Glasgow Airport Movements 2019
The downward spiral with regard to passenger numbers continues with both October and November 2019`s UK totals disclosed on the CAA website. The situation is that 770,000 travellers passed through Glasgow International in October which is down 13% on October 2018, followed by a 6.0% drop in November. The way things are going means that the final total for this year will likely be in the region of 8.5 million with no sign that the trend will be reversed in 2020. It wasn`t too long ago that 10 million passengers per annum at Glasgow looked a very real possibility. No doubt other carriers will step in to reinstate at least some of the routes that were lost following the collapse of Thomas Cook earlier this year, plus the COP26 climate conference that the city will host in November next year should boost traffic. Looking even further ahead, the completion of the new Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) next to the airport could result in additional corporate jet movements.
Although there was a cold snap overnight into Sunday 1 December, which left my plane-spotting Meerkat having to scrape the ice from his binoculars, hopes of some snow and crisp frosty mornings during the month were short-lived. With hills as a backdrop on several sides, Glasgow must be the best international airport in the UK for photography when skies are clear and the mountains are blanketed with the white-stuff.
The last significant snowfall the airport experienced during December was back in 2017 when these shots were taken. Even then, it thawed within a day or so.
Apart from 1 December, the first half of the month was basically dull, wet and windy. The worst weather was on Tuesday 10 December when driving rain and gales caused a fair bit of disruption to transport UK-wide. Although the local Icelandair flight, operated by TF-FIP, made it to Glasgow, the scheduled return later that day was cancelled, as were numerous inbound flights to Keflavik from across Europe - obviously conditions in Iceland were far worse than here. The passengers and crew of the Glasgow aircraft were forced to overnight but all made it to their destination the next day,
The helicopter pictured below on the afternoon of 11 December was using a `Pipeline` call-sign and continued to check the electricity pylons in the Inchinnan area despite 30 mph gusts. A couple of passenger aircraft inbound for the airport reported experiencing wind shear on the `23` approach.
It was announced this month that The Scottish government has chosen a preferred bidder for loss-making Prestwick Airport.
The Scottish government bought Prestwick Airport for £1 in November 2013 after its former owner, Infratil, earmarked it for closure following heavy losses. Ministers said at the time that the purchase would help protect the airport and safeguard thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
The government has since invested tens of millions of pounds in an effort to turn around the facility`s fortunes, including applying to become the UK`s premier horizontal-launch Space Port. Prestwick has an unrivalled major UK airport weather record and its 2,986-metre concrete case runway can easily accommodate the world`s largest planes, whether civil or military.
Ryanair, which operates a small number of flights from the airport each day, is Prestwick`s only civilian carrier with military traffic, transatlantic freighters and delivery flights making up the majority of movements. Prestwick`s financial situation has continued to deteriorate despite being taken into public ownership and in June this year, the Scottish government announced plans to sell it, with a 4 October deadline. Despite this date having passed, Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said he had accepted a recommendation from the airport's operators to appoint a preferred bidder, although he emphasised that he was not in a position to disclose the identity of the party involved at this stage. Last week, Prestwick Airport reported a major improvement in its financial performance over the past 12 months. Accounts filed with Companies House showed the facility cut its operating losses from £3m to £1m with much of the revenue generated from refuelling US military aircraft making transatlantic journeys.
The Global 6000, inbound from Massachusetts was carrying four people, one of whom was Liverpool Football Club`s billionaire owner Mike Gordon, when it ended up on the grass.
Fortunately no one was injured in the incident which occurred about 05:45 hrs. Mr Gordon had flown in from the USA for a series of meetings at Anfield.
A major incident was declared and the airport was closed to all traffic. Flights arriving from Salzburg, where Liverpool FC played on Tuesday night, the Isle of Man and Dublin were diverted to Manchester, while planes from Belfast and Amsterdam were cancelled. Disruption continued into the afternoon with many departures facing delays of over four hours.
The aircraft involved, Global 6000 9H-VJM, forms part of the sizeable VistaJet fleet of executive jets and has made numerous visits to Glasgow Airport over the years. Announced in October 1991, the prototype Global Express first flew on 13 October 1996. It received its Canadian-type certification on 31 July 1998 and entered service in July 1999. Initially powered by two BMW-Rolls-Royce BR710 engines, the aircraft shares its fuselage cross section with the Canadair Regional Jet and Challenger 600, but with a new wing and tail.
The shorter-range Global 5000 is slightly smaller than the updated Global 6000, some of which have been modified for military missions. The 6000 series has a maximum range of 11,100 km while the larger and stretched Global 7500/8000 can travel even further. (Liverpool Airport Images © Mercury Press & Media).
Boeing 737 MAX crisis continues with no end in sight. On 17 December, Boeing announced that it would temporarily halt production of its troubled Max airliner in January 2020. The manufacturer, one of the largest US exporters, had been hoping to have the planes back in the air by the end of this year and had continued to churn out additional aircraft. albeit at a slightly reduced rate. This was despite the model being grounded for nine months while attempts were made to resolve issues that were contributory in two separate deadly crashes, one in Indonesia and another in Ethiopia, in which a total of 346 people lost their lives.
Boeing has more than 4,500 of the twin jets on order with approximately 400 aircraft already in storage, some now occupying staff car parks due to a lack of space.
Just a week before the halt in production announcement was made, a congressional hearing was told that US aviation regulators were aware, following the first crash in Indonesia in October 2018, that there was a risk of further accidents.
The company said in a statement that it would not lay off workers associated with the 737 MAX, but the stoppage is likely to affect suppliers and the wider economy. Icelandair was just one of many carriers that had started operating the 737 MAX before the type was grounded worldwide in March 2019.
For the past nine months, Boeing has been seeking to fix anti-stall software known as the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). In both fatal crashes the system forced the nose of the aircraft down despite the pilots’ efforts to overcome it. The Federal Aviation Authority's analysis has suggested that there could be more than a dozen additional crashes over the lifetime of the aircraft unless changes were made to its design.
Just six days after Boeing announced that it was suspending the production of the 737 MAX, the company ousted its boss. The aerospace giant said Dennis Muilenburg had resigned as chief executive with immediate effect, after the board of directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company while it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders.
Chairman David Calhoun will serve as chief executive and president from 13 January 2020. Mr Muilenburg has led the company since 2015 but his position has come under increasing pressure following the disasters and in October he was stripped of his role as chairman while remaining as chief exec`. Shares in Boeing rose after the departure announcement. (US Boeing 737 MAX images © Seattle Times / The Guardian / CNN).
On 16 December it was announced that the ongoing dispute between British Airways pilots and their airline had been resolved. A strike over pay and conditions had led to a mass walkout in September but members of the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) and BA reached a tentative agreement last month, which reportedly promised an 11.5% pay rise over three years. Pilots subsequently voted by nearly nine to one to accept the new deal. A total of 2,325 flights were cancelled when pilots walked out on 9 and 10 September, with a further strike planned later that month. Although the second one was called-off at the last minute, BA had already started cancelling flights on the run up, causing further disruption for passengers. It`s estimated that the industrial action cost the carrier £121 million so the news of an amicable resolution is welcome on all fronts.
Any euphoria was short lived, however, as less than a week later, British Airways was named the second worst airline in Which? Travel’s annual airline survey. Which? rated 17 short-haul and 15 long-haul airlines operating flights to and from the UK, based on the experiences of 6,500 holidaymakers.
The UK British flag carrier, which just four years ago was named the best short-haul airline, was rated the second worst long-haul airline behind American Airlines, and third worst short-haul brand following Ryanair and Vueling. BA`s customer satisfaction score was just 55 per cent, only 11 per cent higher than Ryanair. BA customers derided the carrier for the quality of food and drink, the comfort of its seats and value for money for both its short-haul and long-haul services.
Not much happening this month, mainly just Emirates Expo 2020 Triple-sevens making up the numbers: Airbus A321-251NX(SL) G-UZME (f/v) easyJet (1st); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ENR Emirates (Expo 2020 orange colour scheme) (2nd); Boeing 737-8AS SP-RKB (f/v) Ryanair Sun and Airbus A320-232 G-POWM Titan Airways (4th); Airbus A320-251N G-UZLG (f/v) easyJet (5th); Boeing 777 A6-ENR Emirates (Expo 2020 orange) returned (6th); Airbus A330-223 G-VMIK Virgin Atlantic, Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EOP Emirates (Expo 2020 orange), Boeing 757-3E7(WL) TF-ISX Icelandair (100 Years of Icelandic Independence livery) and Airbus A321-211 G-POWV Titan Airways (7th); Boeing 737-8AS(WL) SP-RKA (f/v) Ryanair Sun (8th); Boeing 737-8CX SP-ENM Enter Air and Airbus A321-211 G-POWN Titan Airways (9th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPF Emirates (Expo 2020 green) (10th)...
Airbus A321-211 G-POWN Titan Airways and Embraer ERJ-190AR HB-JVU Helvetic Airways (11th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPO Emirates (Expo 2020 orange), plus ERJ-190AR HB-JVU returned (12th); Embraer ERJ-190AR HB-JVV Helvetic Airways and Bombardier CRJ-900ER EC-JZT Air Nostrum (13th); Boeing 757-256(WL) TF-FIR Icelandair (80 years of Aviation livery) (14th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ENG Emirates (Expo 2020 orange), Boeing 737-8AS(WL) SP-RKC (f/v) Ryanair Sun, plus Airbus A318-112 G-EUNA arrived for maintenance at the BA Engineering hangar (15th); Boeing 737-8AS(WL) SP-RKF (f/v) Ryanair Sun (16th)...
Airbus A330-243 C-GUBL Air Transat, plus Boeing 737-8CX(WL) SP-ENM and Boeing 737-8AS(WL) SP-ENP, both Enter Air (19th); Boeing 737-8Q8(WL) SP-ESB Enter Air (20th); Airbus A330-343 G-VGEM Virgin Atlantic and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-TUIL TUI (21st); Boeing 737-8Q8(WL) SP-ESB Enter Air (22nd); Boeing 737-8Q8(WL) SP-ENU and Airbus A320-214(WL) OE-IND easyJet Europe (23rd); Airbus A320-251N G-UZLB easyJet (24th); MERRY CHRISTMAS! (25th); SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A340-313 OY-KBM (Star Alliance livery) en route from Copenhagen to New York Newark diverted to Glasgow due to an on board medical emergency, plus Airbus A330-243 C-GUBL Air Transat and Boeing 737-8BK(WL) G-DRTG (f/v) Jet2 (26th); Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-TUIO TUI (27th);Boeing 757-256(WL) TF-FIR Icelandair (80 years of Aviation Livery) (28th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ENM Emirates (Expo 2020 orange livery) and Airbus A321-251NX G-NEOX (f/v) British Airways (30th).
Just Jetstream 41 G-MAJA of Eastern Airways on 4 December, followed by Saab 340AF ES-LSH on the 14th and 21st. Loganair`s first ATR 72-500, G-LMRZ, arrived late afternoon on Saturday 7 December for a short stay. I believe it will operate from Stornoway but no doubt it will re-appear here at some stage.
On Friday 20 December, a Loganair Saab 340 was damaged in a ground incident at Glasgow International. The Sumburgh-bound aircraft was about to push back when a toilet servicing truck, similar to the one on the left, reportedly belonging to Swissport, drove into it. No one was injured as a result of the collision but the plane was left with a dent, the extent of which hasn`t been announced. (Truck image © mallaghan).
The passengers, all of whom had been seated at the time, left the aircraft and returned to the terminal to await a replacement aircraft which was sourced from Aberdeen. No doubt the investigation into the accident will take any skid marks into account!
Unsurprisingly, the incident featured in the latest edition of the Shetland News which also has a website: shetnews.co.uk. Under the circumstances temporarily replacing the third letter in the domain name with an `i` may be more appropriate!
Please bear in mind that all my images are subject to copyright. They are not free to use and have been embedded with a digital watermark.
Aer Lingus Regional ATR 42-600 EI-GEV sets-off for Dublin on 20 December after a quick turnaround.
Also, unsurprisingly, a fairly quiet month for corporate traffic: Austrian Bombardier Challenger 300 OE-HLL and US-registered Learjet 60 N202N were stopovers from November. First biz-jet to call in during December was Cessna CitationJet CJ1 F-HKRA (1st); Cessna 560 Citation Encore+ D-CAWR, CitationJet M2 2-RNWL and Learjet 35A D-CONE (2nd); Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy 600 OK-SUN, Gulfstream IV N156WJ, Challenger 350 LN-JHH and Cessna Citation Bravo 2-WOOD (3rd); Citation M2 M-KNOX (4th); Dassault Falcon 50EX N883RA, plus Citation M2 M-KNOX returned (5th); Citation Excel G-LEAX and Embraer Phenom 300 G-JMBO (6th)...
Challenger 350 CS-CHC and Beech Raytheon Nextant 400XTi G-FXER (7th); Challenger 350 9H-VCL VistaJet, Dassault Falcon 7X M-CELT, Cessna 680A Citation Latitude CS-LAU, CitationJet CJ3 2-RBTS and CitationJet CJ2 D-IJOA (8th); Israel Aircraft Industries Gulfstream 200 Galaxy N886G (9th): Bombardier Challenger 350 I-FORZ and Citation Sovereign OO-KIN (11th); Gulfstream G280 OE-HGP, CitationJet CJ2 F-HMBG plus Embraer Phenom 300s D-CMMP and G-JMBO (13th); Learjet 45 LX-RSQ (15th); Challenger 350 CS-CHH, CitationJet CJ2 G-TWOP and Phenom 100 SP-IAF (16th); Learjet 35A D-CCCB (19th)...
Challenger 350 9H-VCJ VistaJet, Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy 650 D-AHOI and Cessna Citation XLS D-CANG, both Air Hamburg, plus Learjet 45 G-OICU (20th); Challenger 350 9H-VCG VistaJet (22nd); Challenger 350 9H-VCF VistaJet and Citation Excel OK-SLX Silesia Air (23rd); Global Express 9H-AYS and Beech Nextant 400XTi G-FXKR FlairJet (26th); Citation Mustang OE-FHA GlobeAir (27th); Hawker Beechcraft 750 9H-BSA and CitationJet CJ1 D-IMOI (28th); Embraer Phenom 300 F-HLRS and Hawker 800XP EI-WXP (29th); Dassault Falcon 2000LXS G-PULA, Cessna CitationJet CJ3 M-CITY and Phenom 300 G-JMBO (30th).
I`d be surprised if any planes on the Namibian-register have ever visited Glasgow before, so King Air 350 V5-WAN of Westair Aviation on the 19/20th December was a rare visitor. It was heading Stateside from Windhoek having left its base at Eros Airport in the Namibian capital on Wednesday 18 December. The Beech twin had stopped at Algiers Houari Boumediene Airport en route to Glasgow, staging next to Reykjavik, then Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, Goose Bay, Labrador and Bangor, Maine. I`ve no information as to its final destination.
Eros (above) is Windhoek`s second airport and is located in the Khomas Region, about 3 miles (5 km) south of city`s central business district. Although served by some Air Namibia services and charter operators such as Wilderness Air and Westair Aviation, Eros is primarily a busy general aviation hub although it handles a fair amount of corporate traffic. (The above views are © Wikipedia).
King Air 350 V5-WAN `s sister aircraft V5-WAZ and V5-WAII feature in this shot of the fleet at Eros Airport on the Westair Website. (Image © Westair Aviation).
Windhoek Hosea Kutako International (above) is Namibia`s main airport and lies 28 miles (45 km) east of the capital. I`ve never visited Eros but have flown in to the international airport several times in recent years. It`s a very laid-back place and seems more like a moderately busy regional airport rather than the country`s main gateway. Namibia is a superb holiday destination with friendly people, outstanding wildlife and landscapes, although there`s not much in the way of aviation interest. There`s an extensive section on this website covering the places I`ve visited with some general information which may prove useful for anyone planning a trip. Click here to view.
Just a few noteworthy GA movements this month: King Air 200s G-REXA (plus other dates) and G-WVIP (2nd); King Air 200 G-DXTR (8th); King Air 200 M-CDBM (13th); SOCATA TBM-940 N940AR (13th); King Air 200 G-IASM (plus other dates) (16th); Piaggio P-180 Avanti D-IRBS (17th); King Air 200 G-AISB (18th); King Air 350 V5-WAN (19th); and finally, AgustaWestland AW109SP Grand New G-DAYD (27th).
Scottish Ambulance service Kingair 200 G-SASC taxis out to line up for takeoff on its next mission. Tuesday 17 December 2019.
I believe Eurocopter EC135T2+ G-WASS is a Bond Air Services` machine currently operated by Wales Air Ambulance. I don`t know when it arrived at Glasgow but it emerged from the Gama hangar on the morning of the 21st, possibly having served as a temporary replacement while one of the locally-based ambulance choppers was under maintenance. G-WASS departed Glasgow about 12:30 hrs that afternoon and headed south, presumably returning to Wales.
Only two military machines this month: Airbus A321-231 serial number 15+04 of the German Air Force did a go-around of Runway 23 about 12:30 hrs on Thursday 5 November while on a training sortie. Then, on Friday 14 December, Cessna UC-35A Citation Ultra 96-00109 (above) of the US Air Force, call-sign `NINJA 18`, arrived to park up, resuming its journey after an overnight stop.
Following Advent International`s £4bn offer to buy Cobham in July this year, the government has approved the US private equity firm's takeover of the British defence and aerospace company. Shareholders approved the deal last month. Cobham, which employs 10,000 people, is known for pioneering technology which includes state-of-the-art systems for air-to-air refuelling. The firm, based in Wimborne, Dorset, also makes electronic warfare systems and communications systems for military and civilian vessels as well as military vehicles. Check out www.cobham.com for more information.
Defence experts maintained Cobham`s role in air-to-air refuelling is essential for modern warfare and that there could be national security issues if the company was sold. Lady Nadine Cobham, 76, the widow of Sir Michael Cobham, who built the company up over 25 years, also suggested that the deal might jeopardise the UK's capacity for mid-air refuelling if parts of the company were sold off by Advent at a later date. (Omega Tanker image © Omega Air, Other air-to-air refuelling shots © Cobham).
Concerns about the implications of the deal prompted a government consultation, but Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has now said she is satisfied any risks have been mitigated and gave the transfer the go-ahead. She emphasised that sensitive government information would continue to be protected following the sale and existing contracts would be honoured. The company is also obliged to give the UK government prior notice of any plans to sell the whole, or elements of, Cobham's business.
Cobham`s Dassault Falcons are a regular feature at Prestwick Airport during the twice-yearly Joint Warrior military exercises. Although the Cobham jets are civilian, they work closely with the MOD and play a major role in proceedings. They`re equipped with onboard systems and special electronic warfare mission pods for radar and communications jamming, threat simulation and electronic surveillance. The Falcons also act as hostile airborne targets for the warships by running in at low-level to simulate a sea skimming missile, or 'launch' simulated missiles electronically which the navy can track and respond to with their defensive systems.
Construction & Development
This month saw the publication of the first official newsletter for the Glasgow Airport Investment Area (GAIA) Project. Development began in June 2019 and when complete the locality will include new roads, bridges, cycling routes and pedestrian walkways, all of which are being funded by the £1.13 billion Glasgow City Region City Deal, a joint UK and Scottish governments initiative. The airport perimeter bordering Abbotsinch Road will be extended and the adjacent Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) will be the only one of its kind in the country. At its heart is Netherton Campus, which will be home to the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) and the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre.
Renfrewshire Council contracted Wills Bros Civil Engineering Ltd (WBCEL) to carry out the work with the GAIA project due for completion in early 2021. These shots and artists impressions are all taken from the Renfrewshire Council © and Paisley websites, both of which have further information on the development which includes a new bridge over the River Clyde to replace the Renfrew / Yoker Ferry. These views show the current state of the new bridge over the White Cart Water which will connect Netherton Campus with Wright Street in Renfrew.
A cofferdam was installed on the west side of the White Cart to provide a secure base for heavy machinery involved in the construction of the Wright Street bridge. The dam retains water and soil that allows the enclosed area to be pumped out and excavated dry. Before this was done, an ecological survey was carried out in order to check for potential marine life in the water enclosed within the structure.
The survey of the cofferdam was carried out by WBCEL along with support from an external ecologist. As the water level was very low, the examination was carried out by standing on the riverbed. Checks confirmed that there was no marine life entrapped within the sheet piling.
As part of the Wright Street Bridge Works there is a requirement for a boat to set up and maintain silt netting within the river.
Computer generated `fly-through` aerial views, including the one on the left, show how the airport and surrounding area will look once the project is complete. Views of planes on the ground from this side of the airfield are likely to be extremely limited at best. The project videos can be found via the following link:
Above: Views of how Netherton Campus should look once complete, and below, the new Renfrew / Yoker Bridge over the Clyde, seen from the southeast.
Above: Looking north along Abbotsinch Road from the entrance to Signature Aviation.
There was no activity at the Abbotsinch Road site on Sunday 29 December and it`s likely that the workers have downed tools for a well earned break until the New Year. Sheet piling has now been sunk into the ground on the east side of the Black Cart and the location will soon be further prepared to accommodate the Renfrew end of the new footbridge.
The derelict bothy that used to stand halfway down the farm track on the east side of Abbotsinch Road was demolished last summer. The track entrance, although narrow and partially screened by hedgerows on either side, had long been a popular unofficial car park with spotters, taxi drivers waiting to pick-up arriving passengers, and families who just wanted to sit and watch the planes. No doubt the local farmer is delighted that his days of driving along the lane with parked cars obstructing access are over.
This temporary artificial pond has been created on the spot where the bothy stood but I`m not sure for what purpose.
At the beginning of the month, along at Bishopton, the new M8 motorway access point, Junction 29A, opened three months ahead of schedule. Construction began in January 2017 and has taken less than three years to complete. Known as the Southbar Interchange, the project came about as part of BAE Systems’ ongoing transformation of the former Royal Ordnance Factory site into the Dargavel Village housing development. There had been a junction at this location previously but it was closed in the 1970s. The new layout differs significantly from the original due to the fact that far less land was available to the developers so the incorporation of two roundabouts has helped to keep the site`s footprint relatively compact.
The multimillion-pound junction joins the intersection of the A8 Greenock Road and the M8 motorway, providing direct access eastbound towards Paisley, Glasgow Airport and the city itself, as well as an exit slip for Bishopton and Erskine from the westbound carriageway. No access has been provided to or from the north. The work was undertaken by UK-based civil engineering company Morgan Sindall Infrastructure on behalf of BAE Systems. More than 50 companies were involved in the design and build, of which 40 percent were Scotland-based.
More of Renfrewshire`s agricultural fields and natural woodland, even outwith the development areas, continue to disappear, especially at Erskine and Inchinnan, most due to housing. A large chunk of the Newshot Island Local Nature Reserve was bulldozed earlier in the year to accommodate a new underground sewage pipe and although the project has finished, fenced compounds are still in place. Even if trees are planted to replace those cut down, the site will take years to recover.
I was walking home along the walkway one morning this month and came across this family of Roe Deer which had been feeding right beside the nature reserve path at Park Quay. They didn`t bound-off right away so I managed a couple of snaps with my compact camera. I noticed that one of the animals had a nasty gash at its throat and can only assume that it was the result of a dog attack. Foxes will have a go at Roe Deer, but usually just young fawns. This area is very popular with dog owners, not all of whom are responsible, plus there has been an increase in poaching along the Clyde between Erskine and Bishopton recently.