18 airports battle for Arch of Triumph Week 23; 200-FTWA barrier burst through

With 18 entries over the last seven days, it will come as no surprise that we have now broken the 200-FTWA barrier this week…on 16 June to be more specific. But has 2017 been the fastest year to get a double century of entries? In 2015, it was the second week in September before this figure was reached, whereas last year it was slightly later in June, on the 28th, when the 200-mark was broken. So this year’s result is the best-ever (so far)! It is also a landmark edition of this weekly competition for another reason, because (a bit like on Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor) there has been a ‘freshening up’ of the judges’ line-up, with a much needed injection of glamour to proceedings. Temporarily-suspended judge Paul is under investigation for accepting bungs from North Korean airports to give their FTWAs scores of 50. So while he works to clear his name we welcome Kerry to the judge’s panel. Keep Monitoring!!

Date Route FTWA Airport Score
13-Apr Ural Airlines Sochi/Adler to Tel Aviv Sochi/Adler (AER) 37.6
25-May Delta Air Lines New York JFK to Lisbon Lisbon (LIS) 37.5
16-Feb United Airlines San Francisco to Tampa Tampa (TPA) 37.4
28-Apr Monarch Airlines Birmingham to Porto Porto (OPO) 36.8
07-May Germania Fuerteventura to Toulouse Fuerteventrua (FUE) 36.7
15-Jun Ellinair Thessaloniki to Cluj-Napoca Cluj-Napoca (CLJ) 36.4
07-Jun Air China Beijing to Zurich Zurich (ZRH) 36.3
08-Apr Luxair Luxembourg to Alicante Alicante (ALC) 36.2
16-May Ukraine International Airlines Kiev Boryspil to Milan Bergamo Milan Bergamo (BGY) 35.9
02-Jun Blue Air Bucharest to Copenhagen Copenhagen (CPH) 35.6
05-Feb Qatar Airways Doha to Auckland Auckland (AKL) 35.6

Ellinair Thessaloniki to Cluj-Napoca 15 June

Slovakian light aircraft photo-bombs this FTWA in Romania…

Judges’ comments: For those of you not up on your light aircraft recognition (I had to Google the registration to find out what it was too)…the single-engined piece of kit is a Socata TBM 700 C2. We’ve had other commercial aircraft photo-bomb FTWAs before…but never a light aircraft…so this effort is perhaps far more audacious. Fortunately the FTWA is pretty good…or else all of the attention may have been given to the French-built six-seater in the foreground.

Jonny: 8.8; Kerry: 9.3; Marc: 9.2; Ralph: 9.1.

Sichuan Airlines Chengdu to Auckland 13 June

Wow…what a dramatic night-time shot this is from down under…

Judges’ comments: Boy it looks dark in New Zealand! I know it’s autumn moving into winter down there…but it looks pitch black around the airport. What that darkness does do is add to the drama of this well-lit FTWA from Auckland. So while the water arch is lacking slightly in quality…the mood of the shot is top-notch…

Jonny: 7.3; Kerry: 7.0; Marc: 6.8; Ralph: 6.8.

Eurowings Munich to Weeze 14 June

Five bonus points if you can spot the drone in this shot…

Judges’ comments: Where is the FTWA picture from the drone? Now that would be a great image…like the handful that we have received like this before (regularly used by Sydney Airport in the past). Either that or it’s a kestrel looking for a spot of breakfast using the noise of the arriving Eurowings A320 as cover before swooping onto a poor unsuspecting field mouse…

Jonny: 6.9; Kerry: 7.8; Marc: 8.3; Ralph: 7.3.

Air Arabia Maroc Fez to Lyon 15 June

Air Arabia Maroc Fez

Where did you say this FTWA picture was taken again?

Judges’ comments: There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever as to where this picture was taken thanks to the nice, big branding on the side of the fire truck…however what is hard to tell is whether two water jets are neatly meeting above the Air Arabia Maroc aircraft or whether the one tender here in the foreground is just firing straight over the aircraft and there isn’t actually another vehicle in attendance. Looking at the scoring, this lack of clarity appears to have split the judges too…

Jonny: 5.4; Kerry: 7.9; Marc: 8.9; Ralph: 4.5.

Blue Air Bucharest to Oslo Gardermoen 15 June

Blue Air Bucharest Oslo

Ahhhhhhhh…looking at the location of the FTWA and the background…I know we are in Bucharest…

Judges’ comments: There are some airports which have their ‘regular’ FTWA spot on the airfield…and this is clearly where Bucharest does its new route baptisms, as pretty much every Arch of Triumph competition entry from the Romanian capital city has looked identical to the one above…hats off for consistency at least…

Jonny: 6.8; Kerry: 6.9; Marc: 7.9; Ralph: 7.0.

Blue Air Iasi to Milan Bergamo 15 June 

Blue Air Iasi Milan Bergamo

What a difference a few weeks makes…or more importantly perhaps a different crew on FTWA duty…

Judges’ comments: It’s hard to believe that just four weeks ago Milan Bergamo beat six other airports from around the world to take home the Arch of Triumph Week 19 title and eighth spot on the overall leader board. Two more FTWAs have been received from Italy’s third busiest airport since then, with a creditable fifth place (from nine entries) in Week 20 and a ‘oh so close’ second position in Week 22 (from eight entries)…we won’t embarrass our friends in Bergamo as to where this FTWA charts from this week’s 16 combatants…

Jonny: 5.4; Kerry: 4.8; Marc: 4.5; Ralph: 4.1.

Norwegian Edinburgh to Stewart 15 June

Is that a 737 MAX 8…or just a bog standard 737-800??

Judges’ comments: Quite often we get aircraft upgrades for a route launch, but its very rare that we get an aircraft downgrade, as we have on this new city pair. To be fair, the 737 MAX 8s which were meant to be spearheading the latest chapter in Norwegian’s transatlantic adventure are still-to-be delivered to the LCC…so maybe we can forgive them this once…

Jonny: 7.7; Kerry; 7.2; Marc: 8.5; Ralph: 7.5.

Ukraine International Airlines Kiev Boryspil to Budapest 15 June

Budapest Airport, still the only airport in the world to have benefited from one-to-one FTWA training…

Judges’ comments: On a cold winter’s day three years ago, anna.aero Editor and Arch of Triumph head judge Marc Watkins gave a training course to the slightly bemused fire crews on duty that day at Budapest Airport…and looking at the above FTWA, the benefits of that training still shows…now Watkins just needs to convince Freeport Airport in the Bahamas that its fire crews need a similar training session…

Jonny: 9.0; Kerry: 9.3; Marc: 9.0; Ralph: 8.6.

Vueling Palma de Mallorca to Jerez 15 June

This FTWA is far too angular…it needs smooth lines…

Judges’ comments: As we have said on numerous occasions in the past, the clue to winning this competition is given away in its name – Arch of Triumph. Arches have majestic, sweeping lines…unlike this quite angular offering from Jerez…shave off those rough edges next time…

Jonny: 8.4; Kerry: 8.5; Marc: 8.1; Ralph: 8.2.

Air Arabia Maroc Fez to Strasbourg 16 June

Air Arabia Maroc Strasbourg

Almost too close for comfort…bet the passengers got a shock!!

Judges’ comments: That winglet is about to get a really good clean as this A320 does a sharp left turn. Mind the fire truck captain! Now we are all about getting up close and personal when it comes to FTWAs, but this is one of the closest we have seen…maybe next time the tender should park on the grass…but then they might get the wheels dirty…and we all know that fire fighters always like to keep their kit clean…they certainly do with their hoses…

Jonny: 3.1; Kerry: 3.9; Marc: 4.2; Ralph: 3.7.

Blue Air Bucharest to Helsinki 16 June

Blue Air Helsinki

Is “LE24” all alone doing this FTWA or is “LE25” just out of shot to the right? We just don’t know …

Judges’ comments: It might not look like it, but this was a landmark FTWA this week. Yes, this was the 200th entry (we now have 205 in total) into the 2017 Arch of Triumph competition. However, with only 50% of an FTWA on display that will be the only award that this baptism wins this week…

Jonny: 4.8; Kerry: 4.4; Marc: 4.0; Ralph: 4.4.

Vueling Palma de Mallorca to Zaragoza 16 June


Who forgot to pack the zoom lens??

Judges’ comments: As always, a great arch can see its scores dampened (like the pun?) by the skills of the photographer, and that has happened here in Zaragoza. Always remember to pack the zoom lens in your camera bag people!!  

Jonny: 7.1; Kerry: 7.2; Marc: 7.5; Ralph: 8.3.

WOW air Reykjavik/Keflavik to Pittsburgh 16 June 

WOW air Pittsburgh

Looks like there was a bit of pre-inaugural flight practice here in PIT…

Judges’ comments: There is a lot of water on that apron…and the aircraft isn’t even close yet!! So evidently the fire crews at Pittsburgh had a quick test-tun in preparation for the arrival of the first flight from Reykjavik/Keflavik. Despite their preparations, this FTWA is a bit flat…or suffering from what is is known in the Arch of Triumph world as a bit of ‘pancaking’…

Jonny: 7.9; Paul: 8.0; Marc: 7.4; Ralph: 7.7.

Norwegian Edinburgh to Hartford 17 June

Despite the grey backdrop…this FTWA has a lovely structure to it…right in the sweet spot…

Judges’ comments: The angles on this FTWA are definitely in the sweet spot when it comes to creating a fine pair of ‘leaping dolphins’…right in between 37 and 42 degrees. However, the two water jets do not quite neatly meet above the aircraft, but they are not far off…so a great effort here from the airport in the heart of Connecticut…

Jonny: 7.7; Kerry: 8.8; Marc: 8.7; Ralph: 8.4.

Air Arabia Maroc Fez to Barcelona 18 June


Tender 4 steals the show in Barcelona…

Judges’ comments: What is it that they say? Teamwork makes the dream work…and while both water jets are clearly visible in this shot from Barcelona, Tender 4 has taken the limelight away from the other team player in this baptism (was it #1, #2 or #3? We will never know). We think the guys at Barcelona need to go on a team building exercise day, especially as they will need to prepare themselves for the arrival of Cathay Pacific Airways on 2 July, a major route for the airport… 

Jonny: 7.9; Kerry: 7.5; Marc: 7.9; Ralph: 7.7.

Blue Air Constanta to Iasi 19 June

Blue Air Constanta Iasi

Iasi’s first FTWA entry of 2017…its lagging by its own standards…

Judges’ comments: Having broken onto the Arch of Triumph scene for the first time in 2014, delivering two weekly winners so far and last year providing four entries in total, it seemed likely that Iasi was going to move firmly into the top tier of the Premier League of FTWAs. However, with this being the Romanian airport’s first entry of this year, the airport needs to be careful not to slip into the relegation zone…and have to contemplate the scary thought of Championship FTWAing next year…

Jonny: 5.9; Kerry: 6.2; Marc: 5.8; Ralph: 5.5.

Norwegian Stockholm Arlanda to Montpellier 19 June

Non-matching fire trucks produce non-matching arcs of water …

Judges’ comments: Good FTWAs are all about symmetry. Each water jet should appear as a mirror image of the other. The same can be said of the fire trucks being used….we like symmetry there too. Without that symmetry, a good FTWA merely becomes an average one…

Jonny: 5.8; Kerry: 5.7; Marc: 6.7; Ralph: 5.5.

Wizz Air Craiova to Tel Aviv 19 June


Is that another drone?? A light aircraft? Or a mucky spot on the photographer’s lens??

Judges’ comments: The right-hand side of this arch looks like a hose has been erected on the top of an ILS hut. Again, there seems to be a simple lack of coordination in terms of the angles and the power used on either side of the FTWA, with the left-hand side looking pretty good…while the right-hand side looks like it is blasting a rocket off into orbit…

Jonny: 6.1; Kerry: 5.9; Marc: 6.2; Ralph: 5.6.


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