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!