By: Air Traveller PH Staff
The CoviD-19 crisis is indeed crippling the global airline industry due to travel restrictions and bans to avert the spread of the virus. This also prompted country flag carriers to repatriate their citizens in different countries. This is a situation which we would not always want but if we are to look at the beauty behind the ugly, quite a number of rare aircraft were spotted at the Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
This became an opportunity for plane spotters to bring out their cameras but due to the enhanced community quarantine being imposed in the Luzon region, only a few lucky spotters were able to see these rare birds in metal, and one of them is an airport personnel named Charleston Felimon who would normally post on a spotters Facebook group named Philippine Plane Spotters Group or PPSG.
Being at the airport ramp, he was able to grab the opportunity to take pictures of these rare aircraft.
AIRBUS A330-900NEO (Delta)
We are unsure if AirAsia X had flown their A330-900NEO to Manila as we had not seen any pictures of it yet but here is another treat, a Delta Airlines A330-900NEO! We believe that this a repatriation flight but based on some reports we have been receiving, Delta will begin to operate its A330-900NEO from Manila to Incheon as regular flights. For now, it is nice to see an A330-900NEO in Manila once again. Cebu Pacific ordered 16 of these aircraft, hence, A330-900s will no longer be a rare sight in the Philippines in the near future.
Delta also flew in its Airbus A350-900. Though the A350 is now a common aircraft in Manila as Philippine Airlines operates that type of aircraft, seeing a Delta A350 is a rare one too.
BOEING 747-8 INTERCONTINENTAL (Lufthansa)
With only 47 of the passenger type of this new generation jumbo being used worldwide, a 747-8 Intercontinental is a truly rare one. Despite its rarity, the 747-8I is considered as the most beautiful passenger aircraft still in production and flying today. Lufthansa sent in these classic jumbos to Manila to repatriate German nationals and permanent residents as the airline does not really have scheduled passenger flights to the Philippines. For two days straight, plane spotters were treated by the sight of not only one, but two 747-8Is parked side by side. The last time a 747-8I landed in Manila was when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the country, flying in using an Air China 747-8I. Lufthansa is the biggest operator of the 747-8 with 19 in its fleet.
Unlike the A330-900NEO which have won orders from even local airlines, the 747-8I have not received a single order since 2017. In a time where twin-engine ultra-long range wide body aircraft have become the preferred choice by airlines, these jumbos will forever be a rare sight in Manila, unless Lufthansa decides to open direct 747-8 flights from Frankfurt to Manila.
As they say, there is always that 'silver lining' in every negative situation and for aviation enthusiasts and spotters in Manila, it was seeing these rare birds.