Sochi/Adler shows off its first ever Arch of Triumph certificate

On 13 April, Ural Airlines began flights from Sochi/Adler Airport in Russia to Tel Aviv. Little did it know that the FTWA it received upon departure from Russia would not only claim the weekly title for the first time for the airport, but that it would also claim top spot in the 2017 Arch of Triumph competition.

Coloured dye in FTWAs has an impressive strike rate when it comes to delivering weekly winners (and in some instances annual winners) in the Arch of Triumph competition. If an airport’s marketing team wants to seal FTWA glory for its route launch then take note…buy some dye to put into your water jets. Even better, as they did this week in Porto, get dye which matches the colour scheme of the airline which is flying your inaugural. You are then almost guaranteed a weekly Arch of Triumph win. Bribing the judges with trinkets always works too. Keep Monitoring!!

Date Route FTWA Airport Score
13-Apr Ural Airlines Sochi/Adler to Tel Aviv Sochi/Adler (AER) 37.6
16-Feb United Airlines San Francisco to Tampa Tampa (TPA) 37.4
28-Apr Monarch Airlines Birmingham to Porto Porto (OPO) 36.8
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
21-Apr Pobeda Moscow Vnukovo to Gazipasa-Alanya Gazipasa-Alanya (GZP) 33.1
27-Feb bmi regional Birmingham to Graz Birmingham (BHX) 32.6
16-Mar Air Arabia Sharjah to Baku Baku (GYD) 31.8

Monarch Airlines Birmingham to Porto 28 April

An FTWA to dye for in Portugal…

Judges’ comments: Although Monarch Airlines’ new routes have received FTWAs in the past – two last year and one in 2015 – this is the first time it has won a weekly award. Always going to happen when the airport has laid on the coloured dye in the water jets…

Jonny: 9.2; Marc: 9.0; Paul 9.8; Ralph: 8.8.

airBaltic Riga to Kazan 26 April

airBaltic Kazan

Ohhhhhhhhhhh…we like night-time shots

Judges’ comments: There is so much drama in this image that you almost don’t look at the FTWA…which is not the best…particularly as Kazan’s only other entry in 2014 was a weekly winner…

Jonny: 5.5; Marc: 6.7; Paul 6.0; Ralph: 6.2.

Condor Hamburg to Malta 26 April

Grey aircraft, grey water, grey backdrop…

Judges’ comments: This picture does not have the normal azure blue skies that brings millions of tourists to Malta every year…it also means that this FTWA gets lost in the bland backdrop…

Jonny: 6.1; Marc: 6.9; Paul 6.0; Ralph: 7.7.

Ural Airlines Moscow Zhukovsky to Tel Aviv 26 April

This Russian airport still is the new boy when it comes to FTWAs…

Judges’ comments: When you are the new kid in town – as Zhukovsky Airport is in Moscow – there is always the inclination to try and make more noise than average to make sure that you stand out alongside the bigger fish in the pond. It’s definitely trying hard, but not quite hitting the mark here…but there are plenty more route launches in the pipeline for this new kid…

Jonny: 7.5; Marc: 6.7; Paul 6.5; Ralph: 5.7.

Belavia Minsk to Brussels Charleroi 27 April

Belavia Brussels Charleroi

He’s behind you…the big ULCC monster…ready to gobble you up…

Judges’ comments: This is a great FTWA, and scored high enough to get into eighth spot on the overall leader board…however it only managed to secure second spot in this week’s competition…and all because of coloured dye…

Jonny: 9.0; Marc: 8.8; Paul 8.7; Ralph: 8.1.

Blue Air Constanta to Rome Fiumicino 27 April

Blue Air Constanta base opening

Get outta the way…you’re photo-bombing the official base launch pictures…

Judges’ comments: This celebration was to mark the start of Blue Air’s Constanta base opening this week…two problems…a bit more FTWA training is clearly needed before the next airline starts a route at the Romanian airport…and no photo-bombing of official pictures by random airport staff…

Jonny: 4.3; Marc: 4.5; Paul 5.5; Ralph: 3.7.

easyJet London Southend to Murcia 27 April

Where are tenders A1 and A2??? On maintenance??

Judges’ comments: I have heard of various forms of transport needing to be aware of low bridges…but never low FTWAs. This arch is far too flat…remember its structure needs to resemble a pair of leaping dolphins…

Jonny: 7.1; Marc: 8.3; Paul 8.8; Ralph: 8.3.

Air Moldova Chisinau to Krasnodar 28 April 

Air Moldova Krasnodar

Oi…have you nicked the sky from Malta??

Judges’ comments: Too much spray in this image…that normally means that the fire tenders have begun their water jets too early…like comedy…timing is everything in this game…

Jonny: 7.9; Marc: 7.7; Paul 7.1; Ralph: 7.6.

Himalaya Airlines Kathmandu to Dubai Al Maktoum 28 April

Himalaya Airlines Dubai Al Maktoum

I hope the right-hand tender has his wipers on…?

Judges’ comments: Unfortunately for the firefighters down at the station at Dubai Al Maktoum Airport…the most eye-catching thing about this picture is the striking livery of the Himalaya Airlines aircraft…resplendent with mountains (of course) on the tail…

Jonny: 6.8; Marc: 6.5; Paul 7.0; Ralph: 6.5.

Korean Air Seoul Incheon to Barcelona 28 April

Look at all those tail fins at Barcelona…a spotter’s delight…

Judges’ comments: Oh dear, oh dear…terminal interior shots of FTWAs always run the risk of having window glare distracting the eye rather than the water arch…maybe this airport staff member is not permitted to have access to the apron…clearly the weather was nice enough to want to venture outside…

Jonny: 8.8; Marc: 8.1; Paul 8.5; Ralph: 8.7.

Air Canada Toronto Pearson to Savannah 1 May

Air Canada Savannah

Not often you see the fire tenders parked parallel to the aircraft for an FTWA…

Judges’ comments: One control tower looks pretty much like another…but a lot of airports like to get this piece of essential infrastructure into their route launch images to give a sense of location…we would rather have some more prominent airport branding on display…

Jonny: 7.1; Marc: 6.5; Paul 6.8; Ralph: 7.8.

Flybe London Southend to Cologne Bonn 1 May

Where is the left-hand tender?? Or is it a man with a big hose??

Judges’ comments: Almost as important as the structure of the arch itself, the inclusion of both fire tenders is a pre-requisite for the judges…for all we know there could be a man with a hose on the left-hand side of this picture and they have obviously cut him out to save embarrassment…

Jonny: 7.2; Marc: 7.2; Paul 7.5; Ralph: 7.3.

Norwegian Malaga to Hannover 1 May

Norwegian’s first-ever route to Hannover..

Judges’ comments: This route by the LCC from Malaga to Hannover is the first of three routes that Norwegian will start to the German airport this summer…one can only hope that the airport’s FTWAs get progressively better as the new flights get introduced…

Jonny: 7.8; Marc: 7.9; Paul 7.2; Ralph: 8.1.


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