Flight - BA4346 Liverpool - Isle of Man
Aircraft - BAe ATP G-MANP
Sched Dep/Actual Dep - 11.10/11.10
Sched Arr/Actual Arr - 11.45/11.42
I arrived at John Lennon Airport at about 9.10 on a taxi. We usually take the car to the airport as it's so close but with parking charges at £60, a taxi was much cheaper, and also quicker. Anyway once we entered the terminal building we made our way straight to the British Airways check in desk 44 - to see that no one was there. I looked at the departure screens which said:
BA4346 ISLE OF MAN CHECK IN OPENS 9.40
Typical! We arrive 2 hours before departure as instructed but it turns out that we have to wait half an hour in the most boring part of the airport.
Anyway after checking in we headed straight to the departure lounge via security. Since its rebuilding in 2001, Liverpool Airport is a massive improvement. The terminal is modern, clean and spacious, whilst the old terminal was dark and had a very 'enclosed' feel about it.
I had an hour to kill in the lounge so I decided to do some planespotting. At the airport were several Executive Embraers, some of which had just arrived, some old Emerald Airlines Hawker Siddely's at the cargo terminal. At gate 2 was the delayed Easyjet 737-700 service to Amsterdam, though I missed its registration. Most of the people in the lounge were flying on the 10.40 flight to Nice, and they seemed pretty angry when Easyjet apoligised for the delay of an hour...
At 10.30, 5 minutes ahead of schedule, the ATP G-MANP arrived from IOM. This would be the 4th different ex Manx ATP I've flown on (after G-MANB twice, G-MANC and G-MANF). I counted (well there was nothing better to do!) 21 people disembarking in very quick time. At 10.40 passengers travelling on BA4346 to the Isle of Man were called to board at Gate 7.
Photo © Garry Lewis
I was happy to see that the gate area at Liverpool has taken some improvement. Not so long ago, queues for boarding for a full flight would fill on to the stairs that lead down to the area! I was happy to see that I was assigned 12D. It's best to be on the right side of the aircraft for this flight as it gives the best views!.
On the ATP, captain Ashley Gardner gave his pre-flight announcement, saying that the weather was fine and it would be a smooth, quick flight of 25 minutes. The ATP powered up at 11.08 and left its stand on time at 11.10. Just as we departed the delayed flight from Nice arrived, with the 'BIG @ Gatwick' livery. The ATP is the loudest aircraft I've been on, although I believe it's not as loud as the Jetstream 41!
Photo © Derek Pedley
After a swift taxi to runway 27 we took off and made course over the Mersey. To the right you could see the whole of Liverpool and also further on you could just make out Blackpool tower. On the River Mersey, the ferries Norbank (heading to Dublin) and Mersey Viking (to Belfast) had just left port. Strangely enough, whilst walking on the west side of the Isle of Man 3 or 4 hours later, you could see Mersey Viking on the horizon.
The flight (which was only half full) was uneventful and smooth. The cabin crew served 'Fresh' Orange Juice half way through the flight. In the no time at all the coast of the Isle of Man was visible and we landed at 11.42. We were the only aircraft at the airport, apart from a couple of BA ATP's in the hangar.
After disembarking and renting a car, it was time to start out holiday in the Isle of Man!
Flight - BA4345 Isle of Man - Liverpool
Aircraft - BAe ATP G-MANA
Sched Dep/Actual Dep - 10.00/10.01
Sched Arr/Actual Arr - 10.35/10.34
After a very nice (and warm!) weekend at the Isle of Man, it was time to go home. We dropped the rental car off in the terminal (no hassle at all, I'd recommend Hertz to anybody) we decided to check in. Ronaldsway, like Liverpool, is another airport which has been rebuilt. It is still quite small but it is very nice and looks 'cosy' (if you know what I mean!). There was only a few people at the airport when we arrived at 8.40 and we were the only people at out check in desk. After checking in we headed upstairs to the departure lounge.
At the time, the only aircraft present were 2 Emerald Airlines Hawker Siddely's at the cargo terminal and 2 ATP's in the hanger. One of them was G-MANP, the aircraft which I had previously flown on.
Ronaldsway Airport departure lounge is a great place to see aircraft. Soon after we arrived at the lounge, G-MANA had just landed from Liverpool and 22 people disembarked. A Keenair Embraer Banderiante (spelling?) had arrived at 10.20 from Blackpool. Only 4 people got off. When the aircraft departed back to Blackpool, only 2 people were on board!
Photo © Propfreak
Two more ATP's arrived. G-MANB and G-MANF (still in old Landor livery).
We were called to board late at 9.50, but we still got onboard the aircraft quickly and the departure time was on schedule. Captain Pete Davies made his pre-flight announcement and said that we would be taking off from the Easterly runway and the approach to Liverpool would be over the Wirral. The aircraft powered up at 9.59 and left the stand at 10.01. The taxi was another quick one but we had to wait by the runway to allowa BA BAe 146 to arrive from Luton. Take off was at 10.08.
It was a bit hazy so visibility was not as good as the flight out. Though I still managed to see the Welsh coast. The captain came on the telecom and said that we were at 9,000 feet and there was 15 minutes of the flight left. In no time at all, we were over the Wirral. The flight was generally smooth, except for a segment over Birkenhead, were it got VERY bumpy. We landed at 10.34 on runway 9 at Liverpool and at the terminal was a MyTravel A320, though in blank colours. The 32 passengers on board disembarked very quickly again.
I love taking these flights over the Irish Sea with BA. The only problem is that they're too short!