Hong Kong happily displays winning Arch of Triumph certificate

Hong Kong FTWA

Hong Kong Airport’s Fire Services Department, along with Etihad Airways and SATS staff (Etihad’s ground handling agent at the airport) gathered together to celebrate the airport’s first ever Arch of Triumph win. It was also the first time the airport had entered the competition…and now has an impressive 100% record!!

Admittedly, due to diary commitments in Prague and Vancouver last week, there was only a very limited edition of anna.aero’s newsletter. This week, we have therefore merged together two weeks of route launches into one. The result is a staggering 27 FTWA entries (yes that’s 27) for this week’s competition. Therefore, not only has Bengaluru Airport achieved an already prestigious accolade of winning a heralded Arch of Triumph certificate, but it has done so in the most competitive week of the year. In so doing, it is also supping at the top of table of world airports, securing fourth spot in the 2015 competition so far this year. Entries came from five different global regions, led by Europe (17 entries), then North America (seven), with one each from Asia (the winner Bengaluru), Australasia and the Middle East. Keep Monitoring!!

Date Route FTWA Airport Score
5 Jun Wizz Air Košice to Milan/Bergamo Košice (KSC) 36.8
15 Jun Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong Hong Kong (HKG) 36.7
19 May Icelandair Reykjavik/Keflavik to Portland Portland (PDX) 36.7
16 June Vistara Delhi to Bengaluru Bengaluru (BLR) 36.3
7 May American Airlines New York JFK to Birmingham Birmingham (BHX) 35.3
1 Jun Jetstar Japan Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong Tokyo Narita (NRT) 35.0
05 Feb Transaero Airlines Moscow Vnukovo to Delhi Delhi (DEL) 34.9
18 Apr airBaltic Riga to Aalborg Aalborg (AAL) 32.9
1 May Air China Beijing to Budapest Budapest (BUD) 32.6
24 Apr Adria Airways Ljubljana to Berlin Tegel Berlin Tegel (TXL) 32.1

Vistara Delhi to Bengaluru 16 June

Vistara Delhi to Bengaluru

That’s how to do it: A classic ‘Leaping Dolphin’ FTWA.

Judge’s Comments:  Another massive arch! These are a speciality of Bengaluru Airport which is also credited with creating the largest FTWA ever at 74.44 metres high – the same height as the Taj Mahal, after which it was also named. Commenting on the FTWA and accompanying celebrations, Mittu Chandilya, CEO, AirAsia India said: “We wanted to celebrate the growth of AirAsia India by honouring the father of Indian civil aviation.” A special award dedicated to Bengaluru Airport’s ‘Taj Mahal FTWA’ was also created and sent by anna.aero to mark the event. Unlike the 6 May arch, this FTWA is a classic ‘Leaping Dolphin’. It’s really hard to fault it…the ramp is very clean…maybe it would be nice to have just a little bit more branding placement to reassure us that this is indeed Bengaluru.

Jonny: 8.4; Marc: 9.1; Paul: 9.3; Ralph: 9.5.

Qatar Airways Doha to Amsterdam 16 June

Qatar Airways Doha to Amsterdam

There are plenty of bikes in Amsterdam’s canals, as well as some ‘Leaping Dolphins’ it would appear…

Judge’s Comments: While Amsterdam has won a public vote Arch of Triumph weekly title (when Adria Airways launched a services from Lodz), it has yet to win over the anna.aero judges when it comes to its prowess at providing FTWAs. This one, for the start of Qatar Airways’ launch of Doha service, is trying hard to win us all over, with an almost flawless pair of ‘Leaping Dolphins’ – not something you would normally find in the canals of Amsterdam, but clearly evident at Schiphol.

Jonny: 8.5; Marc: 8.6; Paul: 8.2; Ralph: 9.2.

Air Transat Toronto Pearson to Budapest 17 June

Air Transat Toronto Pearson to Budapest

A local speciality FTWA known as a ‘Danube Soaker’…

Judge’s Comments: The Danube is Europe’s second longest river, and its 2,860-kilometre course takes it through the beautiful city of Budapest, now a key destination for a growing European river cruise market that draws people in from around the globe. At the request of BUD’s business development and marketing guru Kam Jandu, the airport’s fire service has provided here a water billboard, promoting the cruise potential of the Hungarian capital, with this aptly named ‘Danube Soaker’ FTWA. Sounds like a cocktail you may get served on one of those luxury river boats to me…

Jonny: 7.4; Marc: 6.9; Paul: 6.9; Ralph: 6.3.

Mahan Air Tehran Imam Khomeini to Milan Malpensa 17 June

Mahan Air Tehran Imam Khomeini to Milan Malpensa

An EXPO 2015 special FTWA from Milan Malpensa…

Judge’s Comments: EXPO 2015 flung open its doors in early May, heralding the start of an unprecedented period of inbound tourism to the northern Italian city (including anna.aero’s Chief Analyst and family next week!), and of course lots of passengers to squeeze through Milan’s airports – the most important of which is Malpensa of course. As you can imagine, the whole city is buzzing with EXPO-mania, even seeping down to the airport’s fire station, which created this FTWA masterpiece to emulate the centre piece Italian pavilion found at the show, designed by Studio Nemesi & Partners. Bravissimo, Malpensa!!

Jonny: 4.5; Marc: 4.6; Paul: 6.2; Ralph: 3.1.

Ukraine International Airlines Kiev Boryspil to Amman 17 June

Ukraine International Airlines Kiev Boryspil to Amman

Now I’m no photography expert…but I think the shutter speed is all wrong on this one…

Judge’s Comments: Perhaps the photographer sensed that the FTWA was not going to be up to much and decided to accept some of the blame for a poor show from Amman Airport’s firefighters, by trying to blur the photograph on purpose. That said, this is the first effort we’ve received from the Jordanian capital city airport – one can only hope that the next Arch of Triumph that they compete for is on a route launch that starts in the day.

Jonny: 6.0; Marc: 5.8; Paul: 5.9; Ralph: 5.5.

Condor Frankfurt to Providence 18 June

Condor Frankfurt to Providence

The T.F. Green Airport Fire Department need to work a little bit on the Fire Truck Water Arches – where’s the middle bit fellas?

Judge’s Comments: The Condor service to Frankfurt marks the first non-stop route to mainland Europe for T.F. Green Airport which is an alternative to Boston Logan. More international service is expected after additional runway expansion is completed. If that’s the case the T.F. Green Airport Fire Department need to work a little bit on the Fire Truck Water Arches – where’s the middle bit fellas? The FTWAs are an expected hallmark of new route launches. The marks awarded here today are mainly for encouragement!!!

Jonny: 4.5; Marc: 6.4; Paul: 6.9; Ralph: 7.7.

Volaris Cancun to Guatemala City 18 June

Volaris Cancun to Guatemala City

This is known as a ‘Big boy, Little boy’. It’s not the hardest FTWA to create and we don’t usually score it highly.

Judge’s Comments: Come on Cancun!!! We know you can do better. This style of arch – ‘Big boy, Little boy’ – relies on the two fire crews to make one water jet bigger than the other. So like that’s really hard or something? Of course it isn’t! We want symmetry, not surrealism. Leave the “Woman with Mustard Pot” stuff to Picasso.

Jonny: 5.0; Marc: 4.9; Paul: 6.1; Ralph: 3.6.

Condor Frankfurt to Portland 19 June

Condor Frankfurt to Portland

“Willkommen im Portland ladies and gentlemen, der local time ist…VAT DER HELL IST DAS?!?…ahhhh phhrowwwwsshhhhh….”

Judge’s Comments: Condor is busy with North American launches and the folks in Portland no doubt appreciated, not only the new Frankfurt service, but also just how lovely and clean the arriving aircraft were. Kiss Car Wash has been providing car washes to Portland area residents for more than 30 years, they have several downtown locations and are currently offering 10 washes for an unbelievable $79,99. So why bring the ‘car wash’ out to the airport? It’s not a leaping dolphin if you dump a ton of water on the Boeing! End of.

Jonny: 7.5; Marc: 7.6; Paul: 6.0; Ralph: 9.4.

EVA Air Taipei Taoyuan to Houston Intercontinental 19 June

EVA Air Taipei Taoyuan to Houston Intercontinental

The FTWA director here is making 14 deliberate mistakes. How many can you spot?

Judge’s Comments: There’s well over a dozen errors made here, but let’s focus on the main problem: The port side crew are apparently directing their monitor from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport branch of Einstein Bros Bagels. Now everyone likes the Pumpkin Walnut Crunch Bagel from their “Gourmet Collection” and at 450 calories that’s a fine firefighter’s breakfast, especially when washed down by freshly made, 100% Arabica coffee. But couldn’t you get it done before the EVA Air rotation? Tut, tut!

Jonny: 4.5; Marc: 4.7; Paul: 5.5; Ralph: 4.2.

Vueling Menorca to Malaga 19 June

Vueling Menorca to Malaga

Domestic route gets the full rainbow treatment…

Judge’s Comments: We have often documented in this section of anna.aero the fact that domestic route launches are often treated as the poor relations when it comes to attracting marketing efforts from airports around the world. They are just not as sexy as a new intercontinental service with a global mega-carrier or deemed as important as the celebration commemorating the launch of a new low-cost airline base. Not in Menorca, where all of the FTWA stops have been pulled out – including a beautifully proportioned rainbow…

Jonny: 6.4; Marc: 7.2; Paul: 6.5; Ralph: 8.6.

Wizz Air Gdansk to Billund 19 June

Wizz Air Gdansk to Billund

Letting go early and then having trouble keeping it up…

Judge’s comments: There’s a lot of different names for this (the main symptoms are described in the caption.) It’s really a question of mind over matter and practice, practice, practice. There’s a method of nozzle control called the “stop-go technique” – Google it and try it. Of course it doesn’t help if a whole crowd of people is watching and somehow someone you thought cared for you ends up putting the photos on the internet. But that’s a reality of the 21st Century for you.

Jonny: 8.0; Marc: 7.1; Paul: 6.5; Ralph: 6.9.

Wizz Air Gdansk to Brussels Charleroi 19 June

Wizz Air Gdansk to Brussels Charleroi

Left cone: “What do you think of it so far?” Right cone: “Distinctly average.”

Judge’s Comments: Getting the distance between your fire tenders right is so important when it comes to crafting an FTWA to be proud of, and one to trouble the leaders of the 2015 competition so far. Failure to do so can mean that while you a have bold Manneken Pis (famous Belgian statue) on one side of your arch, the other side ends up looking a bit, well, flaccid by comparison. Seems like the firefighters at Charleroi need a quick visit to 1000 Brussels downtown, the home of the Mannekin Pis, to remind them of what a proud, uncompromising water jet should look like.

Jonny: 4.7; Marc: 5.4; Paul: 6.5; Ralph: 5.0.

China Southern Airlines Guangzhou to London Stansted 20 June

China Southern Airlines Guangzhou to London Stansted

Chinese out-take: Er, where’s the other half of the arch?

Judge’s Comments:  Well this is at least half a good arch, even if we are seeing it from the wrong end of a London Stansted Airport Fire Service Rosenbauer Panther. The style of arch is called a ‘spring roll’ because it produces a refreshing mist characterised by a special curling given to the spray. It’s shame we can’t see the other side because the effect of the sunlight causes a refraction producing the clearly recognisable image of a gyrating Chinese Dragon Dance.

Jonny: 4.0; Marc: 5.1; Paul: 7.0; Ralph: 4.4.

Iberia Alicante to Carcassonne 20 June

Iberia Alicante to Carcassonne

Er…what the hell were you thinking???

Judge’s Comments: Carcassonne is famous for the Cité de Carcassonne, a medieval fortress which is claimed to be France’s second-most visited tourist spot after the Tour Eiffel, making it another good reason to launch a route here. But this FTWA is not a good reason and the only second place is a likely second from last. There are names for this kind of arch, but they are not suitable for websites which are inclusively enjoyed by air transport executives, families, small children, or easily startled animals. Good job the castle is always worth a visit.

Jonny: 7.4; Marc: 4.7; Paul: 0.1; Ralph: 6.6.

LAN Airlines Lima to Orlando 20 June

LAN Airlines Lima to Orlando

A clearly recognisable ‘Mickey’s Ears’…

Judge’s Comments: There’s no mysteries here. Anybody who can’t see the classic outline of Mickey Mouse’s ears must have been living in a cave or on Venus since 1930 in order to be unfamiliar with one of the world’s most instantly recognisable brands. The problem for Orlando Airport is the Walt Disney Company owns the intellectual property rights to the characters and takes the enforcement of these rights very seriously. We’ve looked very closely around this arch and cannot see any small print acknowledging copyright or a licensing agreement. So MCO should expect a mini van-load of suited Walt Disney attorneys to arrive at the drop-zone pretty soon after we publish. The only consolation will be that there are very few things more entertaining in life than watching humourless adults foaming at the mouth about protecting the rights of their client, M. Mouse.

Jonny: 7.5; Marc: 7.4; Paul: 8.5; Ralph: 6.3.

Vueling Barcelona to Funchal 20 June

Vueling Barcelona to Funchal

If this looks like a ‘Roman Cross’ to you, that’s because it is. Madeira cake doesn’t come from Madeira either…

Judge’s Comments:  It is sometimes mistakenly thought that Madeira cake originates from the Madeira Islands. Well we care about our facts at anna.aero just as much as we care about cake. We also have a resident from Funchal who works on our team and he tells us that Madeira cake is not from Madeira at all – it’s just an English cake recipe that the Victorians used to serve with Madeira wine (they certainly knew how to have a mid-morning snack). Likewise this FTWA isn’t made in Madeira either. It’s a ‘Roman Cross’, invented by Rome Fiumicino Airport.

Jonny: 7.8; Marc: 7.2; Paul: 6.5; Ralph: 7.4.

Vueling Rome Fiumicino to Pula 20 June

Vueling Rome Fiumicino to Pula

And here’s another ‘Roman Cross’ – in the right context this time!

Judge’s Comments:  Bellissimo! Well done Pula! If you are going to perform a ‘Roman Cross’, a new route from Rome Fiumicino seems a pretty sensible time to do it. The Croatian town has a massive Roman heritage including one of the most intact amphitheatres in the world constructed 27BC-68AD when Ralph Anker was still only in his mid-thirties. After the fall of Western Roman Empire the Romans left in 476, so it’s nice to see them welcomed back in 2015 with the new Vueling service with a strong appeal to both tourists and the business community, underscored by its great low fares.

Jonny: 3.5; Marc: 5.7; Paul: 8.0; Ralph: 5.6.

Hainan Airlines Shanghai Pudong to Seattle-Tacoma 22 June

Hainan Airlines Shanghai Pudong to Seattle Tacoma

‘Skinny latte…’

Judge’s Comments: Phhhhhoooooshhhh – frothy stuff this, all very Seattle and barista-style. The narrowness of the water jets means this can only be a ‘skinny latte’. It’s a highly appropriate way to greet a new service from China to this city and at the same time make the visitors feel at home – after all Shanghai has nearly 100 branches of Starbucks. Having said that, our judges all felt it was all a bit of a safe bet and that a “Frappuccino” might have been the spectacular way-to-go to win this week’s contest – or is that too jazzy?

Jonny: 9.0; Marc: 8.0; Paul: 7.0; Ralph: 7.9.

easyJet London Gatwick to Pula 23 June

easyJet London Gatwick to Pula

No, no, no, no, no, no. No!!!!!

Judge’s Comments: Somewhere beyond that veil of water is an easyJet A319 from London Gatwick. Or is it an elephant jugging chainsaws and dodos? Or perhaps Jimmy Hoffer, Elvis and Michael Jackson performing gymnastics? Or maybe the missing pile of €340 billion that could solve the Greek deficit. In fact, let’s all pretend it’s all of those things as it would make us feel a whole lot better. We like the earlier ‘Roman Cross’ – but this isn’t an arch, it’s a wall – and you don’t welcome new guests with big fences. It’s just not good enough. We’re gonna write to your parents.

Jonny: 3.1; Marc: 3.0; Paul: 3.5; Ralph: 2.4.

SkyGreece Airlines Zagreb to Toronto Pearson 23 June

SkyGreece Airlines Zagreb to Toronto Pearson

Gangnam Style – really groovy (in about 2013)…

Judge’s Comments: This would have been a knock-out in 2013, but we have rather moved on from Gangnam Style much as we have the Harlem Shake. If Zagreb had really wanted to be über contemporary they should have gone for a bit of Twerking, although despite anna.aero’s famous broad-mindedness, we too can find that all a bit boorish and tiring. Give us a decent cake any day. But hey, top enterprise marks for the route Zagreb to Toronto Pearson. Go SkyGreece!!!

Jonny: 7.4; Marc: 6.5; Paul: 6.5; Ralph: 5.6.

Copa Airlines Panama City to New Orleans 24 June

Copa Airlines Panama City to New Orleans

Sunrise in New Orleans…something many Mardi Gras revellers see…just a bit more blurred…

Judge’s Comments: This apron does indeed look suspiciously clean, like Bourbon Street at about 7.00am after they have dragged away all the garbage and under-the-influence undergraduate students who will be our presidents and central bank governors in about 25 years from now. We can appreciate that the photographer wants us to believe that it is a specially contrived, moody sunrise shot. But we’re all pretty old and seen this all before at our own Mardi Gras in the early 1980s: He/she was far more likely to be late getting out of bed, or perhaps the nightclub, and nearly missed the whole thing. Well done – you nearly had us.

Jonny: 7.4; Marc: 7.2; Paul: 6.0; Ralph: 8.2.

Fiji Airways Nadi to Wellington 25 June

Fiji Airways Nadi to Wellington

The national symbol of New Zealand…

Judge’s Comments:  Don’t worry about clichés – grab the marketing opportunity. Wellington Airport has done just this in performing an FTWA style here called “The Kiwi Mating Dance.” It is actually highly symbolic – after all Kiwi partnerships have been known to last longer than 20 years. So it’s all looking good for this new route then! You can read more about this fascinating flightless bird at www.kiwisforkiwi.org – the fourth-most visited website in New Zealand after www.whatsonindunedin.co.nz. After explaining about the kiwi mating dance it gets scary: “He climbs onto her back, which can be difficult with no wings or tail to help him balance, often he will grasp her back feathers in his beak to help his balance…” (We’ll have to stop it there – Ed.)

Jonny: 7.9; Marc: 8.1; Paul: 8.5; Ralph: 8.0.

Wizz Air Nis to Malmö 25 June

Wizz Air Nis to Malmö

A nice FTWA from Nis…

Judge’s Comments: To come away with a score of 27.6 for your first ever FTWA entry is not a bad start for Nis Airport. Starting at this level, and then taking on board all of the comments made by the expert anna.aero judge’s, should mean that the Serbian airport will secure its first weekly win in September 2017, and be overall winner in the 2022 competition.

Jonny: 8.0; Marc: 6.9; Paul: 5.9; Ralph: 6.8.

Wizz Air Tuzla to Stockholm Skavsta 26 June

Wizz Air Tuzla to Stockholm Skavsta

“Hey move out the way guys…this picture is being entered into anna.aero’s ‘Arch of Triumph’ competition…far more important than the cover of the Tuzla Times…”

Judge’s Comments: Looks like the local hacks from the Tuzla Times and the Bosnia and Herzegovina Herald have played the “we’re proper journalists card” to muscle to the front of the photo scrum to capture this FTWA. Don’t you know who we are…? We’re network development royalty!

Jonny: 8.6; Marc: 7.8; Paul: 6.5; Ralph: 8.3.

easyJet Geneva to Menorca 27 June

easyJet Geneva to Menorca

If the pilot follows the follow me van, that A319 could have a serious altercation with a fire tender…

Judge’s Comments: Looks like there was some serious practising going on in Menorca before the arrival of this easyJet unit. The airport firefighters even had a Vueling launch on 19 June to hone their skills. Unfortunately this arch scored 7.4 points lower than the effort of the previous week. Perhaps it was a different watch on that day? If not, it’s back to the drawing board.

Jonny: 6.4; Marc: 5.3; Paul: 4.9; Ralph: 4.7.

Vueling Barcelona to Samara 27 June

Vueling Barcelona to Samara

This FTWA is known locally as ‘Cossack’…

Judge’s Comments: To the uncivil and uncouth, this looks like just another FTWA. However, to the trained eyes of the anna.aero judges it is something to behold. Emulating the trademark kicks of the Russian Cossack dance, this FTWA style was always going to come out of retirement for the arrival of this important LCC in Samara.

Jonny: 6.8; Marc: 7.2; Paul: 8.5; Ralph: 6.4.

Wizz Air Skopje to Memmingen 29 June

Wizz Air Skopje to Memmingen

Will the driver of van number five please return to his vehicle…Wizz Air inaugural flight arriving…

Judge’s Comments: Clearly the driver of van #5 was so dismayed by the FTWA produced at Memmingen that he had to run out of the picture to throw-up. Either that, or he has a rare disease that makes him nauseous every time he sees two jets of water being fired at vastly different angles. Makes my eczema seem quite tame…

Jonny: 4.2; Marc: 4.4; Paul: 5.9; Ralph: 3.2.


  1. Oliver says:

    This article should be called ‘Arch Rivals’

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