Glasgow Airport Movements 2020
Another traditionally quiet month, but with even less flights than previous years. Glasgow International`s passenger numbers for January 2020 were down 2.8% at 511,000, making the 12 month rolling total 8.82 million, a drop of 8%. Even though this February was a 29-day leap year the extra day is unlikely to improve this month`s figures either with the airport appearing almost deserted some days when I drove by.
Glasgow Rangers and Celtic`s participation in the Europa League saw an influx of charters towards the end of the month though, but the Old Firm`s second leg fortunes were mixed. The Ibrox side beat Portuguese team Sporting Braga 0-1 away, 4-2 on aggregate, to progress. This was the first time since 2011 that Rangers made it into the last 16 in a European competition. In the east end of the city, the scores also finished 2-4 on aggregate but not in Celtic`s favour. The Hoops suffered a shock Europa League last-32 exit after three goals in the final seven minutes of a dramatic defeat by FC Copenhagen. Neil Lennon's side seemed set for extra time when Odsonne Edouard scored from the penalty spot to cancel out Michael Santos' calamitous opener. But the Danish champions netted twice on the break in the final five minutes to win and deliver Celtic's first defeat of the year. Rangers will now play Bayer Leverkusen at Ibrox on Thursday 12 March with the away leg a week later.
February 1 was the first full day following the UK`s official departure from the European Union, although both sides immediately entered into a transition period during which an attempt will be made to iron out a trade deal and resolve various issues including mutual access and work entitlement. Despite all the preceding tensions and demonstrations, and the inevitable mass media coverage, Brexit day seemed very much like any other, and on the whole people, even the staunchest remainers, seemed to quickly accept the situation then got on with their day-to-day lives. The political wrangling will continue apace but, rather than constant in-house bickering within our own country, its now down to Britain and the EU to achieve a workable solution before the deadline - which would be no mean feat.
Cold and frosty winters in Scotland`s Central Belt have become a relatively rare phenomenon in recent years. On this occasion, there was a distinct lack of snow south of the Highland Boundary fault until early February when Storm Ciara passed through, having tracked across the Atlantic in a jet stream travelling at 250 mph. This resulted in 90-100 mph gusts at ground level and a covering of the white stuff on higher ground. Heavy rain brought widespread flooding throughout the UK with many homes having to be evacuated as rivers burst their banks. Thousands of people were left without electricity and sporting events were unable to go ahead. Airlines also cancelled hundreds of flights, while several rail firms urged passengers not to travel. Ferry passengers also faced disruption.
Even before the storm hit the UK, 65 mph gusts may have contributed to an emergency incident at Iceland`s main airport, Keflavik. Boeing 757-200 TF-FIA had just flown in from Berlin Tegel when the starboard side strut folded moments before the aircraft vacated the runway. The aircraft, pictured above about to land on Runway 23 at Glasgow a couple of years ago, is a familiar sight here having made numerous visits over the years.
None of the 166 passengers on board the Icelandair jet at the time of the collapse were reportedly injured. An investigation is underway to determine whether the gear was already defective or if it was destroyed during the landing itself. The accident in Keflavik led to various cancellations and diversions including five Wizz Air flights, all of which about-turned for their departure airports.
(Photos © AVHerald, Flugblogg & FR24.)
On Saturday 8 February the evening Emirates 777 A6-EGM aborted its landing at Glasgow due to high winds after two go-arounds and diverted to Manchester, although it did return here later and landed without incident. Sunday had even more of an impact on air travel; Manchester-bound Virgin 747-443 G-VROS from Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados, and Icelandair Boeing 757-256(WL) TF-FIK (right) from Keflavik landed at Glasgow as they were unable to do so at Manchester Airport which recorded gusts of 86 mph. G-VROS (above) repositioned to a remote stand after unloading passenger at the West Pier.
A third diversion was WestJet 787-9 Dreamliner C-GUDH from Toronto which had been heading for Gatwick. These passengers were bussed to London, but at least the exceptionally high tailwinds made for a fast Atlantic crossing. (see the British Airways Boeing 747 entry below).
In Cumbria, Honister Pass received 177mm (7 inches) of rain in 24 hours; more than one-and-a-half times the average rainfall for the whole of February. Scotland saw gusts of wind of up to 77 mph in Tiree in the Inner Hebrides, while heavy rain caused the River Nith (left) to burst its banks yet again in Dumfries. This was despite the introduction of a multi-million pound flood defence system.
On Monday 11 February the new Queensferry Crossing was shut altogether after chunks of ice fell from the supporting cables and damaged several cars. Fortunately no one was injured but the closure resulted in grid lock around the Edinburgh, Dunfermline and Alloa areas for several days.
Spring tides combined with the exceptionally high floodwater but fortunately the majority of Scotland wasn`t adversely affected. To the north of the airport, the Black Cart Water swelled to cover most of the adjacent fields. The Barnsford Bridge is on the left in the above photo. A narrow channel formed and continued across the west end of Walkinshaw Road into the airport perimeter (below).
The following shot, taken on a settled day, shows the area affected. The Barnsford Bridge can be seen top right with the main floods occurring on either side of the river, to the right of the grassy islet.
Thanks to Storm Ciara, experts are hailing a British Airways flight as the fastest subsonic New York to London journey ever. The Boeing 747-436 reached speeds of 825 mph (1,327 km/h) as it rode the exceptionally fast jet stream. The four hours and 56 minutes flight arrived at Heathrow Airport 80 minutes ahead of schedule and, according to online flight tracking service Flightradar24, it beat the previous 5 hours 13 min record held by low-cost carrier Norwegian.
Above image © CNN
Despite travelling faster than the speed of sound, the plane would not have broken the sonic barrier as it was helped along by the fast-moving air. The jet stream reached speeds of 260 mph (418 km/h) during the flight but relative to the air, the plane was travelling slower than 801 mph. Modern passenger planes usually travel at about 85% the speed of sound. The fastest transatlantic crossing for a civil airliner belongs to BA Concorde, which flew from New York to London in two hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds in 1996, hitting a top speed of 1,350 mph. The recent record-breaking BA 747 flight was just a minute faster than a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 which landed at Heathrow moments later. Flights travelling in the opposite direction were taking more than two-and-a-half hours longer than usual due to the head wind.
Ciara`s departure wasn`t the end of the UK`s weather woes; a few days later it was Wet! Wet! Wet! again when Storm Dennis arrived followed by Storm Jorge, the latter overlapping into March. `Dennis the Menace` became one of the most intense extratropical cyclones ever recorded. Destructive winds and heavy rainfall, exacerbating the impacts from the previous storm, moved south into the British Isles over the weekend of 15 -16 February as the front passed north of Scotland; Dennis subsequently began to weaken, making landfall in Norway the following day, leaving at least five UK fatalities in its wake.
These shots, from BBC News, were taken at the A82 underpass in Old Kilpatrick where a woman had to be rescued by canoe from her partially submerged car. This route leads to Loch Humphrey and is very popular with walkers heading onto the Kilpatrick Hills - swim suits anyone?
Heavy rainfall again caused severe flooding in Wales and southern England, with many rivers reaching their highest levels ever recorded. Gales disrupted ferry services across Scotland and south of the border. The Caledonian MacBrayne ferry MV Caledonian Isles was filmed lurching violently from side to side while attempting to dock at Ardrossan on a sailing from the Isle of Arran; the ferry crew were praised after eventually bringing the ship into port successfully under difficult circumstances.
Thanks to Storm Jorge`s contribution, rainfall data from the Met Office shows that this month has been the wettest February since records began. An average of 202.1mm has fallen this month, surpassing records for February 1990, when 193.4mm fell. Mild, very wet and very windy winters appear to becoming the norm here.
Destined to have a far greater impact on the UK population in the not too distant future is the spread of Coronavirus. It is caused by SARS-CoV-2, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China. The virus primarily spreads between people in a similar way to influenza, via respiratory droplets produced during coughing or sneezing. The time between exposure and symptom onset is typically five days, but may range from two to fourteen days, so carriers may be unaware.
Symptoms may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. There is currently no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment, although research is ongoing. Most people recover having experienced only mild discomfort but Coronavirus can prove fatal for many, particularly those with underlying health conditions. (Above image © NBC).
By the end of February, the total number of UK cases had risen to 23. Italy is the worst European country to be affected so far with the majority of victims concentrated in the north. Considering the ease of international travel and the highly infectious nature of the pathogen, Coronavirus seems unstoppable.
A330-202 CS-TQP of Hi-fly Malta arrives during a downpour on 19 February with S.C. Braga for their Europa League game against Rangers.
Emirates made the welcome announcement that their daily A380 summer service, due to resume in late March, will continue year round. There have been two Boeing Triple-sevens each day over the winter but the recently introduced aircraft is obviously proving a success on the Glasgow-Dubai route. Although it has less cargo capacity than the Boeing, the A380 is extremely popular with passengers. When the giant airliner returns it will continue to operate the morning flight.
Once again, Emirates Expo-liveried planes make up most of the noteworthy jet airliner movements: Boeing 737-8AS(WL) SP-RSZ Ryanair Sun (f/v) (2nd); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPL Emirates (Expo 2020 green livery) (3rd); Airbus A320-232 G-POWM Titan Airways (4th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ENR Emirates (Expo 2020 orange) and Boeing 757-256(WL) TF-FIR Icelandair (80 years of Aviation Livery) (6th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPU Emirates (Expo 2020 green) (7th); Airbus A319-112 OE-LDD Austrian Airlines and Boeing 737-8Q8(WL) SP-ESB Enter Air (8th); Boeing 747-443 G-VROS Virgin Atlantic, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner C-GUDH (f/v) WestJet, Boeing 757-256(WL) TF-FIK Icelandair, Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ENM Emirates (Expo 2020 orange), Boeing 777 A6-EPB Emirates (Expo 2020 blue) and Boeing 737-8K5(WL) YR-BMH Blue Air (City of Liverpool livery) (9th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPK Emirates (Expo 2020 blue) (10th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPL Emirates (Expo green) (11th)...
A bit more interesting during the second half of the month; Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPD Emirates (Expo blue) and Airbus A321-251NX G-UZMH (f/v) easyJet (13th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EPO Emirates (Expo orange) and Boeing 757-256(WL) TF-FIU Icelandair (Aurora Borealis livery), Boeing 737-8AS(WL) SP-ESC Enter Air, Boeing 737-8AS(WL) EI-GSJ (f/v) Ryanair, Airbus A321-211 G-POWV Titan Airways and A319-112 OE-LDA Austrian Airlines (f/t Innsbruck) (15th); Emirates Boeing 777 A6-EPF (Expo blue (18th); Airbus A330-202 CS-TQP Hi-fly Malta arrived from Porto with S.C. Braga who were playing Rangers in the Europa League; and Airbus A321-251NX G-UZMC (f/v) easyJet (19th); Boeing 737-8Q8(WL) SP-ESG (f/v) Enter Air and Boeing 737-86J(WL) PH-CDH (f/v) Corendon Dutch Airlines (20th)...
Airbus A340-313 9H-SOL Hi Fly Malta, Boeing 737-8K5(WL) F-GZTV (f/v) ASL Airlines France, Boeing 737-8AS(WL) SP-ESF Enter Air, plus Enter Air Boeing 737 SP-ESG and Corendon 737 PH-CDH both returned (21st); Airbus A320-214 OY-RCJ (f/v) Atlantic Airways (Faroe Islands) worked today`s Icelandair flight (22nd); British Airways Boeing 777-336(ER) G-STBG (f/v) was brought in to provide extra space after the preceding LHR Shuttle flight was cancelled, plus Boeing 737-81M(WL) EI-GRS (f/v) Alba Star (23rd); Boeing 737-8AS(WL) SP-RKR (f/v) Ryanair Sun (24th)...
Boeing 737-8s SP-ESC and SP-ESE (f/v) both Enter Air, Airbus A321-211 G-POWU (f/v) Titan Airways, plus SmartLynx Airbus A320-214s ES-SAV (f/v) and YL-LCL (the former had an Air France call-sign) (25th); Airbus A321-232 LN-RKK (f/v) SAS Scandinavian Airlines (26th); Airbus A321-211 OY-VKG Sunclass Airlines, A321-232 OY-KBB (f/v) SAS Scandinavian Airlines, plus G-POWU, SP-ESC, SP-ESE, ES-SAV and YL-LCL all returned (27th); Boeing 757-256(WL) TF-FIR Icelandair (80 years of Aviation Livery) (28th). Below: Blue Air Boeing 737-86N(WL) YR-BMG heads back to Bucharest on Thursday 20 February.
Antonov An-26B UR-CQD (f/v) of Vulkan Air arrived late afternoon on Tuesday 4 February. These aircraft usually visit Prestwick rather than Glasgow.
The Antonov An-26 Tactical Transport first flew in May 1969. The type made its public debut at the 27th Paris Air Show where the second prototype, CCCP-26184, was shown in the static park. The design, which was based on the An-24, proved very successful and over 1,400 were built with many still operational in Russia, as well as with the Pakistan and Vietnamese air forces. The An-26 can be easily fitted with underwing bomb racks and was used extensively as a bomber by the Sudanese Air Force during the Second Sudanese Civil War, and the War in Darfur. There are also many civilian operators of the type. The An-26 is also manufactured in China by the Xian Aircraft Factory as the Y-14 and, later the Xian Y7 series.
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.
The last Antonov An-26B I saw at Glasgow was SP-FDT way back in October 2005. It belonged to Polish cargo operator Exin which was based at Katowice International Airport. Exin was established in 1991 and operated services primarily on behalf of DHL Aviation. Coincidentally, this aircraft parked on the same stand as the recent arrival.
Apart from the Antonov, just the usual crop of turboprops this February although Stobart Air ATR 72-600 EI-GPN (not photographed), which made a couple of flights on the 5th, was a first-time visitor. It was followed by ATR-72 EI-SOP (f/v) of ASL Airlines Ireland on February 21st.
Stopping over from January were Gulfstream VI A9C-BAH and Embraer Phenom 300 CS-PHC. First biz-jet to call in this month was Citation XLS+ D-CAWO (1st); Cessna CitationJet CJ2 9A-JSC (f/v), Learjet 40 C-FEMF (f/v), Citation M2 M-KNOX plus Citation Bravo G-SPRE (2nd); Learjet 35A D-CTIL and Learjet 31A D-CAMB (3rd); Falcon 50 HB-IGV, Gulfstream G150 D-CGEP and Citation Excel G-CKUB (4th); Cessna 680A Citation Latitude CS-LTC, Embraer Legacy 500 G-WLKR and Embraer Phenom 300 G-JMBO (5th); Challenger 350 9H-VCK VistaJet and Raytheon Hawker 750 9H-BSA (6th); CitationJet CJ2 D-INOB Atlas Air Service (7th); Dassault Falcon 7X OY-VIK Air Alsie (8th); Dassault Falcon 7X N999PN (f/v) and Citation Sovereign D-CAWX (9th); Bombardier Challenger 850 9H-ILB and Challenger 605 9H-VFE both VistaJet (10th)...
Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy 650 D-ALOA Air Hamburg, Hawker Beechcraft 750 9H-BSA and Cessna Citation XLS G-CKUB (11th); Bombardier Challenger 850 9H-CLG Air X Charter and Dassault Falcon 7X D-ASIM Air Hamburg (12th); Challenger 350 9H-VCC VistaJet and Citation Bravo G-CMBC (14th); Phenom 300 G-JMBO (16th); Bombardier Global 6000 EC-LTF and Falcon 50 N152FJ (f/v) (17th); Citation XLS+ D-CAHO Air Hamburg (19th); Citation M2 M-KNOX (21st); Citation XLS+ D-CAHO again and Phenom 300 M-ELON (22nd); Challenger 350 9H-VCF VistaJet (23rd); CitationJet CJ1 9H-GIO, plus Learjet 45 LX-EAA Luxembourg Air Rescue (25th); Citation Bravo OE-GPS Tyrol Air Ambulance and Citation Mustang G-FFFC (27th); Cessna 680A Citation Latitude CS-LTM (f/v) and Embraer Phenom 300 CS-PHO (f/v) (29th).
King Air 200 M-CDBM (3rd); King Air C90B F-GMPM (6th); Agustawestland A-109S Grand G-ORCD (f/v) (7th); Piaggio P-180 Avanti M-ETAL (10th); Diamond DA62 2-SALE (12th); King Air 200 G-OLIV and new based air ambulance chopper Airbus Helicopters EC-145T G-GSAS (f/v) (13th); King Air 200 G-IASB (14th); Piper PA-42 Cheyenne III D-IOSD (19th); Airbus Helicopters EC-145T G-GSAS was back, operating locally (25th); Pilatus PC-12 G-KARE (26th); King Air 200 G-MEGN (29th).
About 13:30 hrs on Monday 4 February 2020, the first of nine new P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) for the RAF arrived at Kinloss Barracks, an ex-RAF military base on Scotland`s Moray coast, after being flown from the United States. The £3 billion fleet of Poseidons will operate from nearby RAF Lossiemouth which is currently being upgraded to accommodate the RAF`s latest acquisitions. It is almost 10 years since the RAF's last purpose-built maritime patrol aircraft, the Nimrod, was scrapped during defence cuts, costing the taxpayer billions of pounds and leaving the UK, an island nation, with no long range airborne anti-submarine capability. Britain had to rely on the USA, Canada, or other NATO allies to provide cover, a situation which many saw as scandalous.
The first of the completed Poseidons has been named Pride of Moray. It is expected to move from Kinloss to Lossiemouth by the end of this year. The remaining crews are currently training on the aircraft at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in the USA. The Lossiemouth investment will include a £75m resurfacing of the base`s runways, new hangars, maintenance facilities and buildings to house the personnel involved. About 470 jobs, a mix of military and civilian posts, will be created. Pride of Moray was escorted by RAF Typhoons on the last stage of its journey. (Above images © Boeing and PA Media).
RAF A400M Atlas C.1 ZM404 (f/v) did a couple of touch-and-goes on Runway 23 mid-afternoon on 2 February. German Air Force Airbus A319-133(CJ) 15+01, call-sign `GAF 884`, used the same runway for training about 10:30 hrs on the 7th. US Navy KC-130T Hercules, serial number 165352 (f/v), call-sign `Yankee 99` arrived pm on Sunday 9 February and parked up on the north side, remaining until the morning of the 11th. The Germans were back on Tuesday 18 February when Bombardier Global 6000 14+05 (f/v) called in for a time.
The only other military visitor during February was night-stopping C-146A Wolfhound 16-3020 which is seen here parked up on Area R on the 13th.
Construction & Development
Development of the Abbotsinch Road site continues although the stormy weather and resultant muddy ground halted operations for a time.
The new cycleway / footpath south of the entrance to Gama Aviation is taking shape.
I presume the playing fields on the east side of Abbotsinch Road opposite the Gama and Scottish Ambulance hangars will disappear when the new business park is built. The pitches are well-used at weekends and the adjacent embankment, which hasn`t been bulldozed yet, is a good vantage point for watching the matches and photographing `23` arrivals. Even if the embankment remains, once the buildings go up views of landing traffic from it will likely be obscured.
Below: Progress on the new cycleway / footbridge over the Black Cart Water as of 25 February...