Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 137,829
2013: 330,818

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The Dream has Landed in Vancouver (YVR)!

JAL 18 touches down in YVR

JAL 18 touches down at YVR Airport – Photo: Brandon Farris | AirlineReporter

In what turned out to be a beautiful Monday morning in Vancouver, British Columbia, reporters and the Vancouver Airport Authority greeted the airport’s first scheduled 787 service with Japan Airlines.

Banner welcoming Passengers onboard - Brandon Farris - AirlineReporter

Banner welcoming passengers onboard – Photo: Brandon Farris | AirlineReporter

The conditions couldn’t have been any better for the carrier’s first arrival with the aircraft, as the skies were clear when the pilots flared the nose and gracefully put the aircraft (JA823J) on the ground 15 minutes ahead of schedule, to the delight of many who have been working hard on bringing the 787 to YVR.

Continue reading The Dream has Landed in Vancouver (YVR)!

Meet Dash, Goliath & Hercules – YVR’s Wildlife Control Experts

Emily Fleming, Raptor Biologist, Pacific Northwest Raptors, and Goliath, the Harris Hawk, in front of YVR's radar "golf ball".

Emily Fleming, Raptor Biologist with Pacific Northwest Raptors, and Goliath, the Harris’ Hawk, in front of YVR’s radar “golf ball”

Airplanes and birds don’t play well together.

Just ask Captain Sully and First Officer Jeff, whose encounter with a flock of Canada Geese turned their A320 into a glider. Or talk to the crews of the approximately 150 planes per year at Vancouver International Airport that report bird strikes. Flight safety can be seriously compromised, repair costs for the airlines are huge, passengers are often inconvenienced, and for the birds, well, it’s fatal.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is located on the shores of the Strait of Georgia, on a large island in the Fraser River Delta. And just like the passengers who connect at YVR, the millions of birds that annually use the migratory Pacific Flyway like to stop in the Vancouver area to get something to eat and have a rest. Boundary Bay, south of YVR and the location of the general aviation Boundary Bay Airport (ZBB), is an internationally-recognized Important Bird Area. Even the main Vancouver air navigation aid, the YVR VOR, is on the same island as the renowned Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

Continue reading Meet Dash, Goliath & Hercules – YVR’s Wildlife Control Experts

2014 – YVR’s Year of the Dreamliner

HI RES IMAGE (click for larger). JAL's Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking off at Paine Field. Photo by Boeing.

HI RES IMAGE (click for larger). JAL’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking off at Paine Field – Photo: Boeing

Last week, Japan Airlines announced that it will begin Boeing 787 service to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on Monday, February 3, 2014. This will be the first scheduled arrival of a Dreamliner at YVR.

The JAL 787-8 will serve the YVR to Tokyo Narita (NRT) route, and will initially fly once per week on Mondays. Daily service will be in place by March.

We expect to see additional Dreamliner service at YVR this year, most noteably with Air Canada’s introduction of their 787-8 later in the spring. AC’s first of their 37-aircraft order, LN160, is to be registered as C-GHPQ and is currently in Position 2 of the Final Assembly Line at Boeing Everett.

In-Flight Review of Westjet Encore: On Board Their Newest Q400

Westjet Encore Bombardier Q400 C-FENY at North Peace Regional Airport (YXJ) in Ft. St. John BC, under a beautiful blue sky.

Westjet Encore Bombardier Q400 C-FENY at North Peace Regional Airport (YXJ) in Ft. St. John BC, under a beautiful blue sky.  Photo: Howard Slutsken | AirlineReporter.com

This was going to be a great day for AirlineReporter.com’s Canadian “Senior Contributor.” That would be me!

I was flying with a new Canadian airline in a brand new Canadian-built plane, traveling from a major Canadian airport over some stunning Canadian landscape, and visiting the headquarters of one of “Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures,” which happens to be a major Canadian airline. The Flight Attendants might have made it even more Canadian by greeting me at the plane’s door with a Timmy’s “Double-Double” and a hockey stick. That didn’t happen.

Translation? I’m flying with Westjet Encore on a Bombardier Q400 from Vancouver (YVR) over the Canadian Coast Range and Rocky Mountains, and visiting Westjet’s base in Calgary (YYC). I’ll leave it to you to find out about Timmy’s.

Westjet Encore began flying in late June with two 78-seat Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprops. Since then, five of their initial order of 20 Q400s have been delivered, and they have options on another 25 planes. Westjet Encore augments Westjet’s Boeing 737-based route structure with regional flights of distances up to 700 miles. That’s about a two hour flight time for the Q400, but most destinations are 60 to 90 minutes apart. Having the Q400 in the fleet will give Westjet the flexibility to fly to new destinations, add additional frequencies to current destinations, or “right size” the service throughout their network by swapping 737s with Q400s. The Q400s are pretty quick, with flight times within 10-20 minutes of a 737 over these short distances.

The first destinations included Nanaimo, BC in the west, and as far east as Saskatoon, SK. As more planes come into the fleet, Encore is adding  destinations and continuing their expansion eastwards. Encore brought Westjet service back to Brandon, MB in September, a destination that previously couldn’t support WJ 737 service. This YYC-YBR flight is currently Encore’s longest, at a bit under 2 hours. In addition to adding direct regional flights to the Westjet schedule, Encore will look to keep travellers “in the family” by providing connections to mainline WJ flights, and those operated by codeshare partners. Encore is also part of the “Westjet Rewards” frequent-flier program, and shares facilities with WJ at common destinations.

Continue reading In-Flight Review of Westjet Encore: On Board Their Newest Q400

An Inside Look at Vancouver Air Traffic Control

Vancouver's Unique Tower dominates the airport skyline - Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

Vancouver’s unique tower dominates the airport skyline – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

If you are a big AvGeek, then the chances are you have listed in on air traffic control (ATC) somehow.  Be it onboard a United flight using their famous Channel 9, listening online using LiveATC, or through a scanner while plane spotting, it’s a familiar sound.  But have you ever wondered what life is like from the other side of the microphone?  Wouldn’t it be great to see what an airport looks like from the top of the tower, or what it is like to work inside an area control center?  Recently Nav Canada gave me that exact opportunity at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and I wanted to share.

Nav Canada, a not-for-profit private company, controls the airspace above Canada similar to the FAA in the United States.  Vancouver Tower stands tall above the airport at around 140m tall (460ft) and has 360-degree views of the entire area.  Although the day I visited the tower did not have the best weather (the cloud deck was really low, unfortunately) the view of the airport was still impressive.  On a clear day, you can see all the way to the mountains north of the city (towards Grouse) or down to Victoria in the south. But I was more there for the view inside than the clouds and mountains outside.

Continue reading An Inside Look at Vancouver Air Traffic Control