Birmingham Airport 2013 - The Year in Review

Welcome to "BHX 2013 - The Year in Review" which brings the highlights
of the year at Birmingham Airport together in a photo review 

2013 has been another year of significant change both in the air and on the
ground at BHX - a new era arrived in the form of the first visit of a Boeing 787 
"dreamliner" when Air India operated the inaugural flight of their new 4 times
weekly service from Amritsar via Delhi on Thursday 1 August 2013

.... while a chapter of UK aviation history came to the end when the last VC10 in
RAF service made a touch and go on Wednesday 25 September 2013 during its final
flight from RAF Brize Norton to Bruntingthorpe via BHX prior to scrapping

Indeed 2013 was "the year of the VC10" with 4 different aircraft visiting a total
of 6 times to either perform a touch and go - twice - or a flypast - 4 times - 

Monday 18 March 2013 - VC10 K3 ZA149 - flypast on way to Bruntingthorpe
Wednesday 20 March 2013 - VC10 K3 ZA148 - flypast as part of training flight
Friday 5 April 2013 - VC10 C1K XR808 - touch and go as part of training flight
Monday 29 July 2013 - VC10 C1K XR808 - flypast on way to Bruntingthorpe 
Friday 20 September 2013 - VC10 K3 ZA147 - flypast as part of final UK tour
Wednesday 25 September 2013 - VC10 K3 ZA147 - touch and go on way to Bruntingthorpe

- three of the aircraft where on their final flights en route to Bruntingthorpe with
the visit of ZA147 on Wednesday 25 September 2013 the last ever flight of a VC10

There was also change on the ground - after 74 years of service from the Elmdon
building Air Traffic Control went "live" in the new Tower on Wednesday 17 April 2013

Another era ended when SAS operated their final planned MD 82 service to Copenhagen
on Monday 7 October 2013 - it did return twice again on late aircraft changes - before
the MD 82 was withdrawn from their fleet at the end of October 2013 - while still active
in Europe this type is unlikely to visit again on a regular basis although it has been
replaced on some SAS flights by the Blue1 Boeing 717s - a derivative of the MD80!

Apart from the Boeing 787 the other new type (?) of airliner was the first visit of
a "Sharklet" equipped Airbus A320 to BHX when D-AIZP operated the lunchtime
Lufthansa service from Frankfurt on Friday 22 March 2013 - by the year end it had
been joined by visits of easyJet and Monarch "Sharklet" 320s and the first Turkish
Airlines "Sharklet" Airbus A321 TC-JSK

It was an interesting year for route development - Air Blue operated their
inaugural flight from Islamabad on Saturday 28 September 2013 but within
two months it was dropped - the only significant route loss in the year!?
bmi regional returned to BHX but had dropped 3 of the 4 routes they had
launched by the end of the year while Germanwings also returned replacing
Lufthansa on their flights from Berlin Tegal and Hamburg

It was another good year for the network scheduled carriers Air France, Brussels,
Emirates, KLM, Lufthansa, SAS, Turkish and United with the result the passenger
numbers have now gone up every month since May 2013! Turkish brought their
"200th aircraft" - Boeing 737-9F2ER TC-JYI - to BHX on Tuesday 2 April 2013 to
celebrate their latest increase in frequency

Olympic Holidays provided the variety in the IT charter market - the planned
based Small Planet Airbus A320 never arrived with Carpatair Boeing 737-45D
SP-LLC still in the gold 80th anniversary scheme of LOT operating their first
service to Larnaca while Avion Express, Enter Air, Cyprus Airways and
Travel Service also operated their flights with....

.... with Atlantic Airways Airbus A319-112 OY-RCH being based for their final
week of operations in early September 2013. Other airlines visiting on ad hoc
flights and student charters included Air Europa, Air Mediterranee, Air Nostrum,
Alitalia, Blue Panorama, Bulgaria Air, Danube Wings, Europe Air Post, Hamburg
Airways, Jetairfly, Livingston, Luxair, Mistral Air, Small Planet, Transavia and
Travel Service while Monarch used Air Explore, Alba Star, Neos and Niki to
operate early season sub charters

Freighters continued to visit in all shapes and sizes - star heavy freighter was FedEx
MD-11F N590FE which visited for a weekend of training on Elmdon apron....

.... closely followed by ULS Cargo Airbus A310F TC-SGM which operated a charter
from Istanbul on Monday 6 May 2013 while Star Air/UPS Boeing 767Fs made
several nocturnal visits including two diversions from a snow bound East Midlands

While there were not as many Antonov's as in 2012 the colour scheme on Air Bright
Antonov 26B LZ-ABR which had been used in the filming for the "The Expendables 3"
provided some entertainment - once again air cargo/priority freight produced plenty
of variety including numerous visits by the Air Contractors Hercules, various Atlantic
Airlines/West Atlantic ATP's and hordes of Metro's!

It was a different sort of weather year for diversions! - once upon a time these
usual were fog related then with the advent of ILS - Instrument Landing Systems -
they became mostly fuel related when aircraft suffered landing delays due to poor
weather - in 2013 the strength of the wind was the reason for a number of diversions
including Airbus A300B4-608ST Beluga Super Transporter F-GSTF which diverted in
from Chester on Wednesday 6 February 2013....

.... while Iberia Airbus A330-302 EC-LXK diverted in from Heathrow on Friday 12 July
2013 when the airport was closed because of a fire on an Ethiopian Boeing 787

Delivery/transit flights always bring something of interest with the new Monarch Aircraft
Engineering hangar providing a new perspective for these with flydubai Boeing 737-8KN
A6-FEJ and A6-FEK both arriving for cabin modifications on their way to Dubai

Icelandic Coastguard Dash 8-314Q MPA TF-SIF again transited BHX on its way home
to Reykjavik arriving on Saturday 31 August 2013 while Turkmenistan delivered three
new Boeing 737-82Ks - EZ-A015, EZ-A016 and EZ-A017 - via BHX with the final delivery
of the year being flybe Embraer 175 G-FBJK on Saturday 21 December 2013  

Embraer Phenom 300 M-VAKE also stopped over on its delivery flight to Almaty, Kazakhstan,
arriving on Friday 24 May 2013 and then staying over at BHX due to technical issues

There was again a steady flow of biz jet movements with a number coming from afar
including Gulfstream 450 B-8251, Gulfstream 150 C-GXNW, Gulfstream 550 VH-LAL,
Falcon 900 VH-PPD, Global Express XA-OVR and Falcon 900EX 9G-EXE....

.... while many biz jet have bland colour schemes the Elmdon apron was brightened
up by visits of Lewis Hamilton's Challenger 605 G-LCDH

.... and TAG Aviation Challenger 850 G-RADY

Gulfstream 650 N673HA became "first of type" to visit BHX when it arrived from
Portland-Hillsboro, Oregon, on Monday 29 July 2013 while....

Falcon 2000 T7-NIK became the first San Marino registered aircraft to visit BHX
when it arrived on Wednesday 27 November 2013

Larger biz movements included GainJet Boeing 757-23N SX-RFA which brought
the England Under-21 football team home after their exit from the 2013 UEFA
European Under-21 Football championship in Israel while Boeing BBJ visitors included
A6-RJZ, VP-BIZ and several visits by N500LS supported by Sikorsky S92 G-LAWX....

.... providing some more colour was Starspeed Eurocopter EC155 B1 G-WINV which
brought Beyonce in for her concert at the NEC on Friday 26 April 2013

The Helicopter Club of Great Britain had another "fly in" this time to visit Jaguar
in Castle Bromwich on Tuesday 10 September 2013....

.... while the Flying Show at the NEC over the weekend of Saturday/Sunday
30 November/1 December 2013 attracted a record number of visitors to the
Elmdon apron including Christen Eagle II G-KALW

.... which gave an impromptu air display over the airfield on departure!

Military movements always provide a few surprises with the stars this year
being two Polish Air Force CASA 295Ms that visited in May

Unfortunately BHX continued to receive visits albeit less regular as the year
went on of RAF medevac flights carrying injured service personnel on their way
to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, now based at the new Queen Elizabeth
Hospital in Birmingham - this meant fewer visits by Tristars another type that is
due to be withdrawn from RAF service in 2014 and be replaced by....

.... the new Voyagers with Airbus Airbus A330 KC2 ZZ333 becoming the first
AirTanker aircraft to visit BHX when it arrived from RAF Brize Norton for a
visit to the Monarch Hangar on Sunday 1 December 2013

Historic aircraft also performed a number of flypast's - Royal Air Force Battle
of Britain Memorial Flight Douglas C-47A Dakota ZA947 performed a flypast 
while en-route from Wednesbury to Bletchley Park on Sunday 5 May 2013

Royal Air Force Avro Vulcan G-VLCN/"XH558" which has been restored by the
"Vulcan to the Sky Trust" performed a flypast on Sunday 9 June 2013 on its 
way to display at the RAF Cosford Air Show with....

RAF Avro Lancaster B1 PA474 performed a flypast on Saturday 10 August 2013

Back on the ground the airport skyline continued to change as work started in
January 2013 on the new Hangar for Monarch Aircraft Engineering....

....the structure of which soon dominated the Elmdon site and by the end
of the year was fully operational with early visitors including flybe, flydubai,
Monarch and RAF aircraft

After a long period of preparation - moving services etc - work on the Runway
Extension gathered pace and the local geography started to change as first the
A45 diversion opened in August and then with the area cleared....

.... work continued apace with the result by the end of the year the site started to actually
looked like the planned Runway Extension with the new Taxiway in the foreground

So where next? - 2014 is going to be another year of change with the 400 metre
Runway Extension scheduled for completion in the spring....

.... while this will not change BHX's route network overnight it opens up many new
destinations that can be reached "non stop" from BHX with Biman Bangladesh Airlines
already planning to start Boeing 777 services from Dhaka and onto New York next
summer while Thomson will start using Boeing 787 "dreamliners" on long haul flights
Despite this significant investment in airport infrastructure the economy looks set
to remain challenging next year but whatever happens I am sure 2014 will be
another interesting year with plenty of new aircraft visiting BHX!!
To see a larger image of any of the photos above just "click" on them
Happy New Year!!

Gordon Stretch
Birmingham Airport Photo Blog
Tuesday 31 December 2013

Sunday 22 December 2013 - BA Cityflyer Embraer 190-100LR G-LCYN operates IT flight to Chambery

BA Cityflyer Embraer 190-100LR G-LCYN positioned in from Edinburgh to operate
an additional ski IT flight to Chambery for the Christmas holiday....

.... it was the 700th Embraer E-Jet to be built and wears special marking on the nose

Turkish Airlines "Sharklet" equipped Airbus A321-231 TC-JSK operated their morning
service from Istanbul arriving in blustery conditions

Monarch Boeing 757-2T7 G-MONK was a lunchtime arrival from Gatwick parking
on the Elmdon apron prior to a visit to the Monarch Aircraft Engineering Hangar

Hawker 800XP M-YCEF spent the day parked up after arriving back from Bournemouth
on Saturday evening after an absence of nearly three months

Monday 16 December 2013 - Thomson Boeing 737-8K5 G-TAWP makes its first visit to BHX

Thomson Boeing 737-8K5 G-TAWP which had arrived from Tenerife on Sunday
evening on its first visit to BHX was a morning departure to Funchal

Lufthansa Regional Embraer 195LR D-AEMA operated their morning service to Munich
- its first visit to BHX since its recent transfer from Augsburg Airways to Lufthansa CityLine

Falcon 900 VH-PPD which had arrived on Friday was an early morning departure to Bangor, Maine

Biman Bangladesh announce new services to Dhaka and New York JFK from Birmingham Airport

Biman Bangladesh Airlines will commence twice weekly scheduled flights
to both New York and Dhaka in the spring of 2014; a long-haul operation
made possible thanks to Birmingham’s £40m runway extension soon to open

Birmingham will become only the third UK airport to have direct flights
to New York JFK and offer the only non-stop service between the UK
and Bangladesh outside of London

Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Bangladesh’s National Flag carrier, will operate
between Dhaka, Birmingham and New York’s John F. Kennedy airport using
a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, offering Business and Economy seating

Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s Chief Executive, said, "The Midlands is a
diverse region that offers enormous trade and cultural opportunities to
carriers looking to widen links outside of the south east, and this is exactly
the type of operation that our longer runway has been built to cater for"

"With a growing number of long-haul flights launching from Birmingham,
we’re clearly demonstrating the desire by airlines to operate to and from
the Midlands and take advantage of our strong catchment, excellent location
and transport links, and world class facilities, all available thanks to our
major investment programme"

The Midlands has the UK’s second largest Bangladeshi community outside of
London, home to more than 50,000 people from Bangladeshi origin. The New
York JFK sector is expected to be particularly popular with Midlanders wanting

to reach the city for business and leisure purposes and will complement
Birmingham Airport’s current daily scheduled flight to New York Newark Airport

Kevin Steele, MD & CEO of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, added, "Birmingham’s
strong Bangladeshi community, new transit and terminal facilities and of
course its extended runway capability that will allow us to fly direct from
Dhaka next year were all key factors that attracted us to this new venture"

"We also recognise the many opportunities to build business and cultural
links between Dhaka, Birmingham and New York and see how successful
other long-haul routes have been in recent years from Birmingham"

"Customers flying with us can expect world class service, great cuisine, higher
than normal free baggage allowance and excellent value-for-money fares, and
we look forward to launching this important new route in the spring"

Biman Bangladesh’s main hub is at Shahjalal International Airport (DAC),
which is the primary air travel gateway into Bangladesh. The airline provides
international passenger and cargo services to Asia and Europe, as well as
major domestic routes inside Bangladesh. It has air service agreements
with 42 countries and currently flies to 16 different countries

Birmingham Airport’s 400m runway extension will allow aircraft to fly an
extra 2000 nautical miles from Birmingham, to reach destinations in the
Far East, South America and the west coast of the US directly

Flights will be on sale early in the New Year with launch fares starting from
£100 plus taxes each way between Birmingham and JFK and £150 plus taxes
each way between Birmingham and Dhaka. Once on sale, tickets can be booked via

Thursday 19 December 2013

November 2013 passengers at Birmingham Airport‏

Birmingham Airport handled 588,102 passengers during November 2013 
- an increase of 3.4% on the previous year
Another good month - and another month that builds on a strong month
the previous year when the November 2012 passengers numbers were up
3.9% so that gives a 7.5% increase over two years

Emirates - up 10.7% - and Turkish - up 23.0% - both had another excellent
month despite the recent arrival of Air India in the Asian market for onward
connecting passengers. Overall traffic in this market increased by 22.3%

This was also the first full month of the winter schedules which has seen
capacity increases on a number of routes and the arrival of Germanwings who
have taken over the services to Berlin Tegel and Hamburg from Lufthansa

As TUI/Thomson reported last week the IT/package tour market is currently
undergoing a revival after many years of decline and this was reflected in a
8.1% increase in the November 2013 IT passengers also helped by the new
Freebird Airlines service to Antalya

During November significant growth was achieved
on scheduled flights to destinations such as -
Bergamo 77.6%, Stuttgart 45.3%, Waterford 36.9%,
Milan Malpensa 27.0%, Istanbul 23.0%, Funchal 17.0%
Dublin 12.7%, Katowice 12.3% and Dubai 10.7% 

Charter traffic which experience growth included -
Barbados 192.3%, Turkey 120.8% and Portugal 106.3%
Scheduled traffic accounted for 89.2% of the total passenger traffic
in November whilst charter passengers made up the remaining 10.8%

Monday 16 December 2013


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