After 15 days in North Queensland it was almost time for home but we ended our trip with a flight down to the state capital Brisbane, where we stayed a night. Brisbane is a much busier and spotter friendly airport than Cairns, however once again spotting wasn't really on the table. Nonetheless I did capture some interesting subjects.
There has been a silence here at Yesterday's Airlines for the past two weeks, due to a family holiday, but I am back now and ready to get back into the usual diet of aviation history and 1:400 releases. Before I do that however let's take a quick look at what has been going on and what I've seen on my hols.
At the end of January 2006 my wife and I took a short trip out to Great Barrier Island. For those unfamiliar with the geography Great Barrier is New Zealand's sixth biggest island (285 sq kms) situated about 100km NE of Auckland. You can get there by car ferry but the best way is to fly into the main airfield at Claris. So that's what we did leaving as you'd expect from Auckland International.
Bearing in mind that these photos are never going to win any awards I hope this and future entries provide an interesting example of how traffic and the Auckland Airport itself has changed since I've been living in NZ. I start with a variety of shots from 2005. Back then the airport had two viewing areas - one in each terminal and what now seems like old fashioned visitors like 747s!
Hopefully this will be the first in a series of photo essays showing how traffic has changed at AKL.
I grew up in the West Sussex town of Horsham, which for those unaware of England's geography, is a historic market town just south of the 'new town' of Crawley and its adjacent international airport London Gatwick. I spent much of my childhood watching aircraft on the viewing area or alongside the runway. I went to an all boys Secondary school (that's for ages 11-16 - like US High School I think) and a progamme they ran was a two week work experience break. Somehow I lucked out and spent 2 weeks with the engineering department of Northwest Airlines!
The backpacking trip around NZ of my, by then, fiance and myself was sadly cut short by the news of my father's illness back home. If an upside can be found from it all there was at least the chance to fly in a Jetstream 41 and take the rather entertaining route of Dunedin-Christchurch-Nelson-Auckland. Once again these are all scans of print photos so apologies for the quality however the content is still I believe of interest and Origin Pacific was a great little airline.
Wellington is hardly renowned for its international operations, however at the time it did have some interesting visitors including scheduled widebodies, flights to the Pacific islands and out to the isolated Chathams. Here we look at the jets and one interesting prop heavyweight. Jet traffic back then was dominated by the 737 whereas nowadays its the A320 but even though both types are hardly unusual the liveries they wore were sometimes different (at least if you're a European).
Before I moved over to New Zealand permanently my girlfriend and I backpacked around NZ for a couple of months. Come the end of March 2002 and we found ourselves in Wellington for Easter. After 5 days in the big smoke we were scheduled to catch the interislander over to Picton on April 1st but stormy seas interrupted our plans. What's an Englishman to do? Go spotting of course!
Heathrow, even worse than Gatwick, has been pretty crap for spotting for years now with poor views and unfriendly security staff, however as long as you have a ticket Terminal 4 (BA's old terminal now used for Skyteam and non-aligned airlines) is a breath of fresh air (or should I say kerosene) for the aviation enthusiast. Thanks to the annoyances of modern long haul travel I was lucky enough to find myself with several hours at T4 recently.
As a lad I grew up at Gatwick. That was a time during the 1980s when not only could you get up close to the side of the runway but there was also an excellent spectator's terrace (complete with hobby shop). Needless to say Gatwick has changed substantially since then and under BAA's stewardship spotters were treated pretty poorly. The viewing area's view was restricted heavily and then it was closed, with no substitute, whilst spending time around the perimeter was not exactly welcomed. On my recent trip back to the UK I popped across to Berlin and that gave me a chance to revisit LGW and see what i could see.
Kuala Lumpur International (KLIA) is a very pleasant airport to spend time in and at the times we were there it didn't seem especially busy. This is no doubt partly due to the well documented troubles Malaysia Airlines has had recently, but is also probably due to the transfer of all low-cost traffic to KLIA2. Despite this traffic was brisk and aside from the usual Asian airlines there were also a couple of unexpected visitors.
I have just returned from a trip home to the UK fron NZ. I've done this journey multiple times but try and see stopovers on the way. This time we travelled via Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines. Despite the adverse publicity I was fine flying Malaysia, which is a solid, safe and reliable, if not particularly profitable, airline. We spent a few days in KL so due to the modern inconveniences of air travel even though I didn't get any time to specifically get to do spotting I did get several hours near the traffic at the airport. Here's a review of my experience at KLIA.