Thursday, 29 April 2010

Views from Bergamo airport

Another Ryanair-related post, but I could not resist the temptation of uploading this picture taken at Bergamo airport (BGY), in Italy. Airports have normally dull surroundings, but you can see in the photo what are the background views from the terminal at BGY. Behind this Ryanair Boeing 737-800 promoting the city of Nykkoping, Sweden, a view of Bergamo's "Citta Alta" and the Alps. Not for nothing is Italy "il bel paese"!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Around Europe with Ryanair

First stop: Stansted (STN)

Boarding the flight at sunrise

Second stop: Girona (Barcelona) (GRO)

It's amazing to think that Girona airport used to be always literally empty all winter less than a decade ago...

Third stop: Orio al Serio (Bergamo-Milan) (BGY)

Judging from the view, Bergamo has become an important base for Wizz Air, the main low-cost from Eastern Europe.

More Eastern European conection at Bergamo: a Boeing 737 of Romanian carrier Blue Air, serving the demand that arises from the important demographic and economic links between Italy and Romania

Next Stop: Madrid (this deserves an entirely separate post...)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Airline commercials: route networks and tube maps

Maybe because I pay more attention now that I am busy with my new map-based venture,, but I have been coming across many airline commercials in the tube that use cool ways to display route networks and use them as a marketing tool.

Here is the first one from Easyjet, found in the London tube, displaying the main ski resorts that can be reached from different Easyjet destinations. I found this to be an elegant way to show useful information and a good way to suggest winter travel ideas.

Here another one, by Spanair, at the Barcelona Metro. Here the focus and the message is different, although the visual concept is similar. Spanair wants to highlight the scope of its network (including some destinations that are actually served by its Star Alliance partners, like Singapore), at a time when it is trying to position itself as Barcelona's main network airline, after it recent takeover by Catalan institutions.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Planespotting at Madrid Barajas

While we wait for the volcanic ash to dissipate, here are some pictures that I took on a recent trip to Madrid Barajas (MAD) a very interesting airport for planespotting and one of Europe's main connecting hubs if you are flying towards Latin America. It is certainly the best place in Europe to spot planes from that part of the globe. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

An Easyjet A319, Easyjet has built an active base at MAD in the past few years despite strong competition from Ryanair, Vueling, Iberia, Spanair and Air Europa, all of them with an important presence at Madrid Barajas.

A Boeing 767 of Venezuelan airline SBA (formerly known as Santa Barbara Airlines), that covers the route to Caracas.

One of Air Europa's A330, Air Europa is the Spanish member of Skyteam

A Philippines Airlines A340. Despite being a former Spanish colony, the air links between the Philippines and Spain are very few. This is actually the first time I see a Philippine plane at Madrid Barajas.

If this post is about MAD, Iberia could not be missed. Here a McDonnell Douglas MD-87, one of the few left in the fleet, that is progressively becoming Airbus-only.

A Boeing 757 operated by Spanish carrier Gestair Cargo. The image quality is not very good as I got some light reflected on the terminal's windows...

An Aerolineas Argentinas Boeing 747 getting ready for the daily night flight to Buenos Aires (EZE)

Swiss A320, a regular visitor at MAD.

A colourful livery by Brazilian airline TAM. Already in a World Cup mood!

A pair of Jumbos operated by Spanish charter carrier Air Pullmantur, usually flying Spanish tourists to the Caribbean beaches.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Great website to check air traffic live!

With all aircraft in Northern Europe grounded and millions of passengers stranded, it is time to visit this very interesting website, that, at the time I am writing this post, shows an unusual picture of air traffic in Europe, with the only aircraft moving along the Portugal-Spain-Italy-Turkey axis...

Besides the particularity of the situation, I like this website, nice design and very easy to use, just click on any of the small airplanes on the map and you will get all the details!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Airlines and climate change in the London tube

I recently came across the following advertisement while at the London underground. Quite puzzling to be honest...the colours and theme look the same, but to the left is China Airlines announcing its new London-Taipei service (inaugurated last March), to the right Oxfam dennouncing the dangers of climate change. My first thought: are both ads part of the same marketing campaign? maybe China Airlines contributing to some carbon neutral scheme? I read the small print (unfortunately not readable in the photograph) and I doubt it. Option 2): climate change campaigners mimmicking the theme of airline advertisements and then selecting their ads to be placed next to the airline ones? maybe...

but then I saw this at another tube station:

Another climate change ad next to an airline advertisement, this time the venerable British airline Monarch (letting everyone know that it has now been ferrying holidaymakers to Europe's sunny spots for over four decades, quite remarkable in this industry!).

So, it seems the colour coincidence with China airlines was just that: a coincidence (I wonder what the China Airlines marketing people are thinking, in case they know...), however not too sure about the placement of climate change ads next to airline ads is such a coincidence, I haven't seen them anywhere else, but the sample is just to small to be able to tell...if this is the case, this means that advertising in the tube is not as "dumb" as it looks, you can select the placement to reach your potential customers or to discredit your rivals...In the meantime will keep looking to see whether I find more cases!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Planespotting at Barcelona airport (BCN)

Here are some pics taken while waiting to board my flight at BCN. They were taken from T2 terminal (the old and now almost empty terminal), that has a nice view of one of the runways and of the brand-new T1 terminal, although the distance is considerable, as you can see from the size of the planes in the image.

Norwegian Boeing 737

Luxair's De Havilland DHC-8 400 just arrived from Luxemburg

A Vueling A320 heading for Terminal 1, Vueling is now the airline that carries more passengers at BCN

An AirBaltic Boeing 737 from Riga

Lufthansa A320 from Munich

Airbus 320 from Czech airline CSA arriving from Prague-Ruzyne