Corfu Airport 2017
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 to be the founder of the modern Greek State. Aircraft-wise, I discovered that the first week of June is much quieter than the second half of the month so there seemed to be far fewer flights than on previous occasions, and not a great deal of variety, with the Brits and Germans accounting for the largest percentage of movements.
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 some enthusiasts may find a scanner useful.
The Corfu Holiday Palace Hotel
Returned to the Corfu Holiday Palace Hotel on the Kanoni peninsula again this year, but chose the first rather than the last week in June. Unbelievably, the hotel kindly gave us another very welcome and unexpected upgrade to exactly the same bungalow as before - one in a row of six separate from the main block that share an infinity pool, plus an upgrade to half board!
The Corfu Holiday Palace Hotel is one of my all-time favourites, set in a quiet and very scenic location, and offers an excellent standard of accommodation throughout including the facilities and food. There is a wide and varied selection each day at breakfast and dinner and we found the staff, whether working at reception, in the restaurant, or part of the maintenance team, all very friendly and helpful.
The weather was excellent throughout and the thunderstorms that were predicted on a couple of afternoons later in the week didn't materialise.
In this view, Cafe Kanone (with the green brollies) is on the extreme left , while our hotel accommodation block is above the small house on the right.
Although you can`t see any of the airport complex from our pool area, several gaps between the tall trees immediately in front enable decent telephoto shots of any aircraft on finals approaching from the south. Mouse Island (above) and the causeway that runs across the southern end of the lagoon were also visible, as was Nsos taverna on the opposite shore, one of the best-known spots from which to snap landing aircraft in the afternoon when the sun has moved round to the west. The tree-house-like Ma Cocotte Cocktail bar on the right and an adjacent Sushi-bar are located within the hotel grounds.
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The shot on the right below shows the private bungalow with its own small plunge pool which is situated next to our terrace.
From the hotel, you get a good, albeit rather distant view of cruise ships, ferries and merchant vessels sailing the busy channel between the island`s east coast and the Greek mainland. Many huge passenger vessels call in at Corfu Town in summer, including the big Cunarders, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. The New Fortress offers the best view if the ships are already in port.
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. The sheltered cove has a couple of small cafes, a toilet and showers.
The following slideshow has further views of the Corfu Palace Hotel and surrounding area.
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.
The view from Cafe Kanone is excellent with the mountains forming an impressive backdrop for aircraft on approach.
On the Causeway you need to watch out for `low-flying` motorbikes and scooters - some of the riders don`t hang about!
Ellinair was established on 19 February 2013 and its first scheduled flight took place a year later. The company is a member of Mouzenidis Group and airline was originally created in order to serve the high volume of tourists, mainly from Russia, who visit Greece on holidays arranged by Mouzenidis Travel. In June 2015, Ellinair launched various domestic routes from Athens and Thessaloniki with Corfu proving particularly popular during the summer months. Thessaloniki International Airport is the airline`s main base offering flights to Larnaka in Cyprus, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan. The fleet currently comprises 2 Airbus A319s, an Airbus A320, a pair of BAe Avro RJ85s including SX-EMS (pictured below) and four leased Boeing 737s. Airbus A320-231 LY-SPC is seen above lifting off on Wednesday 7 June.
The largest aircraft to visit Corfu Airport during the first week in June this year was TUI Boeing 767-304(ER)(WL) G-OBYF which called in on Friday 2nd f/t Manchester.
Corfu Town, the island`s capital, has two imposing strongholds: the New Fortress, visible in the background above, and the Old Fortress. The New Fortress is smaller and not as high as its southerly neighbour and was built to protect the Old harbour and its approaches.
The Venetians began construction of the castle in 1577 and it was completed together with the town wall around 1588. A broad, deep moat was also added to bolster defences.
Part of the New Fortress currently houses the local headquarters of the Hellenic Navy but much of the remainder of the complex is open to the public. It`s worth making the steep climb to the top ramparts for the views.
German & Austrian Airlines
Royal Flight Boeing 737-808(WL) VQ-BRF. JSC `Abakan-Avia` was a national airline of The Republic of Khakassia based in Abakan, Siberia. It operated cargo trunk services within Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as relief flights for the United Nations. The airline was established in 1992 and carried passengers and cargo. In 2002 a proposed merger with RusAir failed but in July 2014 it was purchased by Russian tour operator Coral Travel and renamed to Royal Flight Airlines. The current fleet comprises this single Boeing 737, six Boeing 757s and a pair of 767s.
DART Ukrainian Airlines was established in 1997 and has its headquarters at Kiev International Airport. The airline operates scheduled and charter flights within the Ukraine as well as to Albania, Georgia, Greece, Italy and Montenegro. Currently there are four aircraft in service, an Airbus A319, two A320s and a Boeing 737. Airbus A320-212 UR-CII is pictured here arriving at Corfu on Wednesday 7 June.
Boeing 737-86N(WL) VQ-BJX of Rossiya Airlines. This carrier is a fully owned subsidiary of Aeroflot, and has its HQ at Pulkovo Airport in Saint Petersburg. As of March 2017, Rossiya operates Airbus A319 and 320s, Boeing 737-800s, Boeing 747-400s and a single Boeing 777-200ER with five 777-300ERs (ex-Emirates) and twenty Sukhoi SuperJet 100s on order.
Boeing 737-86N(WL) VQ-BIZ of Yakutia Airlines. This carrier is based at Yakutsk, in the Sakha Republic of Russia. It operates domestic passenger services in Russia and within the Commonwealth of Independent States, plus routes to various European destinations and Asia. Founded in 2002, the airline is government-owned and has a hub at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport.
Other European Carriers
Sunwing Airlines Inc. is a Canadian low-cost airline headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. It offers scheduled and charter services from Canada and the United States to destinations within the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America with additonal flights to Europe during the summer months. The Sunwing fleet comprises 18 Boeing 737-800s, several of which are currently leased to Smartwings and TUI Netherlands. C-FEAK, one of two Smartwing 737s to appear at Corfu on Friday 2 June, is pictured above. Sporting a different livery, C-FDBD, another Smartwings jet, is pictured below on finals on the 4th.
Israir Airlines Ltd., more commonly referred to as Israir, has its headquarters in Tel Aviv. It operates domestic scheduled and air taxi flights from Sde Dov Airport, Haifa Airport, Ben Gurion International Airport, and Eilat Airport, as well as offering international charter services from Ben Gurion to Europe and Asia. It also operates VIP flights, and is Israel's third-largest airline after El Al and Arkia Israel Airlines, employing around 350 staff. Airbus A320-232 4X-ABF flew in from Tel Aviv on Sunday 4 June 2017 and is pictured above heading back to Israel.
Biz-Jets, Biz-props & General Aviation
I believe Manx-registered Learjet 45 M-AGBV is owned by Ryanair, the aircraft having been purchased by the low cost Irish operator in June 2014.
Dassault Falcon 7X OO-NAD called in on Sunday 4 June 2017.
The only military visitor I saw during the week was this Hellenic Air Force Alenia C-27J Spartan, serial number 4122, which called in on the morning of Monday 5 June. The C-27J was developed and manufactured in Italy and is an advanced derivative of Alenia Aeronautica's earlier G.222 (C-27A Spartan in U.S. service). The design incorporates the engines and various other systems which are used on the larger Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules. In addition to the standard transport configuration, specialised variants of the C-27J have been developed for other roles including maritime patrol, search and rescue, and intelligence gathering. The Hellenic Air Force had originally ordered 12 C-27Js in 2003 with an option for three additional aircraft but I`m unsure of the current fleet strength. The transports are assigned to 354 Sqn at Elefsis near Athens.