Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum Airport wins “Arch of Triumph” with Wizz Air maiden route launch

Lokesh Matta, Interim Head of Airline Marketing & Aviation Business, presents the “Arch of Triumph” to Bangalore International Airport’s ARFF Team.

Last week’s winners: Lokesh Matta, Interim Head of Airline Marketing & Aviation Business, presents the “Arch of Triumph” to Bangalore International Airport’s ARFF Team.

The launch of 115 routes in the first week of the 2013/14 Winter Season brought us ten entries in’s “Arch of Triumph” Fire Truck Water Arch (FTWA) competition and a maiden route win for the brand new Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum Airport.

Clark Airport in the Philippines remains in pole position with 32.9 points out of a possible 40. Remember the airport that achieves the highest score in what remains of 2013, will also be crowned this year’s “Arch of Triumph Champion”.  A special guide of how to play appears at the bottom of this article.

Route FTWA Airport Date Score
Emirates – Dubai to Clark Clark (CRK) 01-Oct 32.9
American Airlines – Los Angeles to Port Columbus Port Columbus (CMH) 27-Aug 30.8
flydubai – Dubai to Volgograd Volgograd (VOG) 17-Sep 30.5
Wizz Air – Budapest to Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum (DWC) 27-Oct 29.0
eurolot – Rzeszów to Paris Beauvais Rzeszów (RZE) 03-Sep 26.2
Air Costa – Bengaluru to Jaipur Bengaluru (BLR) 15-Oct 20.7
Peach – Osaka Kansai to Busan Busan (PUS) 13-Sep 17.4

Wizz Air Budapest to Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum 27 October


Wizz Air from Budapest – the first passenger flight to the brand new Dubai Al Maktoum Airport

Wizz Air from Budapest – the first passenger flight to the brand new Dubai Al Maktoum Airport – is also winner of the opening Winter Season 2013/14 “ Arch of Triumph” for this close perfect “Leaping Dolphin” arch. Total points – 29.

Marc: 7.2 Nice to see that Wizz Air laid-on a sharklet-equipped A320 for this FTWA…the ULCC did its bit to make this image captivating (well done Daniel!) Not a bad attempt for DWC really, especially as they have only had the odd freighter in up until now. Touch of Gangnam Style going on…but that can be easily ironed out on the fire training ground.

Paul: 7.5 Oh yes this is very nice. Massive 8X8 Oshkosh Striker trucks, getting close to a perfect Leaping Dolphin arch. Instead of vistas of the new airport there’s a desert-full of featureless, unmarked, virgin concrete in the photo – a photographic technique known as the “billiard table effect” – but, as Simon Cowell would say: “Y’know, I actually liked it.”

Ralph: 6.4 Did the photographer get there late? Not bad, but the aircraft looks like it’s well through the fairly well shaped arch. Impressive looking fire trucks at this new airport.

Magdalena: 7.9 Great effort by the brand new Dubai Al Maktoum airport. As more airlines launch their routes to DWC, the airport’s fire fighters will obviously be able to work on their technique and polish out some minor failings.

Allegiant Air Orlando Sanford to Tulsa 25 October

The water cannon salute for Allegiant Air's Orlando Sanford to Tulsa.

Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa, and 24 metres from the rear-end of an Allegiant MD-80. Total score: 15.5.

Marc 4.0: Perhaps someone told the Tulsa Airport firefighters that the first flight was going to be with one of Allegiant’s 757s rather than the MD-80 which turned up. There is no point in making the effort to have four tenders on the apron if all they do is create four independent water jets rather than an FTWA to be proud of.

Paul 3.9: Gene Pitney sang “Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa.” This arch could be called “24 metres from the rear-end of an Allegiant MD-80”. Not elegant, but descriptive. To be fair this rare four-truck salute probably looked great from the right angle. Nice rainbowing.

Ralph: 4.4 Wow! A three-truck salute with a double-rainbow. Only problem is it looks like this Allegiant MD-80 is going to make it through without getting even remotely wet.

Magdalena 3.2 Quality not quantity is essential and three water streams that miss each other are certainly far from ideal. A closer look at the picture reveals that Tampa also managed to produce two rainbows…

Air Serbia Belgrade to Abu Dhabi 27 October

A rare damp, foggy evening in Abu Dhabi welcomes in Air Serbia

A rare damp, foggy evening in Abu Dhabi welcomes in Air Serbia – an airline 49% owned by home carrier Etihad Airways. Total points – 16.8.

Marc: 3.7 Apparently Gangnam Style is James Hogan’s (Etihad Airways CEO – which owns 49% of Air Serbia, formerly JAT) all-time favourite song, so the Abu Dhabi firefighters were ‘instructed’ to do this style of FTWA for him. He loved it… does not.

Paul: 4.5 In the olden days I used to spend a lot of time in Belgrade on JAT business and I passionately believe this country and its hard working people deserve a decent airline with decent routes. But this fire water arch is confused and all over the place. Smarten that salute up!!!

Ralph: 5.5 Well, this Air Serbia A319 is certainly getting wet from this Gangnam-style welcome, but it’s too much wall of water rather than pure arch.

Magdalena 3.1 Picture quality comparable to that of the early era of mobile photography doesn’t make this picture easy to judge. There is a plane, there is some water and the overexposed area on the left suggests that there was also a fire truck at hand. Extra points for the stylised Serbian national coat of arms on the tail.



British Airways London Heathrow to Gran Canaria 27 October

The water cannon salute for British Airways' London Heathrow to Gran Canaria

Mind the gap: One judge compared it to London’s Tower Bridge, another to St Petersburg’s Palace Bridge…you get the drift??? Total points – 24.1.

Marc: 3.6 This is a classic ‘Dukes of Hazard’ FTWA for me. You all know the story, Bo and Luke Duke are trying to escape from Sherriff Rosco P. Coltrane, but the bridge on the road to the county line is missing the vital central section…just like this FTWA…so those Duke boys have to leap the General Lee over the gap in the bridge. They of course make it, unlike the Sherriff who ends up eating dirt…just like the CAPO at Gran Canaria.

Paul:  9.9 I fear my fellow judges have again failed to recognise a free-style type of Fire Truck Water Arch (FTWA) known among the volcanologist airport fire fighters of the Canary Islands as the “Volcanic Eruption” (or “La erupción Vocanic” in Spanish). The very spontaneity of this art form militates against the neo-Stalinist uniformity so desired by my internecine co-workers.

Ralph: 5.5 Lovely setting, with the crystal blue sea in the background, and the photographer has found a great spot to do the FTWA justice. But there’s no denying the arch is doing a “Tower Bridge” and is not joined up in the middle.

Magdalena: 5.1 Reminiscent of the drawing of St Petersburg’s Palace Bridge, this arch fails to be… well…an arch. However, imperfect as it is, the arch works well against the austere backdrop of Gran Canaria, so an extra point for that.


Qatar Airways Doha to Clark 27 October


The water cannon salute for Qatar Airways Doha to Clark.

We also love the video sent to us by Clark’s Alfredo Gagui, Crash Fire Rescue Officer 1. Total points – 19.6.

Marc: 3.7 Clearly Clark’s FTWA recent win has gone to their heads, either that or a new crew was on shift and they were feeling under pressure to produce, resulting in what can only be described as a water ball rather than a water arch.

Paul:  8.3 Clark International Airport, the former US Clark Air Base, is named after US Army Major Harold M. Clark (1890-1919) who was raised in Manila but was a pioneering aviator in Hawaii where he was famous for making low passes over his spectators. For me this arch, with its waving onlookers, is a great re-creation of Major Clark’s memory, hence my high marks. I also love the video sent to us by Clark’s Alfredo Gagui, Crash Fire Rescue Officer 1.

Ralph: 3.5 Despite the friendly waving from the ground crew, the collision of water above the aircraft has created a strange image which almost looks like a face. Slightly spooky. Maybe this is a cunning Halloween-themed FTWA.

Magdalena: 4.1 An “ear-wash” without the ears in between. Looks like the welcoming ground crew might have had a fair bit of drying to do afterwards, as the mist went their way…


UTair Moscow Vnukovo to Dresden 27 October

The water cannon salute for UTair's Moscow Domodedovo to Dresden.

Some day, under this rainbow, there will hopefully be more route launches. Dresden is a secret German city which needs more air services. Total points – 22.

Marc: 6.1 The only thing holding this FTWA together is the rainbow, for which of course points have been scored. Too much water mist for me, and not enough arch.

Paul: 6.3. Vladimir Putin was apparently thrilled with this new Moscow service – he used to live in Dresden in the 1980s when he was head of the local branch of the KGB. Dresden is stunning – for me the Elbe waterfront is an unbeaten vista – Germany has so many secrets like this. Why are there not more routes to Dresden??? (The water arch is only O.K. – but we all like the rainbow.)

Ralph: 6.5 Ooh. A rainbow. How pretty. I like Dresden. I’ve been there twice in the last five years and the people are really friendly. Shame there are no direct flights from the UK any more. Where was I? Oh yes, definitely rainbow of the week, but the arch has degenerated into more of a wall of water.

Magdalena: 3.1 Half an arch, half a rainbow. Interesting. The side profile angle makes figuring out the presence of a second fire truck difficult, let alone judging the symmetry of the arch. The mist creates a subtle Nigara Falls effect, quite unlike Dresden.


Saudi Arabian Airlines Jeddah to Toronto 28 October

The water cannon salute for Saudi Arabian Airlines' Jeddah to Toronto.

Water-saving techniques are laid on out of respect to the Saudis. Total points – 10.6.

Marc: 2.4 This FTWA is a Dukes of Hazard, big boy, little boy, Gangnam Style combo disaster. The only reason it gets over two points from me is because there are two tenders with some water coming out of them, albeit about 10 seconds too late. Let’s have the arch erect before the aircraft gets there.

Paul: 5.0 A great water-saving technique which I am sure was much-appreciated by the Saudis – the annual rainfall in Jeddah is 53mm versus 850mm in Toronto. So full marks for environmental credentials, but a medium-only total for art.

Ralph: 1.7 Oh dear, oh dear. What happened here? Strong winds? Low water pressure? Bad timing? Who knows, but this may well be the least arch-like arch we have seen so far.

Magdalena: 1.5 An invisible ceiling? Not enough pressure in the trucks? It’s a large steel bird this, but what does Toronto do when an A380 comes in? Surely this sprinkle wouldn’t even reach the wings…


TUIfly Nuremburg to Fuerteventura 28 October

The water cannon salute for TUIfly's Nuremburg to Fuerteventura.

Haribo tangfastics! Gusts on the famously windy island cause a flurry in the middle of this water arch, narrowly preventing a perfect “Leaping Dolphin.” Total score – 25.5.

Marc: 4.1 Second ‘Dukes of Hazard’ this week. Imagine if engineers built their arches with no keystones…there would be a lot of soggy trains and cars from the resulting dousing. Same goes for FTWAs…those water jets need to meet or else it’s just not a structure at all.

Paul: 9.0 Fuerteventura means something like “the windy place” – hence the great difficulty in completing this “leaping dolphin” arch – there is also a bit of “Kiev” happening on the left side (see below for explanation of fire water arch styles). It’s also a fitting tribute to Hans Riegel who died earlier this month after turning Haribo into a more recognised global household name than Star Alliance or Lufthansa are ever likely to achieve. Not bad for bear-shaped candy made from sweetened, melted-down cows bones.

Ralph: 6.5 Awww. It’s the Haribo plane. My son loves Haribo. Nice of TUIfly to send one of their logojets on the route launch. I suspect this would have been great if the fire trucks had been 10 metres closer together.

Magalena: 5.9 It is evident here that a plane featuring a Haribo paint scheme arose a certain level of mistrust in Fuerteventura, forcing the fire brigade to position themselves somewhat further apart. Arguably, this hindered the chances of this arch for achieving perfection. Can’t blame the truck brigade though…

SWISS Zurich to Kiev Boryspil 27 October


The water cannon salute for SWISS' Zurich to Kiev Boryspil

A Swiss Toblerone or a hot-spurt of “Kiev”?? Total score: 25.3

Marc 4.5 It’s a “Toblerone”. No it’s a “Roman Cross”. I give up what is it?

Paul 4.9 Bizarrely – this style of arch is neither a “Toblerone” in salute to the SWISS arrival, nor a native “Kiev” (see below for explantion). In fact we don’t know what it is, but it’s not an arch.

Ralph 8.3 Definitely a Toblerone tribute to the arrival of this SWISS flight in Ukraine. That’s some nice powerful symmetrical spurting from the fire trucks, against a clear blue sky.

Magdalena 7.6 Performed in a truly Swiss spirit by Kiev Boryspil’s Fire Brigade, this Toblerone-style water salute couldn’t have scored badly. In fact, the arch was so nicely executed that the photographer shot the picture a few seconds too early!

Icelandair Reykjavik to New York Newark 28 October

Icelandair lands with a show of specially-themed fire truck water arches.

Icelandair lands with a show of specially-themed fire truck water arches inspired by the many years the Americans operated Keflavik as a USAF base. Total score: 24.2

Marc 5.5 “Lights, camera…actually you’d best hurry up Marv we’ve got an arch to do.” Newark gives a very impressive view of Manhattan on arrival, but this fire truck salute has to meet in the middle if it wants to stand a chance in the “Arch of Triumph”.

Paul 7.0 The Americans spent years operating Keflavik as a USAF base and have cleverly laid on two styles here: On the left we have a conventional “geyser” while the truck on the right is executing an “Eyjafjallajökull” – not easily pronounced in New Jersey, but cheerfully named after the 2010 vocanic eruption which brought Europe’s air space to a halt.

Ralph: 4.8 Sorry guys, but this fails dismally in the basics of creating an arch. Lovely, moody photography and interesting lighting, but maybe next time the trucks need to be closer together, or you need to up the water pressure.

Magda: 6.9 An incredible spectacle of water and lights by the Newark Fire Brigade leverages the technical failings of this arch. A catchy tune to go with all this would make the show perfect.

How to win the "Arch of triumph".

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  1. Alvaro says:

    Congratulations to the winers. The arch is way far back from the airplane,is not in the line with the fire trucks while shoting the water. check the size of the trucks compared to the plane.

    Alvaro Artiñano.
    Fire Department- Fuerteventura Airport.

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