Corfu Airport 2016
Looking for a quiet week in the sun, my wife and I decided to return to Corfu's Kanoni peninsula. This time, base was the Corfu Holiday Palace Hotel which occupies the summit of the thickly wooded hill that forms the peninsula's southern end, with views out over the ocean and down the island's west coast. An added bonus for me was the hotel's proximity to the airport.
The most suitable holiday flight was with easyJet from Newcastle which took around 3hrs 15 minutes. Surprisingly, despite it being mid-June, there were plenty of empty seats on the plane. Nothing interesting on the apron, just a KLM 737 and EI-RJW, a CityJet BAe Avro RJ85, plus the usual crop of British charter airliners. British Aerospace Jetstream 4100 G-MAJK of Eastern Airways is pictured below.
I had a good view of the control tower and executive ramp on take-off.
Although weather conditions were good all the way across, there was a fair covering of broken cloud, replaced by blue but hazy skies as we neared our destination.
I had a good view of Dubrovnik, almost directly below the aircraft, but the steep angle ruled out a shot. The city's airport, also referred to as Čilipi Airport, lies approximately 15.5 km (9.5 mi) to the south. It was the third busiest airport in Croatia in 2014 in terms of passengers handled and has the country`s longest runway.
Corfu International, the island's main and only airport, was named Ioannis Kapodistrias Airport in honour of Ioannis Kapodistrias (1776-1831) who was one of Europe's most distinguished politicians and diplomats. He was elected as the first head of state of independent Greece and is considered as the founder of the modern Greek State.
During the short taxi ride to the hotel it was impossible to miss the huge piles of uncollected rubbish piled up at the roadside at numerous locations. I assumed that the country's refuse collectors were on strike but it's a localised problem. The island's only landfill site is bursting at the seams, and is being blockaded by the workers and local villagers who demand that the authorities create a new one. Sadly, with no money available, the situation will only get worse and could drag on indefinitely.
Having booked one of the Corfu Holiday Palace's cheapest 'lake view' rooms (which look towards the runway), we received an unexpected and very much appreciated room upgrade on arrival. We were allocated a bungalow away from the main block. It had sliding doors that opened onto a terrace with an infinity pool which is shared by just five other units. The room was spacious, clean and, apart from the bathroom which was a bit tired-looking, had recently been renovated. Although airport views from many of the Corfu Holiday Palace's rooms are likely to be limited due to the trees, it only takes around 10 minutes to reach the causeway, even less for the Cafe Royal and Cafe Kanone. The Hotel Ariti adjoining the former has lots of rooms overlooking the runway and is popular with spotters.
For anyone interested in watching or photographing the planes, it's worth comparing these hotels with the Divani Corfu Palace where I stayed last year. Each offers a different perspective on the action from many of their rooms. Although the Divani is just over a kilometre north of the most popular vantage points overlooking the Runway No 35 threshold, good take-off and landing shots with alternative but just as dramatic backgrounds are possible, as well as closer views of apron operations beside the main terminal.
Although you couldn't see any of the airport complex from our pool area, several gaps between the tall trees immediately in front enabled decent telephoto shots of any aircraft on finals approaching from the south. Mouse Island and the causeway that runs across the southern end of the lagoon were also visible, as was Nsos taverna over on the west side, one of the best-known spots from which to snap landing aircraft in the afternoon when the sun has moved round.
This cracking Praying Mantis walking over the sun loungers made a welcome distraction from the planes.
It's worth checking out the various local eateries for slightly different angles on the aircraft but I found that the long terrace of the Cafe Royal is best as, in addition to aircraft approaching from the south, the full length of the runway is visible. Although nearby Captain George's taverna doesn't have a view, both food and service were very good when we visited last year but unfortunately standards have slipped since then - if things don't improve he'll be getting demoted to deck hand!
It's a steep haul up to the Corfu Holiday Palace from the beach directly below, but a four-person lift, which hotel guests can utilise on demand 24hrs a day free of charge, has been built into the hillside.
Air traffic control seemingly alternate the runway direction with no regard to the prevailing wind and while take-offs from the south could not be seen at all from our terrace, those lifting-off from the opposite end appeared overhead soon after, although at quite a high altitude. It's worth bearing in mind that most of the executive jets and light aircraft don't show on Flightradar 24 or Planefinder so a scanner would be useful.
Above: The early morning Aegean Airlines flight sets off for Athens.
Often it seems that almost everyone`s a plane spotter here - even plastic donkeys get in on the act!
The Hotel Ariti and, above right, the north end of the Cafe Royal`s terrace. Considering the time of year, the whole area was pretty quiet.
German & Austrian Airlines
Condor's retro-liveried Airbus A320-212 D-AICA was photographed just before take-off on Saturday 2 July.
Below: TUIfly Boeing 737-8K5(WL) D-AHFT in Nuremberg Airport special livery.
Boeing 737-8AS(WL) VQ-BJH of UTair Aviation. This Russian airline has its head office at Khanty-Mansiysk Airport while its main base is at Roshchino International Airport near Tyumen. UTair offer scheduled domestic and some international passenger services as well as fixed-wing and helicopter charters in support of the oil and gas industry across Western Siberia.
Other European Carriers
Volotea is a Spanish airline with its HQ in Barcelona. Its fleet consists of nineteen 125 seat Boeing 717 aircraft, including EI-EXB (above), and four 150 seat Airbus A319s. Volotea was founded by Carlos Muñoz and Lázaro Ros, the CEO and managing director respectively, whose first venture together was Vueling Airlines, presently the third largest budget airline in Europe by passenger volume.
Biz-props & General Aviation
Above: I don`t know what type of light aircraft this is. It bears the Greek reg SX-UAU and arrived on Saturday 2 June.
De Havilland Canada DHC-8-311Q Dash 8 9H-AFD of Mediterranean Aviation called in on the same day. Medavia was set up to provide a service to the oil sector with its own turboprop aircraft fleet which currently consists of two Beechcraft 1900Ds, one Dash 8-100 and two Dash 8-300s. The company also arranges charters and can supply a wide variety of corporate jets and freighters.
I-MEJO is a Partenavia P-68. This Italian six-seat, twin-engined, high-wing monoplane was built by Partenavia and later Vulcanair. The prototype P.68 was rolled out at Arzano, Italy, and took to the air for the first time on 25 May 1970. The P-68 is still in production and the type is in widespread use with a variety of civil and military operators. This particular aircraft visited Corfu Airport on Monday 27 June.
I'd already photographed Prescott Support's CASA CN-235-300 N768KD at Corfu in June 2014 and 2015. It`s obviously a frequent visitor here.
This pair of Greek Air Force PZL M-18B Dromader water bombers, serial numbers 026 and 103 have been at Corfu for some time. I was at the Cafe Royal on Friday 1July when they took to the air for some training.
The Dromader (Polish: "Dromedary") is a single engine, single-seat agricultural aircraft that is manufactured in Poland. The aircraft is used mainly as a crop-duster or firefighting machine. PZL-Mielec obtained assistance from US aircraft manufacturer Rockwell in perfecting the design while the Polish company supplied their high-power radial engines for the Rockwell Thrush Commander. The Dromader shares outer wing panels and a section of a fuselage with this aircraft.
The Dromader first took to the skies on 27 August 1976 and is still in production. Many variants are in use around the world, including over 200 in North America. In addition to the aircraft currently serving in the Hellenic Air Force and the Montenegrin Air Force, Croatia and Serbia previously operated the type.
The only other military visitor I saw during the week was this Beechcraft UC-12F Huron, which I think belongs to the US Army. The US Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy also operate the type which was introduced in the mid-1970s. I couldn`t make out the serial number on this aircraft, which called in on the morning of Thursday 30 June.
During the return flight I had some good views, including Corfu Town`s Old Fortress and later some of the highest Alpine peaks that were protruding from the cloud cover. Although I couldn`t be sure, the topography of one cluster looked very much like the Bernese Oberland giants which include the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, the last two of which I`d climbed years ago. Shots taken during the ascents can be found on my blog: Clydeside Images.com.
I haven`t a clue which mountain is pictured below but a cable car station / mountain restaurant and pylons were clearly visible on the summit ridge. The aircraft in the blurred shot on the right, taken with my Bridge camera, looks like a C-17 Globemaster and was flying several thousand feet below our plane, I think somewhere over northern Germany.
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