Tag Archives: Airbus A330

[Photo] Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 hit by rocket is consumed by fire at Tripoli International airport

An impressive set of photographs shows a new Airbus A330 of Afriqiyah Airways airline being destroyed by fire at Tripoli International Airport.

On Jul. 20, a brand new, empty Airbus A330-200 (with registration either 5A-ONH or 5A-ONF) was hit by rocket or shell and was quickly consumed by fire during renewed fighting in Tripoli International Airport.

Breaking a two-day ceasefire, militias from Misrata and from Zintan are fighting each other for control of capital’s airport. A similar clash at the airport last week caused six casualties and 25 wounded.

Image credit: Libyan Spotter : Aviation Photography

H/T Gian Luca Onnis for the heads-up


The (somehow) unusual diversion of a US-bound Airbus 330 amid US Embassies threat

On Aug. 7, 2013, a Delta Airlines A.330-300, flying as DAL099 from Paris Charles De Gaulle to Detroit diverted to Amsterdam after experiencing an inflight problem.

The civil plane, N814NW had problems with flap extension/retraction so it circled over Norwich, UK, at FL250, to burn fuel and wait until Amsterdam was able to accept it for landing.

So far so good.

The aircraft eventually landed at Schipol airport and everyone safely disembarked the Airbus.


However, something weird happened as the Airbus burned off fuel to reduce its weight over southeast England: as airband monitors and aircraft enthusiasts noticed, the emergency sparked an unusual type of reaction by the British Air Traffic Control (ATC) agencies.

Indeed, Delta 099, that was already in positive radio and radar contact with the civil ATC, not only switched to a London Military ATC control frequency, but did also squawk a London Mil transponder code: in other words, it was momentarily handed over to a military ATC agency.

Usually, flights in trouble are usually kept on the same frequencies as long as possible (that is to say that radio frequency changes are reduced to the minimum – something that applies to most serious emergencies) but in this case the Airbus 330 changed both VHF frequency and transponder code to be managed by the military radar.

That said there are several reasons why this may have happened. Among them there is the possibility that the emergency wasn’t so serious and the aircraft was directed to circle in zone where other military traffic was operating; therefore it was switched to London Mil to reduce the coordination effort required by the civilian ATC to manage a plane in proximity with operative air traffic.

In fact a French Air Force E-3 “flying radar station” was reported circling in the same area (most probably a coincidence) and the controllers decided that it was better to have both the Delta and the French AWACS on the same frequency for proper deconfliction.

However, according to some readers there are speculations according to which the Delta 099 carried a U.S. VIP being repatriated following the US Embassies terrorist threat.

We are unable to verify the thruthfulness of such rumors, still we can’t completely rule out that the presence of a U.S. diplomat aboard and/or some kind of terrorist scare influenced the way the emergency was managed.

What do you think?

Image credit: curimedia, Flightradar24.com

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Here’s why everyone believes NSA Leaker Edward Snowden is on Aeroflot 150 to Cuba

Aeroflot 150 is a scheduled flight from Moscow, Russia, to Havana, Cuba.

It is flown by an Airbus A330 and, as any scheduled commercial liner, unless something very special happens, it always takes the same route to Cuba.

However, on Jul. 11 it flew a different route, a southern route that completely avoids the U.S. airspace (for the history of such flight in the last weeks take a look here). Furthermore, AFL150 is the same flight believed to be carrying the NSA leaker Edward Snowden a couple of weeks ago, when some journalist boarded the plane to find the accused spy’s seat empty.


Image credit: FlightAware

Even if such a significant change of route is at least unusual, it might be explained by the bad weather affecting U.S. East Coast.

At the time of writing, the aircraft is about to land at Int’l José Martí airport in Havana. If Snowden is on board, we’ll know very soon.

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British Prime Minister to use new RAF tankers for future overseas visits after embarrassing trade trip with Boeing plane

The Royal Family and senior UK politicians may consider using one of the RAF’s “Voyager” Airbus A330 tanker aircraft for future foreign trips after a rather embarrassing trade trip to Indonesia caused a huge row.

David Cameron and his aides made the trip during the Easter period to drum up trade for European built Airbus planes (11 Airbus 330 aircraft for Garuda Indonesia airlines) using a “rented” Boeing 747. Insult was added to injury when it emerged that the lease was given to Atlas Air, a US based company, and the plane used for the journey was owned by Sonair, an Angolan carrier banned from European Union airspace over safety concerns.

David Cameron poses in front of a Garuda Indonesia Airlines Airbus during a visit to Jakarta Airport (Photo by Stefan Rousseau – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Cameron’s advisors were quick to point out that they usually charter British Airways or Virgin Atlantic for foreign travel, but both airlines were busy Easter holiday and were unable to support the trip.

Since it is at least weird that a business delegation trying to support Airbus planes sales uses chartered Boeings, Britain’s aerospace lobby group said that proposals were being drawn up to let Britain’s VIP to use one of the modified A330 airliners.

According to Reuters, Robin Southwell, head of the UK aerospace industry’s lobbying association and also head of Airbus’ parent company in the UK said: “he would propose the alternative use of the Royal Air Force jets when not needed for refuelling missions.”

Southwell compared the use of the 747 to a luxury car salesman turning up in a tatty used Jaguar when he said: “If you are trying to sell an Aston Martin to someone and you turn up in a used Jaguar and say that the Aston Martin is the best thing since sliced bread and then drive off in the Jaguar, it isn’t as smart as turning up in the model you are trying to sell.”

The RAF’s fleet of 14 leased Voyager aircraft can be used to refuel other aircraft or carry troops or casualties, pretty much the same as the current VC-10 and Tristar tankers. Voyager takes this one step further in that the refuelling pods under the wings can be removed to make the plane a little less military looking jetliner in RAF colours.

It has to be said that a Voyager in RAF low-vis grey will not look as stunning at President Obama’s VC-25As Air Force One or other European leaders’ Airbus based aircraft.

Anyway, before using them to support diplomatic lobbying, maybe the UK should try to use them to refuel its Tornado strike planes that experienced worrying leakage problems during recent aerial refueling tests.

David Cenciotti has contributed to this article.


Image credit: Martin Hartland

Malta movements: aircraft visiting Luqa airport during the Libyan crisis

Besides the Libyan Government Dassault Falcon 900 5A-DCN, believed to have challenged a NATO AWACS on its route from Amman to Tripoli, and the several flights transiting through the Malta FIR in bound to either Libya or Tunisia (that you may follow using Flightradar24.com and listen on Malta ACC/APP/TWR frequencies using LiveATC) or orbiting in the area to perform SIGINT activities or to surveil the Libyan airspace for any LARAF activity, the uprising in north Africa countries has brought a large number of interesting visitors to the Malta International Airport in Luqa, that has become a sort of Forward Operating Base for both military and civil planes performing evacuation of nationals.
Estelle Calleja, an amateur photographer and aircraft enthusiast from Malta, sent me the following selection of some of the most interesting visitors of Malta International Airport in the last few days.