Phoenix 1601
  • 1710 Phoenix – San Francisco 1912
  • 2155 San Francisco – Philadelphia 0618 (17th October) – the final landing.

It is anticipated that events will be planned at each location, presumably in the gate areas, and for passengers on board.

The flight is open for booking at present (US Airways website), but is likely to fill up soon.

It will be a shame to see another key American carrier disappear, but it’s great that they have planned a special event like this to commemorate.

I will be flying a former US Airways flight from Boston to New York a few days after this on what will presumably be an aircraft still wearing the original colours. Here’s hoping!


Airlines of the USAAirlines of the USA

Find out about the history of US Airways, American Airlines and many more carriers from the USA in my book, Airlines of the USA, available now.

Buy Now

New World’s Longest Non-Stop Flight Coming from Emirates

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Dubai, Middle East | Posted on 13-08-2015


By Alex Steffler from Houston, TX, US (Emirates  Uploaded by Altair78) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Alex Steffler from Houston, TX, US (Emirates Uploaded by Altair78) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Emirates Airline has announced plans for a new route that will become the world’s longest non-stop scheduled airline flight.

The route will see the airline link its Dubai International base with Panama City Tocumen International in Central America.

The airline plans to operate the route on a daily basis using Boeing 777-200LR aircraft.

“Panama City will be our first destination gateway in Central America, providing a convenient option for our passengers travelling from or through our global hub in Dubai and onward to destinations throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the northern part of South America,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group. “We’re also pleased to be the only commercial airline to offer a daily, First Class service to travellers on what will be the world’s longest non-stop flight.”

Service to Panama City to begin on 1st February 2016. Flight EK251 will depart Dubai at 08:05 and arrive in Panama City at 16:40 daily. The return flight EK252 will leave Panama City at 22:10, arriving in Dubai at 22:55 the next day. That is a 17 hours and 35 minutes flight (westbound), beating the present longest flight operated by Qantas between Sydney and Dallas Ft Worth, which takes 16 hours and 50 minutes.

All About AirAsia

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Australasia, Australia | Posted on 12-08-2015


By Jakkrit Prasertwit [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jakkrit Prasertwit [GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

AirAsia is a pioneering airline and has grown into one of the largest low cost airlines in Asia.

Its reach covers many countries and a fleet of almost 200 aircraft operates across a variety of different brands under the one banner. We thought we’d take a look at this inspirational airline to help you get to know all about AirAsia.


AirAsia was founded in 1993, but didn’t commence operations until November 1996. It initially operated leased Boeing 737-300 aircraft from its Kuala Lumpur International Airport base to domestic and regional destinations around the Far East, modelling itself on the growing importance of low cost “no frills” carriers which were emerging in the USA and Europe.

The first subsidiaries of the airline emerged in 2004 when Thai AirAsia began operating from Bangkok to various international destinations.

A long haul subsidiary, AirAsia X was also opened in 2007, offering low cost long-haul travel using Airbus A340-300 aircraft, which flew to Australia, France and the United Kingdom.

By M Radzi Desa [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By M Radzi Desa [GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

AirAsia Today

Today AirAsia has transitioned to an all-Airbus A320 fleet after retiring its Boeing 737-300s. At present, there are 188 A320s in the fleet, split across the different brands.

AirAsia placed an order in 2011 for the new Airbus A320neo. The first of 300 on order will arrive in 2016, boosting the fleet and replacing older A320s. It also operates Airbus A330s with its X subsidiaries.


By Mehdi Nazarinia [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Mehdi Nazarinia [GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

AirAsia brands

There are nine affiliated airlines which operate under the AirAsia brand in addition to the parent Malaysian airline. These are:

AirAsia India

Starting operations in June 2014, AirAsia India operates five A320s from two bases – Delhi Indira Gandhi International, and Bengaluru Kempegowda. All of its flights are domestic routes.

AirAsia X

The original long-haul arm still operates despite a few ups and downs. Today its fleet consists of Airbus A330-300s, and it has a number of A330-900neos and A350-900s on order. The latter is due to enter the fleet next year.

Its base is Kuala Lumpur International, with destinations in Australia, South Korea, China, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Taiwan. It is planned to reinstate services to Paris, London and Honolulu as new aircraft arrive.

Thai AirAsia

The first offshoot from the original AirAsia. Thai AirAsia is based at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport with over 40 A320s in service and more on order. It has a heavy domestic presence within Thailand, but also operates to all neighbouring countries.

Thai AirAsia X

Another long-haul subsidiary, operating two A330-300s from Bangkok Don Mueang to Osaka, Tokyo Narita and Seoul Incheon at present.

AirAsia Zest

Created from Zest Air and Asian Spirit, two low cost airlines, in the Philippines. Its main operating base is Manila Ninoy Aquino, but it is a regular at other main airports in the country as well as at international destinations. The airline works in close cooperation with Philippines AirAsia, also based at Manila. It operates 13 Airbus A320s, with more on order.

Indonesia AirAsia

Formed from Awair in 2005, Indonesia AirAsia is now one of the biggest international carriers in the country, seriously challenging Garuda and Lion Air. It operates 30 A320s, with 30 more on order. This subsidiary suffered the airline’s greatest tragedy in December 2014 when one of its A320s crashed into the sea killing 162 people.

The airline is based at Jakarta, Surabaya and Medan. Its primary destinations are in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Indonesia AirAsia X

Two Airbus A330-300s are operated by the spin-off from the main AirAsia X. They are flown from Bali to Australia, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia. This carrier will grow as the long-haul fleet is added to.

Philippines AirAsia

As with AirAsia Zest, Philippines AirAsia is based at Manila Ninoy Aquino and operates 10 A320s, with plans to treble its fleet in the coming years. It primarily operates domestic services on trunk routes in the country.

AirAsia Japan

Originally operated from 2012 until 2013. AirAsia Japan will be re-launched in early 2016 from its Nagoya Chubu Centrair base.

It will operate four A320s to domestic destinations, and to South Korea and Taiwan.


AirAsia Route Map

AirAsia for the spotter

Any spotters visiting airports in the Far East, India and Australasia are likely to see AirAsia aircraft in abundance. Like all large low cost carriers, it excels at making its business work by operating a single aircraft type fleet in large numbers. So for the number crunchers, AirAsia is a good bet, even if you do find modern airliners a little bland.

The AirAsia, you get the added bonus of its different subsidiaries, so registrations and titling do differ from location to location, adding a bit of variety.

You’ve also got the bonus of Airbus A330s operating on the long-haul routes under the ‘X’ brand.

The main hub airports that you’ll see a lot of AirAsia aircraft are:

  • Bangkok Dun Mueang, Thailand
  • Bengaluru, India
  • Delhi Indira Gandhi, India
  • Jakarta Soekarno Hatta, Indonesia
  • Kuala Lumpur International, Malaysia
  • Manila Ninoy Aquino, Philippines

Other popular destinations are Bali, Cebu, Kota Kinabalu, Macau, Penang, Phuket, Seoul Incheon, Singapore Changi, and Taipei Taoyuan



One other plus point for the spotter is the airline’s logojets. Many of its A320s bear full or partial schemes to advertise different companies, sports teams and travel brands.

Here’s a list of current AirAsia logojets and their registration:

9M-AFA – The Apprentice
9M-AFB – Junior Jet
9M-AFC – World’s Best Low Cost Airline
9M-AFD – Allstar
9M-AFE – ASEAN Basketball League
9M-AFG – Expedia
9M-AFI – Malaysian National Football Team
9M-AFL – SkyRider Club
9M-AFM – Hats off to Dato Pahamin
9M-AFP – 1 Malaysia
9M-AFT – mface
9M-AFV – Queens Park Rangers
9M-AFW – AirAsia mobile app
9M-AHD – Tune Insure
9M-AHE – Tune Talk
9M-AHG – ninetology
9M-AHJ – BIG Loyalty Scheme
9M-AHL – Prince Lubricants
9M-AHM – Taylor Swift
9M-AHX – Connecting ASEAN
9M-AQH – 100th Awesome Plane
9M-XXT (A330) – Xcintillating PhoeniX
HS-ABC – Thailand Womens Volleyball
HS-ABG – Thailand Post
HS-ABJ – Carabao Concert
HS-ABK – Thai Fight
HS-ABW – World’s Best Low Cost Airline
HS-ABX – Amazing Thailand
RP-C8974 – Solaire Resort
RP-C8988 – Manny Pacquiao
VT-JRT – The Pioneer Tribute to JRD Tata

To see our Pinterest page of AirAsia logojets, click here: https://www.pinterest.com/airportspotting/airasia-logojets/




AirAsia Apprentice

Air Canada Rouge Airbus A321 routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, Mexico, North America, USA | Posted on 08-08-2015


Air Canada Rouge

Air Canada Rouge will begin operating Airbus A321 aircraft on 16 December this year.

The aircraft will initially be introduced on the following routes:

Montreal – Las Vegas from 16 December
Montreal – Ft. Lauderdale from 18 December
Toronto – Punta Cana from 14 – 31 January 2016
Toronto – Tampa from 14 January – 7 February 2016
Toronto – Ft. Lauderdale from 15 January
Toronto – Sarasota from 1 February 2016
Toronto – Varadero from 1 February 2016
Toronto – Phoenix from 8 February 2016

At present Rouge operates Airbus A319s and Boeing 767-300s. It will initially take five A321s.

LATAM to become one airline brand

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Miscellaneous Spotting, South America | Posted on 06-08-2015


LATAM logo

LATAM Airlines Group – the combined company that runs TAM Brasil and the various LAN airlines is to merge under one brand from 2016, it has been announced.

In a statement today, the company said:

LATAM Airlines Group has decided to take another step forward to unify our brands under one name: “LATAM”.

With the new brand, we will continue the legacy of leadership that started decades ago with LAN, TAM and their respective affiliate carriers. Both brands contributed for many years to the growth and development of the region, and today more than ever, we are committed to the future of Latin America and connecting it to the world. The new brand allows us to offer a better, consistent service throughout our network, which in turn strengthens our position in the region.

“LATAM” will bring together all the passenger and cargo airline operations of the LATAM Airlines Group carriers: LAN Airlines and its affiliates in Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador; in addition to TAM Linhas Aéreas S.A., and its subsidiary TAM Air Transport Mercosur S.A. (TAM Airlines (Paraguay), and the cargo carriers comprised of LAN CARGO, LAN CARGO Colombia, ABSA (TAM Cargo) and Mas Air. The new brand will not impact the registered names of any of the above mentioned companies.”

Lan Chile A320t

TAM 777

The first aircraft in the new livery will appear in the first half of 2016. In the meantime, the logo here is the first sign of the new branding.