Cardiff commands the show to win Part II of the S17 Arch of Triumph Public Vote; another European airport wins as the judges return

Flybe Cardiff

With an impressive 48% of votes, Cardiff has become the 11th European airport to win the Arch of Triumph Public Vote, with last week being won by Oslo Gardermoen. The Welsh capital beat off strong competition from Milan Bergamo (21% of the vote) and Porto (17%) to clinch the coveted title.

There is no need to worry, as the result of the votes for this competition have not been delivered by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), but by’s trusted data elves. The votes have been totted up and Cardiff, having gained a very impressive 48% of the vote in Part II of the S17 Arch of Triumph Public Vote, has become the 11th airport from Europe (in the 11 public votes held so far) to win a public vote in the illustrious Arch of Triumph competition. The Welsh capital airport has beaten off fellow European airports Milan Bergamo (21% of the vote) and Porto (17%) to claim the coveted prize. As the Welsh would say: “That’s well lush!” N.B. The airport names which are underlined are the FTWA creators in question.

Route launch and FTWA airport (underlined) % of votes
Flybe Cardiff to Rome Fiumicino 48%
Blue Air Liverpool to Milan Bergamo 21%
Air France Paris CDG to Porto 17%
Volotea Lille to Montpellier 3%
British Airways London Heathrow to Murcia 3%
Blue Air Liverpool to Hamburg 2%
Ryanair Milan Bergamo to Oradea 2%
Air Seychelles Seychelles to Düsseldorf 1%
Germania Dresden to Faro 1%’s four esteemed judges return 

This week’s four esteemed FTWA judges are back in action and ready to evaluate the remaining water arches that are entered this summer before the next batch of public votes take place (start of W17/18 at the end of October). So in our first week back at the helm of the judging it has been very busy, with 20 (yes 20!!) FTWAs being sent to us from airports on five continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America). As it was in the readers’ voting weeks, Europe has been the dominant entrant in this week’s competition, sending in 15 (75%) of the FTWAs. North America is second with two entries (10%) while the remaining continents have only one each. The airports that have sent FTWAs this week have set the bar very high, with the 20 generating an average score of 26.7. So airports of the world, you know what you should be aiming for to be above average this summer. Keep Monitoring!! 

Date Route FTWA Airport Score
16-Feb United Airlines San Francisco to Tampa Tampa (TPA) 37.4
08-Apr Luxair Luxembourg to Alicante Alicante (ALC) 36.2
05-Feb Qatar Airways Doha to Auckland Auckland (AKL) 35.6
10-Feb Himalaya Airlines Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur (KUL) 35.4
06-Mar Azul Airlines Belo Horizonte to Buenos Aires Ezeiza Belo Horizonte (CNF) 35.4
27-Feb bmi regional Birmingham to Graz Birmingham (BHX) 32.6
16-Mar Air Arabia Sharjah to Baku Baku (GYD) 31.8
30-Jan Philippine Airlines Clark to Cebu Cebu (CEB) 30.1
12-Jan Blue Air Bucharest to Tel Aviv Tel Aviv (TLV) 25.6
12-Mar Emirates Athens to New York Newark Athens (ATH) 25.6

Luxair Luxembourg to Alicante 8 April

Luxair Alicante

Perfect symmetry means a perfect score for Alicante.

Judges’ comments: It has been a very busy week for Alicante, with it not just entering this FTWA to, but a second which welcomed Volotea’s new link from Marseille (further down). But this is by far the better of the two. Perfect arch symmetry, both tenders on display, a nice glow from the natural light and not one bit of grey cloud in sight. With that, Alicante has placed second in this year’s competition so far, losing out to Tampa for top spot by just 1.2. Can another European airport top this in 2017?   

Jonny: 9.5; Marc: 9.0; Paul: 8.7; Ralph: 9.0.

American Airlines Washington Reagan to Grand Rapids 4 April

American Airlines Grand Rapids

It would have fared better if it was not for the clutter…

Judges’ comments: When the firefighters at Grand Rapids woke up and saw the weather forecast for the 4 April, their hearts must have sank knowing that it would have dampened (see what we did there?) their FTWA hopes. However, they pulled out all the stops to create an impressive arch, and given the circumstances it’s fantastic…but there is one problem that is not weather related…the clutter blocking the view! Surely the photographer could have got in a better spot? 

Jonny: 7.0; Marc: 7.5; Paul: 6.5; Ralph: 7.0.

easyJet Geneva to Marseille 4 April

easyJet Geneva Marseille

This FTWA is as cracked as the apron at Marseille…

Judges’ comments: While Marseille has got some aspects of this FTWA pretty much spot on (two tenders, aircraft livery, nice background etc.), there is just one thing letting it down, and that’s the water arch itself. If you squint carefully, the water that has made it out of the left tender could be mistaken for a snowy piste in the background, reminding those on board exactly where they have just flown in from in Switzerland…   

Jonny: 4.1; Marc: 5.8; Paul: 5.3; Ralph: 4.5.

Ellinair Thessaloniki to Cologne Bonn 8 April

Cologne Bonn Airport Ellinair

An arch so big two control towers can fit inside it!

Judges’ comments: Cologne Bonn welcomed its latest carrier in elegant style with this FTWA. The jets are smooth, the setting is calm and no clutter in sight. It is just a shame that the arrival of a Greek airline is photobombed by a Turkish carrier, caused by the tenders being so far apart. Hence it is also possible for two control towers to get underneath the arch as well…maybe bring the tenders closer together next time to give your next new carrier a more intimate welcome…  

Jonny: 7.0; Marc: 7.2; Paul: 7.5; Ralph: 6.5.

Eurowings Paderborn to Palma de Mallorca 9 April

Palma de Mallorca Paderborn Eurowings

A classic big boy little boy in Paderborn…

Judges’ comments: Paderborn was one of two airports to submit an FTWA to greet a Eurowings inaugural flight this week, and both have submitted classic big boy little boy arches. So with both Paderborn and Malta (next arch) being in their own mini Eurowings FTWA competition this week, which one has come out on top?  

Jonny: 5.4; Marc: 5.9; Paul: 4.3; Ralph: 6.0.

Eurowings Vienna to Malta 9 April

Eurowings Vienna to Malta

Malta pips Paderborn by 1.1.

Judges’ comments: Malta has produced the better of the two Eurowings water arches sent to us this week. So what makes Malta’s better than Paderborn’s? Well both tenders are clearly visible, the lighting is better and the gap between the top and bottom arches is not as vast as that witnessed in Germany. With that, it’s back to the FTWA planning for both of these airports to make sure their arches are perfect for the next time they’re required. 

Jonny: 6.3; Marc: 6.8; Paul: 7.1; Ralph: 7.5.

Germania Flug Zurich to Jerez 6 April

Germania Flug Jerez

A Mont Blanc FTWA?

Judges’ comments: The firefighters in Jerez have recreated the Swiss alps in this FTWA, with the overreaching of the tenders giving a silhouette that could be mistaken for Mont Blanc. Although the shape of the arch is not perfect, the water curtain that has prevailed is one of the best that’s judges have ever seen. Take note airports…we like curtains in our arches…  

Jonny: 7.1; Marc: 7.2; Paul: 6.5; Ralph: 5.0.

Iberia Express Madrid to Cardiff 6 April

Iberia Express Cardiff

The Spanish sun has made it to South Wales…

Judges’ comments: It should be made clear that Cardiff Airport was very close to securing back-to-back victories with this valiant effort this week, with this FTWA greeting Iberia Express’ new link from Madrid only being 1.8 behind Alicante’s Luxair welcome. Any other week and 34.4 would have been a clear winner…

Jonny: 7.9; Marc: 8.7; Paul: 8.8; Ralph: 9.0.

Rhein-Neckar Air Nuremberg to Sylt 5 April

Nuremberg Rhein-Neckar Air

Does a single engine taxi procedure mean a one tender water arch?

Judges’ comments: It is very common today that when travelling on a turboprop that only one of the engines will be running when taxiing for departure or on the way to the gate, resulting in fewer emissions and saving fuel. With this in mind, with Rhein-Neckar Air’s left-hand propeller slowing down, has Nuremberg decided to follow the same procedure with its FTWA? Or did the left-hand tender simply forget to turn the pump on…  

Jonny: 4.5; Marc: 3.7; Paul: 5.1; Ralph: 4.0.

Saudi Arabian Airlines Jeddah to Port Sudan 6 April

Saudi Arabian Airlines Port Sudan

Saudi Arabia Airlines’ shortest international route falls short here…

Judges’ comments: This FTWA from Port Sudan is greeting Saudi Arabian Airlines’ shortest international route, and it’s unfortunate that this FTWA falls short in claiming victory in this week’s Arch of Triumph competition. Mind you, with the average temperature in Port Sudan being between 30°C and 38°C at this time of year,’s judges are sure that these firefighters were more bothered about soaking each other to cool down rather than baptising the new connection.  

Jonny: 4.2; Marc: 7.1; Paul: 8.1; Ralph: 5.5.

Transavia Amsterdam to Ljubljana 4 April

Transavia Ljubjana

A Transavia Toblerone it is not…

Judges’ comments: There must have been a miscommunication in the FTWA planning to greet Transavia in Ljubljana this week. While the tender on the left is going for the Toblerone angle to welcome the Slovenian capital’s new airline, the one on the right has tried to create a shallow angle bridge, similar to the many that are seen around the streets of Amsterdam. Back to the drawing board in Slovenia…  

Jonny: 5.7; Marc: 6.9; Paul: 7.2; Ralph: 5.5.

Volaris Costa Rica San Jose to Managua 5 April

Volaris Costa Rica Managua

Managua is making mincemeat of this arch…

Judges’ comments: The weather conditions in Managua do not look great to be able to create that jaw-dropping water arch, but that has not stopped the Nicaraguan capital airport from trying to make the best of a bad situation. Both tenders visible, a nice curtain and great lighting effects from the aircraft and tenders has resulted in a respectable score of 26.6 for this FTWA, a respectable score in wet weather.    

Jonny: 6.2; Marc: 7.1; Paul: 6.4; Ralph: 6.9.

Volotea Ajaccio to Paris Beauvais 8 April

Volotea Ajaccio Paris Beauvais

It’s no Eiffel Tower at Paris Beauvais…

Judges’ comments: One would have hoped that with this being Volotea’s first link to the French capital, the firefighters may have greeted the inaugural flight with an arch that would depict the city’s most iconic landmark. Unfortunately that is not the case, but nonetheless Paris Beauvais has created a fantastic FTWA to greet its newest carrier using tenders #2 and #3. But where was #1?

Jonny: 7.4; Marc: 7.8; Paul: 8.2; Ralph: 8.8.

Volotea Alicante to Marseille 10 April

Volotea Alicante Marseille

Alicante is on fine form this week..

Judges’ comments: Having won this week with an arch welcoming Luxair’s new link from Luxembourg, Alicante has again put in a fine effort with this FTWA greeting Volotea’s new link from Marseille. It is a good job that the airport produced a finer arch than the one we see here though, because the high bar set by other airports would have meant this would not have been a winner, even with a score of 32!  

Jonny: 8.2; Marc: 7.8; Paul: 7.5; Ralph: 8.5.

Volotea Alicante to Marseille 10 April

Volotea Alicante to Marseille

If the aircraft was a few more feet to the right this would be near perfect…

Judges’ comments: Not only is Alicante a double-entry airport this week, but so is Marseille, with it fairing much better with greeting Volotea’s latest service than the one which welcomed easyJet’s Geneva route. This arch is not too far away from being a clear weekly winner. However with the aircraft not being at the centre of the arch (blame the fire crews as the aircraft is spot on the yellow taxiing guidelines), and other airports being on fine form this week, a score of 31.6 is just not good enough to win. Note: tender #4 also appeared in the easyJet arch but is this time joined by tender #2 rather than #1. Was tender #3 otherwise engaged this week?

Jonny: 7.8; Marc: 8.4; Paul: 7.4; Ralph: 8.0.

Wizz Air Budapest to Pristina 7 April

Wizz Air Pristina

Ok, here’s a tip for FTWA photographers. It’s a good idea to wait for the aircraft to get under the arch before taking the picture, or was this Wizz Air arrival from Budapest afraid of the water?

Judges’ comments: This is one of many new Wizz Air routes to be launched from Budapest this week, and we are starting off with the worst of the three FTWAs that have been created to officially baptise the services. With a score of 23.9, it falls 5.7 short of that seen at Sarajevo (see below). 

Jonny: 6.1; Marc: 5.5; Paul: 7.3; Ralph: 5.0. 

Wizz Air Budapest to Sarajevo 5 April

Wizz Air Sarajevo

Wizz Air’s aircraft was already wet before it entered the arch…

Judges’ comments: The weather in Sarajevo is as wet as the River Miljacka which runs through the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The pilots must have been thinking why bother with an arch when the gods have already welcomed us with mother nature. With a score of 29.6, Sarajevo’s firefighters have made a great attempt to welcome Wizz Air despite the weather. 

Jonny: 7.8; Marc: 7.3; Paul: 7.5; Ralph: 7.0.

Wizz Air Budapest to Tirana 5 April

Wizz Air Tirana

Tirana’s firefighters are trying to recreate Mount Dajt with this water arch…

Judges’ comments: Mount Dajt is a mountain and national park in central Albania, to the east of the city of Tirana. Its highest peak is at 1,613 metres. In winter, the mountain is often covered with snow, and it is a popular retreat for the local population of Tirana that rarely sees snow falls. Its slopes have forests of pines, oak and beech, while its interior contains canyons, waterfalls, caves, a lake and an ancient castle. Tirana’s firefighters are blending in just so then with their water wonder to coincide with the national park’s waterfalls and lakes… 

Jonny: 6.4; Marc: 7.1; Paul: 6.9; Ralph: 6.0.

WOW air Reykjavik/Keflavik to Miami 5 April

WOW air Miami

WOW it is not…

Judges’ comments: This FTWA from Miami is the worst that has been sent to us this week (sorry guys!). The only wide-body launch to receive a water arch salute this week, Miami has failed to create a WOW-ing salute to greet this WOW-ing route, the airport’s first to Iceland. Along with photobombing staff and the photographer snapping the arch from the wrong angle, the end product is not great for Miami…  

Jonny: 3.8; Marc: 5.1; Paul: 3.9; Ralph: 4.0.

Xiamen Airlines Quanzhou to Cebu 10 April

Xiamen Airlines FTWA at Cebu

A few more seconds and this shot would have been near perfect…probably…

Judges’ comments: Far too often in this competition the main issue is the photographer. Sometimes they are in the wrong position (the ground staff member in the foreground is in a much better place for getting that perfect FTWA shot), they crop it too much or they just don’t get the right parts of the arch into the image. But by far the worst thing is timing of the shot. We can see that a few seconds later and the right tender’s jet would have been near to touching that of the left, giving the illusion of a great arch. Next time Cebu.

Jonny: 5.9; Marc: 6.4; Paul: 7.1; Ralph: 6.0.


Comments are closed