Munich Airport crowned 2014 ‘Arch of Triumph’ winners

Despite last ditch efforts by our good friends in Croatia, India, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Spain, UK, Uruguay and the US, the last eight FTWAs of 2014 were not good enough to trouble the ‘Arch of Triumph’ delivered on 24 April by firefighters at Munich Airport for the arrival of the daily 767-400 service from Houston Intercontinental by United Airlines. Munich entered its FTWAs twice during 2014, eventually coming top out of the 250 entrants in the second year ‘Arch of Triumph’ competition. Europe easily won the inter-regional competition, having secured 63% of the 46 weekly wins over the course of the year, with Asia winning just six times to secure second place.

What the judges said about this world-beating FTWA…

Munich FTWA

Wunderbar. We’re loving the elevated angle of this shot!

Judge’s comments: What you are witnessing here is a piece of fine German engineering, and it just so happens that the result is an FTWA and not a car for a change. Munich has been a previous winner in the ‘Arch of Triumph’ and finished in fourth spot in the 2013 competition, but this FTWA could well seal victory in the 2014 competition with a score like that. Maybe the airport’s firefighters need to give some ideas to the city’s football team, who were far from world beaters last night. Ouch!

Marc: 9.5; Paul: 10; Ralph: 9.6; Vlad: 9.8.

Final standings for 2014 weekly winners

Date Route FTWA Airport Score
24 April United Airlines Houston Intercontinental to Munich Munich (MUC)


9 September Cebu Pacific Air Manila to Sydney Sydney (SYD)


1 February Qatar Airways Cargo Doha to Dubai Al Maktoum Dubai Al Maktoum (DWC)


6 October Qatar Airways Cargo Entebbe/Nairobo to Brussels Brussels (BRU)


13 June TAROM Iasi to Milan/Bergamo Iasi (IAS)


24 June China Southern Airlines Guangzhou/Changsha to Frankfurt Frankfurt (FRA)


2 July Transero Airlines Moscow Vnukovo to Taipei Taoyuan Taipei Taoyuan (TPE)


14 April LinksAir Doncaster Sheffield to Isle of Man Doncaster Sheffield (DSA)


25 July Turkish Airlines Istanbul Atatürk to Gazipaşa Gazipaşa (GZP)


2 December Air Seychelles Mahé to Dar es Salaam Dar es Salaam (DAR)


18 August Finnair Helsinki to Kazan Kazan (KZN)


21 June Air Canada rouge Toronto Pearson to Lisbon Lisbon (LIS)


7 August Finnair Helsinki to Samara Samara (KUF)


16 July Pegasus Airlines Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen to Budapest Budapest (BUD)


1 September Thai AirAsia X Bangkok Don Mueang to Tokyo Narita Tokyo Narita (NRT)


8 September Garuda Indonesia Jakarta to London Gatwick London Gatwick (LGW)


19 August Frontier Airlines Washington Dulles to Minneapolis-St. Paul Washington Dulles (IAD)


29 September Estonian Air Tallinn to Stockholm Bromma Stockholm Bromma (BMA)


13 December British Airways London Gatwick to Fuerteventura Fuerteventura (FUE)


2 June Air Dolomiti Milan/Bergamo to Munich Milan/Bergamo (BGY)


3 March bmi regional Newcastle to Brussels Newcastle (NCL)


22 May Qatar Airways Doha to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW)


5 June Flybe London Southend to Münster/Osnabrück London Southend (SEN)


17 May Etihad Regional Verona to Cambridge Cambridge (CBG)


19 December SWISS Geneva to Belgrade Belgrade (BEG)


4 March Turkish Airlines Istanbul Atatürk to Rotterdam Rotterdam (RTM)


1 December China Airlines Taipei Taoyuan to Christchurch Christchurch


18 January Peach Aviation Osaka Kansai to Kaohsiung Kaohsiung (KHH)


17 February Air Europa Madrid to Almería Almería (LEI)


17 November Volaris Guadalajara to Orlando Orlando (MCO)


22 February Far Eastern Air Transport Taichung to Kinmen Kinmen (KNH)


12 May CityJet Cambridge to Amsterdam Cambridge (CBG)


5 May InterSky Zurich to Dresden Dresden (DRS)


6 November easyJet Hamburg to Lanzarote Lanzarote (ACE)


6 February flydubai Dubai to Hofuf Hofuf (HOF)


13 October Virgin America San Francisco to Dallas Love Field Dallas (DAL)


13 March Interjet Mexico City to Palenque Palenque (PQM)


1 August Spring Airlines Japan Tokyo Narita to Takamatsu Tokyo Narita (NRT)


10 July Flybe London Southend to Maastricht Aachen Maastricht Aachen (MST)


16 October FlySafair Johannesburg to Cape Town Cape Town (CPT)


24 January Tigerair Singapore Singapore to Malé Malé (MLE)


24 November NIKI Vienna to Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (AUH)


British Airways London Gatwick to Fuerteventura 13 December

British Airways London Gatwick to Fuerteventura 13 December

This is Fuerteventura’s fourth FTWA entry…and finally they secure a weekly win.

Judge’s comments: When the boys and girls serving the Canary Islands’ airport fire stations get the shout that an FTWA is needed, Aena’s marketing department can sit back and relax, as they know these guys will deliver, as they have done in the past – this is Fuerteventura’s fourth entry since we started the competition last year. However, it has taken until now for them to secure their first win. Bravo!

Marc: 8.4; Paul: 7.2; Ralph: 8.3; Vlad: 8.5.

China Eastern Airlines Shanghai Pudong to Auckland 9 December

China Eastern Airlines Shanghai Pudong to Auckland 9 December

It has been a while since we’ve seen one of these – Gangnam Style FTWA in Auckland.

Judge’s comments:  You wait all year for an FTWA from New Zealand and then you get one from each of its main airports all in December, and two this week. The first this week was a classic ‘Gangnam Style’ effort, undoubtedly put-on by Auckland’s finest to welcome its new Asian service from China Eastern. Unfortunately, New Zealand’s biggest airport was unable to match the winning performance of Christchurch from earlier this month – well this time anyway!

Marc: 6.9; Paul: 6.9; Ralph: 6.2; Vlad: 7.3.

Aeromexico Mexico City to Managua 10 December

Aeromexico Mexico City to Managua 10 December

Arrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhhhh!! Its a Nicaraguan nightmare.

Judge’s comments: Nightmare on Managua taxiway. Not Friday 13th, but Wednesday 10th of December, but even so this FTWA is a horror story only made worse by the photographer’s late arrival at the scene. Unless of course, he or she was trying to take a picture and film the Aeromexico arrival from Mexico City at the same time.

Marc: 4.2; Paul: 5.8; Ralph: 2.3; Vlad: 3.2..

Amaszonas Santa Cruz to Montevideo 11 December

Amaszonas Santa Cruz to Montevideo 11 December

This Uruguayan FTWA is not as sharp as Luis Suarez’s teeth – thankfully!

Judge’s comments: Now I know that Uruguayans like a good barbeque, or ‘asado’, but I’m not sure they go for that much for pancakes. But that is clearly what has happened here, a pancaked FTWA, or a water cannon salute delivered at an angle below what we can safely call an arch. However, this is still not a bad effort from a region of the world that is yet to win its first ‘Arch of Triumph’. A wait that continues…

Marc: 6.4; Paul: 7.7; Ralph: 6.8; Vlad: 6.3.

Air Serbia Belgrade to Zagreb 12 December

Air Serbia Belgrade to Zagreb 12 December

An FTWA with historical and political significance…linking the capitals of Serbia and Croatia for the first time in 23 years.

Judge’s comments: Linking two capital cities of two states, which were previously at war with each other is a momentous occasion on any level. It should also act as an example of the social, political and economic benefits that commercial aviation can bring to the table in terms of a reconciliation and healing process between two nations that continues.

Marc: 8.6; Paul: 7.9; Ralph: 7.1; Vlad: 8.7.

Jetstar Airways Gold Coast to Wellington 12 December

Jetstar Airways Gold Coast to Wellington 12 December

This FTWA has been sent to us all the way from Middle Earth…

Judge’s comments: Reminiscent of Bilbo (and Frodo) Baggins’ sword ‘Sting’ clashing with an Orc scimitar, this is a style of FTWA, known as the ‘Battle of the Five Armies’, which is rarely seen outside of Middle Earth ‒ somewhere near Wellington in New Zealand. For those of you readers, who enjoy your contemporary FTWAs and your Lord of the Rings, you will be happier than Gollum in a fish farm. However, judges are purists, and puerile at the same time, so we don’t generally go in for these non-traditional styles. Now get back to The Shire.

Marc: 7.5; Paul: 8.0; Ralph: 7.4; Vlad: 7.1.

Azul Airlines Sao Paulo Viracopos to Orlando 15 December

Azul Airlines Sao Paulo Viracopos to Orlando 15 December

A ‘Two-in-one’ from Orlando – a marketing FTWA and aircraft wash all-in-one service.

Judge’s comments: Some of the world’s firefighters seem happy to go above and beyond when an inaugural service hits the tarmac at their respective airports, by not only providing an FTWA to keep the marketing executives happy, but also delivering an aircraft wash facility. This ‘Two-in-one’ FTWA, not to be confused with the ‘Ear-wash’ FTWA (where one side of the aircraft gets a good wash, including the pilot’s ears) is clearly on show here in Orlando.

Marc: 8.5; Paul: 6.4; Ralph: 6.5; Vlad: 7.0.

Blue Air Bucharest to Liverpool 15 December

Azul Airlines Sao Paulo Viracopos to Orlando 15 December

It’s hard to tell where the FTWA stops and the rain starts…

Judge’s comments: The north-west UK’s famously rainy weather took its toll on this FTWA from Liverpool. As a first attempt from the airport, this is a good effort. Maybe it can do better when the Romanian LCC starts its Bacau route in March next year.

Marc: 6.8; Paul: 7.3; Ralph: 6.1; Vlad: 6.4.

Gulf Air Bahrain to Hyderabad 15 December

Gulf Air Bahrain to Hyderabad 15 December

The first rule of competent FTWAing – get the water jets to meet above the aircraft.

Judge’s comments: There are not many rules in this competition, but the first and most basic one is to get the fire tenders to provide a constant stream of water which ideally have their apex directly above the aircraft fuselage. The second and third rules – to do with angles in order to produce a fine arch and photographing the moment correctly – have more or less been adhered to here in Hyderabad. Which only makes the lack of following rule #1 more upsetting for those involved.

Marc: 6.5; Paul: 6.5; Ralph: 4.7; Vlad: 6.7.


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