Glasgow Airport Movements 2021
The battle against Coronavirus continues in earnest and although the horrendous death toll continues to rise, there is hope that the situation will greatly improve as we head towards summer. The first results of the UK vaccination programme suggests it is having a `spectacular` impact on preventing serious illness. Research led by Public Health Scotland found at four weeks after the first dose, hospital admissions were reduced by 85% and 94% for the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs respectively. It is the first sign of the real world impact of vaccination in the UK.
Strict lockdown measures are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, so there will be no Easter Getaway this year.
Above: A typical scene at the Drop-off / Pick-up Point this month. The photo was taken mid-morning on Thursday 11 February.
The other shots show the British Airways maintenance hangar, a deserted airport taxi feeder rank and, below, some of the inactive freight businesses.
Not much doing on the West Apron either...
British Airways still had a number of stored airliners at Glasgow at the beginning of the month with others flying in for routine maintenance.
As of 04;00 on Monday 15 February all international arrivals in Scotland were required to self-isolate in hotels for 10 days, however, in England the rules only applied to arrivals from 33 "Red List" countries. These latest measures are intended to prevent the import of new variants of Coronavirus into the UK, but a serious loophole means that any international travellers landing at an English airport from a country not on the `high risk` list could then travel directly to Scotland.
The Scottish Government reacted by accusing the UK government of undermining its public health message by failing to introduce a similar blanket policy of quarantine for all international arrivals. Concerns in the aviation industry about a lack of consultation in advance of these restrictions being brought in were also raised.
Six hotels had initially been blocked booked by the Scottish government: three close to Edinburgh Airport, two close to Glasgow Airport and one near Aberdeen Airport (above). Each person required to quarantine in one of the designated hotels will be hit with a bill of around £1,700. Travellers now need a Home Office locator form stating where they had flown from and where they were heading, a negative Coronavirus test taken 72 hours before travel, and proof that the `necessary quarantine arrangements` had been booked in advance. On arrival at the airport, Border Force personnel will check all three of these requirements and once through the border point, passengers will be escorted by security personnel through baggage reclaim and onto transport which will convey them directly to their allocated temporary residence.
Late on Tuesday 2 February, a rescue operation sprang into operation after a drilling ship broke free from its moorings at Hunterston Terminal on the North Ayrshire coast as a result of gale force winds. The crew of the Valaris DS4 deployed the ship's anchors as it drifted without power in an effort to prevent it being blown against the east coast of the Isle of Great Cumbrae at the far side of the narrow channel.
Conditions on scene were easterly 40 - 60 knots with a rough sea and sleet. The 228 metre-long vessel had been tied-up alongside ENSCO DS8 which was also in danger of snapping her mooring lines. The Troon and Largs lifeboats, HM Coastguard and various local tug boats responded to the Mayday call and both drilling ships were temporarily secured without reports of any injuries. A number of vessels responding to the incident had to remain on station for several days and only then, after conditions had eased, was the incident stood down. (Images BBC News / Raibeart MacAoidh / Georgraph / Friends of the Firth of Clyde).
Then, within a week, the weather took on a distinctly Arctic atmosphere with temperatures at Braemar plummeting to -23, the lowest reading since the 1950s. Although the Paisley / Renfrew area escaped the worst of the snow, the scenery was transformed here for a few days before the thaw set in. This was the River Cart, just north of Glasgow Airport...
At 07:45 hrs on Monday 1 February, Etihad Boeing 777-3FX(ER) A6-ETG arrived on PPE cargo-only flight from Abu Dhabi. It parked on Stand 30 where it remained until departure just over two hours later. Although it was a fine, crisp morning, hazy conditions persisted around the airport for much of the day resulting in grey, hazy shots. Things were a bit nippy too requiring a full-scale de-icing before the big jet pushed back. A6-ETM (not photographed), another of the carrier`s Triple-seven freighters, worked a similar flight on the 4th, and also landed at Glasgow just before first light.
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.
British Airways Boeing 777-236(ER) G-YMMS (above) flew in from Bangkok, landing at 17:50 hrs on Friday 5 February, with a a cargo of PPE. It left for Heathrow about 11:30 hrs the following morning. Eastern Airways Embraer ERJ-170LR G-CIXW operated a flight to Gibraltar on Wednesday 24 February.Next was Boeing 737-7K5 OO-JAS of TUIfly (25th); On the left is ex-Alaska Airlines A320-214 N621VA which arrived here at 17:25 hrs on Sunday 28 February from Texas via Bangor, Maine, after severe winter weather across the southern US had delayed the airliner`s departure. Disappointingly from the aviation enthusiast`s point of view, it had already been repainted in the colours of its new operator, Volotea, prior to travelling to Europe. This shot of the plane on finals was taken from my back window in fading light.
Pictured here on the West Apron on Sunday 28 February is TUI Boeing 737-8K5(WL) G-TAWN (ex C-GMWN), still in Sunwing colours.
Other Jet airliners getting a mention this month are Airbus A319-131 G-EUPJ British Airways (BEA Retro livery) (3rd); On Wednesday 17 February, all-white Titan Airways A321-211 G-POWN flew up from London Heathrow to take Glasgow Rangers to Brussels but the plane went tech soon after touchdown at Glasgow. A replacement aircraft was required resulting in Titan`s Boeing 757-256 G-ZAPX being brought in from Stanstead to cover. Jet2 737s G-JZBF and G-DRTC also positioned up from Leeds-Bradford Airport that day, then Jet 737 G-JZHP flew across to Edinburgh the following morning. A321-211 G-POWN was back in action by the 19th when it brought a victorious Rangers team back to Scotland after a seven-goal thriller. Borna Barisic's two second-half penalties, including a last-minute winner, helped Rangers beat Royal Antwerp 4-3 in a topsy-turvy Europa League last-32 first-leg tie.
Above: While the majority of Loganair movements are currently made by the carrier`s Twin Otter and Saab 340 turboprops, their Embraer Regional Jets still operate scheduled flights from Glasgow, mainly to Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. G-SAJR and G-SAJC were snapped at the terminal on 28 February.
Airbus A321-251NX G-NEOP sets off on 12 February on one of the day`s two BA Shuttle flights to Heathrow.
Airbus A320-251N G-TTNI, seen here on the 21st, had joined the pair already in storage on the West Apron.
Below: This view showing some of the stored BA Airbuses at Glasgow was taken on 28 February...
Nothing of note with activity once again centred on Loganair flights to Campbeltown and the outer islands, along with some Aer Lingus Regional, ASL Airlines and Swiftair operations. Below: A Saab 340 touches down on a frosty morning; Loganair Saab 340B G-LGNH and one of the carrier`s Twin Otters climb into a cloudless sky on Thursday 11 February after their respective `05` departures.
Below: Saab 340B G-LGNJ outside the Loganair hangar on Sunday 28 February 2021....
And finally, sister aircraft G-LGNA parked outside the Gama hangar on the same day...
Just a handful of corporate visitors this month, none of which I managed to photograph: Cessna CitationJet CJ2 G-SOVZ (1st); Embraer Phenom 300 G-DCMT (2nd); Eclipse EA-500 2-JSEG (3rd); Gulfstream VII-G600 N600EB (4th); Learjet 25D N304VS (6th); Pilatus PC-24 LX-PCF Jetfly Aviation (7th); CitationJet CJ2 G-JNRE Synergy Aviation (8th); CitationJet CJ3 2-RBTS (12th); Bombardier Challenger 850 9H-JOY AirX Charter (14th); Cessna Citation Bravo G-IPLY (18th); CitationJet CJ3 2-RBTS returned (19th), and finally CitationJet CJ2 G-ILBG on the 25th.
Again, very little to report here, mostly just familiar Beech twins: German-registered Piaggio P-180 D-IIVA arrived late on 1 February for a night stop. It was followed by King Air 200 G-IASA (2nd); Cessna T303 Crusader G-CMOS (3rd); Piper PA-28 Archer II G-BXEX (11th); Piper PA-23 Aztec G-BBHF (12th); King Air 200 G-REXA (13th); King Air 200 G-IASM (14th); King Air 200 G-FLYK (15th); Diamond Aircraft DA-62 2-SALE (16th); Beech C90GTi King Air N689JR Textron Aviation (17th); King Air 200 G-FSEU (19th); AgustaWestland AW189 G-MCGR of HM Coastguard was in the area on the 20th, no doubt on a patient transfer and may have landed at the airport for fuel. King Air 200 G-FPLD (24th); King Air 200 G-IASA again (plus other dates) (25th); King Air 200 G-FSEU (27th); King Air 200 G-AISC (28th). Pictured below are Gama Aviation King Airs: G-PCOP lifting off on 11 February with G-GMAE coming in to land on the 6th.
RAF BAe146-1 ZE701 visited on Monday 8 February then C-130J Hercules ZH866 `Comet 118` did some training on Friday 12th. Royal Air Force Embraer Phenom T.1 ZM335 did a go-around of Runway 23 at 11:45 hrs on the 25th. RAF Beechcraft 350ER Shadow R.1 ZZ504 `Snake 54` did a go around of `23` 19:50 hrs on Friday 26 February.
About 15:30 hrs on Saturday 28 February, Army Air Corps WAH-64D Apache gunships ZJ213 `Viper One` and ZJ226 `Viper Two` landed, as a result of the former experiencing a technical issue. `Viper Two` headed back down south later but ZJ213 remained on Area Juliet until the problem was rectified, finally departing Glasgow on 2 March.
Designed to seek and destroy air defence units, tanks and armoured vehicles, the Apache attack helicopter is capable of a wide range of battlefield tasks that include Intelligence, Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR), Escort/Force Protection and Command and Control (C2). The Apache can operate in all weathers, day or night and has significantly enhanced the Army's Air Manoeuvre capability. Using the distinctive Longbow radar located above the main rotor blades, the Apache can detect and classify up to 256 potential targets, display 128 of these to the crew and prioritise the top 16 threats, all in a matter of seconds. It carries a mix of weapons that include a 30mm chain gun, 70mm rockets and Hellfire missiles to provide choice for the commander and flexibility during the mission. In addition to the Longbow radar, the aircraft is equipped with optical and thermal imaging sights that are used to visually identify potential targets and pilot the aircraft at night and in low visibility conditions. Range and endurance can be increased using wing-mounted fuel tanks and to increase its survivability, the Apache is fitted with a state of the art, fully integrated Defensive Aid Suite to protect the aircraft and crew.
The following shots of another AAC Apache helicopter being put through its paces were taken at the Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford in 2019...
Construction & Development
At the beginning of the month, despite the continuing consequences of the pandemic on all aspects of daily life, Transport Scotland recommended taking forward development of the Glasgow Metro system project which was first proposed back in 2019. The new integrated and economic public transport system would be a network of high-capacity rapid-transit lines serving a large catchment area with a particular focus on areas currently lacking good bus and rail connections.
The major infrastructure project would see Glasgow Airport linked to Paisley Gilmour Street station on a line which would also include a stop at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Govan. Glasgow Central and Queen Street railway stations would be linked by a tunnel. The proposed network would include additional lines from the city centre to areas such as Tollcross, Easterhouse, Summerston, Drumchapel and Robroyston. Those behind the project hope that a new Metro system would help to push forward the long-term local and national recovery, post-pandemic but with COVID-19 having such a catastrophic impact on finances and travel it now seems wishful thinking rather than a realistic proposition. The full report can be viewed here: www.glasgow.gov.uk.
Construction work on the new development area off Abbotsinch Road continued throughout February.
By the end of the month a section of new cycle / footbridge bridge over the Black Cart had appeared atop supports at the northwest corner of the site. Rather than a completely new unit, this may well be the first of the original sections back in position for assembly, after the entire structure toppled over during an attempt to move it across to the river on transporter bogies at the end of last year. I presume that each section, which was removed for inspection, will be checked for buckles and structural fractures before being returned for a second attempt.
A second building is now taking shape close to the west bank of the White Cart Water.
Over at the Inchinnan Business Park this addition to the Thermo Fisher Scientific complex sprang up in a matter of weeks.
The local squirrels were fairly active throughout February, apart from stormy days, and various species of birds continued to help themselves at the feeders. Magpies and crows, some of the earliest breeders were busy collecting twigs for nest building. The highlight was the Sparrowhawk which appeared at the end of the month.
Out and About
There were some cracking days for a walk this month with clear skies combined with a crisp snow-covered landscape. Even though travelling further afield was was ruled out by the current Coronavirus restrictions, there were plenty of local alternatives and although there wasn`t much to see aviation-wise, a circuit of the airport usually has something of interest.
And finally, a River Clyde sunrise, unfortunately with nothing on approach...