There is some rationalization underway in the Japanese airline business at the moment. JAL and ANA are both taking control over smaller operations as a result of the difficulties that COVID has placed upon them. However, even before COVID reared its ugly head, JAL had created a new subsidiary. This is called Zipair. I recently read that it is due to start operations soon which surprised me because I thought I had seen its planes before. It turns out I saw one of their 787s as it was parked up at Narita when the flight I was on was taxiing in after landing. I guess that airframe hasn’t had much use yet.
The passenger 747 fleet is something that is shrinking fast. US operators have retired theirs but other operators still have fleets in use, some of which (like British Airways) are still fairly large. However, they are definitely not as common a sight as they used to be and seeing one from a different operator is a nice surprise. At Haneda I saw a couple of operators. A Qantas jet was parked on the far side of the field and, while visible, wasn’t much of a shot. However, a Thai Airways jet was on the gate when I arrived so it seemed like there was a fair chance it would move before I overheated and gave up.
It took a while but eventually it did push back and taxi for the runway I was watching. It then sat at the hold for what seemed like a ridiculously long time. It probably wasn’t that long but I was wilting in the heat and begging it to move. Finally it did line up and got off the ground pretty quickly. I guess the run to Thailand is not a long one so it wouldn’t have been very heavy. I wonder whether I shall ever see one of these again?
Yakutia is a Russian airline that has had a few problems recently and has been banned by the Russian authorities from some services until it can sort out its problems. Consequently, I am more pleased than I might otherwise be that I caught this Sukhoi Superjet at Narita in their colors as I might not get the chance again. We shall see if they get straightened out or whether some larger airline takes over their operations.
My second trip to Japan of the year provided an opportunity to see more airlines that I don’t normally come across. I had a few hours at Narita waiting for my flight home and these shots are some of those I was not too familiar with. No details here about the airlines. Just a gratuitous posting of airliner shots.
The day I was flying out of Narita was not a good day for weather. Another typhoon was approaching and the rain ahead of the storm had reached us. I did initially visit the viewing terrace in the terminal but, as the rain started, I decided to head inside and go to the Delta lounge which has a great view of the runway and the ramp. It wasn’t long before the heavens opened. Departures reversed direction as the wind shifted.
The arriving jets were now throwing up huge clouds of spray as they selected reverse. Combined with the heavy rain already, they were pretty obscured. Editing the photos allows you to do a lot of work with the contrast to bring out more of the detail but the real view was surprisingly limited. Some of the shots are so hidden by rain that there is little that can be done with them. Departures also did a good job throwing up lots of water in their wake.
The amount of moisture in the air meant the inlets would often be fogged, even for the jets that were landing. Trailing vortices were showing on climb out and there was lots of vapor over the wings after takeoff. The only downside to all of this was that the cloudy background makes it harder to apprecaite the effects that were on show. It does show, though, that a rainy day is not necessarily one to be ignored from a photography perspective. You can sometimes get some interesting shots in conditions that seem very unappealing. (It doesn’t hurt to be shooting this from indoors in a warm and dry room with a ready supply of food and beverages.)
Sitting in the lounge at Narita waiting for my flight home, this truck belonging to Delta was parked below us. It may be painted in Delta markings but it isn’t hard to see who originally bought it. I guess it isn’t the newest truck in the fleet and, unlike a lot of the vehicles on the ramp, this looks like it was built in the US.
It was time to head home, so I checked in for my flight and headed to Delta’s lounge to await boarding. What I did not realize is that the lounge overlooks the flightline and mirrors the view from the viewing terrace. It was a crummy day with a typhoon approaching so not ideal for shooting and certainly not ideal for shooting through glass but, despite the occasional reflection, it was actually surprisingly good. The battery on the camera was on its last legs but why not get whatever you can.
The fun of a different city in a different country is the new airlines. Airlines I have heard of but not seen and airlines I have never heard of at all. They kindly would rotate quite close to where we were which was appreciated. The rainy conditions also meant that, while the lighting was pretty flat, there were vortices, spluff over the wings and inlet fogging to add some interest.