Glasgow Airport Movements 2020
With regard to aviation, although the Festive Season is usually fairly quite movement-wise at most airports compared with the rest of the year, millions of people return home to visit families, jet off for a skiing holiday, or head to warmer climes in search of some winter sun. Glasgow for example also had pre-Christmas shopping charters to New York and of course flights taking excited kids and their parents to Lapland to see Santa. COVID-19 has ruled all this out so it will be no surprise that there`s not a great deal of local aviation-related material this month - but even Coronavirus can`t stop Father Christmas! December`s highlight was of course tracking Santa, Rudolph & Co on Flightradar24 as they did their rounds, delivering presents to boys and girls around the world.
Even with the unprecedented, constantly evolving Coronavirus nightmare that the world found itself in this year running concurrently with other major events that unfolded, December 2020 had more than its share of headline-grabbing stories, both good and bad. These front pages of the METRO newspaper help to summarise some of the major events of the past twelve months...
These included the announcement at the beginning of December that an effective vaccine had been developed in record time but this was countered by the UK`s rising COVID-related death toll which surpassed 70,000, once again placing the NHS at risk of being overwhelmed in some areas. To add to the dilemma, yet another new strain of Coronavirus, far more easily spread, was identified. With the risk of infections increasing dramatically the race to roll out protection on a massive scale and vaccinate the most vulnerable members of the population became even more of a priority. Soon after the first vaccine from Pfizer–BioNTech was announced, Oxford University revealed that they too, in conjunction with British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, had developed an efficient solution. Unlike Pfizer`s, the Oxford vaccine is relatively easy to store.
The spectacle and drama of last month`s US Presidential Elections continued with Donald Trump insisting that he was the victim of widespread voter fraud, a position he adopted early in the count as soon as he realised things weren`t going his way. The incumbent bizarrely maintained his unsubstantiated claim even after investigations and recounts confirmed Mr Trump had indeed been Trumped by Democrat Joe Biden. (Above image Channel 9 News / YouTube).
Closer to home, achieving a workable Brexit Trade Deal before the end of the transition period on 31 December seemed a tall order as the clocks steadily ticked towards the deadline. Four-and-a-half years after a majority in the UK voted to quit the European Union and following almost five decades as part of the bloc, the UK would now forge a separate path no matter what. It was a relief to many therefore, that agreement was reached just before the window closed. Both sides claimed they were happy with the outcome. Boris Johnson said the UK had "freedom in our hands" and the ability to do things "differently and better" now the long Brexit process was over, but opponents of leaving the EU maintain the country will be worse off. Those in some industries, especially fishing, feel they have been betrayed by concessions given by the UK government to foreign fleets.
This Christmas was like no other thanks to the pandemic. For the second year in a row, the billboard in St Andrew`s Drive beside the main entrance to the Airport featured the Festive Tunnocks Teacake ad in an attempt to alleviate the gloom. The wintry scene portrayed was in stark contrast to the local weather during the first part of December which saw hardly a hint of frost let alone snow but plenty of rain. As the photo on the left and those below show, it was a different story on America`s East Coast following a blast of extreme Arctic weather. But, back over on this side of the pond, just in time for the big day, parts of the UK woke up to snowy scenes with a White Christmas officially declared by the Met Office. Snowfall occurred from Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the East Riding of Yorkshire and Northumberland. Parts of the Scottish Highlands also qualified.
However, most of Scotland experienced clear and dry weather for Christmas Day and any snow that did fall was basically a light scattering. Floods at this time of year are becoming more common than snowy conditions and as a result more than 1,300 people in Bedfordshire were urged to leave their homes due to dangerously rising river levels. (Above shots of extreme weather in the USA © BBC / NY Times / ABC News).
Although some areas saw snow, from a health point of view, it was probably best that the UK didn`t experience the challenge faced by much of America`s eastern seaboard, with a long, protracted cold snap which would have heaped even more pressure on our emergency services and infrastructure. This soggy Buzzard was perched on the perimeter fence of Glasgow Airport.
(Carrbridge images © BBC / Twitter).
Despite decent coverings elsewhere, the Glasgow / Renfrewshire area didn`t see a dusting of snow until the morning of the 27th then things brightened up weather-wise towards the end of the year, making it ideal for getting out and about locally for some exercise, fortunately still permissible under the current lockdown guidelines.
The grey conditions on the run up to Christmas only emphasised that this Festive Season will be one many people will wish to forget for a variety of reasons, none more so than the thousands of lorry drivers who were left stranded at the Channel ports. Although scientists thought that the new strain of Coronavirus identified in the UK was no more dangerous than the other types, they found that it was capable of spreading at an alarming rate. Soon after this news broke, France announced that it was blocking all access to travellers from Great Britain, which obviously included lorry drivers, many of whom were foreign nationals returning to mainland Europe. The initial blanket ban by France was seen by many as a Brexit-related point to emphasise how chaotic things could get if a trade deal wasn`t reached. Countries across the globe soon followed the French president`s lead and banned all UK citizens from entering. (Image above left © The National).
At Dover alone, by Christmas Day, more than 10,000 lorries formed the huge backlog but the first started moving after nearly 1,000 British troops were deployed to step up Coronavirus testing. The stranded drivers could only board a ferry if they had a certificate proving they had had a negative test. Teams of French firefighters were dispatched to Dover to help carry out these checks. Anyone found infected had to self isolate at a nearby hotel which had been requisitioned for that purpose. Reportedly only 24 out of the thousands of lorry drivers tested returned a positive result.
The disused Manston Airport became a massive lorry park but facilities such as toilets and wash rooms were found to be almost non-existent.
Tempers soon frayed and the police once again found themselves in the middle, trying to maintain order.
Once the borders had reopened the queues steadily decreased with thousands of truckers also making use of the Channel Tunnel.
Either Boris is clearly delighted that Santa brought him a drone for Christmas, or he`s relishing the fact that he`s managed to secure a Trade Deal with the EU! If it`s the former, he`ll have to brush up on new rules which came into force this month to cut down on careless and reckless operators. Even though the UK is no longer part of the EU, the rules across all member states, the British Isles, plus Norway and Iceland, will be identical. The legislation not only governs how and where pilots can operate their drones, but will also make it easier for the authorities to trace owners in the event of irresponsible use, especially if a serious incident occurs. It`s sad that signs, such as this one on the perimeter fence at Glasgow Airport, have to be put up to remind some people that flying a drone near an airport without the relevant permission is not an option.
Prior to the latest development drone legislation has been confusing and varied nation to nation. Under the new rules, even small drones will need to be registered with the relevant aviation authority, which in the UK is the Civil Aviation Authority. There are now three new categories: high, medium and low. Low-risk or open-category, which accounts for the majority of hobbyist drones, will not require any authorisation but will be subject to strict operational limitations. But drones within this category will also have additional rules about where they can be flown: A1 - drones weighing less than 250g (0.55lb) can be flown over people; A2 - drones weighing more than 250g but less than 2kg must be flown at least 50m (164ft) away from people; A3 - drones weighing more than 2kg must be flown well away from people. Medium-risk or specific-category drones now require authorisation from the national aviation authority on the basis of a risk assessment. High-risk or certified-category drones will need to follow aviation rules.
Drones have been a very popular Christmas present this year with many new machines set to take to the skies as we head towards summer, but there is also an increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles in a commercial capacity. Successful trials have taken place with drones flying test kits and other medical supplies between Oban and a hospital on the Isle of Mull. A similar trial has also taken place between Cornwall and the Isle of Scilly. Plus, this month, the Royal Mail trialled drone deliveries with a parcel drop to a remote lighthouse, again on the Isle of Mull.
State-of-the-art drone technology stepped in to make up for the lack of large-scale outdoor public Hogmanay celebrations across Scotland this year.
Thanks to some computer wizardry the skies over Edinburgh and venues in the Scottish Highlands were lit up with iconic images such as a galloping stag and the Saltire flag, each design formed by a huge number of synchronised drones. Actors David Tennant, Siobhan Redmond and Lorne MacFadyen provide commentary for the online production named Fare Well as the choreographed drones travelled at speeds of 25 mph at altitudes of up to 500ft (150m) to form the designs created by Scottish illustrator Gary Wilson. A poem by Scots Makar Jackie Kay is also read out during the video.
Due to safety considerations the drones were launched from a remote location and superimposed by computer software on the landscape. Despite the complexity of the performances, things went without a hitch. Some excellent high-res footage of the event, which is the UK`s largest ever swarm drone display, can be viewed full screen at www.underbelly.co.uk.
I took the above shot of the track to the Loch Humphrey reservoir from by back window on the afternoon of 29 December. A constant procession of people were heading up onto the Kilpatrick Braes, taking advantage of the superb conditions, but it looked a bit too congested for my liking, especially given the rising COVID infection rate.
These shots were taken mid-morning the following day. Usually at this time of year there would be steady flow of arriving and departing passengers, here for the Hogmanay celebrations and / or visiting families, whether in the UK or abroad. There was just a handful of travellers and if it hadn`t been for a line of airport taxis waiting at the rank outside the terminal for an Emirates flight, and a city centre express bus, the location would have seemed almost deserted.
CAA figures just released show that 50,246 passengers passed through the terminal during November which is down a whopping -91.3% compared with the same month last year. November 2021`s total was split between 23,528 domestic passengers and 26,718 on international flights which gives a rolling 12 month figure of 2.45 million. It`s predicted that the rolling twelve month total will fall below 2 million by the end of this month then plummet to around 1 million by the end of March next year. Edinburgh`s totals were also similarly affected however, Aberdeen`s passenger tally in November reached 53,310, which is `only` a drop of 75%, mainly due to the fact that oil rig traffic was down 24%.
Following the recent government announcement the Holiday Inn (below), like many other local and city centre hotels, is only accepting reservations related to business travel or from key workers until further notice.
The airport coach stands at the west end of the terminal were deserted. This Isle of Skye bus was only passing through...
Duty free shopping is set to be scrapped at airports across Scotland at the end of this year and airport owners are predictably up in arms about the decision. Glasgow Airport for example claims that it would lose £8.6m annually and 170 retail jobs would go as a result. Edinburgh Airport reports that £7.6m of revenue would be lost, but I take these totals refer to pre-Coronavirus passenger levels. (Glasgow Airport Duty Free Images © World Duty Free / The Moodie Davitt Report).
In reality, EU departures didn’t qualify for Duty Free anyway, and the VAT Refund shopping scheme, also being scrapped, was used by less than 10 percent of UK visitors. The Treasury said that another factor in reaching the decision was that concerns had been raised that the benefits of tax-free shopping in airports weren`t consistently passed on to consumers, which is no surprise to most.
Uncertainty for Rolls Royce workers continues. On 3 December the company cast doubt on the future of two factories in Scotland and the Midlands. Almost 800 staff work at the plants at Inchinnan near Glasgow Airport, and at Ansty, near Coventry. Rolls Royce said it wanted to continue turbine blade and compressor production at Inchinnan but that operations at this factory were not core to its wider business.
Some of the other work at the plant has already been transferred to Rolls’s Derby base. Production of casings for jet engines at Ansty was also labelled as not core. Although the company had said that it was looking to make both Inchinnan and Ansty more competitive and reduce operating costs, insiders said they expected both sites to be shut.
By the beginning of this month, the number of stored British Airways Airbuses at Glasgow was down to 25 from the peak of 35 in mid-November: A319s remaining were G-DBCA, G-DBCB, G-DBCF, G-DBCG, G-DBCK, G-EUPG, G-EUPN, G-EUPO, G-EUPR, G-EUPT and G-EUPY. A320s still parked up were G-EUUD, G-EUUE, G-EUUF, G-EUUI, G-EUUM, G-EUUO, G-EUYA, G-EUYC, G-EUYD, G-EUYN, G-EUYR, G-EUYW, G-EUYX and G-MIDS. Airbus A319-131 G-EUPJ (BEA Retro livery) (right) which had been in storage here for a time was recalled to work some Glasgow-London Heathrow Shuttle flights as of 2 December.
By the end of the year there were only three BA A319s and a pair of A320s in long term storage at Glasgow, with these being parked on remote stands close to the tower. In complete contrast to the cluttered scene a few weeks before, the following shot shows how the West Apron looked on 30 December with a Jet2 737 being the only occupant.
Also this month, British Airways intimated that it was cancelling services to more than 15 long-haul destinations next year. Routes to cities in North America such as Pittsburgh, Calgary and Charleston have gone, alongside flights to Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Osaka. The Seychelles, a popular winter holiday destination, has also been removed. BA advised customers on affected flights to check their website for the latest flight information, with connections to Muscat, Jeddah and Abu Dhabi also axed. The carrier will also temporarily suspend flights to Sydney, Bangkok and San Jose during the summer of 2021.
BA has said previously that the pandemic has hit it harder than anything ever before, with losses that outstrip the financial crisis of 2008 and the September 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. Losses totalled almost £4 billion in the first half of this year. The airline controversially made about 10,000 staff redundant in the summer as it fought to save money and limit burning through cash reserves as passenger numbers collapsed. Previously, BA has said it does not expect international travel to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.
The Boeing 737 MAX was cleared for service re-entry in the United States on 19 November 2020, just over eighteen months since the type was grounded. Regulators across the world previously banned the aircraft following two fatal crashes in the past three years. An Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA detailed the requirements that had to be met before 737 MAX passenger flights in the US could resume, including software enhancements and wire separation modifications, as well as intensive training for pilots and flight crew. (Boeing 737 MAX images © Boeing / Bloomberg / Getty / NY Times / Marco Bello / Reuters).
The Boeing 737 MAX is already back in service in Brazil and some airlines in other countries have begun test flights before the type`s widespread resumption of service next year. Things didn`t go according to plan though; after all the rectification work, upgrades and stringent checks, an Air Canada example, identical to the one pictured above, experienced an engine-related technical issue during a test flight between Montreal and Arizona on Christmas Day. It`s reported that the Air Canada pilots received an hydraulic low pressure indication for the left engine shortly after takeoff and decided to shut it down as a precaution. They then diverted to Tuscon where they made a textbook emergency landing without further incident. Although Canada, one of the last countries to ground the model after the second crash, has permitted test flights, it has still to approve the revamped plane for a return to passenger operations. This latest incident certainly won`t speed this up.
The first post-suspension Boeing 737 MAX commercial flight in the USA was on Tuesday 29 December 2020 when American Airlines used the plane on a service from Miami to New York. It left Florida around 10:30 a.m. and landed just after 1 p.m. in New York, well ahead of schedule. The plane made the return trip that afternoon, ending a long and difficult chapter for Boeing.
Back at Glasgow Airport, following on from last month, the British Airways cargo-only flights from the Far East continued with Boeing 777-236ER G-YMMH early on Wednesday 2 December bringing in the next batch of PPE for the UK, in this case delivered from Kuala Lumpur. After unloading at Glasgow, the plane flew down to Heathrow. Later that day Boeing 737-86J(WL) OO-TUK (f/v) of TUI Airlines Belgium arrived at Glasgow around noon with Standard Liege for their Europa League match against Rangers which was played at Ibrox the following evening. The airliner remained on the ground until the early hours of the 4th.
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.
This month Emirates began using its smaller Boeing 777-21H(LR)s as opposed to the -300 series on the Dubai-Glasgow service, initially with A6-EWE (above) on Wednesday 2 December. Boeing 777-21H(LR) A6-EWI appeared on the 4th and 7th; Boeing 777-21H(LR) A6-EWA and Titan Airways A321-211 G-POWN appeared on the 9th, as did Embraer ERJ-170LR G-CIXW of Eastern Airways (9th); Boeing 777-21H(LR) A6-EWB Emirates (10th); KLM Boeing 737s including PH-BGK on the 11th made a change from the carrier`s smaller Embraer commuter jets that have been the norm in recent months due to diminishing passenger numbers caused by the pandemic. These increased capacity 737s are being brought in on the run up to Christmas. A321 G-POWN returned (11th); Three Emirates Triple-sevens flew in on the 12th: -300 series A6-EPC and A6-EPI on cargo runs and Boeing 777-200 A6-EWH on the regular service...
Mostly run-of-the-mill types to finish: British Airways Airbus A320-251N G-TTNM (f/v) (left) worked a Shuttle flight (18th); Embraer ERJ-145MP G-CHMR Eastern Airways from Alesund, Norway (19th); Embraer ERJ-190STD PH-EZX KLM (Skyteam colours) and Embraer ERJ-145LR G-CISK Eastern Airways (22nd); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPE Emirates (Expo 2020 green) (26th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ENH Emirates (Expo 2020 green) (27th).
Cityhopper ERJ-190STD PH-EZX in SkyTeam colours on the 22nd made a welcome change from KLM`s standard liveried jets.
These shots show Boeing 777-21H(LR) A6-EWF arriving via Runway 05 on Friday 11 December and taxiing back toward the terminal.
More of the same: Boeing 777-21H(LR) A6-EWC on the 22nd (above) and A6-EWG on Wednesday 30 December. The latter aircraft reappeared on Hogmanay.
Above: (and top photo) KLM Cityhopper Embraer ERJ-175STD PH-EXI sets off for Amsterdam Schiphol on Hogmanay.
Also on 31 December, Emirates Boeing 777-21H(LR) A6-EWG gets a de-icing check before heading back to Dubai.
It`s been a while since an interesting turboprop airliner called in at Glasgow, so ATR 42-600 F-ORLB (f/v) making a fuel stop on its delivery flight to Air Saint-Pierre was a welcome visitor although I didn`t manage to photograph it. This regional carrier is based at Saint Pierre Airport in the Saint Pierre & Miquelon group of French islands in the north-east Atlantic Ocean, near the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador. The airline operates a fleet of ATR 42s and Cessna F406s, serving destinations in Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Saint Pierre & Miquelon.
ATR 42-600 EI-GEV of Aer Lingus Regional heads back to Dublin on a gloomy December 11.
Below: ATR 72-500 OK-NFV (f/v) of Czech Airlines flew in on Tuesday 15 December with the Sparta Prague Women`s Football Team for a second round clash at Cumbernauld with Glasgow City in the Women's Champions League competition. The home side`s campaign ended at the last-32 stage as they failed to overturn a first-leg deficit going down 0-1 to Sparta (Agg 1-3) on the night.
The opener for the visitors came after Lucie Martinkova capitalised on a slack Nicole Robertson pass and beat Lee Alexander. The Scottish champions pushed to get back in the game, but Leanne Ross missed a late penalty as the Czechs finished with 10 players amid claims of spitting, a shocking situation if true, especially during the current pandemic. Scott Booth's side also had a goal disallowed in the first half, when Tyler Toland's 30-yard strike was chalked off by Portuguese referee Silvia Andreia Rosa Domingos. It`s the first time since 2017 that Glasgow City have failed to reach the last 16.
Left: With hardly any movements for long periods this month, pilots from a number of airlines took advantage of the lack of airborne traffic to practice their skills. This is Loganair`s Saab 340B G-LGNA up training on 30 Dec.
Bombardier DHC-8-402Q OE-LGH (f/v) stopped off briefly to refuel on Wednesday 16 December. The Austrian Airlines turboprop was routing from Bratislava to North America on what was listed as a `Farewell Flight`as I believe it was being returned to the lessor. At least one other Dash 8 in the Austrian fleet stopped off here earlier in the year when heading west across the pond on a similar journey.
The only corporate stopover from November was CitationJet 2-RBTS which left on 1 December. Visiting biz-jets this month were Citation XL G-IPAX (above) and Learjet 35 D-CTIL (2nd); Embraer Legacy 600 G-ERFX (f/v) and CitationJet CJ2 G-JNRE (f/v) (4th); Cessna Citation CJ2+ OE-FXM (f/v) (5th); Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy G-ERFX Flexjet Europe (9th); Aptly registered Citation Mustang M-USTG plus Phenom 300s G-JMBO and Air Hamburg`s D-CASH (12th); Dassault Falcon 900EX N900FJ (f/v) and Cessna Citation Mustang G-KLNW (14th); Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy 600 D-AEOT (f/v) Air Hamburg, CitationJet CJ1 G-KION, plus Falcon 900EX N900FJ made another visit (15th)...
Cessna CitationJet CJ2 F-HVLJ and Citation Mustang OE-FBD GlobeAir (16th); Dassault Falcon 7X PH-TLP (18th); Bombardier Global 6000 N526GX (f/v) TAG Aviation Asia and Falcon 7X N60SN (f/v) (19th); Cessna Citation XL OE-GXL and Citation XLS+ G-RSXP (20th); Bombardier Challenger 605 M-FRZN and Learjet 45 D-CDOC (21st); CitationJet CJ2+ G-ILBG (f/v) (23rd); Embraer Legacy 600 G-THFC (26th); CitationJet CJ2+ G-ILBG returned (27th); Finally, Legacy 600 G-THFC reappeared on 28 December making it Glasgow Airport`s last biz-jet visitor of 2020.
Phenom 300 G-JMBO, a regular visitor to Glasgow, spent much of the month parked on Area Juliet, having arrived on 12 December.
This is Air Hamburg Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy 600 D-AEOT arriving on Tuesday 15 December. It was on a round trip from Nice.
Again, not much to list here: Beech King Air 200 G-IASB (plus other dates) (3rd); Cessna 421C Golden Eagle G-ISAR, plus King Air 200 TF-MYV emerged from the Gama hangar having be re-registered as G-IASC (f/v) (7th); Cessna T303 Crusader G-CMOS (9th); King Air 200 G-IASA and Diamond DA-62 G-IRJE (14th); Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II G-EVIE (15th); Cessna T303 Crusader G-CMOS again (17th); King Air 200 G-BGRE (18th); Pilatus PC-12 PH-CYP (19th); AgustaWestland AW109SP GrandNew G-IPGL (below) overflew in the afternoon (22nd); Pilatus PC-12 LX-FLG plus King Air 200s G-IASB and G-IASC (23rd); King Air 200 G-NIAA (28th); King Air 200s G-IASB and G-FLYK on 30 December rounded up 2021`s GA visitors. `Police 51` (right), the Police Scotland eye-in-the sky, overflew the airport on the same date.
AgustaWestland AW109SP GrandNew G-IPGL, seen here crossing over the airport on the afternoon of 22 December, is operated by Castle Air.
The Air Ambulance Helicopters and Kings Airs of the Scottish Ambulance Service were kept very busy this month.
No photos this month but military visitors to Glasgow Airport kicked-off with Bombardier Luftwaffe Global 5000 14+03 call sign `GAF 689` which did a go-around of Runway 23 at 14:30 hrs on Tuesday 1 December. It was followed by RAF C-130J Hercules ZH872 `Comet 117` which did a Runway 05 touch-and-go at 13:05 hrs on Monday 8 December. A further two German Air Force Globals on training flights rounded up 2020`s military movements: 14+06 on the afternoon of the 8th and 14+07 which did a go-around of Runway 23 on Thursday 17 December.
On Tuesday 1 December, the World War II Catalina flying boat which was stranded on Loch Ness for six weeks has finally returned to the air. The aircraft, nicknamed 'Miss Pickup', is the only one in the world currently airworthy. The plane suffered engine trouble while trying to take off from the loch in October, and had to be towed to safety for repairs to begin. Generous donors raised £30,000 for the work and the seaplane was craned back onto the water before dawn for pre-flight checks. (The above shot of `Miss Pickup` in action at East Fortune, and the addition of a nosy Nessie in the following photo are mine!).
The plane slowly moved into position for takeoff, revved her engines and raced down the loch, the first time a military flying boat has done so here since 1945. The vintage machine landed at Inverness Airport to refuel before heading back to its base at Duxford, Cambridgeshire. Pilot Matt Deardon said: "She's flown perfectly which is a huge relief as leaving her here over the winter could have caused serious damage. We've been given a fantastic welcome on Loch Ness, the RNLI and the Piermaster Gordon Menzies have been incredible and we're grateful to everybody who contributed to the fundraiser to get her home. We hope to come back to say thanks again in the future." (Additional Catalina image credits © Daily Record / Kirsten Dawn Ferguson/ RNLI / Glasgow Herald / Inverness Courier / STV News).
Garry Short, chief engineer, added: "When she wouldn`t start we quickly realised it might be a major problem as the aircraft is very reliable. Changing the engine was complex but not too challenging once we had her onshore, but waiting for the right weather to crane her back into the Loch has been key. To see her running perfectly today and taking off was a real joy - mission accomplished."
Below: The Catalina finally takes to the air and heads home. I took the adjacent shot back in August 2005 when `Miss Pickup` last visited Glasgow Airport.
Construction & Development
Following last month`s embarrassing accident which saw the new Black Cart pedestrian / cycle bridge topple from its transporter units, the bridge, which ended up on its side on the east side of Abbotsinch Road, has been dismantled.
Sections have been stacked, presumably with a view to testing for structural damage.
The incident will be a setback to the project and could prove very costly, especially if any parts are deemed no longer safe to use.
Work on the site continued on the run up to Christmas but halted from then until well into the New Year. The Glasgow Airport Investment area`s first building which is situated close to the White Cart Water is starting to take shape.
I saw the initial framework for the first time on Wednesday 30 December, but have no information as yet as to what the structure will be used for.
The following panorama looks north over the site from the mound opposite the Gama Aviation hangar...
Above: This building on the west side of Abbotsinch Road next to the entrance to Signature Aviation has been derelict for some time, but I believe the right hand apartment is still in use as the local aviation enthusiast`s clubhouse. Sadly, it looks as though the pandemic has finally taken its toll on Campsie Snacks in Campsie Drive near the BA Maintenance hangar...
I only discovered that the portacabin on the site had been removed when I took a walk past at the end of the month. It was popular with not only airport workers, but taxi drivers and other passing traffic. I`ve enjoyed more than few rolls and sausage from them myself over the years. I`ve still to discover whether their larger and more recent outlet next to the airport taxi feeder rank at the west end of the terminal is still in operation.
This new structure has sprung up at Thermo Fisher Scientific off Fountain Drive in the Inchinnan Business Park.
In the Garden
Not many photos this month. The squirrels were very active gathering food but our wee fox only appeared a couple of times well after dark.
The moon looked especially clear in the night sky several times this December.
Sadly our wee vixen appears to have met her end. A great source of entertainment over the past year, after a couple of visits at the beginning of the month she hasn`t been seen since. The life expectancy of the urban Fox isn`t great and it`s very likely that she`s been struck with a vehicle and killed. Her mother is thought to have met a similar fate shortly before the youngster started appearing on her own.
Out & About
I took advantage of perfect conditions on 30 December for my final local walk of 2020.
Most of the wintering geese had moved away from the fields at Newshot Island but the full moon, still visible at dawn, was ample compensation.
I also saw seven Roe Deer; a group of four in front of the treeline in the above shot and another three on the far side.
The first group bounded off eastward toward the River Cart.
The others initially ran toward the new housing estate but, on finding their way barred by a security fence had to backtrack and head toward the Clyde.
The dilemma faced by the deer illustrates how much of the available wildlife habitat is being swallowed up in the local area by housing and industrial developments. Once all the houses are occupied no doubt many of the new residents will be dog owners who will understandably exercise their pets in the adjacent woods and fields, potential displacing the roes and other wildlife from their traditional domain.
Teucheen Woods at Inchinnan: this ancient forest was only saved from development in 2019 after village residents protested to the Scottish government.
The above view of the woods was taken from A8 Greenock Road just easy of Inchinnan village.
Cycling along the A8 toward Renfrew.
Views of a very still Black Cart Water taken from the stone bridge: Looking north (above) with the opposite direction shown below.
The snow covered Luss Hills from the Paisley Moss Nature Reserve at the airport`s southwesterly perimeter - a Buzzard made up for the lack of planes.
Above: The Black Cart Water west of the Barnsford Bridge. Wednesday 30 December 2020.
This must be the only place in the UK that you can photograph alpacas and an airport radar tower in the same frame.
These kayakers were enjoying some socially distanced exercise in perfect conditions.
At 23:00 hrs GMT (midnight in Brussels) on Thursday 31 December 2020, a new era began for the United Kingdom after it completed its formal separation from the European Union having agreed a seemingly unattainable post-Brexit trade deal. With the transition period over, the UK stopped following EU rules and replacement arrangements for travel, trade, immigration and security co-operation came into force. (Following Brexit images © BBC News).
The finalising of a trade deal just before the window closed was a great relief to many but among those unhappy with the arrangement was Scotland`s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose ambition it is to take an independent Scotland back into the EU. The majority of Scots voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum and Brexit has injected new energy into the fight for Scottish independence. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, said that Britain was now "free to do things differently, and if necessary better" than the EU. "We have our freedom in our hands and it`s up to us to make the most of it."
The divorce has been a painful, drawn-out process and critics warn that the UK economy will suffer as a result of Brexit, with many businesses unprepared for the changes, particularly coming as the nation staggers under the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. Now the UK has left the single market and customs union, goods crossing the border will be subject to customs and other checks. Delays and disruption will inevitably occur as hauliers discover they lack the correct paperwork, or that new software systems collapse under pressure. There are numerous hurdles ahead which would have been challenging enough in normal times, but the Coronavirus crisis means that the road ahead will be even rougher and rockier than first feared.
SO, BRING ON 2021, STAY SAFE AND ROLL OUT THE VACCINE!