Manchester Ringway Through the Decades series

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Book Reviews, Spotting Equipment Reviews, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 26-08-2012


Eighties RingwayA new book series has been produced based on Manchester Airport in the UK, formerly (and still affectionately) known as Ringway.

Ringway Through The Decades is a vast volume on the history of the airport, which is so big that it covers multiple volumes – each looking at a particular decade.

Each book pulls together facts, figures and stories from a variety of sources to tell the story of Manchester Airport in that particular period. It takes the form of a diary, listing movements, unusual visitors, stories and details on the different companies to be found on the site. In addition, the books are full of photographs from the period showing the airport and aircraft. They are a fantastic resource and a great read for those who remember the airport in these periods.

Books in the series include:

* Seventies Ringway – Manchester Airport 1970-79
* Eighties Ringway – Manchester Airport 1980-84
* Eighties Ringway – Manchester Airport 1985-89

There are also Movements CDs available (1970-1979 & 1980-1989) and 50 years of Diversions (1960-2010). These are designed to compliment the books.


70s Ringway

Nineties Ringway, as well as Sixties Ringway are both in the pipeline for a future release, as well as a number of other titles on the history of Manchester Airport and its operators.

A website has been set up from where you can buy the books, however it also has

plenty of interesting content in its own right, including photographs and stories from Manchester Airport. The link is

Best of the Web – Airport Spotting Videos – Basel 747-8 Basel

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in France, Germany, Spotting Videos, Switzerland, Western Europe | Posted on 24-08-2012


Here’s a nice little video I came across today which shows the first Boeing 747-8 landing at Basel/Muhouse/Freiburg Airport. It is operated by Cargolux and was delivering a large item, and is clearly a large aircraft for this medium sized airport.

United Airlines 787s – more routes announced

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Asia, China, Heathrow, Japan, Netherlands, Nigeria, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 23-08-2012


United Airlines 787-800United Airlines has announced more routes that its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners will fly on.

Their first aircraft made a test flight looking resplendent in full United colours earlier this week. They should take delivery of this aircraft in September, with many more to follow.

The initial route, previously announced was between Denver and Tokyo Narita (5x weekly, starting 31 March 2013). However, United has announced that its Dreamliners will also be flying on the following routes:

Houston to Amsterdam Schiphol. Temporary service, starting 4 December 2012.
Houston to London Heathrow. Temporary service, starting 4 February 2013.
Houston to Lagos, Nigeria. 5x weekly, starting 7 January 2013.
Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita, Japan. Daily, starting 3 January 2013.
Los Angeles to Shanghai, China. Daily, starting 30 March 2013.
If you want to be lucky enough to travel on these services, the 787 aircraft will display for sale for these routes on and other distribution channels beginning Aug. 25, while Denver to Narita service is available for sale now.

Spotting at Fukuoka Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Japan | Posted on 23-08-2012


Fuji DreamFukuoka is Japan’s fourth busiest airport, located on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan.

The airport is busy with domestic flights from elsewhere in Japan, and due to its enclosed location in amongst the city, it is quite cramped.

Fukuoka Airport has three domestic terminals on one side of the single runway, and international terminal and cargo terminal on the opposite side.

Almost all airlines using Fukuoka are from elsewhere in the Far East, with many Japanese airlines also serving the airport. There are no direct flights from Europe.

Where to Spot

Domestic Terminal 1 Observation Deck
A free, outdoor observation deck accessed from floor 2F. Open 7am to 8pm. Good all-round views, but fences can hinder photography.

There is also an indoor observation area in Domestic Terminal 1, with good views and shelter from the weather.

Domestic Terminal 2 Observation Deck
This observation deck is accessed from floor 3F, and is open 7am to 9.30pm. It has better views over the runway towards the international terminal, and of the southern end of the runway. Photography is through glass, so not ideal.

International Terminal Observation Decks
There are two observation decks on top of the international terminal – one at either end. Free of charge and open from 7am to 8.30pm, with views across the international gates, runway, and across to the domestic terminals.

Spotting Hotels?
Sadly there are no hotels at Fukuoka that are good for spotting from. But there are plenty of nearby hotels to use nevertheless.

Fukuoka is just one of the 42 airports covered in my book, Airport Spotting Guides Europe. Get your copy today!

CDI Cargo launches in China

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, China, Japan, Miscellaneous Spotting, South Korea | Posted on 22-08-2012


CDI Cargo 737

CDI Cargo has launched operations after a lengthy startup process. It is backed by significant investment and a strong, experienced, management team.

The airline, which operates a single Boeing 737-300 freighter, is based in Huangzhou, China. It is expected to take delivery of two more 737s by the end of the year.

It is currently flying between Huangzhou, Qingdao, and Changchun. However, with widebody aircraft planned for the near future, it is anticipated that the airline will begin cargo flights to Japan and South Korea, and expand its domestic network.


Virgin Atlantic announces Manchester to London Heathrow route

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Heathrow, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 21-08-2012


Virgin Atlantic will fly its first domestic route from the summer 2013 timetable as it begins linking Manchester with London Heathrow multiple times per day.

The airline feels that since the sale of bmi British Midland to British Airways/IAG Group earlier this year, this key route has been overlooked and now has a lack of competition.

Virgin will therefore deploy Airbus A319 aircraft – the source of which is not known yet – on the route, to tap into the 650,000 yearly passengers who fly between the two cities. The route will begin on 31st March, 2013.

This will provide an important business link to the capital, but also more importantly a link from the north of England into Virgin Atlantic’s extensive long-haul network out of Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive, Steve Ridgway said: “Flying between Heathrow and Manchester is just the start for Virgin Atlantic’s new short haul operation. We have the means to connect thousands of passengers to our long haul network as well as to destinations served by other carriers.

Singapore Changi Airport’s new Terminal 1 viewing gallery open

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Singapore, Spotting News | Posted on 21-08-2012


Singapore Airport Terminal 1 Viewing GallerySingapore Changi Airport has recently been redeveloping the older Terminal 1 building to bring it in line with the rest of the airport.

As part of the redevelopment, Terminal 1’s Viewing Gallery has been renovated and is now open again.

Popular with spotters and locals who want to watch the action, the viewing gallery at Singapore Airport looks out over the gates and one of the airport’s runways. It now also has an extended glass facade which has created a ‘floating’ floor, allowing visitors to look down on the action below.

Terminal 1 at Singapore Changi Airport is home to most international airlines, and is a good position to watch the action and log. Photography is through glass, but acceptable.

Additionally, the outdoor Lily-Pad Outdoor Deck at Singapore Airport has also been recently revamped.

Ethiopian’s expansion plans

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Dubai, Ethiopia, Middle East, Qatar, Spotting News | Posted on 20-08-2012


Ethiopian Airlines 757

As Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft this week – only the third airline to do so – it has outlined plans to expand its fleet and home base dramatically over the coming years.

The airline has 14 aircraft due for delivery this year, including more 787s, as well as Boeing 737-800s, Dash 8 Q400s, and Boeing 777 freighters.

Ethiopian has also announced it is considering purchasing either 737 Max or Airbus A320neo aircraft as part of its intentions to increase its fleet to 120 aircraft by 2025.

To complement these plans, Ethiopian Airlines is hoping to make its Addis Ababa Airport base a worldwide hub along the lines of those in Dubai and Doha, where passengers would arrive from one side of the world and transfer to flights heading to the other side of the world.

Ethiopian’s unique selling point is its strong coverage of emerging markets in Africa, which the Middle Eastern carriers have been slower to reach.

Whether this happens is still very much up in the air, as most consider Addis Ababa to be inferior to many Western and Middle Eastern hub airports, and Ethiopian’s existing fleet of Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft are starting to look long in the teeth.

Runway Rooms?

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting Hotels, USA, Websites | Posted on 17-08-2012


Singapore A380 9V-SKA seen from London Heathrow Holiday Inn Ariel hotel

A nice article has appeared in Australia’s The Age newspaper on the subject of Runway Rooms, or hotels with good views of the action at airports.

The article is written by Katrina Lobley, but I had the honour of providing some insight to her on the subject, which is naturally close to my heart and the topic of this blog.

In the piece, some of the best hotels from around the world are described, from Atlanta’s Renaissance Concourse to DFW’s Grand Hyatt airport hotel; St. Maarten’s Sonesta Resort to Dubai’s Sheraton Deira. These are some of my favourite places to spend the night.

You can read the article here:

Which airport hotels do you love?

Read my guide to Heathrow Spotting Hotels here.


Where to catch the Boeing 747-8

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Asia, Frankfurt, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Luxembourg, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 16-08-2012


Boeing’s latest incarnation of the queen of the skies – the 747 – is now in operation with eight carriers and a number of private operators worldwide.

Featuring extended length, capacity, range, and a variety of technological advances both inside and out, the type is the height of aviation design.

It is available in passenger, cargo and VIP configurations; however, the cargo variant has proved far more popular, and more airlines are currently flying this option.

So where can you see the Boeing 747-8 in operation? Here are are the main airports:

Everett Paine Field
Boeing’s airfield to the north of Seattle where the Boeing 747-8 is built. You’ll see all aircraft flight testing here, and sitting on the flight line as they are fitted out. You can head to the Future of Flight center for its observation deck and watch the 747’s flying close by you.

London Stansted
Global Supply Systems flies three 747-8’s on behalf of British Airways Cargo to destinations worldwide. However, their home base is London Stansted airport in the UK.

Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok
Cathay Pacific ordered ten Boeing 747-8’s for its cargo network, and was one of the launch customers for the type. Their Hong Kong base is one of the busiest hubs for the type, as it also sees examples from other cargo airlines visit.

Frankfurt Main
Lufthansa is the only airline to operate the passenger version of the 747-8 so far (other airlines have the type on order), and their Frankfurt base is where it flies from. It operates to destinations such as Washington Dulles on a daily basis. In total, 20 747-8’s will join Lufthansa as they replace their older 747-400’s.

Cargolux was the first airline to take delivery of a Boeing 747-8. The airline ordered seven of the type, which are based at Luxembourg. However, they can be seen on their round-the-world network to many far flung airports.

Tokyo Narita
Nippon Cargo Airlines are based at Tokyo Narita Airport in Japan. They ordered 14 Boeing 747-8’s, and the type has already entered service on long haul cargo operations.

Abu Dhabi
The first VIP configured Boeing 747-8 was delivered to the Abu Dhabi Amiri Flight as a royal transport aircraft. It flies from Abu Dhabi on official business.