Corfu Airport 2018
I`ve been to Corfu numerous times and returned to the Kanoni peninsula for the fourth year in a row, having again opted for the superb Corfu Holiday Palace Hotel which is only a few hundred metres away from Corfu Airport’s only runway. I flew out from Glasgow on Wednesday 30 May, returning home a week later. I’ve covered the hotel and general area in detail after my previous visits with the additional information, including the best vantage points for aircraft photography, available via the above links.
The beach below the hotel showing the sheltered swimming area and the lift running up to the hotel`s main pool area.
During the week several small `fast movers’ made a welcome change from the procession of airliners but biz-jet and GA plane numbers were well down compared with previous visits at this time of year and, as far as I`m aware, no military traffic passed through. The most noteworthy airliner, an A320-214 registration XY-AGO, arrived just after the sun had set on Tuesday 5 June 2018 and although I saw it on short finals for Runway 35 from the hotel, there was insufficient light for a decent photo. The Mayanmar Airbus was operating a Flexflight service between Corfu and Tallinn, Estonia.
The Corfu Palace Hotel is only a few minutes stroll away from the restaurants on the east side of the lagoon which overlook the `35` approach with only Cafe Royal offering views along the full length of the runway.
Despite these scenes, the eating establishments here are actually pretty quiet at this time of year. However, as this location is on the Corfu city tour bus route, tourists will alight for a few snaps of the church and any landing planes before hopping back on the bus.
The majority of people shown here are from one of the cruise ships docked in Corfu Town and when these groups arrive the terraces and souvenir shops can get fairly hectic, but just for a little while.
The port of Corfu is visited by a large number of vessels throughout the year with three or four cruise ships sometimes berthing together in peak season. Pictured below on Sunday 3 June, is MS The World heading north for Corfu Town to join Norwegian Spirit. The former vessel, owned by a Fort Lauderdale-based company, is regarded as the world’s largest privately owned residential yacht. Passengers have the option to live on board permanently as the ship sails around the globe but the vast majority visit periodically throughout the year, joining the vessel at their chosen port. On average, The World has around 150–200 residents and guests at any one time, staying within the vessel’s 165 accommodation options which are referred to as apartments, studio apartments and studios rather than cabins.
In 2012 The World became the largest passenger vessel to transit the Northwest Passage. Having set out from Nome, Alaska, on 18 Aug she reached Nuuk, Greenland on 12 Sept 2012, after spending 26 days at sea and travelling 4,800 nautical miles (8,900 km). The journey followed in the wake of Captain Roald Amundsen, who in 1906, became the first sailor to complete the route.
In these shots, taken from our pool area, The World is seen passing Costa NeoRiviera which was southbound for Piraeus. Costa Cruises is an Italian cruise line, based in Genoa, Italy, and owned by Carnival Corporation. The company has a long history, having been founded in 1854, originally operating a fleet of cargo ships in order to transport olive oil and textiles from Sardinia to the Italian mainland.
Commercial activities continued until the introduction of passenger services in 1947, with regular sailings between Italy and South America. The company later converted its entire fleet to full-time cruising, and as an independent company became one of the largest cruise operators in Europe.
The Costa Cruises brand currently operates fourteen cruise ships, which all sail under the Italian flag and provide cruise holidays in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, South East Asia and South America.
Apart from checking out planes, people watching can be fun, especially as they crowd in for the best `selfie-spots`
The tiny islands of Vlaherna and Pontikonisi, the latter better known as Mouse Island, feature in more postcards than any other location in Corfu. Vlaherna is the small flat island accessed via a short causeway and is completely occupied by its small whitewashed 12th century monastery. Slightly larger and heavily wooded, Mouse Island also hosts an ancient religious building and can be reached by one of the small ferries which run throughout the day from the jetty leading to Vlaherna.
More views of Vlaherna Island and its monastery, including the resident cats and dog.
The clearest views of the small chapel on Mouse Island can be had from Cafe Royal or the adjacent Cafe Kanone.
This year, I checked out Mouse Island for the first time. The return boat trip takes under 10 minutes and only costs a few Euros. The island`s prominent feature, the Byzantine chapel of Pantokrator, dates from the 11th or 12th century and there is a small cafe alongside with a small selection of souvenirs for sale.
It has been suggested that the island of Pontikonisi might have served as an inspiration for Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin's (16 October 1827 – 16 January 1901) painting Isle of the Dead.
Many of the symbolist painter`s later works portray mythological, fantastical figures alongside classical architecture constructions (often revealing an obsession with death) creating a strange, fantasy world.
Vlaherna Monastery with pink-coloured Pension Anna Bouzi on its left side and Cafe Royal and Cafe Kanone occupying the hillside above on the right.
The small island is home to a variety of wildlife as well as the caretaker`s two chilled-out pooches - chilled-out until a Jet-ski appears that is! Both dogs were relaxing in the shade on the upper terrace until they heard one of the high-speed water craft approaching - then they both leapt into action, barking from the terrace and despite the heat, charged down the stairs to the jetty to continue voicing their discontent at a closer range.
The following shot of all-white TUIfly Boeing 737-7K5(WL) D-AHXF lining-up for departure was taken from the viewpoint beside the chapel at the top of Mouse Island. A 400-600mm telephoto lens will give decent results from here although avoiding the tree leaves and branches in the foreground can often be tricky.
The lagoon, Lake Chalikopoulou, is a large body of salt water fed by several streams that trickle fresh water for most of the year to create a diverse habitat for wildlife.
The area is a nature reserve, best known for the numerous birds that flock here on passage during Spring and Autumn migration. At other times you`re more likely to spot a few herons, egrets and ducks although there are plenty of smaller species in residence.
Locals can often be seen rowing across the lagoon or wading through the shallower waters with nets at low tide, presumably targeting crabs or other shellfish.
From the causeway, or the west side of the lagoon, the New Fortress (not shown) also forms part of the skyline. The New Fortress is smaller and not as high as the Town`s original fortress to the south and was built to protect the Old Harbour and its approaches. The Venetians began construction of the stronghold in 1577 and it was completed together with the town wall around 1588. A broad, deep moat was also added to bolster defences.
By early afternoon, the light is far better from vantage points on the west side of the lagoon where there's a tiny, rather unattractive patch of beach next to the end of the causeway. Nisos Taverna, just a few minutes stroll from the causeway, is a popular spot, especially once the sun has moved round.
Several Aegean A320s appeared each day, mostly from Athens but the carrier also flew to Moscow several times during the week. SX-DNC is shown above.
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.
Ellinair was established on 19 February 2013 and its first scheduled flight took place a year later. The airline`s name is a combination of the words `Ellin` (`Greek`) and `air`. The company is a member of Mouzenidis Group and the 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 while international connections from Corfu and Heraklion continue to prove particularly popular during the summer months. Thessaloniki International Airport is the airline`s main base offering flights to Larnaka in Cyprus, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan. As of April 2018, the Ellinair fleet consists of the following aircraft: 2x Airbus A319-100, 3x leased A320-200 and x1 Boeing 737-300 (LZ-BVL wet leased from Bul Air). In 2017, Ellinair were also operating a pair of BAe Avro RJ85s but these have since been withdrawn.
Airbus A320-211 EK32002, which made several appearances during the week, is one of a pair leased from Atlantis European Airways, a charter airline operating from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. The other aircraft is EK32008.
Air Mediterranean is a Greek charter airline based at Athens International Airport. In January 2017 Air Mediterranean obtained their Air Operator's Certificate (AOC), under the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority in accordance with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Regulation. The airline intends to cover the gaps between countries with poor or no connectivity, linking Europe with the rapidly expanding markets of Middle East and Africa using Athens as a Hub. Air Mediterranean commenced scheduled passenger operations on 1 November 2017. However, as of 18 January 2018, the airline suspended all flights until further notice but a month later the carrier announced that it would cease all of its scheduled services to focus solely on charters.
From an aviation enthusiast's point of view, May to September is unsurprisingly the optimum time to visit Corfu when a wide range of European charter airlines, including those from Russia and its neighbours, transport tens of thousands of holidaymakers to and from the island. With regard to movements, Friday through to Monday is usually busiest at the airport. I found that during the week traffic would often tail-off around lunchtime, pick-up again in the afternoon and slow by early evening. Wednesday was particularly quiet and there were long periods with no visible aircraft on-site at all, apart from a based Antonov biplane, although I'd be surprised if this level of activity was the norm at the height of the summer season.
France & the Low Countries
Germany, Austria & Switzerland
As in previous years, airliners from Air Berlin, Germania, Condor, Eurowings and Germanwings made up the bulk of German movements but a couple of the planes were in special colours, including Eurowings Airbus A320-214 D-ABDQ in the carrier`s `Europa Park` livery which visited Corfu on 2 June. TUI Boeing 737-8K5 D-ATUH, decked out in the airline’s vivid red Cewe Photobuch livery, also put in an appearance.
I can`t think of many places where you can capture and man in a rowing boat and an airliner in the same frame!
TUI Boeing 737-8K5 D-ATUH, decked out in the airline’s Cewe Photobuch livery, made several appearances during the week. It`s pictured above inbound from Hannover, early on Tuesday 5 June. The shots below show it lining up for a Runway 35 departure on Saturday 2 June.
On Sunday 3 June 2018, Belavia Boeing 737-3Q8 EW-254PA in `World of Tanks` livery was a surprise visitor from the airline`s HQ at Minsk National Airport, not showing on Flightradar24. Belavia Belarusian Airlines, legally Joint Stock Company "Belavia Belarusian Airlines", is the state-owned flag carrier and national airline of Belarus. The carrier`s fleet serves a network of routes between European cities and the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as some Middle East destinations from its base.
Utair Boeing 737-8AS VQ-BJI sets off on the return flight to Moscow on June 2nd. 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.
Royal Flight and Rossiya 737s were the only other Russian airliners photographed during the week.
Airliners from SAS, Finnair, Norwegian and a Danish Air Transport (DAT) were all noted during my stay.
Other European Carriers
Nothing out of the ordinary this time round, mainly Ryanair, Enter Air and Smartwings flights plus a couple from Blue Air and Small Planet.
The northern tip of Mouse Island can be seen below the Enter Air 737 in the right hand photo, while the other shows the view in the opposite direction.
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.
The most noteworthy corporate jet calling in during the week was Cessna 525 CitationJet CJ1 E7-SMS which arrived early morning on 5 June. It`s a diplomatic aircraft used by Republika Srpska, one of two constitutional and legal entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was on the causeway at the time, directly under the 35 approach when it appeared but a side-on shot would have been preferable.
Biz-props & General Aviation
I wasn`t aware of any military visitors during my stay on this occasion.