Wednesday 16 May 2007
Anglesey/Valley (VLY) to Cardiff Wales International (CWL
Airline: Highland Airways
Aircraft: BAe Jetstream 31
After a long wait since the announcement that Highland Airways would be operating the new North-South Air Service for Wales I finally get to try out the service on the second week of operation.
Having departed on wet and bleak morning towards Anglesey I arrive at the new Anglesey Airport which located within the Royal Air Force Base at Valley on Anglesey.
A new terminal building has been specifically built for this service and any others that they might attract to the airport. I believe that Anglesey Council is trying to get a direct service to DUB
The new Terminal building at Maes Awyr Môn
The check in process with quick and easy, it would be with only 18 passenger on the Jetstream but I had arrived early to make sure there were no problems. About 8.30am we were invited to board where we went through a standard security screening process and made our way to the gate.
About 15 minutes later we asked to make our way to the aircraft at which point we had to brave the wind and rain as we walked to the stand.
The service had free seating and the plane for this trip was full with a good mix of those that were clearly business people going on a day trip, those attending business meetings but staying a few days in the capital like me and leisure passengers taking advantage of the quick travel time to meet friends and family in Cardiff compared to the 4 to 5 hour one way journey by either road or rail.
We taxied to the runway and took off at around 09:00 and quickly entered the low clouds which was disappointing as I was really looking forward to seeing Wales from the air on the way down to Cardiff, we only saw some some breaks in the clouds as we crossed the coast to the east of Cardiff over the Severn Estuary and our turn to the west for the approach to CWL
which is situated in Rhoose, 12 miles west of Cardiff City Centre and 10 miles from Junction 33 on the M4
The service aboard what is quite a small aircraft was excellent, with the FA
who was from Cardiff being very nervous in undertaking her safety briefing but very good considering that the service only started the week before. We were served beverages (Coffee, Tea or Orange Juice and a selection of biscuits) during the flight which I was very impressed with considering the length of the flight and the tight conditions the FA
had to work in.
Also interesting was the fact that you could see the Pilot and First Officer throughout the flight and it was the first time I had ever flown when I could actually see through the cockpit windows as well. This was real flying as a passenger compared to larger aircrafts that you are completely isolated from the flying action up front. We touched down at CWL
at 09:45 and were straight off the plane and my luggage was already on the baggage carousel.
G-JURA at the gate at CWL
as we disembarked.
After arriving at CWL
I made my way to the City Centre on the X91 Service operated by Cardiff Bus, although advertised as an airport express service it does stop a few times on the route but all in all it gets the job done.
As I had an early departure back to North Wales on the Friday morning flight I was staying at the Express by Holiday Inn at CWL
where I got a room with an excellent view of the runway.
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Room at Express by Holiday Inn at CWL
Some shots of action at CWL
from my room
Friday 18 May 2007
Cardiff Wales International (CWL
) to Anglesey/Valley (VLY)
Airline: Highland Airways
Aircraft: BAe Jetstream 31
I was first to check in for my return flight to Angelsey and quickly went through security at CWL
and got a coffee at the departure lounge. A lot of holiday charter flights were called for boarding and quicky the lunge had gone from very busy to nearly empty, We were called to Gate 8 around 07:00 where I got a picture of the Express by Holiday Inn with a BMI
Baby 737 in the shot.
and a good shot of our aircraft for my early morning return (G-JURA)
After boarding started at 7.15 the pilot came out of the cockpit to inform us that the had been informed of an ATC delay of ten minutes giving us a 07:40 departure slot. But he did say that he had been given this on a previous day but was given back the original slot. The load was about two thirds full for this morning flight and as it would happen we got our original slot back and we pushed back on time.
Although the weather was better at CWL
than for the outward leg we quickly entered the cloud layer and again it was going to be a trip with no views of the Welsh countryside.
I took this photo of the cabin after the seat belt sign had been turned off.
The engine and wing of the Jetstream 31
The service on the flight was again very good being served a beverage service by Samantha the FA
who was doing her first flight on her own. There was a trainer from Highland Airways on the outward leg of my trip.
We got breaks in the clouds as we crossed the Menai Straights by Ynys Llanddwyn and we flew directly past RAF Valley to the east and did a turn back south over Holyhead for our very smooth but interesting landing. As we approached the landing runway between 5 and 20 seconds before touchdown, due to the windy conditions I was actually able to see the runway from my window on the port side of the aircraft. After a sharp adjustment we straightened out for a smooth landing again and slightly ahead of time.
We quickly disembarked at a very blustery RAF Valley and our baggage was again waiting for us.
I took the following photo of the plane and terminal from the car park as I was heading to Caernarfon where I was at my desk at 09:00.
I hope you enjoyed my first trip report on Airliners, I thoroughly enjoyed flying it and I have two further trips scheduled over the coming two weeks on this service.