Find out which European airport wins its third Arch of Triumph in 2016

For the third time this year, twice using the scoring of the judges and once through the public vote in March, Romania’s Cluj-Napoca Airport has been crowned with the Arch of Triumph. Up until this week, it had shared top spot in 2016 with two weekly wins alongside Budapest Airport. Last year, Sydney Airport was the only one to achieve this feat, with Birmingham, Delhi, Hong Kong and Košice all notching two wins a piece. In 2014 no airport secured three weekly wins, with Cambridge, Budapest and Tokyo Narita (not often those three airports are mentioned in the same sentence) managing two victories each. The same happened in 2013, with just Tampa gaining more than one weekly title. So tiny Cluj-Napoca joins the small group of big winners…quite an achievement for an airport that handled less than 1.5 million annual passengers in 2015. By comparison, Sydney handled more than twice that amount each month, for an annual traffic result of around 40 million. Keep Monitoring!!

Turkish Airlines Istanbul Atatürk to Cluj-Napoca 1 September

FTWA-Turkish Airlines Istanbul Atatürk to Cluj-Napoca 1 September

In the words of Britney Spears...oops we did it again…

Judge’s Comments: Cluj-Napoca Airport in Romania has beaten off global airports like Dubai, Denver and Inverness to record its landmark third Arch of Triumph title of 2016. As we move into the final third of the year, it would seem unlikely that any other airport, apart from perhaps Budapest (which has two wins), is going to score three weekly wins in the 2016 competition. What an achievement for the country’s second biggest airport… Jonny: 7.8; Marc: 9.2; Paul: 7.3; Ralph: 9.5.

JetBlue Airways Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara 31 August

FTWA-JetBlue Airways Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara 31 August

A historic FTWA for a historic new route...

Judge’s Comments: For those of you that have not heard, US airlines have been permitted to fly direct scheduled services into Cuba for the first time in 55 years. As a result of this momentous event, if there was one route that was going to be getting an FTWA this week, it was this one from JetBlue – the first route of many earmarked between the two nations. While many people have been waiting for over 50 years for this to happen…hopefully they will not have had their enthusiasm dampened by this rather flat and low arch… Jonny: 7.6; Marc: 7.9; Paul: 8.0; Ralph: 8.3.

JetBlue Airways Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara 31 August


Is this a Sierra Maestra FTWA in Cuba??

Judge’s Comments: For those of you unfamiliar with the topography of Cuba, the Sierra Maestra is a mountain range that runs westward across the south of the old Oriente Province in south-east Cuba, rising abruptly from the coast. The range, which has a spine averaging 1,500 metres, rises to its peak at Pico Turquino, which at 1,974 metres is the highest mountain in the country. Clearly this FTWA has been created to emulate Pico Turquino, as the peak would seem to some as being a challenge to overcome, a bit like getting flights between the US and Cuba established again after over 50 years… Jonny: 7.7; Marc: 7.8; Paul: 7.9; Ralph: 6.8.

Air China Shanghai Pudong to San Jose 1 September

FTWA-Air China Shanghai Pudong to San Jose 1 September

Some of the most curious apron markings ever witnessed in this competition’s four-year history...

Judge’s Comments: One can only hope that the Air China A330 which arrived in California on this inaugural flight followed the yellow and black taxiway markings and not the red and white ones in the foreground of this picture…or else there could have been some serious on the ground turbulence. Some pretty consistent scoring from the judges… Jonny: 7.2; Marc: 7.1; Paul: 7.1; Ralph: 7.1.

All Nippon Airways Tokyo Narita to Phnom Penh 1 September

All Nippon Airways Tokyo Narita to Phnom Penh 1 September

Who forgot to pack their zoom lens...

Judge’s Comments: Perhaps the next time the photographer forgets to pack his zoom lens…he might want to walk a bit closer to the departing aircraft instead – works in just the same way as a zoom lens ‒ just like the guy to the left of the one with the table tennis bats did…nice bit of fresh tarmac though…seemingly untouched by aircraft tyre or photographer’s shoe leather… Jonny: 5.5; Marc: 6.2; Paul: 6.0; Ralph: 5.9.

Eurowings Cologne Bonn to Miami 1 September

FTWA-Eurowings Cologne Bonn to Miami 1 September

A fine mist rather than a water arch...twizzle the nozzle!!

Judge’s Comments: My garden hose has a nozzle which you can alter the flow from a fine mist all the way through varying degrees of spray to a strong, powerful jet of water. One wonders, is there the same attachment on fire tenders? As it would seem that this is what is happening to the tender on the left (at least he turned up). Do like I do and twizzle the nozzle and you’ll get a much better result next time… Jonny: 0.2; Marc: 2.5; Paul: 5.0; Ralph: 2.0.

Flybe Manchester to Luxembourg 1 September

FTWA-Flybe Manchester to Luxembourg 1 September

Are those UFOs in the distance?? Would not be a surprise as this FTWA seems to be out of this world... 

Judge’s Comments: Autumn is here…and so are the dark evenings. That will inevitably mean more night-time FTWAs. These are not despised by the marketing executives (unlike the 01:00 arrivals or the 06:00 departures), as they are a way of filling their time between their late afternoon naps and their evening networking engagements…there might also be the chance of a bit of route launch cake to keep them going between their free meals… Jonny: 6.6; Marc: 7.7; Paul: 5.0; Ralph: 4.6.

Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi 1 September

FTWA-Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi 1 September

Second spot for this second effort from Hanoi…

Judge’s Comments: One of the judges suggested that this was maybe a first FTWA for the airline and the airport…well that’s not true. This is the third entry for Malindo Air, which has had one entry in 2014 and 2015 before this one. In terms of Hanoi, the airport has not only entered before, but it was also a weekly winner in early August – about four weeks ago. The judge that said the above was on holiday last week in Chicago…so we’ll let him off his normally impeccable memory…due to jet-lag… Jonny: 8.2; Marc: 8.4; Paul: 8.0; Ralph: 7.7.

Ryanair Belfast International to Berlin Schönefeld 1 September

FTWA-The world’s fifth biggest airline achieves fifth from bottom in this week’s competition...

The world’s fifth biggest airline achieves fifth from bottom in this week’s competition...

Judge’s Comments: Considering that Ryanair is the fifth largest airline in the world (behind American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines) when measured by the number of weekly seats (Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 6 September) and a prolific starter of new routes (16 this week)…it doesn’t get many FTWAs for its route launches. It has had three others so far in 2016, and they were all in the same week for the public vote back in March. Since its personality change, maybe the new softer, cuddlier Ryanair will get more FTWAs… Jonny: 6.1; Marc: 7.7; Paul: 5.5; Ralph: 7.5.

Silver Airways Miami to Bimini 1 September

Silver Airways FTWA-Miami to Bimini 1 September

Hi-res version of this image not required...

Judge’s Comments: Although I had sent him the image already for his route launch story, one of my fellow judges helpfully sent me a 9Mb-sized version of this FTWA he had found. Thanks so much!! Now we can really see just how bad this Arch of Triumph was from Miami (its second entry this week)…this one, unlike the low scoring (9.7) other, at least broke the 10-point barrier… Jonny: 4.3; Marc: 2.4; Paul: 5.0; Ralph: 3.0.

Austrian Airlines Vienna to Hong Kong 5 September

FTWA-Austrian Airlines Vienna to Hong Kong 5 September

My Austrian, your route launch, our FTWA...

Judge’s Comments: This FTWA looks like it was hampered by a cross-wind. Also the guy in shot clearly forgot to have a shower that morning…and decided he would go and have a quick wash under the FTWA before making it into the office. Is that a brolly in his left hand? Or his wash bag?? Jonny: 6.7; Marc: 5.4; Paul: 6.1; Ralph: 4.7.


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