Christa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (6 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5684 times:
It was that time of year again in our household, the annual summer holiday. This year, the lucky country to host us for two weeks was Spain. The family have a villa in Spain and for most of the year is rented out, however we decided that we should go and spend sometime on the Costa Del Sol for a change.
The villa is located near Mijas, Andalucia. This meant that the best way to get there would be to fly to AGP. Our local airport (CWL) has a number of operators on the route. The main scheduled carriers on the route are WW and TOM (Thomson). However, there are also the charter operators that have a "purchase seat only option" such as MYT and XL.
We opted for Excel Airways, due to them being the cheapest and having the most convenient flight times for us. The flight would be operated by Sunwing Airlines of Canada for Excel Airways. They have a Canadian registered 737-800 based here for the summer season, along with Canadian flight deck crew.
Outbound Flight Details
Saturday 19th August 2006
XLA152V - Excel Airways operated by Sunwing Airlines
Cardiff International Airport (CWL) -> Málaga Airport (AGP)
Boeing 737-8Q8 - C-FTAH (CN 29351)
I was going to be travelling with my girlfriend to the airport and meeting my family at Cardiff. The taxi arrived at my girlfriend's house in Cardiff around 2:30AM. On arrival at the airport there were a number of flights being prepared for check-in, including KL to AMS, MYT to REU, 2x TOM flights, WW to; EDI, BFS as well as a few other domestic and European flights.
I checked in along with my family and girlfriend, managing to get 3x3 in row 18. There were two check in desks open for this flight to AGP, making check-in fairly quick and easy. After checking in, we preceded upstairs to exchange some Sterling for Euro currency along with a quick bite to eat and drink. The security queue looked fairly short so we decided to head for the departure lounge. After the security scare in August, security had been tightened and certain items were prevented from being taken on board the aircraft. I made sure that none of these items were in my hand luggage, still, security spotted something they didn't like the look of in my bag and searched my bag. After having my bag being given the all clear we took our seats in the newly refurbished departure lounge (there is a lot of work going on at CWL at the moment, both airside and non-airside). The airport seemed much more modern and there was a lighter feel to the departure lounge. I had a nose around the airport shops and decided to pick up some Hugo Boss aftershave.
Boarding began about 25 minutes before our scheduled departure time. Our aircraft was parked on the newly created parking area on the western side of the airport, towards the British Airways Maintenance Centre. We boarded through GATE 1 and were then bussed around to our waiting aircraft. The airport was quite busy this morning with a number of aircraft on stand. The aircraft I spotted were; a TOM 752 and 733, 1x MYT A320, 3x BMIbaby 733/5, our XLA 738 and a BA 772 at the BAMC. I also noticed some Tornado fighter aircraft from the RAF parked near by.
The load on the outbound flight was around 85%, a decent load but not really that surprising seeing as there were 3 flights to AGP that day from CWL.
The aircraft was pushed pack and then made a rather hurried taxi to runway 30. There were no announcements from the flight deck before take off, only a quick welcome message and safety demonstration from XL crew. Takeoff was smooth and we climbed to FL340 (34,000ft). After our powerful takeoff we made a left bank to the South and headed over North Devon, then down over Cornwall.
Drinks, snacks as well as pre-ordered meals (one of which my brother had) were served. I opted for Ribena and a Bacon Panini (which tasted.. "average") The drinks/snack service on board was excellent and my brothers "breakfast" looked better than average. Comedy shows including Little Britain were shown on drop down screens, however I chose not to purchase the headphones due to the flight time being only just over 2 hours. Instead I decided to read and talk to the girlfriend.
The journey continued, our route would take us above the Bay of Biscay, keeping the French coast in sight for the majority of our journey. Spain would be next, flying over Madrid and then taking a noticeable bank to the South again to follow an almost vertical straight route down to Malaga.
There was a crew announcement eventually as we reached Spain's north coast, stating the reason for the late departure and lack of contact was down to ATC problems.
We made a rather steep and fast approach into Malaga, flying out over the Mediterranean Sea and then banking to the left to land on the active runway 31. We followed an Air Berlin 737NG aircraft on approach with a Spanair flight landing after us. Touchdown was smooth and we taxied quickly to our gate. We disembarked the aircraft and was surprised to see that we would be using Terminal 1 to arrive in, instead of Terminal 2 which I was used to. We picked up our bags from the baggage belt and made our way to Terminal 2 to pick up the keys for our rental car.
Here are some pictures of our stay in Spain...
Inbound Flight Details
Saturday 19th August 2006
XLA153V - Excel Airways operated by Sunwing Airlines
Málaga Airport (AGP) -> Cardiff International Airport (CWL)
Boeing 737-8Q8 - C-FTAH (CN 29351)
After two amazing weeks in Spain, it was time to return back to reality and South Wales. We left the villa at 07:30 for the 25 minute journey to Malaga airport. The roads were rather busy, but still journey time was only 5 minutes more. We dropped the rental car off and headed for the airport terminal. Check-in would also be from Terminal 1, an experience I had not experienced until now. The short walk from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 (both connected by a walkway) was easy. The only other flights being checked in from Terminal 1 were an IB flight to MAD, and LS to MAN.
The check-in itself was rather slow and half way through the check-in procedure, the check-in desks broke down so around 100 passengers all scrambled to the new assigned desks. We were once again able to get 3X3 and made our way through security and into the departure lounge. We all got some breakfast and just as we had finished, our flight was called for boarding. We boarded through GATE B30 using an air bridge at the front of the aircraft.
The flight was full today and this time we had a welcome message off the Canadian flight crew as well as a longer welcome message and a more "relaxed" safety demonstration by the flight attendants. There were a number of aircraft on the ground, including IB, BA, U2, KL, JKK, LTE, XL, TOM and MON aircraft. We also taxied past what looked like a private 772 and also a 727.
Takeoff was from Runway 13, we made a rather quick but slow climb into the Spanish skies and then headed north over Spain taking a very similar route to the outbound flight. Drinks, snacks and beverages were served once again. However this time I opted for a Sprite and some Maltesers.
The flight crew made an announcement that our cruising altitude today would be FL360 (36,000ft) and that the weather in CWL was overcast and around 17 celsius. A huge change from AGP, where the weather conditions were clear skies with sunshine and temperatures of around 31 celsius. As we approached the UK and made our descent into CWL, it turned grey outside and we hit some turbulence. As we descended through the clouds it became clear to me that we would be landing on Runway 30. We headed over the Bristol channel, making a bank to the left to line up for Runway 30. The turbulence continued as we made our descent, the flight crew seemed to had decided to come in slightly high. We landed about 500ft past the regular touch down zone, making a rather bumpy and swaying landing on Runway 30. Thrust reversers were at maximum as we came to a steady speed. The aircraft taxied turned onto the taxiway, passing a not-so-busy CWL. Aircraft on the ground at the time were 2x Aer Arran ATR42's, 1x BMIbaby 733 and a MYT A320. We parked up at Gate 2 as we disembarked by steps down onto the tarmac. A short walk and a quick flash of passports and we were in the baggage re-claim area. Our bags were first off, meaning the total time from disembarking to getting into the car was 35 minutes. Not too bad really!
I hope you've all enjoyed reading my first trip report!
I never knew CWL was that busy,is it any good for non-airside spotting?
Bit of a shame you had the same plane on the return flight, but I guess that was expected.
Thanks for the kind words.
To answer your question, CWL is going to breakthrough the 2 million passengers handled figure this year (it should be around 2.4 million this year). CWL is quite good for spotting and there are a number of photographers that shoot at CWL (many of which upload photo's on a rival airliner website ).
CWL has many carriers, here's a quick list off the top of my head:-
Aer Arran - DUB, GWY, LRT, ORK
Air Malta - MLA
Air Scotland - GRO
Air Southwest - MAN & NQY
Balkan - BOJ
BMIbaby - AGP, ALC, AMS, BFS, EDI, FAO, GLA, GVA, JER, PMI, PRG
Eastern Airways - BRU & NCL
Excel Airways - Vast charter to Europe and Africa.
First Choice - Vast charter to Europe
KLM - AMS
MyTravel - Vast charter to Europe and USA
Thomsonfly - Low cost routes; AGP, ALC, IBZ, JER and PMI as well as vast charter to Europe, Africa and North America.
Zoom - YYZ & YVR
There are also other visitors such as Astraeus, Futura, EAF, Onur Air and Spanair. Not to mention many of the BA aircraft that visit for maintenance work. There is also quite a substantial private aircraft presence. Cargo is also handled at the airport with TNT.
As for spotting, there are a number of sites around the airport. One of the best however is at the Cardiff Aviation Academy. There's a bar and restaurant there with a very nice viewing terrace.
StMawganE14 From Gibraltar, joined May 2003, 57 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (6 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 5321 times:
No idea on the 777 although Andalucia has always been popular with Saudis (the King has a palace on the Golden Mile between Marbella and Puerto Banus). It is not uncommon to see Saudi 747s, MD11s and C130s when the royals are in town. Maybe this 777 is being used by someone with property on the coast - pure speculation I know.
I arrived back from Dusseldorf on the 23rd August and the 777 was parked next to a TU154M of the Czech Air Force - AGP never ceases to throw up the odd surprise and is a lot busier than my home airport of Gibraltar!