City Triangle 1: KLM Hamburg-Amsterdam
Although the main objective in coming to Hamburg is a visit to Airbus in Finkenwerder, I allow time for a short trip to London. I could have flown direct, there and back but to make things interesting I choose a triangular route that involves KLM, CityJet and British Airways in the form of MHS Aviation. This report covers the first sector: Hamburg to Amsterdam.
Map Courtesy of gcmap.com © Karl L Swartz
Checking in online the day before means that on arrival at the airport I don't have to queue but can go up to the observation deck and check out what is happening on the apron. I am surprised to see a Boeing 777 from Austrian as they usually send something smaller: OE-LPC 777-2Z9(ER) was previously with Lauda Air and known as Sir Donald Bradman, it has been renamed Dream of Freedom. Powered by two GE90-90B engines, when delivered to Lauda the cabin was C42Y300, later it was recongigured as C48Y260.
Departing is TC-SOA 737-8HC(WL)with Sun Express. This was ferried BFI-YYR-OSL-AYT during 25 to 26 June, 2016 on delivery to Sun Express. It has CFM56-7B26E engines and is all-Economy with 189 seats.
HB-IJI was delivered to Swissair 21 March, 1996 configured CY150. Following the collapse of that airline and its reinvention it was transferred to Swiss 31 March, 2002 reconfigured CY168. Then it was made even more cosy in December 2014, cpacity increasing to CY 180. Powered by CFMI CFM56-5B4/2 engines, it flies under the name Saint-Prex
Ryanair serves a number of routes from Hamburg. Here we see EI-FOC, a Boeing 737-8AS(WL). This was ferried BFI-DUB 25 and 26 January this year. It has CFMI CFM56-7B26E engines and seats Y189.
At a remote stand being prepared for the return to Bucharest Otopeni is YR-ASA, an Airbus A318-111 with TAROM. The cabin is configured C14Y99 while power is provided by two CFMI CFM56-5B8/P plant. The aircraft was delivered on the 15 November 2006 and is named after Aurel Vlaicu
, a Romanian pioneer aircraft builder and pilot. Sadly, he died of a heart attack during a test flight in 1913 but by this time had developed a number of aircraft.
Standing next to each other are visitors from Russia and Turkey. M. Balakirev
(after the pianist and composer, maybe?) represents Rossiya (Aeroflot), still in its old livery. Corendon's TC-TJU, a Boeing 737-8HX(WL) originally ordered by Delta but not taken up, has seen service with Skymark, Atlas Air Worldwide and Wells Fargo Bank Northwest before being transferred with winglets fitted earlier this year. In the distance we can see a piece of history: the aircraft that introduced the jet-age to Lufthansa, D-ABOB Hamburg
, a Boeing 707-430 that was rolled out in Renton on the 18 November, 1959.
Close neighbours in geography and history, close neighbours in Hamburg: the British and Irish. St. Andrew / Aindriú
EI-EZV an Airbus A320-214 represents Aer Lingus. It flew previously with Eurofly, Meridiana Fly and Virgin Atlantic as Tartan Lassie and has been upgraded to C39W70Y133. British Airways is represented by an Airbus A319-131 bearing the registration G-EUOF.
As you would expect at a German airport, Lufthansa is present and here we see the arrival of D-AIRD Coburg
, an Airbus A321. In the background is an Embraer ERJ190-100LR leased from FAF and flying for Finnair.
Bearing the title Krakow and Malopolska
is another representative of Ryanair - EI-EVV. If I'm not mistaken, Krakow isn't served from Hamburg by Ryanair. For that you need easyJet.
By now G-EUOF is making its way to the runway for departure. Given the present "will they, won't they" with Brexit, perhaps the rego will change to G-EUOFF. Along the way the aircraft passes a United Airlines 767.
Usually United will be at a contact stand. Due to a delayed departure from Newark (aircraft swap for technical reasons, then thunderstorms on east coast)it arrived in Hamburg to find its usual stand occupied. This Boeing 767-424(ER)with the registration N76064 prior to the merger flew for Continental.
It is getting closer to boarding so I make my way through security. There aren't many people in the queue so it doesn't take long. Then along the piers and I see this venerable Airbus A310-304. It was originally delivered to Air Afrique on the 11 August, 1993. Six years later it was in service with Midwest Airlines before finally ending up at Iran Air on 22 January, 2004. I wonder how many years it will continue to fly?
Another Boeing type: a 757-300(WL). D-ABOK was originally with Condor, configured as Y252, from 25 March, 2000. It went to Thomas Cook Airlines in July 2002 before returning to Condor 28 May, 2004. Winglets were added in 2010 and the aircraft was reconfigured to Y275 in 2015.
But here is the arrival of my plane to Amsterdam. It is PH-BGQ, aka Wielewaal / Golden Oriole
, a Boeing 737-7K2(WL)that was ferried from Boeing Field on the 22 June, 2011. Power plant is the CFMI CFM56-7B22.
Flight: KLM Royal Dutch KL1780 Hamburg-Amsterdam
Aircraft ID: PH-BGQ "Golden Oriole"
Type: Boeing 737-700 Seat 19F
STD/ ATD 12:35/ 12:34
STA / ATA 13:40/ 13:57
At the gate an announcement is made that due to a full flight volunteers are being sought to check in any carry-on bags that won't be needed during the flight. A few people step forward but all I have is my camera and that will definitely be needed. Shortly after, boarding commences with a cheerful greeting at the door. I take my seat at the window and survey the surroundings.
Loading is soon complete and the crew check all the overhead lockers and prepare for a manual safety briefing. This is conducted in German, English and Dutch. To remind themselves of the procedures passengers are encouraged to read the safety card in the seat-back pocket.
Also in the seatback pocket is a copy of the sales brochure and inflight magazine. The latter includes a page describing the aircraft in the KLM fleet.
The captain makes an announcement, welcoming us onboard and estimating an on-time arrival after a forty-five minute flight. Pushback is on time during a brief shower. At a stand is easyJet and TUIfly is being pushed back for departure.
As we push back, our friends from Iran do likewise. Also on the move is D-ASUN, a Boeing 737-8BK(WL)with TUIfly. Currently leased from CIT it was previously with Air India Express and SunExpress.
During taxi, we see the arrival of D-AIQF, from 26 July, 1991 with Lufthansa as Halle a.d. Saale and configured CY168, it has been with Germanwings since 30 August, 2014 and reconfigured to Y174.
We hold before the runway and wait while TUIfly throws up spray on its take-off run. Then it's our turn to do the same.