2016 Arch of Triumph champions go to the top of the 2018 leaderboard

With anna.aero receiving 13 FTWAs this week, we have now passed the 200-FTWA entry barrier for the 2018 Arch of Triumph competition, with 204 having now been sent in from around the world during the first 21 weeks of the 52-week competition. It has certainly been a week of sound water arch production, with the 13 entries this week producing an average score of 30.2 out of 40, one of the best weeks that we have on record. The most popular type of service this week has been transatlantic, with eight of this week’s entries coming from airports celebrating flights from either side of the pond. However, it was the 2016 champion – Lisbon – which produced the winner this week, gaining an almost perfect score for its water salute that greeted Delta Air Lines’ new route from Atlanta. It seems that new North American routes encourage the Portuguese capital airport to pull out its wildcard to win this competition, having topped the 2016 leaderboard with a colourful arch greeting United Airlines inaugural service in May of that year, while last year the airport finished third in the overall competition for the again, colourful water arch, it produced for Delta Air Lines’ first flight from New York JFK. With Air Canada Rouge adding service from Montreal in a few weeks’ time, could it outdo its entry this week? Keep Monitoring!!

Date Route FTWA Airport Score
24-May Delta Air Lines Atlanta to Lisbon Lisbon (LIS) 39.7
01-May Ukraine International Airlines Kiev Boryspil to Delhi Delhi (DEL 37.2
08-Apr flydubai Dubai to Krakow Krakow (KRK) 37.1
18-May AirAsia Kuala Lumpur to Hua Hin Hua Hin (HHQ) 36.5
22-Apr La Compagnie Paris Orly to New York Newark Paris Orly (ORY) 36.1
11-Feb Qatar Airways Doha to Canberra Canberra (CBR) 35.9
14-May Aegean Airlines Athens to Zagreb Zagreb (ZAG) 35.3
28-Jan Tianjin Airlines Zhengzhou to Sydney Sydney (SYD) 35.2
09-Jan Philippines AirAsia Manila to Jakarta Jakarta (CGK) 35
14-Feb Frontier Airlines Denver to Jacksonville Jacksonville (JAX) 34.4

Delta Air Lines Atlanta to Lisbon 24 May

Delta Air Lines Atlanta

It doesn’t get much better than this!!

Judges’ comments: Wow…wow…wow! There is no other way to describe this FTWA from Lisbon. Perfect symmetry, a water curtain, matching tenders, airline-themed coloured water, right size arch for aircraft, no apron clutter, clear (ish) skies, but most of all for Lisbon, a connection to the world’s busiest airport! Can another airport top this in 2018? Or has the annual competition winner already been crowned?! 

Jonny: 10.0; Kerry: 9.9; Marc: 9.9; Nick: 9.9. 

Plus Ultra Airlines Madrid to Caracas 22 May 

Plus Ultra Airlines Caracas

A few more pushes on the + button were need from the right-hand tender…

Judges’ comments: It’s not very often nowadays that anna.aero receives an FTWA for a route launched using A340-300 equipment, but Plus Ultra Airlines has delivered with its new service between Madrid and Caracas. While this nighttime attempt has produced the goods in terms of excellent back-lighting from the Venezuelan airport’s firefighters, the right-hand tender could have done with a few more presses on the + button to increase the jet propulsion… 

Jonny: 6.7; Kerry: 6.0; Marc: 6.2; Nick: 6.5. 

Qatar Airways Doha to London Gatwick 22 May

Qatar Airways London Gatwick

Ohhhhhhhhh…its been a while since we have had an aerial shot…

Judges’ comments: We are always excited here at anna.aero when an airport does something a little bit different with an FTWA – whether its a four-tender arch, coloured water jets, a water arch with water pistols or indeed an aerial picture like this one from Gatwick this week. These additional elements will always attract higher scores…but the FTWA fundamentals have to be retained…and fortunately that has happened here in London…

Jonny: 9.0; Kerry: 9.0; Marc: 9.1; Nick: 9.1. 

YanAir Odessa to Krakow 22 May 

YanAir Krakow

You wait for a YanAir FTWA for ages…then you get two at once!!

Judges’ comments: Headquartered in Kiev, YanAir is a Ukrainian regional airline which we have never seen in the Arch of Triumph so far in six years of competition. And yet this week, we don’t just have its first-ever entry, we have two!! Looking at the pair received, it is the destination airport that provided the best baptism…

Jonny: 5.6; Kerry: 5.9; Marc: 6.7; Nick: 6.5.

YanAir Odessa to Krakow 22 May 

YanAir Krakow

Too high and too powerful from the right-hand tender…

Judges’ comments: When we were researching the commentary for the first YanAir FTWA, we searched our database of thousands of water arches for ‘Yan’. However, this threw up the numerous Ryanair FTWAs we have received over the years (as well as the Rayani Air one we were sent in 2016)…and we wondered if the Ukrainian airline called itself YanAir on purpose…so it would come up in searches for the Irish ULCC behemoth…canny bit of marketing if it did…

Jonny: 8.4; Kerry: 8.1; Marc: 7.8; Nick: 7.5. 

United Airlines Washington Dulles to Edinburgh 23 May 

Edinburgh United Airlines Washington Dulles

Impressive array of tailfins and instruments in Scotland…

Judges’ comments: Well this is certainly a very unique FTWA…as there have not been many that we have received with a bagpiper on the apron!! Can you see him over by the left-hand tender? The question is…was he playing Rose Of Kelvingrove (a well-known bagpipe song)…or was he taking pictures of the FTWA?

Jonny: 6.8; Kerry: 6.1; Marc: 6.5; Nick: 6.4.

WOW air Reykjavik/Keflavik to Dallas/Fort Worth 23 May

WOW air Dallas/Fort Worth

Qantas A380 trying to crash the WOW air FTWA at DFW…

Judges’ comments: This FTWA could have been that little bit better if the right-hand tender had been a bit closer to the splendid looking WOW air A330, or maybe if it had cranked up the pressure a bit more to achieve more height. Instead the right-hand side of the arch looks a bit lacklustre and half-hearted. A bit more POW and it would have been more WOW…

Jonny: 7.0; Kerry: 7.4; Marc: 7.2; Nick: 7.3. 

Delta Air Lines New York JFK to Ponta Delgada 24 May

Delta Air Lines Ponta Delgada

Another wowing Portuguese water arch!

Judges’ comments: Along with Delta Air Lines launching flights between Atlanta and Lisbon this week, the SkyTeam member also inaugurated a service from New York JFK to Ponta Delgada. While this attempt does not match-up to the standards of the arch seen in the Portuguese capital, it has certainly done enough to claim second place this week.

Jonny: 9.2; Kerry: 9.0; Marc: 9.1; Nick: 9.0.

British Airways London Gatwick to Gibraltar 25 May 

British Airways Gibraltar

We’re calling this one the ‘Moana’ FTWA…

Judges’ comments: It is not very often that a massive rock appears as the backdrop to a route launch baptism, and just like rock and water here, another time where the two have come together is in the film Moana. Receiving positive reviews for his turn in the Disney film, The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) shows just how he can perform stunningly in a movie about a girl who is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite a mystical relic with a goddess. Gibraltar’s firefighters have done the same with this water arch salute, hence the newly named ‘Moana’ FTWA…

Jonny: 8.5; Kerry: 9.0; Marc: 8.8; Nick: 9.1.

Icelandair Reykjavik/Keflavik to Kansas City 25 May 

Icelandair Reykjavik/Keflavik

First-ever transatlantic send off from Kansas City!!

Judges’ comments: It seems that the firefighters at Kansas City were expecting larger equipment when they heard that they would be sending off the airport’s first-ever transatlantic service. With the distance between the two tenders, it looks as though they were expecting a 777 to roll past instead of Icelandair’s famous Hekla Aurora 757-200. While the route is a major, and indeed fantastic development for the airport and the city, its FTWA is not to the same level of successful achievement as that encountered in the air service development department when they clinched this service…

Jonny: 5.4; Kerry: 5.3; Marc: 5.8; Nick: 5.5

SCAT Airlines Astana to Vilnius 27 May 

SCAT Airlines Vilnius

Great driving from the cockpit crew.

Judges’ comments: Look at that, the pilot of this 737 could not get any more central on the apron markings as he taxis to the gate. The tenders in Vilnius also appear to have got their water jets to perfectly meet over the centre of the aircraft’s tailfin, allowing for perfect symmetry. It’s just a shame that the fire tenders are just out of shot… 

Jonny: 7.9; Kerry: 7.3; Marc: 7.4; Nick: 7.5.

Thomas Cook Airlines Manchester to Seattle-Tacoma 27 May

Thomas Cook Airlines Seattle-Tacoma

Not as good as last week’s entry from Starbucks country…

Judges’ comments: Last week, Seattle-Tacoma received a score of 31.2 out of 40 for the water salute it gave for Aer Lingus’ first flight from Dublin. This week the airport greeted another A330-operated inaugural, this time Thomas Cook Airlines’ from Manchester. It must have been the luck of the Irish for the Aer Lingus water arch, as this effort has not delivered to the same standard as the European flag carrier’s arrival… 

Jonny: 5.5; Kerry: 4.4; Marc: 4.8; Nick: 4.5.

Icelandair Reykjavik/Keflavik to Baltimore/Washington 28 May 

Icelandair Baltimore

Is Hekla Aurora the most FTWA’d aircraft in the world?

Judges’ comments: We at anna.aero believe that Hekla Aurora is the most FTWA’d aircraft in the world, having been given a water salute on at least seven occasions since the start of 2015 (two of which occurred this week). The firefighters at Baltimore/Washington have certainly delivered one of the best that the aircraft has received…it’s just a shame it could not grab a win this week… 

Jonny: 9.0; Kerry: 9.2; Marc: 8.9; Nick:.9.0.


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