Saturday, 22 December 2012

More new Monarch routes!

Monarch have announced that flights to Bordeaux in France and Split in Croatia will start next spring from Birmingham.

In their ongoing efforts to promote Birmingham as a London alternative, they now have a website all about the runway extension and how BHX could be part of a nationwide aviation strategy:
http://www.balancedaviationdebate.com/


Thursday, 29 November 2012

BHX Runway extension

Work has properly started on the runway extension at Birmingham that will allow all aircraft types to operate with unlimited fuel and payload from the airport. Link here:
http://www.bhx.com/meta/news/2012/11/work-starts-on-birmingham-airports-runway-extension.aspx
Some good points there regarding why Birmingham IS an alternative to London's airports!

Friday, 23 November 2012

BA and Virgin on BHX...

This is what British Airways and Virgin Atlantic think of BHX becoming a bigger hub:

http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west-midlands-transport-news/2012/11/22/ba-and-virgin-say-birmingham-airport-will-never-be-international-hub-65233-32288317/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#sitelife-commentsWidget-bottom

Unfortunately what they're saying is partly wrong, as many people still have to trek down to London to catch flights: Monarch have proven this to be the case by successfully expanding at Birmingham this Summer.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The travel game!

Traveler IQ

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Friday, 2 November 2012

New BHX routes


Some new routes from Birmingham that began in late October:
  • Belfast-International  (Twice daily weekdays, daily on weekends, Easyjet with Airbus A319s)
  • Amsterdam (Three times daily, Flybe with Dash 8s, Embraer 175s seem likely too)
  • Stockholm-Arlanda (Daily except Saturday, SAS with a variety of types but mainly 737-600s/700s)




Monday, 15 October 2012

Mega Update!

So, catch up time...

Birmingham has recently been given the title airport of the year, aswell as being the uk airport with the highest growth in August (actually it was the 4th busiest month in its history!).  Links to both below from the airport website:

http://www.bhx.com/meta/news/2012/10/birmingham-sees-more-growth-than-any-other-uk-airport.aspx

http://www.bhx.com/meta/news/2012/10/tarnsport-award-article.aspx

Things are set to get even better, with new routes starting including Easyjet to Belfast International, Ryanair to Milan and Krakow, extra flights to Istanbul with Turkish, and Monarchs newest services to Funchal, Munich and Sharm el Sheikh.

Meanwhile at East Midlands...
East Midlands ground handling has become carbon neutral, and flybe are expading at EMA to compensate for the loss of bmibaby with new routes to Amsterdam, Paris, Jersey and Chambery.

Friday, 21 September 2012

INCIDENT AT BIRMINGHAM!

A Aurela 737-300 overran the runway today at BHX, coming to a stop just over the RWY15 threshold. Actually it appears as if the aircraft skidded off the taxiway after landing, but it closed the airport for 2 hours.

BBC link here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-19676990

Sorry for the overly dramatic title of this post, couldn't resist ;) Seems to have been only a minor incident with no injuries, disembarking with proper airstairs and passengers laughing about it!

Daytrip to Dublin trip report [Part 2]

The day in Dublin
The day in Dublin consisted mainly of walking. Lots and lots of walking. Which was fine as we saw quite a fair bit of the central Dublin area, including of course, Temple Bar!
It's the place to go to have Guinness, but be warned, it's pricey. On the subject of Irish liquids, I highly recommend trying Baileys and/or Guinness chocolate - mmmm!
I even came across a Leprachaun!
Getting between the airport and O'Connell Street was straightforward, with buses every 20 mins at 12 Euros return.

Dublin (DUB/EIDW) to Birmingham (BHX/EGBB) FR672
Boeing 737-800 EI-EVF

We got back to the airport early, and ended up walking around most of it! Dublin airport is actually really good for spotting, most parts of the departure lounge have decent views of the apron and runway. While there we saw the Shamrock retrojet:

And a Fedex A310, which was on a passenger stand. If that wasn't odd enough, it pushed back, sat on the taxiway for 30 minutes, before pulling back onto stand. Presumably it had gone tech? After another hour or so it finally departed, and it when it did, it climbed like a rocket! It was like an airshow display - if they flew like that with passengers onboard, there would be complaints I'm sure!

It was soon time to board, and we'd be flying on EI-EVF, which wears "Modlin Jest OK" titles, Polish for "Modlin is OK", advertising the Warsaw airport that Ryanair fly to. The flight back was calm, uneventful and annoyingly ontime... so another fanfare. Oh well! That was my 45th flight and 16th on the 738.

Overall, Dublin is great place to go on a daytrip to, and as for Ryanair... I'm trying to find reasons why I shouldn't fly with them, but to be honest, I'm struggling!





Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Daytrip to Dublin trip report! [Part 1]

Dia duit!

At the end of my last trip report (return from Montpellier) I said 'Overall "Europes favourite airline" as they now call themselves were pretty good and if the price is right, yes, I'd continue to fly with them!' And so I did! As an A-level results reward trip, me and a friend decided to go on a daytrip to Dublin! I'd already been to Dublin previously (in 2009, report here: http://www.midlandskies.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/bhx-dub-bhx-trip-report-2009.html). The decision to fly with Ryanair, rather than Aer Lingus, was based purely on Ryanair being cheaper (only marginally though). In fact, following some of O'Learys recent shenanigans, (e.g. suggesting passengers flying on his airline should be charged for being stupid, having a £60 fee for forgetting your boarding pass, and claiming he'd buy a dog if it was cheap enough - referring to aircraft), I've gone off him somewhat. Actually, on my first trip report for Dublin, I said: 'I'd choose Aer Lingus over the competitor any day'. But anyway. The trip report!

Birmingham (BHX/EGBB) to Dublin (DUB/EIDW) FR663
Boeing 737-800 EI-ENC
The online check in system does work exceptionally well but God help you if can't/don't realise you have to print off the boarding passes before you get to the airport. Yes, it states quite clearly you have to do so when booking, but a £60 fine for reprinting is frankly ridiculous. We however had no such problems and sailed through security, navigated the shops and walked back to Terminal 2, where our flight was already 'boarding' (queuing). On an early morning, business orientated flight like this, it felt like a different airline comapared to the noisy holiday flights to southern France. The Captain even noted this, asking people to pay attention to the safety demo even though they may be frequent flyers.

Pretty much on time we took the short taxi from Gate 2 to E1, RWY33. It was then a Whitegate 4D departure to the northwest which gave stunning views of Birmingham city center! The route was via WHI, crossing the coast near Liverpool, then directly west across the north coast of Wales before vectors for the ILS RWY28 at Dublin, arriving on-time (complete with fanfare...). Landing here:
So that was my 44th flight and 15th with Ryanair. Now for the day in Dublin! Stay tuned for part 2!





Sunday, 9 September 2012

Final bmiBaby flights

Today, bmibaby will fly its last ever flights. The last BHX operation is the WW1082 from Prague (lands 22:15), and the last EMA flight is the WW5912 from Venice (lands 23:30). Baby will be missed!

BBC article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-19536090

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Monarch at East Midlands

Following the announcement that bmiBaby will be ceasing operations in the coming weeks, some airlines (in particular Monarch and Flybe) have increased their presence in the Midlands to compensate. As a result Monarch are basing 2 aircraft at East Midlands as of today, flying to Alicante, Faro, Malaga and Palma initially. The increase in flights at Monarch has resulted in a shortage of aircraft, leading to leased aircraft such as an Air Explore 737-400 and Titan 757-200 which have been flying from Birmingham recently.

Link to BBC articles here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-19300291

and here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-19433518



Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Classic Flight to move from Coventry?

The Classic Aircraft trust have announced plans to move some of their aircraft to a new museum at Newquay Airport, Cornwall. Over 30 planes will be moved including the Gloster Meteor, Nimrod, Vampire, Venom and Pembroke.

This sounds worryingly like the majority of Classic Flights Coventry fleet... pleasure flights in the rapide etc are likely to continue, however it would leave the DC6 diner somewhat 'isolated' and it would be a real shame if they move considering Air Atlantique's and Classic Flight's long history at Coventry Airport.

BBC article here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-18614897

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

BHX-MPL-BHX trip report [Part 2]

Montpellier-Méditerranée (MPL/LFMT)  to Birmingham (BHX/EGBB)  FR2812
Ryanair Boeing 737-800 EI-DPZ


 So the time came to come home and we'd be flying on EI-DPZ. Interestingly this aircraft also wears "comunitat valenciana" titles.

Montpellier airport landside is light and airy, and there were 2 bag drops open for just our flight so we were straight upstairs to departures. I was quite surprised after passing through security how small the departure lounge is. Montpellier handles the 10th most passengers in France - the UK equivalent is Liverpool and that is larger in terms of the size of the departure lounge, the shops/facilities available, and the number of flights.

While waiting a military KC-135 stratotanker was doing circuits! Not what I expected to see. PZ arrived but but the airport staff had already got us all lined up in the 'priority' and 'other Q'. They proceeded to herd us all out into a seemingly un-air conditioned corridor before the aircraft had even reached the stand. Why? So we could board quicker. We had to stand in what was effectively a greenhouse for 15 minutes in 30+ temperatures when we could have stayed in the air conditioned part of the terminal! Not impressed.
EI-DPZ:
Anyway once onboard we were out of the heat and much happier! The captain announced a flight time of 1 hour 50 minutes and a cruising level of FL360. After a short delay we taxied all the way down to RWY 31R for take off:
Again, a smooth flight and we made up some time too. The descent took us to the west of London and you can just about see 'the Eastenders view" through the cloud in the bottom right of this picture:
After HON it was vectors downwind for the ILS RWY15. The cloud base was around 2000ft and we emerged on final above Birmingham. The actual touchdown was so hard I bashed the off button on the camera and stopped filming! 
And that pretty much concludes this trip report, my 43rd flight and 14th on the 738. I suppose if you want punctuality, Ryanair are a good choice, and if you're hiring a car they do some good combined flight/car deals. Overall "Europes favourite airline" as they now call themselves were pretty good and if the price is right, yes, I'd continue to fly with them! 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

BHX-MPL-BHX trip report [Part 1]

Bonjour!!

Our holiday this year was as ever to the south of France but this time we'd be taking a new route...

Birmingham (BHX/EGBB) to Montpellier-Méditerranée (MPL/LFMT) FR2811
Ryanair Boeing 737-800 EI-DPK

A major reason for choosing Ryanair this time was the deal on car rental (with Hertz). The flight wasn't the cheapest out there but the combined flight/car rental cost was. 


 Birminghams 'terminal 2' was heaving when we arrived (about 12:30pm), with only 1 Ryanair bag drop desk for all ryanair flights (compared to 2 in Montpellier for just one flight). Apart from the queues the bag drop system works quite well. I did notice that our hand luggage wasn't checked at all - nothing more than a glance and so no way of knowing if they were overweight. It seems very trusting of Ryanair/the airport to assume passengers will always comply with the rules!


Through security, generally a quick process now the 2 terminals have merged, and out into departures. But the layout forces passengers into the shopping area in terminal 1, and then you have to walk all the way back along the 'mellenium link' to terminal 2. OK for us but some elderly pax were not happy at all! Our aircraft, EI-DPK (which wears Comunitat Valeciana titles) arrived from Malta and we were boarded on time for an on time departure.
The obligatory legroom shot :)
The weather was showery with light northwesterly winds so 33 was in use, and after a short taxi from gate 1 to E1 we were on our way on the COWLY3D!

The flight itself was calm, however Ryanair make up for that, with the cabin crew trying to sell the pax all manner of things from no-smoke cigarettes to scratch cards... aswell as the usual drinks/snacks etc. I wonder how many people actually buy these things? Some pics from the cruise:
Landing at Montpellier was on RWY 13L, so a straight in approach. FR2811 arrived 5 minutes early so we were treated to the "another on time arrival" fanfare... no need to boast, Ryanair.
The first part of this trip report might have sounded quite negative but to be honest Ryanair are good enough for flights of this length. They're cheap (although not always the cheapest!) and very punctual.

So that was my 42nd flight and 13th on the Boeing 737-800. Next up is part 2, FR2812!











Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Midlands flybe expansion

Flybe are starting a few new routes from Birmingham and East Midlands, mainly to fill gaps left by bmi Baby who are ceasing operations in September. The routes are:

EMA-Amsterdam
EMA-Paris CDG
EMA-Jersey
BHX-Amsterdam

Flybe announcement here:
http://www.flybe.com/corporate/media/news/1207/25.htm

Friday, 20 July 2012

Qatar to Doha and Armavia to Yerevan from BHX!

Qatar Airways have (unofficially, so take this with a pinch of salt) announced they are to start a daily service to Doha from Birmingham, using brand new Boeing 787's. QR are a similar airline in  many respects to Emirates, which already have a twice daily 777 service to Dubai.

Article from Travel Weekly:
http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2012/07/19/41136/qatar-airways-plans-birmingham-doha-route.html

Also announced today (although again not officially by Birmingham airport!) is the start of a thrice weekly service to the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, by national carrier Armavia. This follows the cancellation of the Heathrow-Yerevan route, previously operated by bmi but being axed by British Airways. Armavia have had this route planned for a while and had even operated the occasional flight to Birmingham in the past.

All in all a good few days for BHX if these routes go ahead! Interestingly both these new services offer onwards connections to India, Birmingham has been lacking flights to India since the withdrawal of Air India in 2008. Since then there have been several (failed!) attempts at Indian flights including Air Sylhet and Comtel Air.

A Qatar Airways 787 recently displayed at the 2012 Farnbourough Airshow:

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Flying the Dragon

It's made of wood and canvas, it's 68 years old, and it's called Sybille. G-AGTM is one of Classic Flight's DeHavilland Dragon Rapide's and every weekend this summer it's flying pleasure flights around Coventry and Warwickshire: how could I resist?

Booking a pleasure flight via the Airbase website was easy enough (easier than certain airlines I could mention) and a 30 minute flight costs £75. When we arrived, it seemed people who have booked flights get free entry to the airbase, so that £75 is actually including the £10 museum fee.

And so without ado, here's the flight:
Our sole pilot (only room for one at the front!) took us on a crosswind and downwind leg past Draycote, before flying over Leamington and over Warwick Castle a couple of times. It was then back for a straight in to RWY05.

Overall it's a unique flying experience, and worth every penny!


Thursday, 12 July 2012

4 new Ryanair routes from Birmingham

Ryanair have announced they are to commence 4 new routes from BHX starting winter 2012. These are Barcelona, Krakow, Milan-Bergamo and Palma De Mallorca.

Link to 'the worlds favourite airline' here:
http://www.ryanair.com/en/news/ryanair-announces-4-new-routes-from-birmingham-from-november-2012

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

No Heathrow expansion, No Boris Island, Use the Midlands!

Birmingham airport have recently released a report that basically says it is nonsensical to continue trying to grow capacity in the South East alone. Other airports around the country are running well under maximum capacity (like Birmingham) and people still have to make long journeys from the Midlands down to London to catch flights. So why not expand elsewhere, other than London? All 3 Mildlands airports surely have potential: BHX and EMA could be busier, and COV has no airline services at all!

Link here: http://www.bhx.com/meta/news/2012/06/birmingham-airport-challenges-uk-aviation-policy.aspx

Saturday, 9 June 2012

SAS to Stockholm from Birmingham!

Starting October 2012, SAS Scandinavian Airlines will begin flights from Birmingham to the Swedish capital city, Stockholm.
Birmingham airport announcement:
http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2012/06/sas-announce-new-route-to-stockholm-from-birmingham-airport.aspx

Flights will be 6 times weekly, operated by 737-600/700/800 aircraft. This follows the closure of Skyways (City Airline) which previously operated a route to Gothenburg in Sweden with Embraer 135/145's.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Trip to BHX

Some movements at BHX yesterday (06/06):
A Monarch A320 (in their newest livery) taxis to stand, and a Thomson Airways (First Choice) 767-300ER
Flybe Embraer 195 G-FBEG
Flybe Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 G-JECK
KLM's newest and last Embraer 190 of the current order, PH-EZX, in Skyteam livery!
Ryanair 737-800 EI-DCF
...and finally, Emirates 40, a 777-300ER (can't read the reg!)

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

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Saturday, 26 May 2012

No engines and still taking off?

I just had to share this amazing video that I saw posted on Airliners.net. It's a 747 parked in the Mojave desert awaiting scrapping in very strong winds. A strong enough headwind, in fact, to generate enough lift to raise the nose!! Of course without the interior and engines it will be alot lighter but even so...  

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Aer Lingus to Knock

Aer Lingus have announced they are starting a service to Knock from Birmingham. Flights will be daily with ATR's operated by Aer Lingus Regional.

http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2012/05/aer-lingus-announce-new-route-to-knock-from-birmingham.aspx


Saturday, 12 May 2012

Monarch expansion at BHX

In addition to adding capacity to cover the loss of some of bmibaby's routes, Monarch have announced new winter routes to Grenoble, Munich, Madeira and Sharm el Sheik:
http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2012/05/monarch-announce-new-winter-routes-from-birmingham.aspx

Sunday, 6 May 2012

General update [updated!]

Changes to routes/fleets recently are...

 - Atlantic Airlines have taken delivery of a second 737-300 at Coventry for specialist freight work (the first 733 was being used for the transport of cattle/horses etc).

 - Flybe are continuing with their Embraer 175 deliveries, with a new base to be opened at East Midlands and incresed frequency on Birmingham routes.

 - Monarch have commenced operations to Heraklion and Dubrovnik from BHX

 - Skyways (previously City Airline) have ended their flights to Gothenburg from Birmingham, which used Embraer 145's.

 - Thomson Airways are rolling out a new livery!
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Thomson-Airways/Boeing-767-304-ER/2099408/L/&sid=f61211e81f29a27b23a34f0e8b330fc8

 - New Lufthansa (Eurowings) service to Hamburg from Birmingham using CRJ-900's.

 - Air Malta are starting their weekly service to BHX this week with Airbus A320's.

 - FedEx now have revised schedules at BHX and are using Boeing 757-200's instead of the previous ATR-72's.

 - Air Transat have re-started their summer charter flights to Toronto using Airbus A310's (A330's expected later in the summer).


Friday, 4 May 2012

bmibaby troubles

Following the recent take over of the bmi group by IAG (Internation Airlines Group, which includes Iberia and British Airways), bmibaby's future looks very uncertain.

All of bmibaby's Belfast routes and a few of their Birmingham and East Midlands services will cease on the 11th June, with flights only availiable for booking on the remaining routes until 9th September. If by the latter date bmibaby doesn't have a buyer, it looks likely that they'll have to end operations.

Please note some flights up untill the 11th June and then others untill the 9th September are still bookable and are (relatively) secure. IAG has plans to sell bmi Regional to Granite Aviation, while bmi mainline is being incorporated into British Airways' fleet at Heathrow.

BBC news link:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17940862

bmibaby link:
http://www.bmibaby.com/bmibaby/faqs/important_information.aspx

Birmingham Airport link:
http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2012/05/bmibaby-news-article.aspx

It's interesting to note in light of recent events that Flybe are opening a new base at East Midlands, with 2 Embraer 175's, as are Monarch. Both will operate routes which were previously a bmibaby monopoly.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Asia from BHX and a new 757

With Heathrow full to bursting and other southeast airports getting busy too, could flights to Asia from Birmingham be a possibility?
http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2012/04/birmingham-airport-negotiates-direct-air-services-to-asia.aspx

Also Boeing are seriously considering a replacement for the 757, as airlines such as US Airways have expressed interest in a new 230 seat transatlantic narrow-body:
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/boeing-confirms-long-haul-757-replacement-study-371163/

The 757 serves a niche market: for example, the United flights from Newark to BHX just wouldn't be profitable with any other type. The 737-900ER and Airbus A321 have similar passenger capacities but are short on range.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Olympic rings and tornadoes!

Olympic rings have been put up on the new control tower at Birmingham airport, link here:
http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2012/04/giant-olympic-rings-unveiled-at-birmingham-airport.aspx

In other 'sky' related news, the heavy showers and convective conditions of the past week have produced a handful of funnel clouds and the odd tornado: including one in Rugby, Warwickshire:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-17851013

A good website for tracking storms (although tornadic weather cells do not necesasarily produce lightning) is Bliztortung, a lightning detection network:
http://www.blitzortung.org/Webpages/index.php?lang=en&subpage_0=4

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Easyjet to serve Belfast from Birmingham

Easyjet (U2/EZY) have announced they are starting a year-round (initially daily) flight from Belfast International to Birmingham.

Easyjet currently fly to Geneva and Grenoble from BHX but only in the ski season. This new route is the only link to Belfast International from Birmingham, with both Flybe and bmibaby offering flights to Belfast City airport.

Flights start in October.

Link here:
http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2012/04/easyjet-news-article.aspx

Friday, 13 April 2012

Daytrip to Paris trip report! [Part 3]

The 'day' in Paris
The walk out of the terminal was almost as long as the taxi, and then trying to navigate the area inbetween terminal 2E and 2F was made difficult due to the lack of detailed signage. Eventually we ended up at our bus stop and caught the Roissybus for 10 Euros per person one way. A bit expensive, although it seems to be the easiest way to get into central Paris from CDG. The journey takes approximately 1 hour (50 mins there, 1H 15 on the way back) depending on traffic, and it takes you to Opera.

Thankfully we'd arranged to meet a friend next to the Opera who used to live in Paris, and he gave us a brief and manic tour of  the city: without him 3 hours would be nowhere near enough time to see what we did!

Travel was by metro and on foot. The metro system is efficient but confusing if you haven't familiarised yourself with the routes beforehand! A 'carnet' of 5 tickets (allowing 5 individual journeys) was around 12 Euros. Again, the metro is a necessity if you've only got a few hours, the city is just too big to walk everywhere!

Our first stop was the Trocadero, looking towards the magnificant Tour Eiffel:
Next it was the Place de la Concorde:
And on towards the Louvre...
Then, back on the metro, heading for the Arc de Triomphe and its infamous traffic:
We then walked back along the Champs Elysees, stopping briefly at a Haagen Dazs shop, before hopping back on the metro to Opera (Opera building below):
Phew! We got back on the Roissybus 3H 15 mins after we got off. Safe to say we were knackered! The journey back was longer due to traffic (which was at times downright scary...). Getting round the airport was easier for departures I thought, and we were quickly through security and into the impressive Terminal 2E:

Paris Charles-De-Gaulle (CDG/LFPG) to Birmingham (BHX/EGBB) BE3010
Beware: food in the airport is ridiculously expensive. But somehow the building, and the excellent views of RWY26 R and L made up for that. 2 Flybe Embraer 195's landed, ours was the latter and due to a crew swap with the Manchester aircraft we were about 20 minutes late taking off. Aircraft was G-FBEH:
I didn't film the flight back because by the time we reached RWY26R for departure it was too dark. But in summary it was a calm flight, cruising at FL260 and landing on RWY33 at Birmingham bang on time. Once again Flybe were faultless!

So overall, a great day of flying and sightseeing. Hectic, mad, rushed, but utterly brilliant!

Daytrip to Paris trip report! [Part 2]

Alors,

Our flight (which was around 90% load factor) was only in the cruise for about 10 minutes before starting descent just before crossing the French coast. Initially all was calm - until we hit the cloud. Weather at the time was a cold front lying over Paris, and flying through it was somewhat turbulent... the cloud base was low (2000 feet ish) with steady rain and gusty south-westerly winds. After losing our bearings completely in the cloud, we emerged on final to RWY 27R, CDG's most northernly of 4 runways. Landing video here:
What followed was a looooooong taxi, all the way across the airfield, crossing several roads and passing Terminals 1, 3 and most of the 2's. We passed Concorde and quite a few A380's, always nice to see! We finally arived on time at the far sout-east of the airport at Terminal 2E.

Overall I was impressed with Air France, good legroom, clean aircraft, friendly crews and ontime. What more do you want? (Apart from a cheaper fare but that always applies :P)


Stay tuned for Part 3 which includes the 'day' in Paris and flight BE3010 back to BHX!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Big Bang

If you live in  the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Wiltshire or thereabouts, you may have heard at around 18:10 on 12/04/12, a loud boom. Turns out it was a pair of RAF Typhoos, one of which flying supersonic, sent up to intercept a Helicopter which was accidentally squawking the hijack code!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-17697328


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Daytrip to Paris trip report! [Part 1]

Bonjour!

Birmingham (BHX/EGBB) to Paris Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG/LFPG) AF2065 / BE3003 
So it was time for my annual birthday daytrip once again and this time we were headed for Paris! We arrived at Birmingham fairly early and went straight to the Flybe self-service check-in desks, as we'd booked through Flybe and had a Flybe booking reference. However the machine printed off a slip of paper basically saying 'go to an Air France self-service check-in'...so we did (not before asking at customer service desk :p).

Security was as ever quick but thorough (had to take my shoes off...), and then it was onwards to the old Terminal 1 departures lounge which is so packed with shops it wouldn't be hard to get lost! Beyond that was the International Pier and parked right at the end was Airbus A318 F-GUGK:
 Air France are the worlds largest operator of the A318 with 18 in their fleet (also this was for my 18th Birthday!). The A318 sold badly compared the 319/320/321, so I seized the chance to fly one from BHX.
We sat near the back in row 19, the A318 seems even shorter inside than out! Take-off was from RWY33 on a Cowly 3D departure:

 A few bumps on the climb out and some 'cloud surfing' made for a fun departure, but the landing would be even better: Part 2 of this trip report coming very soon!



Tuesday, 3 April 2012

BA Olympic livery

British Airways are repainting 9 Airbus A319's in this olympic dove livery:

http://www.airliners.net/photo/British-Airways/Airbus-A319-131/2087804/L/

What do you think? Initially I thought the feathers looked more like scales... however the lack of the Olympic rings is the biggest disspointment, I think. The gold flag on the tail looks great though!


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Routes update

It's nearly April and those new routes are starting, the biggest news is the expansion of Monarch, which now have a based BHX fleet of 4/5 Airbus A320's and 21's. Also the evening Air France service from/to Paris Charles-de-Gaulle (AF1564/AF1565) is now operated by Brit Air Bombardier CRJ-1000's. The Brit Air Lyon service has now ended. So Air France now has 6 daily rotations at BHX to CDG, including the Flybe codeshares, 3 are E95's, 2 318's (although 320's are fairly common too) and a CRK.

Stay tuned for a Paris trip report in a few weeks! (Just missed out on the CRK, we're getting the later E95 flight :P)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Trip to BHX

It's exciting times at Birmingham, the plans for runway extension are being finalised with the preferred contractors being announced:
http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2012/03/preferred-contractor-article.aspx

Monarch and bmiBaby are also starting their new routes in the coming weeks, details of these here:
http://midlandskies.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/all-new-routes-from-birmingham.html

Anyway! Some movements at BHX yesterday:
A Thomson Airways Boeing 767-300ER ready for departure to Bridgetown, Barbados
One of Flybe's new Embraer 175's...
...this example is G-FBJA.
Emirates 40 approaching Echo 1...
...operated today by Boeing 777-300ER A6-EBH.
Finally the star movement was an RAF C-17 Globemaster, even though their appearance at BHX is generally never a good sign:







Sunday, 18 March 2012

A quick update

Not much news other than Air Malta (KM/AMC) will be returning to Birmingham this summer with a series of charter flights.

Coming soon on Midlandskies...
  • A daytrip to Paris trip report
  • More pics from BHX
  • All the aviation news from BHX, EMA and COV

Monday, 5 March 2012

Ryanair Budapest cancellations

Firstly, these do not effect Birmingham flights. So why I am posting about this? I found their news release funny:



"RYANAIR TO CANCEL 13 BUDAPEST FLIGHTS OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS, AS BUDAPEST BORDER CONTROL REFUSE PERMISSION FOR FLIGHTS TO DEPART

Ryanair, Hungary’s favourite airline, today (Fri 2nd Mar) announced that it would cancel 13 return flights to/from Budapest over the next two weeks (see below), as the Border Control Police at Budapest Airport insist that some Ryanair pilots and cabin crew get off the aircraft and clear through immigration on 25 minute turnarounds, despite the fact that these crews live and work in Budapest. There is no EU requirement for such immigration clearance for pilots and cabin crew on turnaround and this stupid procedure is not required or implemented at any of Ryanair’s 170 other EU airports.

Since Ryanair’s Budapest base opened on 17th February last, Ryanair has learned that the Border Control Police at Budapest require Ryanair’s Budapest based crews on 25 minute turnarounds (on flights that have arrived from Ireland or the UK) to get off the aircraft with their passengers, clear through immigration, so that they can get back on the aircraft and operate their flight departures. This idiotic procedure has caused a series of flight delays and considerable inconvenience to thousands of Ryanair passengers, both in Budapest and elsewhere."



You wouldn't get that from any other airline! 


Full version here:

http://www.ryanair.com/hu/news/budapest-flight-cancelations-3-16-mar




Saturday, 25 February 2012

More CRJs to come!

Lufthansa have announced they are re-starting their service to Hamburg using CRJ's:
http://www.bhx.co.uk/meta/news/2012/02/lufthansa-news-article.aspx

While the evening Air France service to/from Paris CDG, currently an Airbus A318, will become a Brit Air CRJ-1000 as of 25/03/12. This follow the news that Brit Air's twice daily Lyon service will end at a similar date, this was operated by CRJ-100's (100 not 1000, there is a 50 seat difference!).

Monday, 20 February 2012

D-Day: Dakotas and Gliders

Well, back from France now, and while there we went to a D-Day aviation museum in Sainte Mere Eglise, a small town in Normandie which was in the middle of events on the 6th June 1944. The museum had a restored US-built Waco glider and a Douglas C-47 (military variant of the DC-3/Dakota).

 John Steele famously landed on the church in Sainte Mere, effectively having to play dead amongst the barrage of bullets while American forces liberated the town
A Waco glider, these were towed aloft by C-47's, each carrying 13 troops. The British Horsa gliders were larger, seating up to 28.

The instruments on a Horsa

 Inside a Waco

C-47 
A different view!







Sunday, 12 February 2012

Round~up

Only a few bits and bobs, the main news is that the evening Fedex ATR flight will become a MAN-BHX-CDG operation using Boeing 757's as of late March. Also, the new Eurojet hangar is open which now houses Eurojet's fleet of Cessna Citations.

I'll be away in La France for a week as of tonight so there will probably be a lack of updates. The upshot is driving past Southampton Airport on the way down to Portsmouth!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Midland Airports going green

East Midlands Airport installed wind turbines back in May 2011 to reduce the airports reliance on mains supply electricity: meaning smaller electricity bills for the airport and less pollution for the environment:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-13343937

Now it seems Birmingham Airport is following suit, with photovoltaic cells on the terminal roof:
http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2012/02/solarpanels-news-article.aspx
These will power lighting and automatic doors, and again will cut bills and emissions.

Even though these energy improvements are negligable compared to the emissions of aircraft, these technologies are only just becoming economically viable and we need to start somewhere: on the ground seems a sensible place to do that.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

That was the snow... [edit]

So, there were quite a few diversions from BHX, and none as far as I know inbound! The diverts out included:
 - 2 to Cardiff
 - 1 to Manchester
 - 2 to Stansted
 - 2 to Newcastle
 - 1 to Glasgow!! (EK37)
 - 1 to East Midlands

Emirates is due to position back into BHX at ~11:00am on 05/02 as the EK37A so there could well be 2 EK 777's on the ground this lunchtime.

East Midlands was also affected, not to mention the now infamous-for-snow-Heathrow...

[Edit]: A Thomson 767 diverted to EMA and has just (11:10) postioned back to BHX

Friday, 3 February 2012

Here comes the snow

Not much news apart from that Turkish Airlines' service to Birmingham from Istanbul will become daily from March. Also, with snow forecast tomorrow (04/02/12), there's always the chance of a few diversions. There's usually the odd British Airways 777 or 747 from Heathrow which diverts to BHX, and ocasionally there are hordes of aircraft from all of Londons airports like in the last few years!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

A bit of BE

A snippet of  Flybe news, one of the 6 new routes they recently announced, one is Birmingham to Waterford in Ireland. The route, starting 25/03/12 will be daily using Bombardier Dash 8-Q400's.
http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2012/01/waterford-news-article.aspx

Also, here's a pic of recently delivered G-FBJA at BHX:
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Flybe---British/Embraer-ERJ-170-200LR-175LR/2051092/L/&sid=4f0f8e2294c8d7e6a2acc89695f6c494

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Trip to BHX!

Some movements at Birmingham Airport today...

A6-ECZ, an Emirates 777-300 after arrival from Dubai
2 Heavies: EK39 taxies to stand while Thomson Airways (First Choice) Boeing 767-300ER G-OOBL pushes back

G-EZFT, an EasyJet Airbus A319, departs to Grenoble
G-OOBL Departs off RWY15...
Next stop, Bridgetown!