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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Flying with Air Luxor to Praia

March 2006

As promised in the previous Helsinki post, I'm sharing now the photos of my first flight on CS-TQD, an Airbus A320, which by that time operated for Air Luxor.

Air Luxor was such a great and fascinating private airline that unfortunately didn't succeed. They had all types of operations: scheduled flights, charters for tour operators (including their own) and ACMIs.

Air Luxor got CS-TQD in 2003 from Swiss International Air Lines, when this aircraft was only four years old. Since Air Luxor operated long flights over water and desert with the A320, CS-TQD was modified to accomodate ACT tanks and got its evacuation slides replaced by slide-rafts. This way, Air Luxor managed to get the ETOPS certification on this aircraft.

Today, with TAP Portugal, CS-TQD is not ETOPS certified anymore but we can still find the slide-rafts which are noticeable by the bigger containers attached to the doors.

-o0o-
Flight to Praia

Praia International Airport was opened in late 2005 replacing the old and more limited infrastructure and providing Santiago Island, in Cabo Verde, with a decent runway. Air Luxor took the opportunity to start scheduled flights to this Island.

It was great to be invited for an observation flight to this new destination enjoying not only the Business Class service but also spending most of the flight time inside the cockpit. Like TAP does today, for the crews this was a round trip flight, all night long.

On our way to Santiago Island

During the turnaround time, we were free to move on the tarmac and explore the outside of the aircraft and see the new airport.

One leg completed!

Trying to get decent photos in the dark...

Engine #1

Under the right wing

Engine #2

Before our departure, I was allowed to insert the flight plan in the MCDU under the supervision of the First Officer.

FMGC filling by MCDU

 Due to the short runway and high temperature we had to use "Flaps 3" for take-off.

Engines spooling up for take-off

Both legs have a duration of approximately four hours, so I also had plenty of time to explore some unusual angles in the cockpit.



Cruising at flight level FL370

Reaching Canary Islands

Comparing actual figures with flight plan predictions

And finally approaching Lisbon for a manual landing!

Waiting to intercept the ILS localizer

Unfortunately this was my last flight with Air Luxor. The airline was in bad financial shape and even if it was sold to a new owner, Air Luxor didn't survive beyond 2006. But for sure, it was one of the most exciting projects in the history of commercial aviation in Portugal.
I have so many fond memories of this airline, including my first flight ever on an A330, in 2003.

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