23/09/2013

Lisbon Airport (LPPT/LIS) 22/09/2013




   Last weekend I’ve finally got back to taking photos while doing planespotting, after buying (again) a Canon 400D and the short 18-55 lens. My previous photographic equipment had been stolen from me while I was taking a power nap in Milan Malpensa in February 2011, so I can’t put words to how excited and happy I was to get back to photos.
                Making use of a fantastic light, I was quick to return to the airport and try the “new” toy. Some of the visitors that made my day on that morning:

N19136  B757-224  United Airlines


CS-TOF  A330-223  TAP

LN-NGH  B737-8JP  Norwegian

P4-MLC  BD-700

 
  For the time being I don’t have much availability to visit Lisbon airport that often, but in the future there will be plenty of opportunities (and sunshine) to capture some of it’s visitors.

Rui Miguel

19/09/2013

Do you remember Lagun Air?



                Changes are part of daily operations across airports and airlines every day, and that’s by far, in my opinion, one of the reasons why I love planespotting so much. Planes change from airline to airline every day, new routes are created, other are axed, new colours are painted and new registrations are given, keeping the hobby far from boring. To remember the old days and its nostalgia are a thrilling part of the hobby and definitely an integral part of this blog. Do you remember Lagun Air?

                Created in September 2003, the Spanish regional airline Lagun Air was based at León Airport. During its first 2 years of operations it was managed by the “Consorcio del Aeropuerto de León” and operated a Saab 340 and it’s collapsed back then was attributed to poor management of the airport by AENA, that manages the majority of airports in Spain. 

EC-IRR  Saab 340A  Lagun Air


Shortly afterwards, the airline return to operations (now managed by local company AGELCO) with a new slogan and identity. Flights are resumed from their base to Palma, Valencia, Alicante and Malaga. On September 2006 the airline received its first Embraer 145, EC-JYB, through leasing from ECC Leasing, ahead of starting new flights in November from Valladolid to Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and Palma. 
 


EC-JYB  Embraer145MP  Lagun Air


A 2nd Embraer 145, EC-KBI, was added to its fleet to support network growth as in March and June they would start services from Salamanca and adding Jerez and Ibiza as new destinations.

EC-KBI  Embraer 145MP  Lagun Air


                By the end of 2007 the airline claimed it had more than doubled its flights from León airport from 3000 in 2006 to 6100 that same year. It is no surprise that the regional airport saw an all-time high of passengers that year with approximately 126.000 passing through the facility. In the beginning of the summer of 2008 a third, and last, ‘145 was added and registered EC-KSS. 

EC-KSS  Embraer 145MP  Lagun Air

Apart from Valladolid and Salamanca, Burgos was also a focus city for the airline, although during that summer flights operating to Burgos only took place between July and September, because of economic problems and disputes with the local Government of Castilla and León. For Lagun Air it was the beginning of the end.

                On the 8th of October 2008 it was announced on its own website that the airline would cease all operations starting the following day. The reason for the closure was attributed to economic difficulties. In fact it was a difficult time for airlines in Spain, as charter specialists Futura had ceased their operations 1 month before and Spanair would fire about 1200 employees from a total of 4000. Lagun Air stranded passengers were accommodated in Air Nostrum flights. Passengers’ numbers felt in León airport year by year and in 2012 the facility handled almost 51.000 people. Its unusual green colours adorned by the Embraers are now a memory, but its story is a true testament how fragile and dependent sometimes are regional airports from their based operators.


Rui Miguel

08/09/2013

BREAKING THE MYTH IN TEL AVIV




Whether there are planes flying or not, two things are compulsory to do plane spotting: a plane and the spotter. That was an easy one. So, and by this simple equation, any place that has planes, either on storage and no longer flying or active, is a place where you go and do plane spotting. On my (and I’m sure everyone’s) wildest dreams, I wish all the airfields had the facilities and were trouble free to do the hobby. It is part of the plane spotting experience to be asked security questions by airport security personnel, who see us standing on the same place for most of the day pointing the lens of our Canons and Nikons to airplanes. People have been arrested and charged, but things have improved, with plane spotters acting, for example in UK, as a way to look out for suspicious activities on the airport perimeter area.

A quick look into the internet will give you plenty of information on where to stand if a specific runway is being used for landing in, for example, Amsterdam or London Heathrow, two of the most visited airports in Europe for spotting (let’s take the “plane” out since we all know I’m not talking about spotting flying pigs or UFO’s). Information is easily shared by those who have been there, so more and more things are getting less complicated. However, there’re, and will always be, those airports where spotters don’t massively flock to. There’s always something interesting to see in a capital city airport whether that is in Kathmandu or Accra. The little information you will find on the internet about spotting on those airports will bring the most of your best adventurous skills in trying to figure it out, where to go around the fence, how to get there, and possible security issues. If only spotting was so easy in Jeddah as it is in Amsterdam… That is way it was a bit shocking that one of my early spotting trips was to Tel Aviv airport Ben Gurion, shaking the myth that was surrounding this airport with uncertain and possible interrogation by the mossad.

                Once Tel Aviv was chosen, all the relevant homework started. Since there were no guides online for spotting there, neither the airport has a public official location for people to see the planes go by, I turn to the 2 options left available: ask the local spotters and Google Earth. Google Earth provided me with a view of the surroundings and possible good locations, although only once I get there I could be assured that those places are publicly accessible. Apart from that, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport has 6 runways, that means 6 possible directions for landing. I made a few questions about which was the most frequent runway in use for landings and I’ve also “studied” the wind information for the past 2 years during the month of May so that I could decide where I would base myself for most of the time I would spent at the airport. For those who think this is way too much effort let me tell you that in 1 afternoon I’ve witnessed two runway changes, making me walk (and run after a Swiss A340) along the motorway…

Sooooo, on the 4th of May 2008, and after 2 days of spotting in Barcelona, I flew on a Clickair A320 landing at early morning the following day for the 2nd time in Israel. While trying to go to city centre by bus I accidentally got lost while jumping from one bus to the other, and what do you know…? I found myself on the same crossroad that I had seen a million times from above on Google Earth.  The spotting location was on the so called “Airport City” that is located east of the airport and on the approach path for runway 30 landings. Because this place is only good during the afternoons (the sun is on your back) I never went there in the mornings, leaving that time of the day to cure from “last night” as Tel Aviv has one of the best party scenes on the region (one of the reasons why I’ve returned to Israel after attending to beach parties in Eilat 2 years before). 

One last thing before going for the photos. My personal experience with security. Airport city is separated from the airport fences by a motorway and buildings. Therefore you will not raise any concerns on police performing standard perimeter checks inside the airport. In fact one lady working on one building, seeing me there standing looking to the sky, asked me if I was waiting for someone. When I’ve explained what I was doing she was kind enough to offer me water and place by the shade and on the grass, a few steps ahead of where I was standing. I never saw any security personal apart from some IDF personal next to a local shop nearby, so everything was very relaxing and easy. Here’re the photos.

4K-AZ61  IL-76TD  Silk Way

4X-ABE  A330-223 Israir

4X-AHH  DHC-7 102 Arkia

4X-ATL  ATR-42 320  Israir

4X-AVU  ATR-72 212A  Arkia

4X-AXM  B747-2B5B(SF)  El Al Cargo

4X-BAU  B757-3E7  Arkia

4X-CIC  Piper PA-42 Orange Aviation

4X-EBT  B757-258  Sun d'or International

4X-EAD  B767-258  El Al
4X-EBU  B757-258  El Al

4X-ECC  B777-258/ER  El Al

4X-EKE  B737-758  El Al

4X-EKI  B737-86N  El Al

4X-EKO  B737-8K5  El Al

4X-ELB  B747-458  El Al

4X-ICM  B747-271C/SCD  Cargo Airlines

250  B707-331C(KC)  Israel Air Force

D-ABTB  B747-430  Lufthansa

EC-KDI  A319-111  Iberia

EI-DON  B737-3Y0  KD Avia

F-HBIL  A330-243  Corsair

G-YMMO  B777-236/ER British Airways

HA-LOU  B737-8Q8  Malev

HB-JMI  A340-313X  Swiss

I-BIXT  A321-112  Alitalia

N865DA  B777-232/ER  Delta

N1609  B767-332/ER  Delta

N78003  B777-224/ER Continental

OM-ASC  B737-3Z9  Air Slovakia

TC-MNN  A300B4-203  MNG Airlines

TC-OAK  A321-231  Onur Air

UR-VVM  B737-448  Aerosvit

YL-LCB  A320-211  Lat Charter (Israir)



                Of course that most of these planes can be seen outside of Israel, but if you want to check it out the smaller one, like the ATR of Arkia and Israir, then you have to travel to their home base. That’s why that every country has its own pearls of aviation, its local stuff that you can’t see outside them. For that, every country is eligible to travel to and to do plane spotting on it.

Rui Miguel