With airlines announcing new service to Paine Field, it will become easier than ever for ‘Avgeeks’ to reach one of the Meccas of Plane Spotting and the home to one of Boeing’s major campuses. It’s only taken 80 years to get us to this point!
In the past few days, United announced that they will begin operating flights to Paine Field in October 2018. Alaska made their announcement about service to the field earlier this year. It also appears that Allegiant will serve ‘PAE’ as well, but no official announcement from them as yet.
United’s announcement stated that they will bring six daily flights from Denver and San Francisco. Alaska thus far has announced 9 daily flights, but did not indicate where they would be coming from.
The Queen Of The Skies With Mt. Rainier In The Background
The re-opening of Paine Field to commercial operations has been a hotly contested topic in the Mukilteo area where the airport is located. Equal amounts of voices were for and against opening PAE to airlines. However, after the debates and legal challenges, the path has been laid to bring passengers to the field.
For us plane spotter types, this means it will be easier than ever to reach the birthplace of Boeing heavies and enjoy the views along the runway. What used to be a flight to Seattle, followed by a drive that is usually mired in heavy traffic from Seattle to Everett can now become a flight to PAE, followed by a 10 minute hotel shuttle bus ride to the Hilton Garden Inn located next to the field.
The TSA announced yesterday that electronics being brought aboard flights operating from or within the USA will be subject to additional scrutiny at security check points.
In the coming days and weeks, a new measure will be rolled out at airports that requires passengers to take out any electronics larger than a Smart Phone, and place them in a separate bin at security checkpoints. This includes items such as laptops, tablets, walkmans ( 🙂 ), any kind of camera, or camera lens.
This new process is not unlike what we’ve been accustomed to for years when it came to our laptops.
As I said the title of this post, things could have been much worse. Only a few short weeks ago we were staring at the spectre of having to put all electronic items larger than a phone into checked bags. I’ll settle for this new policy anytime if it means keeping my gear with me.
By the way, for those of us enrolled in TSA’s PreCheck, fear not, we don’t have to take anything out of our bags so it’s business as usually for us in that respect. This policy does not apply to us.
One of my favorite airports is getting a facelift…..
Earlier this month, an 18-year long project kicked off that will add a much needed runway to Hong Kong Int’l Airport (HKG). The construction began after years of regulatory process and public protest, going back to 2008.
The plans call for a parallel runway to compliment the 2 existing East-West runways. The new expansion will include the reclamation of land to the north of the airport that will take at least 4 years. At that point, the existing northern most runway will be modified to act as a center runway and the construction of a 3rd runway will begin. Up to 3 new passenger concourses will also be built that will link by rail to the existing concourses.
A new northern runway complex goes online in 2024
It looks like the southern runway will become a dedicated Cargo runway since it is adjacent to Hong Kong’s Cargo ‘city’ thus freeing up the existing north runway and the planned new runway to handle passenger traffic.
For planespotters, it means the favorite spot by the fire-boat dock by the maintenance facilities won’t be as good when the 3rd runway opens since it will take traffic at least 1/2 mile further away from the vantage point, but I suspect the new concourses will make up for the lack of views from the docks.
The new look of HKG….rendering courtesy of Hong Kong Airport Authority
The construction will last until 2024 and financing for the HK$142 billion ($18.3 billion USD) project is comprised of funds from the Government, Airport revenue and a series of new surcharges that passengers are already being assessed if they travel to OR through the airport. First Class and Business Class passengers on long haul flights will pay HK$180 ($23.00 USD) while long haul Economy passengers will pay $HK160 ($20.50 USD). Short haul Economy Class passengers will pay HK$90 ($12.00 USD) while transiting passengers regardless of class will pay HK$70 ($9.00 USD).
The following video provides a simulated look at what the expansion will look like once complete:
Earlier today the German Federal Administrative Court gave its blessing toward the building of a much needed and much debated 3rd runway at Munich Airport.
The court ruled in favor of the airport after hearing arguments from Bundes Naturschutz, a nature conservancy group in Bavaria. The court also dismissed other private complaints filed against the building of the new runway. From what I gather, this was the last major legal hurdle that needed to be cleared ahead of planning the construction.
The runway, which would be built on the north side of the field will run parallel to MUCs other 2 runways and will be a major compliment to the new terminal that is set to open next year.
Iceland’s Bardarbunga Volcano has been making news all week as 1000s of minor earthquakes began rattling the region. On Saturday, the volcano began to ‘officially’ erupt which has prompted Iceland to close a small part of the airspace near the volcano as a precaution. Thus far, the closure has not affected air traffic.
The the closed airspace covers a 100 mile x 140 mile perimeter around the volcano. Iceland also raised their aviation alert to “RED” indicated that they expect a significant eruption which will expel dangerous ash into the atmosphere.
If you recall, back in 2010, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul erupted which affected over 100,000 flights and millions of passengers. That eruption also wreaked havoc with airline profits and aircraft.
If your near term travels involve flying the North Atlantic corridor, basically the route used by Airlines flying between the USA and Europe, you may want to start paying attention to this event and perhaps plan a contingency in the event of an eruption that cripples travel.
If the situation deteriorates, Airlines will begin to allow passengers to rebook or cancel their travel plans without assessing any fees or penalties. I suspect that this event will play itself out in the next few days so be prepared!