Glasgow Airport Movements 2019
*Page under construction*
The `Operation Matterhorn` repatriation flights continued during the first part of this month with various chartered aircraft bringing back holidaymakers stranded following the collapse of the iconic British airline Thomas Cook. The impounded carrier`s A321s at Glasgow, two of which are pictured below on 2 October, all left for Shannon - G-TCDH on Tuesday 1 October followed by G-TCDD and G-TCDG on the 2nd shortly after the following shot was taken. Airbus A330-243 G-TCXC (above) finally departed about 15:10 hrs on Monday 14 October for Newquay Cornwall Airport (ex RAF St Mawgan) to await its fate. This A330 operated the last-ever TCX flight into Glasgow Airport, having arrived from Orlando slightly ahead of schedule at 05:35 hrs on September 23rd, its crew learning in mid-air that the company had collapsed and they no longer had jobs.
As I did last month, I`ll list any `Operation Matterhorn` repatriation aircraft visiting Glasgow here, as well as include them in the Jet Airliners section below: Boeing 747-422 N480MC Atlas Air and Airbus A330-203 TC-AGD AtlasGlobal. Airbus A320-214 EC-MQH Gowair from Lanzarote landed about 03:00 hrs, plus Freebird Airbus A320-214 TC-FHC. Nouvelair Airbus A320-214 TS-INA was set to return to Glasgow in the afternoon with holidaymakers from Enfidha but was diverted to Gatwick (1st);
During the early hours of Wednesday 2 October, Boeing 737-8K2 CS-TQU (left) of EuroAtlantic Airways (in TUI Netherlands colours) landed as flight YU641 from Dalaman, Turkey. Also making an appearance on the 2nd were Electra Airways Boeing 737-46N LZ-EBA (below) which re-positioned from Gatwick, plus Airbus 321-231 TC-ETV of AtlasGlobal and Gowair A320-214 EC-MQH.
Electra Airways was founded in 2016 and commenced flight operations, in conjunction with various tour operators, in August 2017 with a single Airbus A320. It currently operates charter flights in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. As of August this year, the Electra Airways fleet comprised of LZ-EBA, which I snapped from the terminal as it took-off on the afternoon of the 2nd, and a pair of Airbus A320-200s. I boarded a Jet2 Larnaka-bound 737 for a week-long `plane-free` holiday in Protaras shortly after taking the above shot.
Atlas Air Boeing 747-422 N480MC (above) arrived about 06:00 hrs on Tuesday 1 October and is pictured on Stand 6A in the afternoon sunshine. It left the following morning for Orlando. Atlas Air is one of the world's largest providers of cargo aircraft available for lease. The carrier`s services include ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance) leasing, dry leasing, CMI (Crew, Maintenance and Insurance), charter services and training. Atlas Air operates Boeing 747-400F and 747-8F equipment, in addition to utilising 767-300 and 747-400 aircraft for passenger charter services. Following Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings` USD $110 million acquisition of Southern Air Holdings, parent company of Southern Air and Florida West International Airways in April 2016, the available fleet now totals over 75 aircraft and includes Boeing 737, Boeing 757 and Boeing 777s.
Airbus A320-214 EC-MQH (above right) of Gowair flew in on the 1st from Lanzarote, landing about 03:00 hrs.
Eastern`s Boeing 767s were still present but N703KW, seen here, left later that day as did the Atlas Air 747.
In an effort to assist some of the 9,000 UK staff facing unemployment when Thomas Cook failed to secure a last-ditch rescue deal, several large scale jobs fares were staged across the country at the beginning of October with the largest at Manchester Airport which had been the carrier’s main base of operations. Hundreds of former Thomas Cook employees, including married couples and families, flocked to the Concorde hangar at the Runway Visitor Park after the organisers said that more than 5,000 vacancies were available. Next, Whitbread, TUI, Jet2, Network Rail and the NHS were among the mix of employers who offered places.
Good news followed when Sunderland-based company Hays Travel, the UK’s largest independent travel agent, announced that it would take over all of the 555 former Thomas Cook branches and staff them with former Thomas Cook employees. By 14 October, Hays had re-opened 138 stores and hired 1,761 former Thomas Cook employees, including frontline travel agents and regional managers, and said its recruitment team will continue working to fill the remaining vacancies. Hays shops back in operation so far are in Northumberland, Teesside, Tyne and Wear, Darlington, Yorkshire, the Midlands, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Scottish holiday specialist Barrhead Travel also stepped in, announcing plans to open up to 100 new UK high street stores and rehire a `significant number` of former Thomas Cook staff. The proposed locations have not been revealed, but it`s understood that most of the new outlets will be in England. Plans are said to be well advanced, with the first unit set to open within the next two months. The company currently runs 76 outlets in Scotland as well as Newcastle, Cumbria, Southampton, Leicester and Belfast. Last year Barrhead Travel's revenues rose by 6.6% to £320m, although pre-tax profits were down. The firm attributed its revenue growth to increased sales of solo holidays, adventure travel, cruising and touring.
Stats released show that 909,448 passengers passed through Glasgow International in August which is down -10.1% on August 2018. The latest figure gives a rolling total of 9,082,726, a drop of -7.6% compared with 2018. August’s air transport movements also fell, experiencing a 6.5% decline compared to the same month last year.
Overall, this is another substantial drop with worse likely to come, especially following the collapse of Thomas Cook which was one of the main players at Glasgow. If none of the other airlines step in to takeover at least some of the defunct carrier’s routes, passenger numbers will likely tumble, potentially resulting in a substantial annual reduction of 500-600k.
"Honest Gov` - It wasn`t Me!" (Said in a French accent)
On Friday 11 October, a Frenchman was arrested at Glasgow Airport. He was thought to be Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes who is suspected of killing his wife and four children in 2011. The passenger was detained after arriving in Scotland on an easyJet flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle. Dupont de Ligonnes has been wanted for murder in France since his family was discovered buried in the garden of their family home in Nantes. The incident, known as the "Nantes slaughter", deeply shocked France at the time and the 58-year-old suspect detained at Glasgow was thought to be travelling under a false name.
French prosecutors previously said the murderer dispatched his victims in a "methodical execution", firing two bullets from a silenced weapon at close range into their heads, before he rolled them in lime and buried them under cement along with the family`s two dogs. Before fleeing, de Ligonnes reportedly told his teenage children's private high school that he had been transferred to a job in Australia and allegedly told friends he was a US secret agent who was being taken into a witness protection programme. A large police operation was mounted in the Var region of southern France in January last year after witnesses reported seeing a man resembling him near a monastery.
Police Scotland confirmed a man was in custody in connection with a European arrest warrant issued by the French authorities but following further enquiries, it was established that the man arrested was not the person being sought - no doubt relieved, it wasn`t a great start to his holiday!
Weather etc* / Birds - Although there had been a steady increase in migratory geese arriving in the general area last month, 1 October saw hundreds set down in the fields bordering the Black Cart Water, close to the airfield. Other large skeins overflew and the volumes kept Airside Ops staff busy, firing-off bird scarers while the tower urged caution to departing and incoming aircraft. These shots show Canada Geese but Greylags usually overwinter here in far greater numbers. A flock can be seen coming in to land behind the Hercules. (to edit)*
The sequence on the right shows one of the Airside Ops staff collecting a goose he`d just dispatched with a shotgun close to the northern perimeter of the airfield on 18 October. The fact that the bird had been on its own and remained within range likely indicated that it was injured.
Loganair has secured a contract, beginning on 25 October this year, to continue to operate Scottish government-funded flights on the west coast. The £21m four-year deal involves flights from Glasgow to Barra, Tiree and Campbeltown. The Glasgow-based carrier already operates the public service obligation route, which provides islanders and people in Argyll with an air link to Scotland’s largest city. The flights, which involve landings on Barra's beach runway, are also used by tourists.
Loganair has operated scheduled flights to Barra, Tiree and Campbeltown since 1974, transporting people, goods and services, to play a crucial role in island life and ensuring that residents have access to specialist healthcare. They also enable visitors to reach the islands easily, boosting local tourism. The journey incorporating a beach landing on Barra is ranked as one of the world’s most scenic ‘must-do’ flights.
On Friday 4 October, an emergency incident was declared at Glasgow Airport after concerns were raised following leakage from a package in the cargo hold of flight KL1473 arriving from Amsterdam. A large number of emergency personnel and vehicles responded, including police, fire appliances, ambulances, and an environmental protection unit.
An exclusion zone was immediately put in place around the KLM jet and part of the international terminal evacuated and closed off as a precaution, although all other areas of the airport remained fully operational.
Examination revealed that the suspect package contained glass tubes with vaccines and although the tubes themselves had remained intact, surrounding dry ice acting as a coolant had begun to leak. The incident was stood down at 13:25 hrs after the emergency services confirmed it had been a false alarm and there was no risk to the public.
Tuesday 1 October saw the Emirates twice-daily Glasgow - Dubai service revert to two Boeing Triple-sevens. The first year of the carrier`s A380 summer season finished at the end of last month, the `super jumbo` having been used on the morning run with a 777 in the evening. Although the former type proved popular with passengers and spectators alike, handling agents and companies wishing to export their wares were frustrated by its lower cargo capacity which is surprisingly less than half compared with the smaller Boeing. Emirates will re-introduce daily A380 flights from 29 March 2020, which is somewhat earlier than planned. Hopefully there will be some snow on the local hills to create a spectacular backdrop but a decent coating of the white stuff has been a rare occurrence here in recent winters.
Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPK Emirates (Expo 2020 blue livery), Boeing 747-422 N480MC Atlas Air, Airbus A330-203 TC-AGD AtlasGlobal, Airbus A320-214 EC-MQH Gowair and Freebird Airbus A320-214 TC-FHC and Boeing 737-5Q8 9H-YES Air X (1st); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPD (Expo 2020 blue livery), Boeing 737-46N LZ-EBA Electra Airways, Boeing 737-8K2(WL) CS-TQU TUI Airlines Netherlands, Airbus 321-231 TC-ETV AtlasGlobal and A320-214 EC-MQH A320 Gowair (2nd); Boeing 737-8K2(WL) CS-TQU TUI Airlines Netherlands returned (3rd); Boeing 757-256 G-ZAPX arrived from Basel, Switzerland plus Airbus A320-233 G-POWK, both Titan Airways. The latter aircraft remained temporarily based to cover Jet2 flights (4th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ENM Emirates (Expo 2020 orange) and A320-232 EC-LRM Gowair (TCX repat) (5th)...
Airbus A321-231 TC-ETV AtlasGlobal (6th); Airbus A330-202 CS-TQP Hi Fly, Boeing 747-443 G-VLIP Virgin Atlantic (first visit of this aircraft following repaint - now in Star Wars livery and renamed ‘Falcon’. Boeing 737-9K2 PH-BXO KLM ( SkyTeam livery) also called in (7th); Airbus A320-232 G-POWM Titan Airway operated a Jet2 `Northern lights` flight to Akureyri, Iceland (10th); Embraer ERJ-145LU F-HRGD Regourd Aviation (11th); Boeing 737-8JP(WL) G-DRTO Jet2 (12th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPB Emirates (Expo 2020 blue livery) and Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ENM Emirates (Expo 2020 orange) (13th); Boeing 737-9K2(WL) PH-BXO KLM (SkyTeam livery) (15th)...
Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPF Emirates (Expo 2020 green) (16th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPD Emirates (Expo 2020 blue) (17th); Airbus A330-243 C-GJDA Air Transat and Embraer ERJ-195LR D-AEBB Lufthansa (18th); Airbus A321-231(WL) G-WUKH Wizz Air UK bound for Stanstead, on delivery from the USA (20th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ENM Emirates (Expo 2020 orange), Boeing 737-8CX(WL) SP-ENG Enter Air, Boeing 737-8KN(WL) PH-CDE Corendon Dutch Airlines and Boeing 737-85P(WL) OO-TUP TUI fly Airlines Belgium (21st);
Air Transat Airbus A330-342 C-GTSO lifts-off via Runway 05 on Thursday 17 October 2019.
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.
Cessna Citation Sovereign D-CARO (above) was October`s first corporate visitor, arriving and departing on the 1st. It was joined by Bombardier Global 5000 CS-LAM (below) and Raytheon Beechcraft 390 Premier 1 D-IBBB of Augusta Air.
Biz still on the ground from last month were Bombardier Challenger 850 9H-ILB, Canadian Challenger 605 C-GFAP and Hawker Beechcraft 750 9H-BSA.
Dassault Falcon 7X G-MATO taxis to Area R after landing on Wednesday 2 October.
October`s corporate visitors continued with Gulfstream IV N453FX, Vistajet Bombardier Challenger 350 9H-VCE plus Dassault Falcon 7X G-MATO (2nd); Challenger 605 M-TOPI, Falcon 7X D-ASIM, Gulfstream G100 OE-GBD Tyrol Air Ambulance and Learjet 36 N41GJ (3rd); Raytheon Beechjet 400A N51NP (4th); Challenger 650 9H-WII (6th); Learjet 45 CS-TFR (7th); Embraer Legacy 500 G-RORA (8th); Hawker Beechcraft 900XP N144UV, plus Citation Sovereign D-CARO returned (10th); Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy 650 D-AFBS Air Hamburg (11th); Gulfstream G650ER G-DSMR, Bombardier Global 6000 EC-LTF and Cessna Citation XLS+ D-CEHM (14th); Gulfstream IV N156WJ, Cessna Citation Bravo G-CMBC, Cessna CitationJet CJ1 9H-GIO, Citation Excels CS-DXP and OE-GWV, plus Learjet 31A D-CGGG and Citation Mustang G-FFFC (15th)...
Learjet 35A D-CTIL (16th); Bombardier Challanger 850 9H-JAD Air X Charter, Global 5000 N247WE World Wrestling Entertainment, Cessna Citation X D-BLDI, Citation Latitude OE-GLR and CitationJet CJ3 2-RBTS (18th); Dassault Falcon 2000LX I-FEDN and Citation Mustang G-GILB (19th); Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy 650E D-ARMY Air Hamburg, Citation Excel CS-DXW and Hawker Beechcraft 750 9H-BSA (20th); Citation Bravo G-CMBC and Citation Excel G-LEAX (21st); Gulfstream Vs N83CW and N800JH, Gulfstream IV N478GS, Cessna Citation Bravo G-XJCI and Citation XLS+ D-CSCB (22nd);
Above: Gulfstream IV N453FX. Wednesday 2 October.
Above: Bombardier Challenger 850 9H-JAD of Air X Charter. Falcon 2000LX I-FEDN and Citation Excel CS-DXW are pictured below.**
Pilatus PC-12s LX-JFR and M-YBLS, both September were still here on the 1st. Noteworthy visitors in this category included King Air 200 G-FLYK (2nd); Piaggio P-180 Avanti D-IRBS (3rd); King Air 90 M-TSRI and Eurocopter AS-355NP Ecureuil 2 G-WECG (4th); Pilatus PC-12 M-YBLS and King Air 200 G-BVMA (5th); King Air 350 G-SRBM (6th); King Air 200 G-MCDS (7th); Diamond DA62 2-SALE (10th); King Air 200 G-MEGN and AgustaWestland AW109SP Grand New G-SGRP (11th); Pilatus PC-12 LX-LAB (12th); King Air 200 G-BGRE and King Air C90GTi G-MOSJ (13th); SOCATA TBM-940 N4MD, Diamond DA42 Twin Star G-DJET, plus King Air 200s G-FLYK G-RAFL (15th)...
King Air C90A M-POWR (18th); King Air 200 G-FLYK returned (20th); King Air 200 G-NIAB (21st);
The AugustaWestland AW189s and Sikorsky S-92As of HM Coastguard make numerous visits to Glasgow annually, mainly dropping-off patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital but sometimes calling in at the airport to refuel. Findings into into a near miss involving one of these helicopters, AW189 G-MCGR while on rescue mission have recently been published following an investigation. Back on 17 February 2018, AW189 G-MCGR (pictured below // here?? in May 2108**) responded to a request to assist three climbers in the area of Beinn Narnain, a Munro (Scottish peak at or over 3,000ft (914m) in the Arrochar Alps. This was a night-time rescue mission and on reaching the mountain, although the crew made approaches from several directions, low cloud foiled all attempts to reach the stricken party. On the fourth attempt, from yet another angle, the visual references seen through each pilot’s Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) were lost and the pilot attempted a turn back down the re-entrant, inadvertently flying into cloud. During the manoeuvre, due to the proximity of the ground, the pilot climbed but lost airspeed after which the helicopter yawed to the right.
Control was momentarily lost as the helicopter spot-turned through some 370° but the pilot regained control and ascended towards the summit where visibility was much better. Fortunately the aircraft had not struck the ground and was undamaged. It subsequently landed and the crew liaised with the Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) who recovered the climbers on foot. Following an investigation into the circumstances, the operator introduced a scenario-based training exercise for all pilots which replicated the incident and this, with an emphasis on unusual attitude recovery, will be included in the six-monthly recurrent training and testing program.
The Arrochar Alps contain five principle mountains which are concentrated in the angle between Loch Long and Glen Croe. Four of these are Munros, but the Cobbler at 884 metres is not only the best known but has the most striking topography. The other Munros of the group are Ben Ime, Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich with the last pair being more often tackled from Loch Lomondside.
Despite their proximity to Glasgow, the rugged terrain of the Arrochar Alps enables local Mountain Rescue Teams to practice their search and rescue techniques, often in extreme conditions more often associated with the Swiss Alps or other higher European ranges. During this exercise I came across years ago, an avalanche had actually occurred on the Cobbler which was ideal for putting the Search and Rescue Dogs Association (SARDA) dogs through their paces.
Beinn Narnain, despite appearances from Loch Long, is a very rugged mountain with impressive cliffs and crags on its upper slopes. One imposing block of rock just before the summit is known as the Spearhead and appears to bar progress but it can be bypassed with some mild scrambling. The Bealach a` Mhaim lies to the northwest and makes it easy (in clear weather) to combine Narnain with Ben Ime and / or the Cobbler. The above view shows Beinn Narnain on the left and Ben Ime.
Above is a distant view of Beinn Narnain (just right of centre) from the south. The Brack, the nearest peak, is in shadow with the rocky Cobbler to the left of Narnain. Ben More and Stob Binnein are the snow-capped peaks on the right. Back in the days when the Royal Navy had Sea Kings and photographers were using 35mm film, one of my ascents of Beinn Narnain coincided with a Mountain Rescue training exercise near the summit. These shots are rather poor quality scans from Kodachrome slides.
The playing fields behind Arrochar Primary School in the village was where rescue choppers would meet the local mountain rescue team on call-outs and lift them onto the hill, weather permitting of course. The shots below, also copied from poorly exposed 35mm slides, were taken on an earlier occasion when the teacher had to abandon lessons temporarily while the kids peered through the classroom windows, engrossed in monitoring the action.
Here, a handler tests the harness of his search dog at Arrochar prior to boarding the Sea King that took the team to the incident site. Dogs, like human team members, often have to be lowered onto the hillside if adverse weather or difficult terrain prevents a landing so it`s always advisable to check the dog`s harness before jumping on board.
JW191, held in April this year, was a large-scale event but JW192 involved substantially less naval units and is thought to be one of the smallest ever. As usual there was an airborne element with any participating Maritime Patrol Aircraft again temporarily based at Prestwick Airport rather than RAF Lossiemouth which is undergoing an upgrade to accommodate the service’s new P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Add info re date etc*
On the run-up to any Joint Warrior, or while it`s underway, there`s always the chance of a military aircraft belonging to the UK, Canada, the USA or a NATO ally stopping in at Glasgow, however, the appearance of C-130H Hercules, serial number 1217 of the United Arab Emirates Air Force on the morning of 1 October was very unusual and not thought to be connected with Joint Warrior as the UAE is not one of the participating nations. Military representatives from around the world are sometimes invited to watch proceedings from the control centre though.
This aircraft, which dates from 1976, is currently operated by the UAEAF`s 4 Squadron but originally bore the South African registration ZS-JIY, having been delivered to the civilian carrier Safair who subsequently leased it to Air Botswana. Safair, which was established in 1969, is based at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg and operates one of the world's largest fleets of civil Lockheed L-100 Hercules cargo aircraft. This Herc has was acquired by the UAEAF in February 2010. It parked up on the northside, beside the impounded Thomas Cook A330 and left the next day.
1217 L100-30 UAF1216 returned 20th etc*
Above: Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner C-26B 91-0506 of the US Army, call-sign `PAT 18`arrived on Wednesday 9 October and parked up on Area Juliet, remaining until the 11th. Another in the shape of C-26B 91-00513 (below) call-sign `PAT 336` stopped-off for a `gas`n`go` on the morning of the 21st. **
Grob G.115E Tutor T1 G-BYWI RAF (University Air Squadron) flew in during the day on Tuesday 15 October and French Air Force Airbus A330-223 F-RARF, call-sign `CTM 1275`, did a go-around of Runway 23 at 20:20 hours that evening. This is one of two VIP-configured A330s currently used by the Armée de l'Air`s Commandement du Transport Aérien Militaire Français (COTAM) and often carries the French President and his entourage on state visits. As of September 2019, COTAM also operates a pair of Airbus A310s, two A340s and 15 Airbus A400s.
RAF Boeing MH-47E Chinook HC.5 ZH902 `call-sign `Onslaught 1` arrived about 11:20 hrs on Thursday 17 October and parked on the Royal Pan. info*
French Air Force Transall C-160R, serial number R217 and USAF Beechcraft MC-12W Liberty 10-0742, call-sign `ELVIS 11`, arrived on Friday 18 October, the appearance of the former aircraft likely related to Exercise Griffin Strike which ran simultaneously with Joint Warrior. The former exercise is designed to test the capabilities of a new UK-France Combined Joint Expeditionary Force which has been set up to respond to any future crisis affecting the two countries. Both the Transall and MC-12W left later that day.
Exercise Joint Warrior JW192
I was aboard on holiday at the beginning of October, so missed the arrival and departure of the participating naval vessels which traditionally gather on the Clyde for a briefing prior to the commencement of each Joint Warrior exercise. Most of the warships tie-up at either Faslane or Glasgow’s KGV Dock to give their crews some shore time before the hard work begins and Sunday has become the main departure day when most vessels head out to sea to take up station.
However, on Wednesday 16 October, as the exercise wound down, HMS Albion (L14), RFA Argus (A135) and FS Tonnerre (L1094) dropped anchor off Greenock where I captured all three vessels on camera in the afternoon sunshine. Two helicopters were active: French Navy Aerospatiale SA319B Alouette III, serial number 1997, operating from FS Tonnerre and Aerospatiale SA365N2 Dauphin 2 ZJ164 of the Royal Navy flying from HMS Albion.
The French Navy`s Tonnerre is a Mistral-class LHDM Amphibious Assault Ship, which is no stranger to the Clyde having taken part in previous Joint Warriors as well as forming part of the ‘guard of honour’ along with HMS Ark Royal for the QE2 when the famous liner made her last visit to Scotland back in October 2008. Tonnerre can embark 450 fully-equipped troops and 60 armoured vehicles, or 13 main battle tanks, along with Landing craft and up to 16 helicopters.
HMS Albion (L14) is the lead ship of two Albion-class Assault Ships, the other being HMS Bulwark (L15). These vessels can transport up to six Challenger 2 main battle tanks or around 30 armoured all-terrain tracked vehicles. The floodable well dock has the capacity to take four utility landing craft while four smaller landing craft, each capable of transporting 35 troops, are suspended on davits. The ships support a permanently embarked Royal Marines landing craft unit, and the stern opens and floods a compartment, allowing the boats inside to be launched. Although there is no hangar, the 64-metre flight deck can handle a pair of Chinook-sized helicopters, or operate two smaller machines with the space to stow a third.
Launched in 1981, Italian-built, RFA Argus was formerly the container ship MV Contender Bezant. The vessel was requisitioned in 1982 for service in the Falklands War and purchased outright in 1984 for use as an Aviation Training Ship, replacing RFA Engadine. After a four-year conversion at Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Argus entered Royal Fleet Auxiliary service in 1988. In 1991, during the Gulf War, she was fitted with an extensive and fully functional, 70-bed hospital to assume the additional role of Primary Casualty Receiving Ship. In 2009, the PCRS role became the ship's primary function and the medical complex was upgraded and now holds 100 beds. Argus can carry four Merlin or five Apache helicopters and although it can land a Chinook, the larger aircraft won't fit in the hangar. As the ship is armed and is not painted in the required white with red crosses, the Geneva Convention prevents her from being officially classified as a hospital ship. Argus is due to remain in service until 2024.
Royal Navy and RAF Hawks, plus several civilian-registered Dassault Falcon jets of Cobham Aviation usually fly from Prestwick with the MPAs operating from the Moray base but, as in April, the latter types joined the others at the Ayrshire airport, a real bonus for local enthusiasts. The JW192 Maritime Patrol Aircraft comprised 2 x US Navy P-8’s, 2 x Canadian CP-140’s and 2 x French Navy Atlantique ATL2’s which between them flew numerous sorties over the fortnight, each aircraft on station for an average of 4 hours at a time. Friday 11 October etc* (to edit)*
I`ll add a link here to the JW 192 page, which contains more shots of the participating aircraft in due course.**
Also Present at Prestwick on 11 October were...
Boeing 747-8KB(BBJ) A7-HHE is reckoned to be one of the world`s most expensive biz-jets. It belongs to the Qatar Amiri Flight, a VIP airline owned and operated by the government of Qatar. It provides worldwide charters on demand and caters exclusively to the Qatari royal family and top-level government officials although the vast majority of the fleet is painted in the standard livery of the commercial flag carrier of Qatar, Qatar Airways. Run-about `taxis` in the shape of Gulfstream VI A7-CGE, Sikorsky S-92A A7-MBN and Eurocopter EC155B1 A7-HMD all arrived at Prestwick on Sunday 6 October, with the Jumbo touching down at 16:25 hrs the following afternoon. An additional bonus for local enthusiasts was Boeing 747-4R7F 4K-SW008 of Silk Way West Airlines which arrived less than an hour later.
Other aircraft operated on behalf of Amiri flight, but not part of the fleet, are one Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express and a Qatar Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III which is pictured above at the Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford in July this year. The Amiri Flight`s Global Express is also in Qatar Airways livery. Qatar's emir gifted a Boeing 747-8 private jet to Turkey in September 2018. Gulf 6 A7-CGE (below) left for Inverness (apparently the Qatari royal family own a large chunk of the Scottish Highlands) at 13:15 hrs on Friday 11 October with the 747 departing about 22:00 hrs that evening. I presume the two helicopters are UK-based and will remain hangared somewhere until the emir`s next visit.
Unsurprisingly, the Qatari royal family also do it in style when it comes to sea travel. Pictured below is the Superyacht Katara which was built for the (then) Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, father of the current Emir. The vessel turned more than a few heads when she sailed into Corfu Port in June 2014 which is where I took the following photos. The 124 metre-long superyacht ranked as the 14th largest yacht in the world and was designed by Monaco based Espen Øino International. Dating from 2010, she`s is a product of Germany's Lürssen shipyard in 2010 and spent her first full season in the Caribbean.
She has a single helipad and at that time carried Eurocopter EC155 B1 A7-HMD, which visited Prestwick this month - no sign of the superyacht on the Clyde though! The hull of the Katara is steel, while its superstructure is aluminium, 124.4 meters (408.2 feet) long and 19.5 metres wide , with a draft of 5.30 metres, all for a gross tonnage of 7,922t.
The decks are made of teak. Powered by 2 MTU diesel engines with a total output of 16,600 hp (12,200 kW), the yacht reaches a cruising speed of 15 knots ( 27.8 km / h) with a maximum speed of 20 knots ( 37 km / h) thanks to 2 propellers. There`s a Jacuzzi on the aft deck, a pool, a gym, and a spa - certainly more upmarket than the Rothesay Ferry!
No less than seven Norwegian Airlines Dreamliners were present when I visited Prestwick, either undergoing or awaiting engine upgrades or interior conversions. The aircraft, several of which were hangared were Boeing 787-8s LN-LNA/B/D/G/H and Boeing 787-9s LN-LNL and SE-RXY.
Air France Boeing 777-F28 freighters, including F-GUOB seen here, make frequent visits to Prestwick.
Swiss-registered Pilatus PC-12 HB-FQI stopped off for a refuel on its way State-side, touching down here at 11:30 hrs. It was on the ground for just over 30 minutes before resuming its journey. Many PC-12s pass through Prestwick on delivery flights but this one was heading to Las Vegas as a demonstrator at this year`s NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) Convention & Exhibition which runs from 22-24 October 2019. HB-FQI has an `Experimental` sticker on its port-side forward fuselage which is believed to be a reference to a new engine/propeller combination.
Learjet 45 C-GEJD of Skyservice Business Aviation operates as an air ambulance.
Glasgow Airport: Construction & Development
Back at Glasgow etc*
The above shots were taken on Thursday 10 October.