Heathrow Terminal 4 viewing area – spotting video

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Heathrow, Spotting Videos, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 03-04-2015

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If you weren’t aware, London Heathrow airport relented recently and installed a new viewing area for plane spotting (here’s our report about its opening). The major drawback, however, was that it is located in the departures section of Terminal 4, so you’ll need an airline ticket to use it. Nevertheless, anything is better than nothing and you can also show up for your flight really early to make sure you get chance to enjoy it.

To give you an idea of what the Terminal 4 viewing area is like, here’s a decent video (by Dantorp Aviation) showing arrivals, departures and aircraft taxiing around the airport as seen from this area. The view is pretty good and you won’t miss much.

Marana Pinal Airpark opens to visitors

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 29-03-2015

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Marana Pinal Airpark

There are a number of storage airports in the western United States known to aviation enthusiasts, with row upon row of retired and stored airliners parked up awaiting their fate. Largest among these are Mojave, Victorville, and Marana Pinal Airpark.

The latter, located to the north of Tucson in Arizona, is notoriously difficult to get close to for the enthusiast, with guards manning the entrance, which in itself is a long way from any views of aircraft.

In fact, the standard way for an enthusiast to see airliners parked at Marana is to hire a private aircraft and pilot to fly them from Tucson to Marana, performing a number of low approaches, or a landing and slow taxi for takeoff, snapping photographs frantically in the hope of catching everything parked there, and preferably the registrations. Then a period of research would begin to work out exactly what was seen.

However, times are hard for Marana. It urgently needs to repair its runway, and to find new income streams to keep it in business. As a result it is looking at ways to attract more people to the site, and one of the first changes has been the removal of the guard posts blocking the entrance to the former military airport.

Jim Petty is the airport’s economic development director and knows exactly the draw that Marana has on enthusiasts and the curious public who have a fascination with the huge hulks of metal glinting in the sun, some sporting airline liveries of yesteryear, whilst others appear to be factory fresh. For most enthusiasts, storage airports have been a place to catch up with missed aircraft, sometimes classic old jets rarely seen in active service anymore. However, places like Marana offer a good mix, with some aircraft temporarily stored straight from the factory as airlines face economic problems or leasing companies find it difficult to place them.

Other aircraft still have a lot of life in them, but come to Marana to await a new customer.

Whilst enthusiasts will not be given free reign of the airport under its new relaxed rules, Petty has begun offering tours of Pinal Airpark in an SUV, stopping off to take in the different areas of parked airliners, and to watch a variety of different aircraft that still use the active airport.

Marana Map

Marana’s former locked-down security stance came from its long-standing involvement with the CIA, acting as a staging post for secret operations which were closely guarded from the public eye. It was also a military training post. However, Marana is officially listed as a general aviation airfield, and as such should be accessible to the general public. And so it now is.

Jim Petty may live to regret news of this opening of Marana for tours becoming public, as enthusiasts are sure to be planning trips already. But nevertheless, this is great news and I’m sure will be very much appreciated. I will certainly be taking the opportunity if I am in the area!

Free tours are by appointment only and subject to availability. Call Jim Petty, 520-866-6545.

Maribor Airport flying passengers again

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Eastern Europe, Slovenia, Spotting News | Posted on 26-03-2015

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Adria CRJ

Maribor Airport is to gain passenger services again.

The small Slovenian airport in the east of the country has a single runway and small, modern terminal, and is mainly used as a pilot training airfield.

In the past the airport was briefly served by Ryanair for a few months, and even further back (before the break up of Yugoslavia), it was on the network of Jat Airways.

Now, Maribor is to gain a new scheduled service to London Southend from national carrier Adria Airways, operated by a mixture of CRJ and Airbus A319 aircraft.

The airport will also see some charter flights this summer to Greece and Turkey, operated by Aegean Airlines and Freebird respectively.

MariborObservation

Interestingly the airport now boasts a ‘Bar and Observation Deck’ within its terminal, which presumably offers views across the ramp and runway. If you’ve visited, please leave a comment below telling us what the views are like!

For those who hunt stored and preserved airliners, Maribor has a McDonnell Douglas MD-82, S5-ACC, preserved on the opposite side of the runway to the terminal. It is occasionally open for visits by school groups.

Emirates bolsters US network with Orlando and Seattle additions

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Dubai, Middle East, North America, USA | Posted on 25-03-2015

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Emirates 777

Emirates is to increase its coverage of the United States with two new daily flights from Dubai.

For the first time, a direct link from the Middle East to Orlando International will be established when Emirates begins a daily Boeing 777-200LR service from 1st September 2015.

“This is a landmark new route for Orlando that for the first time offers our customers non-stop service to the high-growth Middle East region with convenient connections to India, China, Africa, and Southeast Asia,” said Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

Meanwhile, from 1st July Emirates will provide a second daily flight from Dubai to Seattle/Tacoma, again operated by Boeing 777-200LR aircraft and adding significant long-haul passenger and cargo capacity to the airport.

RwandAir selects A330

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 24-03-2015

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RwandAir has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus to order two A330-200 aircraft. These will be the airline’s first wide-body jets, although it is expected to take delivery of Boeing 787s.

“As we look to introduce wide body aircraft for the first time into our fleet, with its proven economics, reliability and passenger comfort, we have found the A330 to perfectly support our plans to expand into Europe and Asia, to enhance our regional presence, to open up new routes and to grow our market share,’’ said John Mirenge, Chief Executive Officer of RwandAir.

RwandAir’s A330s will be delivered in the second half of 2016 and will be equipped with Rolls Royce Trent 772B engines.

Rwanda’s flagship carrier will deploy the new A330 aircraft on medium and long haul routes from their Kigali home base to long-haul destinations throughout Europe, the Middle-East and Asia.

Airbus Photography Contest

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 23-03-2015

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Airbus Group Photo Contest

Airbus Group is holding an amateur photography contest with the fantastic prize of a tour around their site, and your photo featured in their 2014 Annual Report.

The aim of the Contest is to discover Airbus Group through your eyes. The pictures should be related to their wide range of products and activities at the Divisions: Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space and Airbus Helicopters plus corporate entities like Airbus Group Innovations.

To find out more, including entry requirements and prize details, visit this link: http://www.airbusgroup.com/int/en/news-media/Events/Photo-contest-2015.html

Even if you don’t win, the best entries will be published on Airbus Group’s Social Media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Flickr) to promote your pictures.

Good luck!

Plane Spotting at Washington Reagan National Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in North America, Spotting Videos, USA | Posted on 21-03-2015

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If you want to get an idea of what it’s like spotting at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, here’s a selection of four videos for you to enjoy showing the aircraft coming and going.

Almost 30 minutes of video is presented here!

 

Spotting at Teruel – Spain’s storage and maintenance airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Spain, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 19-03-2015

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Spotters watch the first 747 land (Photo: EL PAÍS)

Spotters watch the first 747 land (Photo: EL PAÍS)

Teruel Airport has suddenly started making waves amongst the spotter community as it has sprung up in no time from the dry land of eastern Spain.

Unlike other new Spanish airports built to attract passengers and ultimately languishing semi-mothballed, Teruel was designed from the start to act as a storage, maintenance and recycling base for airlines and other operators to bring their aircraft to.

Teruel2

The airport has a single, long runway, with ramp space and a tiny terminal. However, behind this is a grid pattern of taxiways which are designed for long-term storage of airliners, much like you would see in Arizona or California. Teruel boasts the largest storage area in Europe for aircraft.

One of the first arrivals at Teruel was a Boeing 747 freighter of Air Cargo Germany. Since then the airport has filled with over 30 airliners, mainly from the fleet of struggling Russian carrier UT Air. Types include Boeing 737s, Airbus A321s and Bombardier CRJs.

There are also Airbus A330s from Libya and Brazil and Boeing 747s from France and the Netherlands present at the time of writing.

Teruel3

The airport is operated by Tarmac Aerosave (which also manages storage at Tarbes Airport in France). It is around 100 miles south of Zaragoza and 95 miles north-west of Valencia, just off the A-23 motorway and N-234 highway at Caude.

Teruel in relation to the main cities in Spain

Teruel in relation to the main cities in Spain

Early reports from spotters passing by are that aircraft can be seen with some perseverance and with the use of a car to explore the minor roads surrounding the field. However, security have also made their presence known, stopping spotters and asking what their business is. Therefore caution is advised.

The owners hope to grow this new business, and may even see passenger flights servicing the nearby ski resorts eventually.

 

Castellon “ghost airport” gains Ryanair routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 12-03-2015

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Castellon Airport

One of Spain’s infamous “ghost airports”, built amid a period of wasteful spending by the Spanish government, is to gain its first commercial airline service.

Castellon Costa Azahar Airport in the east of Spain, situated to the north of Valencia, was built for €150 million despite having no formal offers from airlines.

Ryanair_B737-800_EI-DYC

Now, Ryanair has committed to starting 3x weekly flights to London Stansted and 2x weekly flights to Bristol, presumably to test its potential. The flights will commence in September 2015.

Castellon Airport has a single runway and small terminal building. For spotters, although I haven’t visited, it looks like roads passing either end of the runway offer opportunities for watching aircraft arrivals and departures. But I don’t think it’s worth the visit just yet!

Kelowna Flightcraft rebranding and shifting focus

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Belgium, Canada, North America, Western Europe | Posted on 12-03-2015

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Kelowna Flightcraft

Canada’s specialist cargo operator Kelowna Flightcraft is rebranding in a bid to reestablish itself following the loss of a major contract.

The airline, which flies Boeing 727, Convair 580 and Douglas DC-10 freighters, will now be known as KF Cargo. It will also relocate one of its bases to Toronto Pearson International Airport from Hamilton.

Its aircraft will now be seen travelling to Europe more often, with a 4x weekly DC-10 flight to Brussels National starting on 17 May.

It will also fly from Vancouver to both Anchorage, AK, and Calgary, as well as between Toronto and Halifax, from July.

“We’ve lost our single source of revenue and cargo, and now the majority of the customers we want to fly for are based in Toronto,” Flightcraft spokesman Grant Stevens told Canada’s Spectator magazine. “Now we’re trying to break into a new market, so we have to be in Toronto.”

“There is a lot of cargo from Europe, Africa and South America destined for Canada, but we are concentrating on the EU market through Brussels right now. The rest we’ll worry about later,” Bryan Akerstream, Director of Business Development, said.

(Source: CH-Aviation)